It was the first day of census, and all through the land
each pollster was ready ... a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride,
his book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
A long winding ride down a road barely there,
toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
and wisps of brown
hair she tucked back into place.
She gave him some water...
they sat at the table and
she answered his questions the best
she was able.
He asked her of children. Yes, she had quite a few
-- the oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
his sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with pride,
and she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one inside.
He noted the sex, the color, the age...
the marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head and
saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
The places of birth she "never forgot"
was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon ... or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear,
but she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such,
they could read some ... and write some ... though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done
so he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun.
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp ...
its' now you and me as we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow
as we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long ago day
that the entries
they made would effect us this way?
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel and
the searching that makes them so increasingly real.
We can hear
if we listen --
the words they impart through their blood in our
their voice in our heart.
--- Author unknown.
I bought an old book dated 1888 by Artemus Ward.
It was about
his adventurous journey across the United States with his
traveling show. One chapter is on taking the Federal Census.
The Sences taker in our town bein taken sick,
me to go out for him one day, and as he was too ill to giv me
informashun how to perceed, I was consekently compelled to go
Sittin down by the road side I drawd up the follerin
questions which I proposed to ax the peple I visited:
- Wat's your age?
- Whar was you barn?
- How many parents have you?
- Hav you a twin brother several years older than yourself?
- How many chickins hav you, on foot and in shell?
- Air you marrid, and if so how do you like it?
- How many children hav you, and do they sufficiently
resemble you as to proclood
the possibility of their
belongin to any of your
- Did you ever hav the measels, and if so how many?
- Air you trubeld with biles?
- State whether you air blind, deaf, idiotic or got
- Do you read Watt's Hims regler?
- Do you use boughten tobacker?
- Wat's your fightin wate?
- Is Beans a regler article of diet in your family?
- Air you aware that Indianny whisky is used in New
- Was you ever at Niagry Falls?
- Was you ever in the Penitentiary?
Well, I got into a row at the first house I stopt
to with someold maids.
Disbeliven the answers they giv regardin their
I endevered to open their mouths and look at their teeth,
they do with hosses, but they floo into a vilent rage and
tackled me with
brooms and sich.
All goes to show that takin the sences requires
experiunse, like any other bizniss
--- Author unknown.