MADISON PARISH, LA – AN ANALYSIS OF THE 1850 CENSUS DATA
Richard P. Sevier (email@example.com)– January 2000
Prior to1850, US census data consisted primarily of information about the main householder, including his name, and the age range and number in each range of males and females within the household. Beginning in 1850, however, everyone was listed regardless of age along with his or her place of birth. Occupations and real estate values were also listed for the householder, although in Madison Parish no occupations were listed for females no matter how much real estate they owned. Slaves were not listed but those that had been freed were – usually with only one name. A “Slave Schedule” was also made.
Madison’s 1850 census is very interesting. Among the residents found were:
· Henrietta Amis – Then 29, born in North Carolina and wife of wealthy landowner Junius Amis. Later expected to have been the wealthy widow who enticed her suitor, a railroad engineer, to move the railroad so it would run through her property and enhance its value. After doing so, she apparently lost interest in him, and he named the railroad station “Tallulah” in honor an earlier sweetheart.
· Robert W. Burney – Although he listed his occupation as “wood cutting”, Burney, then 30, was owner of the plantation where Sarah Breedlove – America’s first female millionaire was born in 1867. Known in later life as “Madam C. J. Walker”, she made her fortune by manufacturing cosmetic products. In 1998 a U. S. postage stamp was dedicated in her honor. Her parents came to Madison Parish as slaves on Burney’s plantation.
· Owen B. Cox – Overseer, Age 35, born in North Carolina. Later to become father of Rena Cox Boney and Jefferson Davis’ partner at Briarfield Plantation and other properties in Mississippi and Arkansas. During the Civil War Jefferson Davis stored his personal papers at Cox’s home in Clinton, MS. When the Yankees took Clinton, the Cox home was burned and the Davis papers were either burned or stolen. Many of the items have later turned up in various places.
· Thomas Fitzwilliam – Irish Plantation owner who came to Milliken’s Bend in the early 1840’s dieing there in 1853.
· Dr. S. W. Hamilton –Age 26, born in Kentucky. Hamilton was a successful medical practitioner of Madison parish. In 1861 he became first lieutenant of Company A, Fourth Louisiana battalion, with which he served until 1863, the most of his service being in West Virginia, under General Floyd. On account of ill health he returned home in 1863, but later was assigned to the surgical department. Upon his return to Louisiana he resumed the practice of his profession, and was a leading medical practitioner of that state until 1883. During the yellow fever scourge of 1878 he was at Delta, LA,
· Henry Clay Lewis – Born in Mississippi Lewis was a young doctor who lived in Madison Parish during the 1840's and 1850’s and wrote a series of humorous articles under the pseudonym of "Madison Tensas, M. D., the Louisiana Swamp Doctor." These articles appeared in the Spirit of the Times, a widely read New York weekly newspaper. They were collected and published anonymously in 1850 as Odd Leaves from the Life of a Louisiana Swamp Doctor. In 1962 these articles were reprinted by the Louisiana State University Press under the title “LOUISIANA SWAMP DOCTOR: The Life and Writings of Henry Clay Lewis “. He was 27 in 1850.
· Alfred J. Lowry – Born in Kentucky, Lowry was another wealthy Madison Parish planter from the Milliken’s Bend area and was mentioned many times in the book “Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-68”. Alfred and Philip Maher, Catesby B. Minnis & the later-to-be-mentioned Honoré P. Morancy (all of whom were married to Lowry women) together and individually became probably the most active land traders in northeast Louisiana during the period 1832-1860. All were devastated by the Civil War. In 1850 Lowry was 39; Maher, born in Ireland, was 39 and Minnis, born in Virginia, was 69.
· Mary A. McFarland – In 1850 she was 24, born in Kentucky and wife of another wealthy Madison landowner, W. T. McFarland. However W. T. McFarland died, and after the Civil War Mary married Elias S. Dennis – an interesting character and the Union General during the Civil War Battle of Milliken’s Bend. After the War Dennis returned to Madison Parish to become a Parish Judge and, later, Sheriff.
· Dr. John W. Monette – The third largest landowner in Madison Parish in 1850, he was author of "Monette's History of the Mississippi Valley," and was an expert on the treatment of yellow fever. Although listed as a Madison Parish resident, he actually lived in Washington, MS where he was President of Jefferson College of Mississippi for many years. Dr. Monette was 37 in 1850 and died in 1851. He was born in Virginia.
· Honoré Perigny Morancy– Wealthy Milliken’s Bend landowner and member of the Louisiana Legislature, who was responsible for creating Carroll Parish in 1832 and naming it after the man who raised him, Charles Carroll of Carrollton – reportedly the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. Morancy was born in Santo Domingo and was 54 in 1850.
· John Perkins, Sr. – (See the John Perkins Family of northeast Louisiana) John Perkins, Sr. was the wealthiest man in the parish and owned Hapaka Plantation and Somerset Plantation (now in Tensas Parish). He was born May 17, 1781 in Maryland and died November 30, 1866. One of the most famous northeast Louisiana lawsuits involved John Sr., giving John, Jr., all his property valued at $600,000 (a “donation” including 17,500 acres and 250 slaves) in return for $15,000 annually and a few other stipulations. John, Jr. never gave Sr., anything. At least three major lawsuits arose, first from Perkins, Sr. himself and later from other heirs. This litigation lasted from 1866 until 1882.
· John Perkins, Jr. – John Perkins, Jr. was born "near Natchez" on July 1, 1819 and died in Baltimore on November 29, 1885. He was a lawyer and was made chairman of the committee of 15 - which was to prepare the ordinance for the withdrawal of Louisiana from the Union. The ordinance Perkins' committee drew up was adopted by the convention on his motion on Jan 26 by a vote of 113 to 17. Perkins later was elected to the Confederate House of Representatives from the Northeast Louisiana District. He served in the Congress until it was abolished. When Federal troops threatened his plantation, Somerset, Perkins set fire to his magnificent home and 2,000 bales of cotton to prevent them from being used by the Yankees. Perkins did not return to Somerset after the war. Since Perkins had taken such a prominent part in the Confederate cause, he feared for his life. With an escort of three Confederate soldiers and several thousand dollars in gold, Perkins fled to Mexico, as did many other Confederates. En route bandits attacked the party; Perkins' escorts were killed and his gold was stolen. Perkins then entered the service of Emperor Maximillan of Mexico. Later, Maximillan was killed and Perkins fled to Europe. He finally returned to Madison Parish in 1878, and spent his last years there.
· William Perkins – Another son of John Perkins, William was a lawyer. William was only 29 when in 1854 he drowned after his ship, the Arctic, went down while returning from Europe.
· Thomas B. Scott – co-owner of Scotland Plantation with his brother Robert B. Scott; second Sheriff of Madison Parish and subject of a relatively recent article in the Madison Journal when his tombstone was found being used as a splash stone for a hydrant at a Tallulah residence. The Scott home still stands in Tallulah at 903 Bayou Drive. Scott was 33 in 1850 and born in Mississippi.
· Kate Stone – whose diary formed the basis for the book “Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-68” (printed in 1954 by the Louisiana State University Press and a Book-of-the-Month feature). In 1850 Sarah C. “Kate” Stone was 9. She was born in Mississippi. Her parents William P. (36) and Amanda S. Stone (28) were listed, as were her 5 brothers and sisters. William P. Stone listed “Planting” as an occupation but showed no real estate value. In1850 Stone may actually have been an Overseer.
· E. B. Towne – 29 years old and born in Ohio but apparently claimed Vermont as his home. First Editor of the Madison Journal, Towne was elected Justice of the Peace or Magistrate for the town of Delta on Jan. 21, 1848. During the Civil War he became a colonel in the Confederate Army
There are many others who deserve individual recognition here. If anyone has additional information, please click here to submit it.
In 1850 the owners of all Real Estate valued at $20,000 or more in Madison Parish are listed below and also shown in a graph below.
Name Value Age Occupation Born in
John Perkins $140,000 68 Planting Maryland
John W. Monette $90,000 37 Planting Virginia
Honoré P. Morancy $88,200 54 Planting Santo Domingo
Junius Amis $70,000 35 Planting North Carolina
Alfred J. Lowry $40,000 39 Planting Kentucky
Thomas Fitzwilliam $25,000 55 Planting Ireland
Philip Maher $22,000 39 Planting Ireland
Catesby B. Minnis $21,900 69 Planting Virginia
Note that only two of these were born in Louisiana.
BIRTHPLACES OF 1850 MADISON PARISH RESIDENTS
It is interesting to note that in 1850 only 8% of those Madison Parish residents age 20 or older were born in Louisiana. In fact more Madison Parish residents in that age bracket were born in Mississippi (24%), Virginia (14%) and Tennessee (9%) than were born in Louisiana.
As shown by the following graph, by far the predominant occupation of the 466 persons who listed one (many men did not list one) was “planting (169). The next most frequent occupations were “overseeing” (89) and “wood cutting” (40). It is interesting to note that there were 18 physicians and 17 lawyers – far more then than now (2000).
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ã2000 Richard P. Sevier (firstname.lastname@example.org)