Mystery Monday--- Census Reports and History Books
As I was chatting with a friend, I heard another say," the History book says that he was a farmer and a lay pastor, the census says a Farmer. What am I to believe?"
I will share a story told me by a distant kin of mine in Greene Co PA whom is related to these story people, mentioned here in.
It seems we had a Mr. Gallentin, who was a farmer, he was also a statesmen, and a certain dignitary from Europe had come to see him. Mr. Gallentin, Gallentine was out in the field plowing to prepare to start another crop to grow. The European was flabbergasted, is what the written dialogue says in an antique scrap book.
I also thought when I first started research that the Census records were accurate, after all they were
government records. But as I wrote to family (distant) and read history books and talked with more and more collateral kin I learned that the data put on the census page just may not truly reflect what a person
did in the 1790, 1800, 1820,1830, 1840, & 1850's. It may not reflect what we do today either.
Then the Census changed more information was written more names were shared and many times you could fine the linking families next door following the full families names and occupations.
With inheriting 17 letters written in 1850's to 1880's, I was able to learn even more about some of
Henry( b1803)Huffman later changed to HOFFMAN was a man of much character. He built bridges, barns, homes, churches, covered bridges and a freestanding spiral staircase.
This man hired the neighbor to come care for his crops and set out to walk to Waynesburg for a court hearing in the early light of a morning. Reaching Waynesburg and learning the court case was canceled, he ate his packed lunch and headed back home getting there about the time the neighbor started to feed the animals for him. This was a man of major character. He lived in the WindyGap, Aleppo area.
This man also had a huge orchard and grew many different fruits but mostly, varieties of apples.
The growing of apples fascinated him and was the reason he had so many types.
These were sold at market to help cover expenses during the winter months, in his notes.
I was blessed with a copy of the write up in the paper about the staircase in a relatives home.
So when I am asked who was Henry Huffman later Hoffman I do not answer what the census said.
Yes, he was a farmer, but farming was necessary to have food and survive, but to build the freestanding
staircase and to build the other buildings he was really an architect of some dimensions.
When family talks about someone, listen to what is being said. As I slowly work through files and
I find more and more relatives were farmers by need and business people, tradesmen and lay ministers
and not mentioned as such in the census.