1870 Census images for Montgomery Co., Arkansas 

The 1870 census is on microfilm at the Clayton Library in Houston, Texas.

2,984 total population for Montgomery County, AR 

This is a transcription of the federal census for Montgomery Co. Arkansas which contained 78 pages. The 1870 census began on 1 June 1870. The marshals, "census takers", were to submit the returns from “schedule 1” to the Census Office by September 10, 1870.  All persons in each household are listed by name with their state of birth. For the first time, the census asked about the birthplace of parents if foreign born.  The census taker, Richard H. Peshall, was a 21 year old school teacher born in New York about 1849 and living in Mt Ida with Chas Peshall, probably his brother, an attorney, born in Ireland, about 1845. Chas' column 19, South Fork Twp, is checked so that means he became a citizen of the United States before 1870 so somewhere in a courthouse probably in New York is Chas' naturalization papers. Looks like Chas came to the States with his parents after his birth in 1845 and before Richard was born in 1849 in NY. Arkansas favored the passage of laws prohibiting the alien ownership of land so this was the reason why many obtained their naturalization papers. There were five foreign born persons and seven persons with foreign born parents indicated by a check mark.

All dwellings in each census district were given a number. Each family was also assigned a number and these numbers match the mortality schedule, a supplemental schedule for persons who died during the year, also online at ancestry. Blank census forms, are available at ancestry.com and other websites. If the answer is "farmer," the researcher should look for information about the farmer's land ownership, crops, and livestock in the agricultural census schedule. Search ancestry

1st day of June 1870 Questions Asked
1) Dwelling # 				10) Place of Birth
2) Family # 				11) Father of Foreign Birth
3) Last Name 				12) Mother of Foreign Birth
3) First Name				13) If born within year, state month
4) Age 	 				14) If married within year, state month
5) Sex					15) Attended school within the year
6) Color (W B M C I) 			16) Cannot read
7) Profession, Occupation or Trade 	17) Cannot write
8) Value of Real Estate  		18) Deaf & dumb, blind, insane or idiotic
9) Value of Personal Estate 		19) Man citizen of US 21 years of age or over
20)Male citizen of the US whose right to vote is denied or abridged

Census Year 1870. Microfilm # M-593  Roll#59

Population of Minor Civil Divisions
Civil Townships used in Montgomery in 1870: Nativity Race


See township maps






my tally

Big Fork

  6 pages








  6 pages








14 pages








10 pages








13 pages








 8 pages







South Fork

16 pages







Sulphur Springs

 5 pages







July 2008. Thank you to three volunteers. 
It takes 30 minutes to transcribe one page. I would like to thank the three volunteers who helped to transcribe and add the additional information: Joyce, Bettie and Eunice. Thank you. For me there was the trip to the Clayton Library, Houston and photo copying from microfilm, scanning the images, setting up the web pages, putting the pages out online so the volunteers on the Montgomery Co. RootsWeb mailing list could view the images and doing the spell check. The census microfilm was in good condition making the pages easy to read. A least 40 hours of work just with the volunteers transcribing. It took us six weeks to complete the project.

From transcribing the census I observed:
The migration route of the families. Look at the Wacaster family in Marzan township. They started off in North Carolina, then South Carolina, Georgia and finally arriving in Arkansas pre 1852. Neighboring family dwellings are probably older children. Neighbors often married neighbors and often migrated together. No relationships were shown between members of a household in this census. A stray surname in a family grouping could be a married daughter that has come home, a sister of the wife, an in-law, a niece or nephew.

Spelling variations
When trying to find a family in the 1870 census, you will see some interesting spelling variations. Examples: Awtrey now Autrey, Kinsie now Kinsey. You can work out the surname by comparing future census or marriage books. Remember the hand writing was not easy to read so please let me know any mistakes so we can make corrections. 70 white males over the age of 21 and 154 white females over the age of 21 could not read or write so it was up to the census taker using phonics to get the spelling of their surname on paper. School teachers were bordered out with families in the school districts. Eight year olds and up to 22 attended school. 349 white males, 341 white females, 5 colored males and 14 colored females attended school.

What role did the Civil War play in the decrease in the population?
The census for Montgomery Co. in 1860 was 3,633 and by 1870 down to 2,984, a loss of 649. War deaths, movement of ex slaves and migration west would have contributed to the decline. The people left heading west if they had any money or horses left. If there was nothing, they lived in misery. During the war infrastructure suffered and there was probably an exodus north for better employment opportunities to get away from the hardships facing the south. Reconstruction was from the east to the west. The population of Arkansas in 1870 was 484,471 and increase from 1860 - 435,450. Kin in Arkansas at the time were just wiped out and those who were still in places like Georgia and Tennessee came here Arkansas to get away from the terrible times where they were.

307 persons were born in Georgia
105 born in North Carolina
169 born in Mississippi
    5 foreign born

Arkansas goes to War. August 16, 2009 AR Democrat By Tom Dillard
Arkansas was overwhelmingly rural at the advent of the Civil War. Indeed, 1860 was the first U.S. census in which Arkansas had enough urban population to be recorded. Little Rock, with 3,727 people, was the closest thing Arkansas had to a city. Other larger towns were Camden with 2,219, Helena having 1,551, and Fort Smith with 1,532 hardy souls.

Don't take for granted that it is a husband and wife.  
Could be a brother and spinster sister in the dwelling with family living close by.
Field Coleman married in 1872 at the age of 41 to Sarah W. Bolin.
Emeline's sister is in family Dw 162 Family 180, five dwellings down the road.

Polk Twp 1870. Dw 157 Family 175
Coleman  F.T. 		38 AL Farmer
Coleman  Emeline 	45 AL Keeping house 

Siblings are found living with an older sister as their father died in 1864, hung by the Union in Little Rock. The girls were five years old when their father died. In the next dwelling Louisa, head of the household, probably lost her husband in the Civil War. Jeremiah, at age 44,  second marriage was to Ellender Baggs 10 Feb 1863 in Montgomery Co., AR . They were only married a year. Where is Ellender on the 1870 census or was she dead?? Who were her parents? Mary Jane Earnest  married Jeremiah "Jerry" Williams in Montgomery County, Arkansas 3 March 1861 and may have had two daughters one b. 1861 and another b. 1864. These two daughters and Mary were living with Elijah Williams (Jeremiah's brother) in 1870.

Page 10, Line 32, Dw 70, Family 84
Williams Elijah 	24 AR m w Farmer $0/$170
Williams Mary 		25 AL f w Keeping House 		(Earnest)
Williams Susan 		 9 AR f w 
Williams Pulchira 	 6 AR f w
Williams Lucille Bettie	 2 AR f w
Earnest Palatine 	11 AR m w	(sister to Mary, father Jeremiah Earnest died during the war)
Earnest Caroline 	11 AR f w	(sister to Mary, father Jeremiah Earnest)

Page 10, Line 39, Dw 71, Family 85
Williams Louisa 	43 AL f w Keeping House
Williams Louisa 	16 AR f w

Continue on a heritage trail. Continue west. 

"One reason for the decline in population in some Arkansas counties was due to migration. A lot -- and I mean a LOT -- of Arkansans left the state during and after the war. A great many of them went to Texas, some went further west. Arkansas was absolutely devastated by the war -- socially and economically -- and Reconstruction just added to the misery. So a lot of folks just pulled up stakes and headed west." BH.

This was the first census after the Civil War, an important census for the black population as they were free and their names were recorded. I have made a listing of the black population in Montgomery Co. but am missing two names. In 1860 there was only 144 free colored people in Arkansas and in 1870 there was 122,169. In 1870 there was a total population of 2,864 white persons in the county and 120 colored persons making a total population of 2,984 and of these 1,466 were female and 1,518 were male. The census of 1870 is known, or is suspected to be, deficient in the "Southern States" and this is another factor accounting for the decrease in numbers because with the reconstruction governments there was much unrest in the south and many citizens did not report themselves to the census takers. Or they were in newly organized counties and just missed by the census takers. 

The 1870 census was not a 'good' census in the south. The South was undercounted by 1.26 million.
The black undercount continues. In 1940, 13% more black men registered for the draft than were counted by the census in that age group. Regarding the 1880 census "the greatest relative gains have been made in the former slave-holding States, but the Census-office announces its belief that these apparent gains are due in a measure to the imperfections of the census of 1870, as under the conditions then prevailing it is probable that the census omitted a larger proportion of negroes than of whites." 
20 June 1881 T Herald pg3

Interesting to see so many females as head of households. This is the first census after the Civil War so depending on the age of the children in the family and the missing husband there is a possibility to work out that he may have been a soldier and did not return from the Civil War. NPS Database.  There was also the unusual number of young women married to older men.

Merzoin Township 1870
Dw 380, Family 402
Brown Sarah 		55 f w NC Keeping house
Brown Satta 		20 f w GA attended school
Brown Elisha 		20 m w GA
Brown Sarah 		20 f w AL attended school
Brown William S 	15 m w TN attended school
Brown Clem C 		12 m w AR attended school

Dw 382, Family 404
Lewis Francis 		40 f w TN Keeping house
Lewis Mahala A 		23 f w AR
Lewis John M 		15 m w AR attended school
Lewis Ellen 	 	 8 f w AR
Sasupplea John 		10 m w AR

Dw 384, Family 406
Cain Nancy 		35 f w Mississippi Keeping house
Cain Mary J 		14 f w AR attended school
Cain Malinda 		13 f w AR attended school
Cain Henry A 		10 m w AR attended school
Fisher Henry 		21 m w AR farm labourer
Nancy Cain's husband was John Dixon Cain and served for the United States Company E, 1st Arkansas Infantry Volunteers, USA and 4th Arkansas Cavalry Volunteers. He was incorrectly listed as a deserter. On 15 April, 1864, while discharging his duty in Montgomery County, Arkansas, was killed by rebel guerrillas near Sugarloaf Mountain, Montgomery County, Arkansas not far from his home in Cedar Glades.
Nancy Cain was age 48 living with Henry in 1880. Buried Lowe Cemetery.
Three known issue: Henry A. b. Aug. 23, 1860 in AR. and two daughters, Malinda "Linda" Cain m. a Cozart and Mary Jane who m. Geo. Cearley.
Henry A. Cain d. Aug. 25, 1909. His wife in 1880 was Annie Lewis who had married 1st a Dr. Henry and had a son, John Henry. Henry and Annie had four children and he m. 2nd Ruanna "Ruey" Mayberry and had one son. John Dixon Cain b. Oct. 13, 1880 d. May 10, 1952 Lowe Cem. m. Nora Coleman, dau. of Wm. "Bud" Coleman and wife Mary Emma Howton.

Mary Willhite is the head of household because her husband was killed by bushwackers near Pine Ridge in 1863. The youngest child would have been one years when her father was killed.
Polk Township 1870
Dw 142 Family 160
Wilhite Mary C 		50 Miss Keeping house 
Wilhite James D 	15 AR 
Wilhite Mary Ellen 	 8 AR
Wilhite Alex. C 	12 AR 
Hickey Samuel 		12 AR 

Wilhite Grave - He died in 1864 not 1863.
Julius Willhite died 6th April 1864, according to Letters of Administration 1859-1912 on Microfilm for Montgomery County, AR Page 102.
Mary C. Willhite was principal and John C. Goodner and J.C. Ellison were securities for her bond as administrator of his estate. It was filed November 2, 1865.

J. A. Wilhite SR. 1816-1863 Civil War

Located two miles east of Pine Ridge on a private driveway just south of Highway 88. Look for sign. Single gray granite headstone is enclosed by low fence.  Julius farmed near Pine Ridge and was killed by bushwackers during the Civil War, while ploughing a field.  Another version: Julius was heading down south and got some men to work his farm and people thought he had some money so he was killed in front of his daughter by Jay-Hawkers and buried by his wife, Mary Polly Fryar Wilhite, without a box near the spot upon the Mena Road. Jay-Hawker was a name given to members of the bands who carried on irregular warfare in the early part of the American Civil War, and who combined pillage with guerilla fighting.

There are naming patterns. Daughter's named after their mother so you see Margaret Jr. Son's named after fathers, or uncles. Children named after states e.g. Missouri, Tennessee. A Parson child was probably named after a Union Civil War general so you can see where the family loyalty lay.
Parsons, Sherman  5 m w AR
Parsons, Lafayette  2 m w AR
Housely Stonewall J.  age  9  in Mountain Townships was probably named after the Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson.

Once in a while you will find the census taker has made a slight mistake e.g. added a family twice, left out a family member and added the name to the bottom of the page, messed up on the family or dwelling numbers, designated a female as a boy or vice versa, missed a line at the bottom of the page, missed a first name, made a spelling mistake but over all the two census takers Richard Peschell, a school teacher in Mt. Ida, and Zora Cotton, aged 36, the Montgomery County Clerk in Mt Ida, did well except their flamboyant handwriting can be difficulty to interpret. It helps to be familiar with the surnames from the area but I wonder how many families were missed as a few lived in remote valleys in the county.

(2004). Historical Census Browser
Retrieved 7/11/2008, from the University of Virginia, Geospatial and Statistical Data Center:
and A compendium of the ninth census, 1870  by United States census office, 1872

No. Farms 3-9 acres 		 76
No. Farms 10-19 acres		 69
No. Farms 20-49 acres 		139
No. Farms 50-99 acres 		 42
No. Farms 100-499 acres 	 14
No. Farms 500-999 acres 	  0
No. Acres improved land 	 9,664
NO. Acres unimproved woodland 	 20172
NO. Acres other unimproved land   1623
Present cash value farms (\$1000) 				$133,835
Present cash value farming implements and machinery 		   $7065
Total annual agric. wages paid, including value of board 	   $5510
Total (estimated) value of farm productions 			$112,074
Value of all livestock						 $89,857
Value of horses							    $570
Value of mules and asses					    $102
Value of milk cows						    $945
Value of working oxen						    $381
Value of sheep 							  $1,318
Value of swine							  $5,762
Value of orchard products 	  				    $150
Value of produce market gardens    				       0
Value of forest products 	    				       0
Butter 				19,252 pounds
Sweet potatoes 			 5,100 bushels
Potatoes Irish 			 1,897 pounds
Wool 				 2,051 pounds
Cotton 				273 bales
Tobacco 			 3,044 pounds
Oats 				 2,596 bushels
Indian corn 			93,739 bushels
Wheat winter 			 3,072 bushels
Wheat spring 				0 
Baptist Sittings 		  900
Methodist Sittings 		1,350
Methodist Organizations 	    5
Baptist Organizations 		    5
Public debt of the county 	$5,341

Montgomery County ArkansasGenWeb Project
Census Info for Montgomery Co. AR
Polk Co. AR 1860 and 1870 census index

The Peshall's
Chas J. Peshall is found on the 1870 census for South Fork Twp, Montgomery Co. AR, a lawyer b. in Ireland c. 1845, now a citizen of the US along with Maggie M. Peshall, 21, born in NY, keeping house and Richard M. Peshall, a 21 school teacher born in N.Y. c. 1849 was the census taker for the 1870 census for Montgomery Co. AR. The family is also found on the 1860 census for Clay Township, Illinois living next door to their parents and other siblings. Samuel, a brother was an engineer. The three boys were all involved in the Civil War with Private Samuel Peshall, a member of the Union Army, 18th Regiment, Illinois Infantry being was killed 15 Feb. 1862 in the Civil War battle conducted at Fort Donelson, Tennessee.  Private Richard M. Peshall Co. G, Fifth Infantry U.S. Army, Nez Perce War, 1877 was killed 30 September 1877 at Bear's Paw on the first day of the battle along with 20 other soldiers. 

Company "D" 155th Illinois Inf. PESHALL, Charles J. PESHALL, Richard M.
Rank: Captain Corporal
Residence:  Clay City Broadwell
Muster: Feb 28, 1865  Feb 15, 1865
Remarks Cashiered June 8, 1865 Mustered out Sep 4, 1865. Obtain a Civil War Pension
Census - US Federal 1860 Illinois, Clay Township 2N R8E Page 497 
Peshall, Richard M       b. NY 1849 school teacher
Peshall, Emily J 
Peshall, Hariet M 
Peshall, Charles J       b. Ireland 1845 attorney
Peshall, Catherine S     b. 1848

Census - US Federal 1860 Illinois Clay Township 23N R8E Page 106 
Peshall, Elisabeth B 	(mother) b. 1817
Peshall, Chas 		(father) b. 1809
Peshall, Laetitia G 
Peshall, Samuel H  	(son)    b. England 1836, engineer

The 155th Illinois Infantry was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois and mustered into Federal service on February 28, 1865 for a one year enlistment. The 155th served in garrisons along the line of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad. They men guarded Block Houses on Nashville & Chattanooga R. R. by Detachments from Nashville to Duck River until September. The regiment mustered out September 4, 1865. The regiment suffered 71 enlisted men who died of disease for a total of 71 fatalities.

Deaths on the Union side have said to total 360,22 of which 110,070 were battle casualties and 57,265 men died from diarrhea and dysentery as against 67,058 killed outright in battle. The number wounded was 275,175. Confederate deaths from all causes has been estimated at 258,000 of which 94,000 was battle causalities. The Confederates suffered heavier losses from disease than did the Federals because of greater deficiencies in medicine, food, clothing and ignorance and filth. Deaths from sickness on both sides greatly exceeded those from hostile weapons.

Custer National Cemetery, Crow Agency, Big Horn County, Montana
Peshall, Richard M., d. Sep 30, 1877, Private, Army, Company G, 2nd U.S. Infantry, Transferred from Ft Assinniboine, M.T.- 7th Cav, Bear Paw & Flagpole markers, bur. Mar 27, 1905, Sec. B #3

Charles Peshall at age 1 arrived in New York on 21 Oct 1845, on the ship Prince Albert from London with his parents, Charles Peshall, age 35, Elisabeth Peshall age 30, brother Samuel, 9 and sister Emily age 3.

The average person leaves a paper trail of at least fifty items. Charles, was not average, being a lawyer and financially well off, his name appears in courthouse records in both Montgomery and Clark counties, Arkansas and Jersey City, NJ. In probate records and land records and the magazine Outing, a dog breeders magazine, and the New York Times. He cash out of the Union Army after three months and one week of service and in 1870 he was the wealthiest in Montgomery County with land valued at $1000 and personal property at $1000.

Montgomery County, Arkansas Loose Probate Records Charles J. Peshall
Appointed Adm'r 14 Jan 1869 for the estate of John Baggs who died in January 1869.
Appointed Adm'r 26 April 1869 for the estate of Nathan Webb.
Appointed Adm'r  April 1870 for the estate of John Gentry

State Land Records
Peshall, C. J. Date: 8/1/1918 Box: 9 File: 3
Record Type: Swamp Land Patent. Patent 13956 Location: Sec. 27, T6S R18W, 80 acres

Peshall, Charles J. Date: 4/18/1925 Box: 85 File: 3
Record Type: Forfeited Deed. Notes: 6454 Location: Sec. 10, T9S R25W, 40 acres

Peshall, R. M. Date: 9/10/1872 Box: 158 File: 2
Record Type: Swamp Land Application. Notes: 3235 Location: Sec. 24, T6S R19W, ? Acres

Through the Eyes of Farrar Newberry: Clark County, Arkansas. pg. 118 C.J. Peshall
Clark County Circuit Court Records Index, 1819-1878 Reference 2: File # 3884, 3889, 4520
Peshall, Richard Reference 2: The Record, 2001, pg. 47
"Arkansas Swamp Land Sales, 1868 - 1879" Peshall, C.J. and H.C. Baker, assignees of Elhanan Brown

Outing, 1886 April Vol. VIII No. 1 p. 103-123.
Mr C.J. Peshall, of Jersey, N.J., has bought from Mr J Cumming Macdona the liver and white inter dog Nick of Naso, by Nick II out of Petticoe.

Outing, 1888 October Vol. XIII No. 1 p. 81-96.
New Jersey Kennel Club. Appointed a committee member of the American Kennel Club.

Outing, 1889 January Vol. XIII No. 4 p. 371-384.
Mr Peshell expressed his intention of handing in his resignation at the next meeting as delegate to the A.K.C.

2834. Beauty, liver and white bitch, whelped June 18, 1885. Breeder, Mr. C. J. Peshall.
2836. Ben Butler, liver, white markings. Breeder and owner, Mr C. J. Peshall, Jersey City, N. J. Sire-Jimmie (A K R. 1589)
2837. Cresco, black and white dog, whelped Jan. 23, 1885. Breeder, Mr. C. J. Peshall, Jersey
2845. Maggie, liver and white bitch, whelped June 18, 1885. Breeder. Mr. C. J. Peshall, Jersey City, N. J.
2847. Nine of Diamonds, liver and white dog. Breeder, Mr. C. J. Peshall, Jersey City, N. J. Sire— Jimmie (A.K.R. 1589)
2848. Ouida, liver and white markings bitch. Owner, Mr. Chas J. Peshall, Jersey City, N. J. Sire-Jimmie (A.K.R 1589)

October 16, 1895, Wednesday NY Times
Lawyer, C.J. Peshall arrested, Accused of Forging a Check -- Suggestion that the Prosecution Is Prompted by Revenge. Jersey City, Oct. 15. -- Charles J. Peshall, a well-known criminal lawyer, of Jersey City, was arrested late last night on a charge of forgery and locked up in the county jail. The complaint was made by Leon D. Montreville, agent for Leggett Meyers of St. Louis, Mo.

This poem by an unknown author was published in the July 2007 edition of RSS News, a magazine for members of the Royal Statistical Society in London. Do you know who wrote it?

He said "Your occupation please",
This census-taking guy.
I started to enumerate
And said quite frankly, "I
Wash the dishes, scrub the floors,
Shine the windows, polish doors,
Bathe three children, wipe their noses,
Work a little in the roses.
Do the washing, iron the clothes,
Pick up playthings, mend the hose,
Sweep out daily, close britches,
Sew a dress with tiny stitches,
Nurse a sick one, make the beds,
Kiss hurt places, shampoo heads,
Wash the blood off, hunt the mittens,
Wipe up after pups and kittens,
Tuck in covers, hear each prayer,
Brag a little, ease a care,
Take your pick. I get no pay,
But that's what I do every day".
He listened very carefully,
That's why I'm so annoyed,
Because that man just scribbled down
'Housewife. Unemployed.'

Montgomery Co. ARGenWeb