|This colorized sketch titled, "The Census Taker," was published ca. 1870.|
Homer J. Twitchell was the Assistant Marshall for the 4th Ward in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. This young man, from Vermont, was the 21 year old brother of Marshall Twitchell, a state senator, former Freedman's Bureau agent for Bienville Parish, and self-proclaimed carpetbagger. In 1870, Homer lived with his brother and other family members at the Starlight Plantation in DeSoto Parish. This was in an area considered a Yankee colony. Just four years later, Homer would be one of several local officials murdered in the Coushatta Massacre.
|The final page of the Census in the 4th Ward of Bienville Parish - 1870|
The 45 pages of the 4th Ward in Bienville Parish Census of 1870 was fraught with misspellings, name errors, and other inaccuracies. I am sure this isn't the only part of the country with records containing so many errors, but what were some of the reasons for these errors?
- How mature was the census taker? Did he take the job seriously?
- Who copied the original forms? These pages were copied by at least two different people. Was handwriting on the original copies difficult to decipher?
- Did the census taker have adequate spelling skills?
- Northwest Louisiana was a very violent area during reconstruction. Was this a deterrent? Did Homer really get all of his information from the enumerated citizens or did he depend on information from other sources?
Here are some family members I found in the 4th Ward Census records.
|The family of Joseph B. Bryan|
Bryan, Elizabeth - NOT Sarah (my great-great grandmother)
|The family of James Bryan|
Bradley, Laura -not related
Bryan, Josie (not Jerry)
|The Tillman Bryan Family|
Bryan, Tillman (Not Fred)
Bryan, Sarah (Sally)
Bryan, Tommie Ella
|No errors in the enumeration of Amanda "Manda" Watts and family. Daughter Sarah was living with Amanda's sister in Ward 1 of Bienville Parish.|
To learn more about the 1870 Census or the Coushatta Massacre, see the sources at the end of the post.
"1870 Image Gallery - History Sights and Sounds - U.S. Census Bureau." 1870 Image Gallery - History Sights and Sounds - U.S. Census Bureau. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Jan. 2017. <http://www.census.gov/history/www/sights_sounds/photos/1870_photos.php#>.
"1870 Instructions - History - U.S. Census Bureau." 1870 Instructions - History - U.S. Census Bureau. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2017. <https://www.census.gov/history/www/through_the_decades/census_instructions/1870_instructions.html>.
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal; Census Place: Ward 4, Bienville, Louisiana; Roll: M593_507. Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
"Coushatta Massacre | Entries | KnowLA, Encyclopedia of Louisiana." Coushatta Massacre | Entries | KnowLA, Encyclopedia of Louisiana. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2017. <http://www.knowla.org/entry/759/>
Sherrod, Ricky L., and Annette Pierce Sherrod. Plain folk, planters, and the complexities of southern society: a case study of the Browns, Sherrods, Mannings, Sprowls, and Williamses of nineteenth century northwest Louisiana. Nacogdoches, TX: Stephen F. Austin State U Press, 2014. Print.