Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to the Problem: RI State Census

Defining the Problem

Imagine this scenario. You are a Civil War hero and you return home to marry the woman you love. On 14 March 1865 you marry her and on 2 April 1866, you welcome your first son, James Frederick Barber. Six more sons quickly follow: Albert (1868), Howard (1870), Elmer (1873), Raymond (1875), Herman (1876) and William (1879). 

Suddenly, your wife dies (1881) (possibly in childbirth) leaving you with all these boys! Your mother is dead and your father remarried a long time ago and raised you, your sister and ten more children of their own. Your father is 66 and still a farmer. You don't want to be a farmer and have started a harvesting seaweed business [1880 census: boatman]. You can't be on a boat and still take care of children. 

Then, thirteen year old Albert dies (1882). Your oldest son, James Frederick Barber is a servant in Capt. Palmer Hall's household across town "at India Point". He want to be a barber not a boatman or farmer. (Doesn't this sound like it could happen today?)

The 1880 census for James Frederick Barber's family is multi-generation. Grandfather Matthew is 65, and his second wife Rhoda is 61. Oldest unmarried son, Ellery is 34. He marries Fannie Emeline HALL (yes, a Hall) in 1888 after his father dies. 

Brother Charles is 23 and the youngest child of Matthew and Rhoda is 20 and listed as Matthew S. Barber. (We call him Junior.)

There is a Benjamin Barber listed at 23 as a son is not found in any other census and I suspect is a nephew. He's not buried in River Bend that I can find or is listed in the River Bend Cemetery Book.

Daughter Agnes has married her (first) husband Stanton Thompson and they live in the household with their 7 year old daughter Grace. Daughter Phebe Eliza is also living with them with her husband Benjamin Maryott and their two children Eliza (5) and Lewis (3). It is a full house as you can imagine.

The 1885 Rhode Island census lists each member of a household separately. Young children are not always enumerated. But, I am sure that James Frederick Barber is never part of his father's extended household again.

He's listed as Frederick, in the 1885 Rhode Island census and I would not be surprised if he is still living with Capt. Palmer Hall.

More research needs to be done but at least I have a better understanding and feeling about him living in Capt. Palmer Hall's spacious home!

A reader suggested that he may have been an assistant to Capt. Hall working the animals, tending the boats and keeping the grounds. Maybe he even cut Capt. Hall's hair?

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