Monday: Map Day!

Wisconsin Territory, 1836— ready for its 1st census.

The vast Wisconsin Territory originally included all the current states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, and that part of the Dakotas east of the Missouri River. The Wisconsin Territory officially existed from July 3, 1836 until the current—and smaller—State of Wisconsin was established on May 29, 1848. The history of the territory prior to statehood, and especially before mid-1836, is complicated. For more information you might begin with this overview. Here’s an outline map of the territory:

[Map of Wisconsin Territory, April 20, 1836] original from Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Historical Collections, 11, this image from Wisconsin Historical Collections, 13:248.

Section 4 of the April 20, 1836 act of Congress that created the Wisconsin Territory, required that

Previously to the first election, the governor of the Territory shall cause the census or enumeration of the inhabitants of the several counties in the territory to be taken or made by the sheriffs of said counties, respectively, and returns thereof made by the said sheriffs, to the governor.

Act of Congress, April 20, 1836, quoted in Wisconsin Historical Collections, 13:247.

With such a large expanse of land, and relatively small number of white inhabitants, the Wisconsin Territory of 1836 was divided into only a few counties. Two of these, Dubuque and Des Moines counties, lay to the west of the Mississippi river and comprised the Iowa District of the Wisconsin Territory. (Both were enumerated in the 1836 territorial census, but I’ll let Iowa history fans follow up on those counties.) Here a map of the 1836 Wisconsin Territory counties lying east of the Mississippi River:

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Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1855 — Part 2

Who’s On That 1855 Census Page?

This is a follow-up to our previous post about the Jonathan M. Clark family and the 1855 Wisconsin state census. You might want to read that post first, and also take a look at our recent discussion of English/Latin and German Kurrent hand writing styles as used in places like Wisconsin in the 1800s.

In the comments to that 1855 state census post, blog reader and Clark House friend Liz Hickman asked:

Am curious about the others listed on the page; starts with James Woodworth [Rev.?]. Do you see any other names of interest? Can you figure out the name below Jonathan’s?

Liz Hickman, reply to Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1855

Thanks again, Liz, let me see if I can help. First of all, let’s take a look at that first page of the Mequon return for the 1855 state census:

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Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1855

A Growing Family in a Growing State

The late-1840s and early-1850s were boom years for Wisconsin settlement. The final territorial census was enumerated in 1847, and statehood arrived in 1848. The seventh decennial federal census was taken in 1850. (If you’re late to the party, we covered the Clark family and the 1850 census here, here, here, here and here.) And in 1853, the seven easternmost townships of old Washington county were established as Ozaukee county.

Such rapid growth called for frequent changes in political boundaries and representation. To make that happen, a number of state censuses were produced during the years between decennial federal censuses. The first of these was officially enumerated on June 1, 1855. The “Jon. M. Clark” family appears on line 20, page 1 of the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the Town of Mequon, in Ozaukee County, State of Wisconsin […] taken by me, Wm. Zimmermann, Town Clerk.

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Monday: Map Day!

Mequon’s First Survey, 1836-1837

I love maps, all kinds of maps. I especially like comparing various maps of the same area as it changes over time. I have collected a number of maps that illuminate various aspects of Clark family and Clark House history, and I thought I’d start posting some for you all to use and enjoy.

Fortunately, we are in a digital golden age of historical maps, many available for free download and use. Among the best sites are the online map collections at the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library. Take some time to click the links and browse.

But today’s map comes from another source, the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website. Previously, we discussed the BLM/GLO as the go-to site for land patent indexes with exact descriptions and images of government land patents issued in the 30 Public Lands States. Click the link to start at the BLM/GLO homepage, then click on “Survey Search.” That will take you to this page:

Notice how “Surveys” is highlighted in black text in the left side column. For a sample search, I’ve entered “Wisconsin” as a state, and the exact town and range numbers for the Town of Mequon (T9N-R21E). Click the orange “Search Surveys” button, and you’ll get this results page:

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Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1847

The final territorial census, with a few notes on changing township names & boundaries in old Washington County

Wisconsin officially enumerated its final territorial census on December 1, 1847. Six short months later, on May 30, 1848, Wisconsin was admitted to the Union as the 30th state. The individual schedules for Wisconsin’s 1847 territorial census still exist for most counties. Unfortunately, the schedules for old Washington county are not among them.

The surviving schedules of the 1847 Wisconsin territorial census are available for researchers on two microfilms:

The first of the two 1847 census microfilms has not yet been digitized. So if you’d like to view the 1847 census schedules—for, say, Brown or Milwaukee counties—you will need to wait until the Wisconsin Historical Society library and archives in Madison are once again open for business. Or, if you live in Wisconsin, you should be able to request and view WHS microfilms at your local library or nearby Wisconsin Historical Society Area Research Center, once they are up and running again.

All that remains of the 1847 Washington county census is this page with the official tally for each category in each district:

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Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1846

Our previous Clark House Historian post was an introduction to the Wisconsin territorial and state censuses, with a close look and complete images of Washington county’s pages from the 1842 census. If you missed that, or need a refresher on how to navigate the collection of (free!) census images, please read Part 1, here.

The focus of today’s post is the next Wisconsin territorial census, officially enumerated on June 1, 1846. It is available as FHL film number 1,293,920, aka DGS film number 8,117,163. Click one of the film numbers to navigate to the 1846 census images. The Washington county census page images begin on image number 922 of 1103

For this census, Washington county was divided into two districts, each with its own enumerator. Patrick Toland was the enumerator for District No. 1, the western division, consisting of the towns of Erin, Richfield, Germantown, Wright, Polk, Jackson, Addison and West Bend. His summary of the enumeration was placed at the front of the census folder (images 923-925). The essential results for District No. 1 are here, image 924 of 1103:

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Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1842

Don’t Forget the (Free!) Territorial and State Censuses

Although they are not as informative as the decennial federal censuses, Wisconsin’s territorial and state census returns can offer useful information about the growth and development of places—such as Mequon—and can add to what we know about a family—like the Clarks—and their neighbors at various times between the once-a-decade federal census population schedules. For a nice explanation and overview of federal, territorial and state census history in Wisconsin, please go to the Wisconsin census wiki page. This is an invaluable first stop for locating these records. Be sure to peruse the lists of which records have been preserved for which counties; not all census records have survived. And the Wisconsin Historical Society has a similar page of useful Census Research Tips

The Wiki page is kept pretty current, but there have been a few changes that may not be reflected there yet. In one positive development (especially for the safer-at-home researcher), it appears that all of the microfilmed state and territorial censuses are now viewable—at no cost—via the portal. (Note that you will have to use a free account to be able to view the digitized images online. So create an account if you don’t already have one, and login before you search the indexes and click the links for the multitude of digitized microfilms.)

Here are some links and tips to speed your search. For the index, click here: United States, Wisconsin online census collections. You should land on a page that looks like this:

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Updates, Corrections and other Miscellany…

Recently, I’ve made a few corrections and comments on previous posts, and I’ve gathered some here for your convenience, followed by a few suggestions so that you may get more out of Clark House Historian.

Lesen Sie Kurrent?

I’m not sure how I forgot this, but if you are really interested in reading or writing Kurrent, I highly recommend the 28-page A Guide to Writing the old German “Kurrent” Script, by Margarete Mücke, available in English as a free download at her website Ms. Mücke’s explanations of the Hows and Whys of the letters and their use in Kurrent are clear and thorough. If you read German and are interested in the old writing styles, you may find the rest of her website fascinating.

Spelling in the 19th-century: surnames

Something worth remembering when reading 19th-century (and earlier) documents, is that early spelling varied widely, even (or especially) for family names. One example, from the post on a “new” Jonathan M. Clark document, is Barnet Clow’s surname. It is found on other Wisconsin documents variously as CLOW or CLOUGH, and back in his Dutch- speaking home of Greene Co., New York, as CLOW, CLOUGH, CLAW, KLAUW, and KLAW. But it’s all the same family and surname.

(And if you think that’s confusing, I also have ancestors who migrated to the southern states and territories in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries. And holy cow!, no one on those southern censuses spells given names or surnames the same way twice. And some of the name spellings are amazingly…creative, to say the least.)

Spelling in the 19th-century: long-S

In the recent post on a historic German cursive style and its relevance for American researchers, we discussed the various 19th-century forms of the letter S, including the long-S, as also found the U.S. Constitution:

“and secure the Blessings of Liberty” from Preamble, U.S. Constitution
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The “E” is silent – as in “Clarke”

A “New” Jonathan M. Clark Document, a New Line of Inquiry, and a Friendly Reminder…

Take a look at the following name as written by a professional U.S. land office clerk in three different places on land patent no. 19687, from 1848:

Patent No. 19687, Jonathan M. Clark(e)? #1
Patent No. 19687, Jonathan M. Clark(e)? #2
Patent No. 19687, Jonathan M. Clark(e)? #3

What to you think? Jonathan M. Clark or Clarke? Is that a silent “e” at the end of “Clark,” or just a looping flourish? Whoever indexed this document at the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office website1 thought it was Clarke. Is it a big deal? No. Given that the GLO has been digitizing and indexing hundreds of thousands of pages of maps, survey notes and patent documents for the last decade or two, we can’t expect that the indexers can cross-reference each name on each patent and check for consistent spelling. And besides, 19th-century spelling is notoriously capricious anyway.

On the other hand, maybe the indexer could have looked at the end of the document and compared the “K” in “Clark” to the “K” at the end of this signature, representing our eleventh President:

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History Mystery! – No. 4

Who was Arthur Clark?

And what can he tell us about Jonathan’s Vermont (or Lower Canada) roots?

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the Clark family on the 1850 federal census, and using that document to tease out as much information as possible about Jonathan, Mary, their children and their life in Mequon, circa 1850. If you missed the earlier posts, you can catch up here, here, here, and here. Yet after all that, we are still left with one intriguing question from that census: Who was Arthur Clark?

To date, the only source that connects any “Arthur Clark” to the Jonathan Clark family is line 23 of this page of the 1850 census. What do we find there?

Arthur Clark on 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Mequon Dist. 15, Washington Co., Wisconsin (detail of header and line 23) Click to open larger image in a new window.
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