Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dig into Pennsylvania Farm Records

My husband's 3rd great-grandfather, Hamilton Stewart, was born on May 10, 1799, in McKeesport, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. I can see from census records that he spent at least 5 decades as a farmer in the nearby township of Versailles, but I want to know more than that.

To get a better picture of what Hamilton's life was like, I took a look at the agricultural census manuscripts that are available on the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission website. This is what I learned about his farm from 1850:

1850 Agricultural Census, Versailles - Hamilton Stewart Farm

  • 80 improved acres of land
  • 20 unimproved acres
  • 4000 cash value of farm
  • 5 horses
  • 7 cows
  • 5 other cattle
  • 11 sheep
  • 16 swine
  • 423 value of live stock
  • 188 bushels of wheat
  • 200 bushels of Indian corn
  • 400 bushels of oats
  • 40 pounds of wool
  • 260 pounds of butter
  • 17 tons of hay
  • 10 value of homemade manufacture
  • 76 value of animals slaughtered

Agricultural census data for Pennsylvania is also available for 1880 and 1927, but Hamilton passed away before that. It would have been great to compare the 1850 data to a later decade to see if his farm grew.

If you have Pennsylvania farmers in your family tree, dig into these farm records to learn more about your ancestors.

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