Saturday, October 29, 2016

Catherine Sheffield's Residence 1819-1828

Catherine Sheffield and Ignatius Grantham were married in 1810. According to court documents, they lived together until 1819 and divorced in 1828.  Where was Catherine residing from 1819 until she married William Seaman in 1828?

The Grantham and Seaman households were enumerated in the 1820 United States Federal Census of Jackson County, Mississippi.  The census shows the Ignatius Grantham’s household had no females that would fit the age or race of Catherine.  In fact, there were no white females of any age in Ignatius’s household enumerated in the 1820 census.  However in the William C. Seaman household, there was counted a free white female less than 10 years of age and another free white female age 26-45. 

The 1820 US census was the fourth census on the United States.   This Wikipedia article gives some insight to the difficulties in using the census as genealogical proof. “Census taking was not yet an exact science. Before 1830, enumerators lacked pre-printed forms, and drew up their own, sometimes resulting in pages without headings, line tallies, or column totals. As a result, census records for many towns before 1830 are idiosyncratic. This is not to suggest that they are less reliable than subsequent censuses, but that they may require more work on the part of the researcher.”[1]

1820 United States Federal Census was conducted on 07-Aug-1820.  The census of Jackson County, Mississippi had this note at the top of the first page.  The number of persons within my division, consisting of Jackson County appears in the Schedule hereto annexed subscribed by me, the twelfth day of December one thousand Eight hundred and twenty. E. Williamson.” [2]

The above note confirms the census was reported on 12-Dec-1820, but the count was supposed to be recorded as of 07-Aug-1820.  Keeping these dates in mind, Catherine would have been 27 years old and would fit within the white female age range that was reported in the Seaman household. The only evidence that Julia was born on 17-Aug-1820 is taken from her obituary.  It is reasonable to assume that the white female under age 10 reported in the Seaman household is the infant Julia.

Even though the official date of the 1820 census was August 07, it is likely that Catherine and Julia were counted in the William Seaman household.  The leads to the question where was Ignatius and Catherine’s son West during this time period?  West was born in 1815, and would have only been 5 years old during the 1820 census.  According to census records, there are no white males of this age in the Grantham or Seaman household.  Perhaps after his parent’s separation he lived with relatives?

There is further proof that Catherine and William were living together (before marriage) during this time period.  I will write about that evidence in another blog.

Below is a recap of the 1820 census.  I have hi-lighted in green where I believe Catherine and Julia were counted. 

1820 US Census, Jackson County, Mississippi

[2] 1820 U S Census; Census Place: Jackson, Mississippi; Page: 44; NARA Roll: M33_58; Image: 62