John was in Newry for both the 1820 and 1830 census enumerations. Though only the head of households name is given, the family can easily be seen in each census. The 1820 census enumerated the family thusly on 7 Aug 1820 ("United States Census, 1820" index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 26 February 2012). entry for John Carter, residence Newry, Oxford, Maine; citing Census Records, FHL microfilm 0,281,241; National Archives, United States Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington D.C., United States:
|1820 Census for Newry, Oxford, Maine - John Carter|
Males under 10 – 4 (William 9, Philip 7, John Jr. 4 and Richard Harrison – just born – in fact the census date must have been incorrect.)
Males 10 – 15 - 1 (Dominicus 14)
Males 26 – 44 - 1 (the father, John 38)
Females under 10 - 1 (Eliza Ann 2)
Females 10 – 15 - 2 (Almira 12, Hannah 11)
Females 26 – 44 - 1 (the mother Hannah 34)
The 1830 census results in returns that closely fit the family but are not exact. The enumeration was as follows (Family History Library Film 497946, Oxford County, Maine, page 202 – NARA publication M19, NARA Roll 50):
|1830 Census of Newry, Oxford, Maine - John Carter|
Males 5 – 9 - 1 (Richard Harrison 9+)
Males 10 – 14 - 1 (John Jr 13)
Males 15 – 19 - 2 (William 19 and Philip 17)
Males 50 – 59 - 1 (the father, John 48)
Females 5 – 9 - 1 (Mary Jane 7)
Females 10 – 14 - 1 (Eliza 12)
Females 15 – 19 - 1 ?? (both Almira and Hannah were married in 1829)
Females 40 – 49 - 1 (the mother, Hannah 44)
It should be noted that the family home was beginning to empty as the children started to marry and leave the home. Dominicus had married 21 May 1828 to Lydia Smith and was enumerated next to his father on the 1830 census. Almira married Alvin Baron Tripp on 15 Jan 1829 in Newry and their family was enumerated in Newry that year. John and Hannah’s third child, Hannah had recently married on 2 Dec 1829 in Bethel, Oxford, Maine to Aaron Mereon York. (No record of them has been found on the 1830 census. They were possibly living in someone else’s home that year.)
So what was life like in Newry from 1810 to 1830? Summarizing all the books written on early Newry it was the consensus of the writers that life in Newry was challenging in the least. Newry was on an important trail from the coast at Portland to Errol, NH known today as Route 26. Still Newry was remote and to survive the population of Newry had to be self-sufficient. They had a saw mill for wood and a grist mill for flour. The families there were farms where most of the food stuffs for the family were produced. Quite frankly one writer summarized life as barely above the level of subsistence.
|1818 Tax Roll for Newry, Oxford Maine|
John paid taxes in Newry continuously from 1811 until 1838 when they moved west. The Newry Town Records contain a yearly synopsis of the taxes levied on each family in the community. (It should be understood that whereas we pay taxes on the land and buildings that we own, taxes in early Maine was based on your livestock.) Though the things recorded varied from year to year a good picture of the family can be drawn from these records. The general picture would be as follows: John usually had 2 oxen and (at least after 1820) 1 horse. He usually had from one to 4 cows and 1 to 8 cattle. He usually had two swine (though the number ranged from zero to 5 in different years. Until 1827 the records listed the land holdings and usage of each family. From 1812 to 1815 he tilled (plowed) 1 acre. From 1816 until 1822 he tilled 1.5 acres. From 1823 to 25 it was only .5 acre. In the last year land was listed (1827) he tilled 1.5 acres. Beginning in 1814 he mowed land (hay?). In 1814 it was a half acre, in 1815 it was one acre and in 1816 it was 1.5 acres. Beginning in 1817 until the records stopped in 1827 he mowed 2.5 acres. In 1821 they began to record pasture land and each year after that until 1827 he was listed with 1 acre of pasture. He also reported undeveloped land (probably forest) and this figure varied from a high of 230 acres to a low of 57 depending on the year. The last kind of land reported was waste land and he again had various amounts from 15 to 40 acres. This land was probably swamp or other unusable land.
From the above you get a good picture of a small family farm being operated for a family of about 11 people. The one or 1.5 acres of tillage would have to supply the family with their food. They had a couple of acres of hay for the small herd of cattle (dairy and beef), plus an acre of pasture on which to raise them. They had a couple of oxen to plow with and a horse for John to get around on along with a couple of pigs for some pork. The vast majority of his land was undeveloped but if this was forest they would supply trees for lumbering – which would bring in much needed money.
(Next up will be a study of John's elective offices and responsibilities in Newry.)