Friday, March 1, 2013

W.C. Sharp household, 1855 Illinois State Census, Pope Co.

[Originally published: February 18, 2013]
This 1855 census enumeration [1] follows a few months after the family moved to their Pope County residence. The census only gives the name of the head of household; the other members of the household are counted in several age brackets as shown below. A single census line spanning two pages represents this family, and is rendered vertically below ...

[Pages] 24-25
[Line] 20
Names. W C Sharp
Free white male persons.
Under 10 3
10 to 20 1
20 to 30
30 to 40
40 to 50 1
50 to 60
60 to 70
70 to 80
80 to 90
Over 90
Free white female persons.
Under 10
10 to 20 1
20 to 30
30 to 40 1
40 to 50
50 to 60
60 to 70
70 to 80
80 to 90
Over 90
Negroes and Mulattos.
Total. 7
Militia. 1
Manufactories of All Kinds.
Value of products of manufactories.
Value of products of Coal Miners.
Value of Live Stock. 55
Number of lbs. of Wool.
No. of Colleges.
Number of Pupils.
No. of Common Schools.
Number of Pupils.


On the next to last page of the county census [2], Jonathan C. Willis signs the return on 25 September 1855, certifying that the "foregoing is a true and perfect Enumeration and description of all Persons Resident within the county of Pope." His title is commissioner appointed by the Pope County Court for the June term 1855. By Illinois state law [3], persons were counted who were county residents on the first Monday of July. For this census year that would have been: 2 July 1855.
At least one copy of the completed census would have been made. Census recipients would have included the secretary of state and commissioners' court of the county [4]. It is likely that the original copy was deposited with the commissioners' court and then the copy sent to the secretary of state. However, this is not explicitly stated in the law.
The 1850 Federal Census taken in Rising Sun, Indiana and the 1870 Federal Census taken in Livingston County, Kentucky give us earlier and later snapshots of the family to which to compare. In the "male, 10 to 20" category we would expect to see a count of 2 for Clarence and Joseph but there is only 1. In the "male, under 10" category we see a count of 3, attributed to Perry C., Charles B., and a son younger than George A. The "male, 40 to 50" is W.C. Sharp. With the women, there are consistent matches for "female, 10 to 20" as Sarah and for "female, 30 to 40" as Delilah.
The "Militia" column indicates how many "white male persons, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years" are eligible for militia duty [5]. Using this criterion, only W. C. Sharp would be included.
Of the 31 households enumerated on the same census page, 24 report some "Value of Live Stock" and 6 report some "Number of lbs. of Wool". These 24 live stock valuations range from $12 to $235. W.C. Sharp's $55 valuation is at the low end of the range and he does not report any wool production.

Reference Notes:

[1] "Illinois, State Census Collection, 1825-1865," digital images, ( : accessed 15 November 2012), 1855, Pope County, pp.24-25, W.C. Sharp; citing Illinois State Census, 1855 Microfilm. Record Series 103.008, Roll Number 2194, Pages 24-25, Line 20. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.
[2] Ibid., p. 74.
[3] Revised Statutes of the State of Illinois adopted by the General Assembly of said state, at its regular session, held in the years, A.D., 1844-'5 (Springfield: Walters & Weber, Public Printers, 1845), Chapter XIX, Census, p.90, sec. 9; digital images, Internet Archive ( : accessed 5 March 2013).
[4] Ibid., p. 90, sec. 7 and p. 91, sec. 12.
[5] Ibid., p. 90, sec. 5.

Change Log:

1 Mar 2013 Updated commentary with details from Illinois state census law.
5 Mar 2013 Added Revised Statutes of the State of Illinois of 1845.