Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Federal Census Reveals More Than Just Genealogical Data

Federal census records can not only be used for genealogical information, but may also be used to develop a social profile of various communities and towns. The information gathered in this post about Fulton, the county seat of Itawamba during 1850 was gathered from the 1850 US Federal Census for Itawamba County.

Approximately 220 citizens called Fulton home during 1850. Among the 220 residents there were six merchants, five physicians, five lawyers, three grocers, one tailor, two printers, one clerk, two shoemakers, one carriage maker and saddle maker, one ditcher and blacksmith, two carpenters, two members of the Methodist clergy, two photographers, fourteen farmers, seven laborers, one planter and one plantation overseer.

The mayor of Fulton during 1850 was William Beachum, who lived in a boarding house in the town with thirty other people. Fulton had young ladies’ boarding school run by Robert Maupin, a lawyer, and his wife Louisa. During November of 1850, 13 young ladies from planter families all over the county boarded at this school.

The young girls included Martha Lindsey, Sarah and Emily Johnson, Samantha Glover, Frances Dabbs, Ruth Standifer, Mary and Anna Welborne, Anna S. Stovall, Sarah Hankins, Mary Lindsay, Malissa Burgess and Vernna Warren.

The Fulton newspaper was run by John Massinger and John Handy, his 18 year old assistant. Fulton Methodists were served by two members of the clergy – C. Canon Glover, a native of Tennessee and B.B. Ross, a native of Alabama.

Fulton during 1850 also had five foreign born citizens. Cornelius Dougan, a ditcher from Ireland; A.J.H. Tanerahile, a clerk from Holland, John, Robert and Mary Tunnahill [Tannehill], a merchant family from Scotland.

Itawamba County’s wealthiest family also resided in Fulton at the time. John G. Kohlheim and his family, who were merchants from Georgia, had personal property worth more than $20,000. This amount was well over the average $500 per family in Itawamba County at that time.

The county jail had no inmates on November 23, 1850, but a farmer named William Commander, born in South Carolina, was murdered during 1849.

All of the above information was derived from a study of the 1850 Federal Census of Fulton, Mississippi, which was taken on November 23, 1850.

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