People, Place, and Time

Telling my family's stories

Jane Harris and the Moorehead family

Jeff mentioned on a post a while back that we found very suggestive evidence for Albert Moorehead’s parentage on the 1855 census. Well, here it is, a snapshot of the Moorehead family in Fort Edward, New York as recorded on June 7th, 1855:


Oh, how intriguing. And oh, does it give me fits. Where to start?

Thomas and Margaret and their five children (note: no Albert listed as a member of their family!!) seem straightforward enough. Thomas was born in Ireland, and he’s been in Ft. Edward for 15 years (that’s what the 15 in that column just before ‘occupation’ means). Margaret was born in Washington County, NY, and had been in Ft. Edward for 36 years. They’re married. He’s a farmer.

Jane Harris is not so straightforward. She’s 25, a female, a “border [sic]” in the family, born in Ireland. Neither the “married” nor the “widowed” box (these columns come immediately after place of birth on the form) have been checked. Normally, I’d assume that means she’s single – but there’s also no indication of how long she’s been in Ft. Edward, not even one month. So does that mean she JUST arrived in the household? Or did they not know how long? Or was their some other reason they weren’t taking down that information? And if they didn’t take down information about how long she’d been there, did they also just not take down information about her marriage status?

Also, there’s a very odd symbol after her last name. I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is – does anyone out there have an idea? My only guess would be a “ditto” mark, but ditto what? The Morehead name (even though she’s got the “Harris” name)?

Under her name, and indented, is a 4-month-old male child, unnamed, whom we think is Albert. He was born in Washington county, and again there is no indication of how long he has been in Ft. Edward.

Finally, there is a Mrs. Walker, a 45-year-old widow; and a James Morehead, a 20-year-old man, also boarding at the Morehead residence. I assume James is a brother or a nephew or some other close relative, but haven’t been able to pin it down. I haven’t found him on further censuses. I also have no further information on Mrs. Walker. It looks like “Mrs. Walker” is also indented under Jane Harris’ name, and I wonder if there is any significance to this.


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This entry was posted on May 3, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , .
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