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 FamilySearch.org 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:

District No. 2 covered the eastern part of the county, and comprised the towns of Mequon, Grafton and Port Washington. The enumerator was Hopewell Cox. His summary page 38 is here, image 960 of 1103:

The census pages for Mequon follow immediately, beginning with image 962 of 1103 and ending with image 973 of 1103. Here’s the first page of the Mequon-Grafton-Port Washington part of the census:

You can see that the questions are very much the same as in 1842. Heads of Families or Principal Person in the house, and the counting of white males and white females and “males of color” and “females of color.” There is also a space for remarks, and enumerator Hopewell Cox began by adding the nationality of each head of household, all of whom appear to be either Irish, German or “American,” shorthand of that era for English-speaking Americans, typically from New York and New England. It was an interesting experiment, four years ahead of the federal census requiring the same information. But after recording the nationalities of 13 “principal persons,” Cox stopped, for reasons unknown.

This first Mequon page, Washington county census page 40, records the names of a number of settlers who were an important part of the early history of Mequon, including Cyrus Clark, Datus Cowan, Ephraim Woodworth, Stephen Loomer, Henry Mayer, Wm. Worth, Frederick Opitz and F. W. Horn.

The Clark family and their neighbors appear on census page 43, image 965 of 1103. J. M. Clark is enumerated on line 13.

The Clark household now has six members, two white males and four white females. These should be parents Jonathan and Mary Clark, son Henry, and daughters Caroline and Elizabeth (“Libbie”). But who is the fourth female? Again, we don’t know. I wonder—and this is pure speculation—did Mary (Turck) Clark take in one of her younger sisters, perhaps to help her widowed father Peter Turck, shouldering some of the burden of parenting Peter’s four school-age children? It’s possible, but we have no evidence one way or another.1

The 1846 Wisconsin territorial census for Washington county, District No. 2 continues for another 18 pages. The final totals are filed as page 1 of the return, on image 923 of 1103:

On the official date of the census, June 1, 1846, the totals for Washington county, combining census districts 1 and 2, were:

  • White males = 4,070
  • White females = 3,403
  • [No persons of color]
  • Total residents = 7,473

The county is growing, and so is the Clark family. There will be one more Wisconsin territorial census before statehood, in 1847. More on that next time.


  1. By the way, where is Mary Clark’s father, Peter Turck? I cannot find him on the 1846 census for Mequon, Washington Co. Did the enumerator miss him? Was he out of town? Another mystery. Please contact me if you have any information. Thanks!

3 thoughts on “Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1846

  1. Pingback: Census Records for the In-Between Years: 1838 | Clark House Historian

  2. Pingback: Sarah and Cyrus: part 3 | Clark House Historian

  3. Pingback: Meet the Children: Henry M. Clark | Clark House Historian

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