1865 Cortland County, New York Census Surprises and Delights

Occasionally a researcher finds census takers who have gone above and beyond what was actually required of them. Such was the case in Freetown, Cortland County, New York in the 1865 NY State Census when Hiram B. Hoxie inserted the maiden name for each wife. (Unfortunately, none of them were named Benedict.) (Please see note below from co-ordinator)

However, in that same county and census (LDS film no. 0843866), page 41, John H. Randall, enumerator prepared a table of marriages that had occurred in the year ending 1 June 1865 in the Town of Cuyler. Among them was husband Dolan Benedict, age 24, previously single and wife Achsah Ral, age 20, single who were married 3 July [1864] in Cuyler Town by Methodist clergyman [unnamed]. This information could be a boon to genealogical researchers since marriage records were not kept in most areas in New York until 1880.

Also in Cortland County and in that census on page 50, Third District, Town of Honer, was listed under "Deaths of Officers and Enlisted Men, which have occurred while in service April 1861- 5th to 25th day June 1865" by enumerator William Wakely: Lester H. Benedict, 29 y/o, married, citizen. [no other information filled in, including death date.]

Also on the same film and county, in the village of Cortlandville, Henry A. Randall, enumerator in response to the following section called "Remarks on the Influence of the War on prices?" gave the following answers:

Q: What is the average monthly pay (including board) of farm laborers through the summer months? A: 060.00.

Q: What by the year?
A: 028.00 [?!]

Q: What were the wages in 1860?
A: 019.00.

Q: Has the price of farming lands increased since 186[?].
A: Yes.

Q: State the relative increase.
A: 25%

Q: How has the war affected the amount of debt between individuals?
A: It has decreased.

Q: What effect has it had on credit?
A: improved it.

Q: Has it tended to promote prompt payments?
A: yes.

Q: How has it influenced pauperism?
A: increased.

Q: What other changes in the social condition of the people have you observed since 1860?
A: A humanizing effect is very manifest. Practical sympathies evidenced by the most liberal charities have been developed toward the soldier and his family and the colored race. An [?E__alzing] effect is quite as clear. Aristocracy is considerably broken, and military men from the so-called "lower classes" now lead society, having been elevated by real merit and valor in the great war.


Source: Volume IV, No. 2, The Benedict Family History News

Submitted by Mary A Grindol



Note from Co-ordinator - Anne Townsend of anneto@myway.com was working with the 1865 census of Freetown recently and found less than a quarter of the households had the maiden name of the wife. I don't know whether there were several different enumerators, or what...