27 December 2011

Calling It Like You See It In The 1880 Census

Jerusha (Backus) Osborne was my Laura (Backus) Richmond's sister.  The 1880 NY Census in Livonia, Livingston County, New York, has Jerusha, age 60, as a "confirmed invalid" with paralysis and marked as "Insane."  Enumerated in between Jerusha and her husband, Henry Osborne, was Catharine Whaley, age 32.  Her relationship with Henry Osborne is "Mistress."  MISTRESS!!!  Catharine was the mother of Henry's sons, Willie, Charles and Myron.

In 1870 Catharine Whaley and two year old son Willie were living in the Osborne household.  In 1870 Jerusha was listed as "housekeeper," apparently not paralyzed, but perhaps playing second fiddle to Catharine, she was on the road to insanity?  Henry Osborne's 84 year old mother, Polly, was also in the household.  Interesting times, no doubt.


Apple said...

I'm certain in a town the size of Livonia that their relationship was no secret and yet I am still very surprised to see their relationship spelled out so clearly on the census! Makes me wonder whose idea it was to record the information this way, the census taker or a member of the household? My bet would be on Catherine since she was listed before Jerusha.

PalmsRV said...

Can only imagine what the family gossip was about the situation.

Carol said...

And, since I follow your other blog, why is it that I was not following this one?? DUHHH. Well, I am now!

That is really some 1880 census enumeration. Don't think I have seen one quite like it.

PalmsRV said...

Hey Carol, Thanks for following "Detour!"

SaraG said...

I'm working on the Backus family as well (due to their connections with the Richardson family of Livonia) and just saw this post! How extraordinary!

Jerusha (Backus) Osborn is enumerated twice on the 1880 DDD census schedule (Defective, Delinquent, and Dependent), once for insanity and once for "idiots." (Her entry is crossed out under "idiots."

It's available on Ancestry.com for New York: http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=1634&iid=31520_B00466409B-00213&fn=Jerusha&ln=Osburn&st=r&ssrc=&pid=78295#

Hopefully that link will come through.

PalmsRV said...

Hi Sara G,

Don't have an Ancestry subscription, but want to look at the additional enumeration when I get Ancestry access -- thanks for the information.

Cathy @ palmsrv