Jabez and Jabez Jr: 52 Weeks Challenge: Non-Population special census

This weeks 52 Weeks Challenge from Amy Crow Johnson is Non-Population census. These include agriculture, industry and manufactures. I had never searched in this database before this challenge so I decided to look at the farmers in the family from New York. I started with the Bostwick family and was fortunate to find a father and sons on the same agriculture census. I thought it would be interesting to compare the three of them. Jabez Bostwick is my 4x great grandfather, his son Jabez Jr is my 3x great grandfather and Marcus is my 3x great uncle.

Jabez Bostwick was born on July 4, 1778 in Stratford, CT to David Bostwick and Currence Hard. By 1800, his family was found in the census living in Meredith, New York. Jabez married Freelove Frisbee on October 4, 1801 and they had Marcus 1802 and Jabez Jr 1821 in Hamden, NY. They also had 2 daughters, Adeline 1807 and Eliza 1818. By the 1850 census, Jabez Sr, 71, was living with Freelove, two orphaned grandchildren, Marcus Woodward aged 15 and Adeline Woodward aged 13 both from Indiana. They also had Sheldon Howland living with them who is listed as a laborer. In the same census, Marcus, 48, was living with his wife and 7 children plus an orphaned niece and nephew. Jabez Jr, 29, was married to his second wife Jane Chase (3x great grandmother), and had one son, George, from his previous marriage living with him. They were all living in Hamden, New York.

The first agriculture census was taken in 1850 and consisted of 46 items. In order to compare the three farms, I filled out a blank form with Jabez on the first line, Jabez Jr on the second and Marcus on the third. Jabez and Marcus had comparable land and farm worth compared to Jabez Jr who had about half as much.  Marcus had more livestock but Jabez produced more rye, corn and oats.  Jabez Jr produced more butter and grew more potatoes, buckwheat and hay. Marcus was the only one that had beeswax and honey production. It shows that Marcus and Jabez Jr produced wool but I don’t see sheep in the livestock inventory. Jabez Jr had more animals slaughtered, twice as much as his father. Perhaps after the wool was sheered the sheep were slaughtered. The number of farm animals was reflected by what was in inventory the day of the census. This could account for the wool, lack of sheep and increase value of slaughtered animals for Jabez Jr and Marcus.

Comparison of the 3 farms

It looks like the family may have pooled their efforts in the production of crops as there are significant differences in the crops produced between the three farms. Also, which is puzzling, Jabez Jr had the fewest milch (note spelling on census) cows but the most butter produced. It seems he had the least amount of help on his farm. Marcus on the other hand had 6 kids between the ages of 12 and 24 so he had more help to do chores like milk cows. Jabez and Marcus are next to each other in the census which leads me to believe that their farms were adjacent to each other. On a side note, it seems nice that they were able to keep the orphaned children close together also since Jabez had the older children and Marcus had the younger ones.

Jabez Bostwick Jr on 1850 Agriculture census.
Jabez Bostwick and Marcus Bostwick on 1850 Agriculture census.

The 1850 agriculture census revealed a lot about my ancestors lives. I learned how much land they had, how many animals they had and what they produced. I look forward to finding more special censuses for my family that owned farms in Wisconsin and Kentucky to see what they were producing.

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