The United States Census and Woodruff County Townships and Families
By Lela Ashburn and Brooks Armstrong Wiggins
The first Unites States Census was recorded in 1790.
This national population count was necessary for several reasons:
a. To apportion the seats each state has in the House of Representative
b. To determine each states' number of votes in the electoral college
c. To apportion state and local legislatures
d. To determine federal money grants to states and localities
The United States Constitution established the census in Article 1, Sections 2 and 9, providing that the census be taken every 10 years and census schedules to be released every 72 years. Census schedules were taken without printed guidelines until 1930, causing many modern problems in reading census information from 1790 to 1920. Also, only heads of free families were recorded prior to 1850, totaling the number of other families members without name and by free/slave status using only gender and age categories.
Other changes in census schedules include:
1820- non-naturalized foreigners
1840- inquiry regarding pensioners for revolutionary or military service
1850- each person's name, age, occupation (if over 15 years of age),
place of birth, value of real estate. Also include slave schedules
naming the owner and total number of slaves. This provided the
guideline for printed census schedules
1860- personal estate value
1870- inquiry regarding the citizenship of the enumerated
person (males over age 21) and their parent
1880- inquiry regarding the relationship of each individual
to the head of the family and the birthplace of the person's parents
Woodruff County was created on November 26, 1863 from Jackson and St. Francis counties. The boundaries were established in 1873, and Augusta was designated as the county seat, supplemented with district court meetings at Cotton Plant and McCrory. Census records for Woodruff County date back to 1870 and include every year except 1890 which was destroyed by fire.
The following pages provide three types of information: Townships in Woodruff County according to the dicennial census, the number of families in each township, and two maps of Woodruff county that show townships boundaries in 1863 and in 1920. Woodruff County township boundaries have not changed since 1920. The townships listed are taken from US census records, however, some corresponding information was either unvailable or illegible. Changes are explained per census year.
Township Number of Families
1870 Augusta 425
Cotton Plant 199
Surrounded Hill 49
White River 179
NOTE: This census information led to the official
boundaries being established in 1873.
Barnes (part of DeView) 107
Caney (part of Cotton Plant) 19
Cotton Plant 300
White River illegible
NOTE: Barnes was created in 1874 and Caney was created in 1878.
Surrounded Hill was incorporated into another township.
Township Number of Families
1890 census was destroyed by fire.
1900: Augusta 479
Cache (part of Deview) 323
Cotton Plant 449
Dent( part of Caney) 50
Pumpkin Bend 42
White River 268
NOTE: Cache and Dent were created in 1880, and Pumpkin Bend
was organized sometime after 1880.
1910: Augusta 532
Cotton Plant illegible
Pumpkin Bend 43
White River 261
NOTE: Pumpkin Bend was changed to Pumpkin Township in 1900.
1920: Augusta 965
Cotton Plant 740
Franks (part of Caney and Dent) 111
Garden (part of Cotton Plant and Point) 323
Pumpkin Bend 73
White River 301
NOTE: Franks and Garden were created after 1910.
This census distinguished incorporated towns within some of the townships.