14 January 2009

Before and After the War

There are a lot of interesting information that can be gleaned from census records.  I thing that I like to do is compare the 1860 and 1870 census records for the same family. It can really show have the family has been impacted by the "War of Northern Aggression." You can easily compare property values between the years to see what sort of monetary impact the War had on the family.

Now, with the release of the South Carolina Non-Population Census records on Ancestry.com, I can get an even more in-depth look at the war's impact. I found John Peter Quattlebaum on the 1860 and 1870 Non-Population census records. I don't know if John fought in the war, but I do know that his sons did.





The first thing I notice is that the family is not in the same location - Edgefield Distrist in 1860 and Hibler in 1870.  In 1860, Edgefield County was organized into only three townships.  By 1870, Edgefield County was organized into twenty different townships.  On the populations census records, he neighbors are the same, so I assume that he did not move, but that county organization became more sophisticated.

I see that in 1860 and 1870 he had 308 acres of land, which helps to confirm that he is on the same property. In 1860, the cash value of his land is $2,250, but in 1870 his land is worth only $930. The value of his farming equipment has also plummeted. It would seem that physical equipment might be worth more and harder to find after the war, so perhaps he lost some of his equipment during the war.

The non-population census also records livestock holdings.  From 1860 to 1870 John lost: two horses, a mule, four milk cows, two cattle, three sheep, and 37 swine. He gained two oxen.  The total value of his livestock plummeted by $363. 

His farming production has changed a lot (on second page not shown).  In 1860, John made most of his money potato farming, producing over 100 bushels. By 1870 he's produced less than 20 bushels.  He's made up for the difference with a slight increase in dairy production.  The family has also lost all production of honey and homemade merchandise and their value of slaughtered animals has decreased dramatically.

Overall, it seems that John and his family suffered during the war.  The value of their land decreased and they lost the means to earn money. Without the non-population census records, we wouldn't be able to see the detail of the changes in this family's life.

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