Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"Different" Occupations in the 1880 U.S. Census

The 1880 US census search function on permits you to search on "occupation."  The 1940 U.S. census does also.  

I can't help myself I spent a few hours recently throwing words into the Occupation box in the 1880 U.S. census and seeing what comes out. Among the usual farmers (4,090,933 of them), servants (897,028 of them), bankers (6,870 of them), mill workers (1,844 of them), engineers (78,688 of them), baseball players (71 of them), there were also:

* Jos M. Wilkins of Titusville PA was "engineer in a slave mill." Probably an error - a stave mill?

* Elwin Willard of Silver Creek NY "works in smut shop." He's probably Hugh Hefner's grandfather (just kidding).

* John Sowers of Newark NJ was a "brass cock maker." Just what I always needed...

* Stephene H. Martine of Tanner Creek VA was a "proprietor of monkey house."

* Jos. Seymour of Manhattan NY was a "sh!t manufacturer." Shirt?

* W.T. Scott of Buena Vista CO was a "bull whacker." I'll bet the bull was mad!

* Horace Greeley (age 25, born NY) of Wichita KS was an "Oklahoma Boomer." Is this the Horace Greeley who went west?

* Mary Toomey of Boston MA was a "cash girl (fancy bust)" I'll bet!

* William Haller of Cincinnati OH was a "peddler & philosopher." He probably wanted a penny for his thoughts.

* Wellington Beatty of Monroe LA was a "farmer & thinker." 

* Adolph Schuarymann of Brooklyn NY was "publisher of Puck." Was that a magazine?

* Tarrant Putnam of Wilton MN works at "anything that's honest." Diogenes reincarnated, eh?

* Oliver Ewing of Fort Scott KS "steals for a living." 

* Benjamin Trulon of Bordentown NJ was "too lazy to do anything."

* Sally Vaughn of Louisa VA was a "trick woman." Hmmm...

* Both Anna Bren and Agnes Bren of Brutus NY were "ladies of pleasure" (residing in a hotel).

* Laura Johnson of LaCrosse WI was a "pleasure girl" (residing in a "house of ill fame" with others with the same occupation.)

* A.E. Lindhofer (and 23 others) of Hammond IN "work in stink factory." I thought there was enough back in 1880 that they didn't have to make it.

* Briget Malone of Bradford PA was a "pot wrestler." Probably a kitchen worker with a sense of humor.

* Austin Robbins of District 8 TN was a "perfect idiot." 

* Edwin Marsh of Roundhead OH was an "idol." Probably the first "American idol."

* James Oxford of Gardner MA job was "laziness to perfection." His father must have been mad at him that day.

* J. William Miller of Rye NY was a "speculator" and his wife Ellen's occupation was "hoarding." Teamwork!

* Tom Johnson of Navasota TX job was "beating tin can from morning to night." Poor tin can, but I'm sure his wife was happy, unless the noise got to her.

* Bernard H. McCabe of Rosendale NY was a "hotel moper." Probably sat around all day...

* John MacGaal of Brooklyn NY was a "mad weaver." His wife was probably looming...

* Amanda Williams of Nile OH "boards in grim house." 

* Matilda Adar of Springfield OH was a "mad wife." Her poor hubby...I hope it wasn't John MacGaal.

* Charles Young of Virginia City NV was a "lover" residing in a whore house with lots of prostitutes. I guess it kept him young...

* Peter Hogg of St. Louis MO was a "cat. drover." Is this the same as a cat herder? Isn't that impossible?

Well, that's enough for today - I love this stuff!

What goodies have you found in census occupatons?

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Dianne Nolin said...

Ha ha ha so funny! I hesitate to ask what words you were throwing in there LOL
Thanks for my laugh of the day!

Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! You must have used some clever search terms to find these gems!

Unknown said...

Or, from a British census "replacer of toilet brush bristles"! An essential job?!

Geolover said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geolover said...

You came up with some fascinating items.

Both Jane Bourgeret, 66, of Linn Twp., Osage Co., MO and John R. Shaw, 19, of Eagle District, Harrison Co., WV were occupied with "devilment," and the occupation of Charles Laarson, 11, of Elk Rapids, Antrim Co., MI was "deviltry."

Ellen Hannan, 60, of Saint Louis, MO was a "witch."

Lafayette Springs, 39, of Rocky River, Cabarrus Co., NC was a "witch doctor."

Linda Schreiber said...

A couple might be explainable, but, boy, does this hammer home the point of "Who was the informant" ;-)
And they are all hilarious!!

Unknown said...

Puck was indeed a humor magazine published in lower Manhattan prior to 1918, when it was shut down due to its supposed German connections.
If I remember correctly, a brass cock is an old term for a type of valve.