Herkimer County NY

Census Tabulations in 1850 by Town

The 1850 U.S. Census was a milestone as it is the first census where we can see the first names of all the members of the individual households, as well as their state or country of birth. For many of us it is also the first census where we feel a sense of time and place for our ancestors. Although the majority of Americans lived in rural areas, we wonder exactly how big were the communities in which our ancestors lived. The 1850 census information below was abstracted from Hayward's United States Gazetteer, published in 1853, and are the town and township tabulations of the marshal's returns filed with the State of New York.

9/22/97  I've combined the tally information from Hayward's, Norway Tidings(Vol. 4, No. 9, Sept. 1890, and George A. Hardin and Frank H. Willard's 1893 History of Herkimer County into one table to show the rise and fall of local populations. A devastating fire in Washington destroyed the 1890 U.S. census and the 1885 State Census was apparently never completed. I have heard that there was a legislative squabble about funding the 1885 census.

In the Context of Surrounding Counties

TOWN 1850 1855 1860 1865 1870 1875 1880 1890
German Flats3,5783,8553,9405,0745,7187,3716,7467,253
Little Falls4,8554,9305,9895,5885,6125,8466,9137,480

Some Census Trivia for Armchair Statisticians and Demographers:

No, it wasn't a gold rush leading to a population increase or an epidemic causing a decrease. The spike and drop in population for Wilmurt is attributable to several boundary changes that will be discussed when the Town of Wilmurt section goes on line.

There are township totals differences between the Norway Tidings census talleys in 1890 and Hardin and Willard's totals published in 1893. Above I have kept the Norway Tidings totals as they were already typed in but for all you number crunchers who are dusting off your calculators, according to Hardin and Willard the corrected 1890 census figures for each township were:

Columbia 1,380; Danube 1,116; Fairfield 1,553; Frankfort 3,988; German Flatts 7,255; Herkimer 4,666; Litchfield 1,055; Little Falls 7,512; Manheim 3,809; Newport 1,835; Norway 818; Ohio 832; Russia 2,145; Salisbury 1,800; Schuyler 1,259; Stark 1,248; Warren 1,339; Wilmurt 375; and Winfield 1,665.

Reasons for corrections include finding people who were counted twice, errors in totals anywhere on the census sheets themselves, and just plain errors in addition at the local or county level. As is the case today, overall figures were important in making planning and development decisions, determining distribution of funds, and creating legislative seats.

The preliminary 1890 county total was 45,415; the corrected total was 45,608.

The last change in county boundaries was made previous to 1820. The following table gives the county population from 1800 to 1890. I am assuming that Hardin and Willard are giving us early totals for the geographic area encompassed by present-day Herkimer County.

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Last Updated: 9/22/97
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