INSTRUCTIONS TO MARSHALS AND|
ASSISTANT MARSHALS - CENSUS OF 1850.
To the Marshals:
Having appointed your assistants, and received a duplicate of the oath of office
taken by each, pursuant to your instructions from this Department, of the 25th
ultimo, you will proceed immediately to the further execution of your duty, as
defined by the act. It is an Important service, looked to in its results with much
interest, and it is expected that you will use every effort to discharge it with
promptness, efficiency, and exactness. You will be immediately furnished, by
express, with a portfolio for each of your assistants, and a sufficient number of
blanks for each to commence work. The necessary additional blanks will be, in like
manner, furnished you as soon as practicable.
As 160 names may be entered on one sheet of population returns, and as three copies
altogether are required, it follows that, for 160 names, 3 sheets of schedule No. t
will be needed; and that for a district of 20,000 free inhabitants, 375 sheets would
be required. To the number, however, which is required, on an accurate calculation,
an addition of 25 per cent should be made to cover possible errors, losses, etc.; so
that for a population of 20,000 in any one district, there should be sent 470 sheets
of population blanks, or schedule No. 1.
You will accordingly, estimate the number of free persons in each assistant's
district, and calculate thereon the number of this schedule (No. 1) which will be
required; and you will apportion the other schedules according to the character of
the district, whether it be agricultural, planting, mining, manufacturing, or
mercantile. The portfolios and schedules are to be transmitted by you to your
assistants by mail, pursuant to the seventeenth section of the act, unless a more
eligible mode can be resorted to, without expense.
No. 2. Of schedule No. 2, Slave Inhabitants, the same number will be required for a
slave population of 20,000 that would be required for the same number of free
persons, as each sheet will include the same number of slaves that schedule No. 1
will of free population.
No. 3. No less than four copies of schedule No. 3 should be sent to each assistant,
the fourth copy being sent to provide for loss or accident and cases will not very
frequently occur, except In populous districts, where more than that number will be
No. 4. Of the Agricultural schedule, you can be the only judge of what number will
be requisite for a particular subdivision. Four sheets of Schedule No. 4 should be
sent for every eighty farm or plantation owners or occupiers.
No. 5. Of schedule No. 5, Statistics of Industry, there should be sent to the
assistants about four sheets for each thirty manufacturers In his district; or
forty, provided the manufactories are generally on a small scale. The statistics
relating to four blacksmiths would not require more room than those relating to one
woolen or cotton factory.
No. 6. Of schedule No. 6, Social Statistics, it is presumed that four sheets will be
sufficient for most assistants, except in cities; and even there, unless the social
statistics for a whole city should be taken by one individual.
If more that three copies of any schedule be required in a subdivision, six will be
needed, as there must be three copies of every variety of statistics taken. You
should use much care in the distribution of the packs, in order that the supply be
not unnecessarily exhausted.
Having furnished your assistants with the blanks and instructions, you will direct
them to Inform you when they commence the enumeration of the district assigned, and
at least once in every two weeks, where mail facilities exist, they should be
required to inform you of the progress made in the work. Failing to get such
information from any assistant, it will be your duty to make Inquiries concerning
the district, so as to be assured that the assistant is at work, and to take those
efficient steps which the law provides, to remedy any evil or Inattention which may
exist. You have, at any time, for cause sufficient, the power to cancel the
appointment of an assistant, and to appoint another for the district; and it is your
duty to do so whenever the public interest suffers from the neglect or incompetency
of any assistant.
2. By the seventh section of the above act, it is made your duty "to keep an
accurate record of the name, and area In square miles, of each subdivision, and of
each assistant within your district." The object of this proviso is to determine
that rate of payment to be made to the assistants. It is supposed and believed that
in all States the areas of the different subdivisions may be pretty accurately
known. It should be ascertained with complete exactness when the means exist for
doing so. Where the reputed or estimated area is upon data not entirely reliable,
this fact should be stated.
In the new States, where the county and town divisions are made by parallel lines,
little difficulty can occur, and in the older States the gazetteers usually contain
the required information; but, as they cannot always be relied on, and counties have
undergone change of character, the information should be obtained from the county
surveyor, or clerk, or other reliable source; and you should require each assistant
to furnish you with a certificate, under the hand of some reliable person, of the
number of square miles in his district.
You should consider this as one of your first duties, so that, if possible, it may
be made known to the assistant, soon after his appointment, the area of his
district, and thus prevent the occurrence of any subsequent dispute. You should
arrange a book, in some convenient method, by which you can easily refer to the
description of the district, the number of square miles therein, and the name of
each assistant, and the state of the work in each subdivision.
Postmasters should be notified concerning the provision in the seventeenth section
of the act, which authorizes you and your assistants to track all census packages
N 3. By the fifth section it is also made your duty "carefully to examine the
returns of each assistant, to see whether the work has been executed it a lawful
You should carefully examine the returns, to see that every part of the district
embraced has been visited, and all the required information obtained, and the
schedules filled up according to the Instructions.
4. By the fifth section it Is provided, that you shall transmit, forthwith, "one set
of the returns to the census office." This set should be transmitted without any
delay, and in convenient sized packages. You should keep an accurate account of
returns forwarded to the census office, and of the date at which they were mailed;
and if the receipt of them is cot acknowledged in due course of mail, you should
write and inquire whether they have beet received. You are required, by the same
section, to transmit the other copy thereof to the office of the secretary of State,
or territory to which your district belongs.
5. You and your assistants are requested to obtain, If practicable, and forward to
the census office, copies of local printed reports of towns. counties, and States,
relating to the expenditures, to schools, pauperism, crime, insanity, and other
local matters which are required to be investigated by the schedules.
6. You should instruct your assistants, upon the receipt of the instructions and
blanks, to commence immediately to discharge their duty, and use all exertions to
have them performed during the earlier portion of the time allotted for the work,
and not procrastinate, in the expectation of being able to prosecute the work during
the latter portion of the period.
When such procrastination occurs, or other causes (which might by timely caution be
avoided) operate to defeat the consummation of the duty, neither you nor your
assistants will be entitled to compensation, but render yourselves liable to a
To the Assistant Marshals:
1. The assistant marshal, having beet duly commissioned, will be provided with a
portfolio to be furnished with the schedules, of sufficient size to contain several
sheets of the same without folding, that may be easily opened, and used for writing
on, if necessary; and he should furnish himself with Ink, blotting paper, and pens.
Strings should be attached to the portfolio, to prevent the loss of any of Its
2. He is to approach every family and individual from whom he solicits information
with civil and conciliatory matters, and adapt himself, as far as practicable, to
the circumstances of each, to secure confidence and good will, as a means of
obtaining the desired information with accuracy and dispatch.
3. If any person, to whom application Is made for information should refuse to give
it. or should designedly give false information, the assistant should Inform him of
the responsibility he thereby Incurs, and that he renders himself liable to a
penalty, according to the fifteenth section of the act of Congress.
4. The act provides that "the assistant marshals shall make the enumeration by
actual Inquiry at every dwelling house or by personal Inquiry of the head of every
family, and not otherwise." This requirement must be strictly observed.
5. As soon as the schedules are filled up, and the information in relation to each
family Is obtained according to the Instructions, the assistant should read over,
and exhibit to the parties from whom he received the same, the record of the
Information obtained, and correct or supply any error or omission. The object of
this rule Is to prevent mistakes, and secure accuracy.
6. Each assistant is to complete the enumeration with as little delay as possible,
after commencing It, and should Inform the marshal, at least once in two weeks, of
the progress he is making It his district.
7. On each page of the population and agricultural schedules Is to be Inserted the
date when such page was commenced, although it may not have been completely filled
up until the following day. When the whole enumeration It his district shall have
been completed, two complete copies of all the pages are to be made. These are to be
carefully read over, and each compared to see that it is correct and agrees with the
8. Each assistant is to sign his name on each page of the schedule, and certify, and
make oath or affirmation, at the end of each set of returns, that they were made
according to his oath and instructions, to the best of his knowledge and belief. Two
of the sets are to be forwarded to the marshal of his district. and one filed with
the clerk of the court for preservation with the county records; the proof of the
filing of which he must procure, and forward to his marshal, the certificate of the
clerk of the county.
Discretion as to what schedules will be needed by each assistant Is lodged with the
marshal, and is at all times to be used. In the free States schedule No. 2 will be
For the guidance of assistants. each will be furnished with a set of schedules
filled up in the matter contemplated by the act of Congress and these instructions.
CIRCULAR TO MARSHALS, ETC-CENSUS OF 1850.
To the United Slates Marshals and Assistants:
Information has been received at this office that in some cases unnecessary exposure
has been made by the assistant marshals with reference to the business and pursuits,
and other facts relating to Individuals, merely to gratify curiosity, or the facts
applied to the private use or pecuniary advantage of the assistant, to the injury of
others. Such a use of the returns was neither contemplated by the Act Itself nor
justified by the intentions and designs of those who enacted the law. No Individual
employed under sanction of the Government to obtain these facts has a right to
promulgate or expose them without authority.
Although designed ultimately for the use of the people at large, the Department
reserves to Itself the privilege of examining into the correctness of the returns,
and arranging them in proper form for publication by Congress before any other use
shall be made thereof; and all marshals and assistants are expected to consider the
facts entrusted to them as if obtained exclusively for the use of the Government,
and not to be used it any way to the gratification of curiosity, the exposure of a
man's business or pursuits, or for the private emolument of the marshal or
assistants, who, while employed In this service, act as the agents of the Government
in the most confidential capacity. When your original copies are filed with the
clerks of the courts and secretary of your state, they will be under the control of
those officers and subject to the usual regulations of the respective offices, and
you can enjoy the same access to them which can be had by every citizen. To the
publication of the more aggregate number of persons in your district there can be no
EXPLANATION OF SCHEDULE NO. 1.-FREE INHABITANTS.
This schedule is to be filled up in the following manner:
Insert in the heading the name or number of the district, town, or city of the
county or parish, and of the state, and the day of the month upon which the
enumeration was taken. This Is to be attested on each page of each set, by the
signature of the assistant.
The several columns are to be filled as follows:
1. Under heading 1, entitled "Dwelling houses numbered In the order of visitation,"
insert the number of dwelling houses occupied by free inhabitants, as they are
visited. The first house visited to be numbered 1 ; the second one visited, 2; the
third one visited, 3; and so on to the last house visited in the subdivision. By a
dwelling house is meant a separate Inhabited tenement, containing one or more
families under one roof. Where several tenements are in one block, with walls either
of brick or wood to divide them, having separate entrances, they are each to be
numbered as separate houses; but where not so divided, they are to be numbered as
If a house is used partly for a store, shop, or for other purposes, and partly for a
dwelling house, it is to be numbered as a dwelling house. Hotels, poorhouses,
garrisons, hospitals, insane asylums, jails, penitentiaries, and other similar
institutions, are each to be numbered as a dwelling house; where the house Is of a
public nature as above, write perpendicularly under the number, In said column, the
name or description, as "hotel, "'poorhouse," etc.
2. Under heading 2, entitled "Families numbered In the order of visitation," insert
the number of the families of free persons, as they are visited. The first family
visited by the assistant marshal is to be numbered 1 ; the second one visited, 2;
and so on to the last one visited in his district.
By the term family is meant, either one person living separately in a house, or a
part of a house, and providing for him or herself, or several persons living
together in a house, or in part of a house, upon one common means of support, and
separately from others in similar circumstances. A widow living atone and separately
providing for herself, or 200 individuals living together and provided for by a
common head, should each be numbered as one family.
The resident inmates of a hotel, jail, garrison, hospital, an insane or lunatic
asylum, or other similar institution, should be reckoned as one family.
3. Under heading 3, entitled "The name of every person whose usual place of abode on
the 1st day of June, 1850, was in this family," insert the name of every free person
in each family, of every age, including the names of those temporarily absent, as
well as those that were at home on that day. The name of any member of a family who
may have died since the 1st day of June is to be entered and described as if living,
but the name of any person born since the 1st day of June is to be omitted. The
names are to be written, beginning with the father and mother; or if either, or
both, be dead. begin with some other ostensible head of the family; to be followed,
as far as practicable, with the name of the oldest child residing at home, then the
next oldest, and so on the youngest, then the other inmates, lodgers and boarders,
laborers, domestics, and servants.
All landlords, jailors, superintendents of poorhouses, garrisons, hospitals,
asylums, and other similar institutions, are to be considered as heads of their
respective families, and the inmates under their care to be registered as members
thereof, and the details concerning each designated in their proper columns.
Indians not taxed are not to be enumerated in this or any other schedule.
By place of abode is meant the house or usual lodging place of a person. Anyone who
is temporarily absent on a journey, or for other purposes, without taking up his
place of residence elsewhere, and with the intention of returning again, is to be
considered a member of the family which the assistant marshal is enumerating.
Students in colleges, academies, or schools, when absent from the families to which
they belong, are to be enumerated only as members of the family in which they
usually boarded and lodged on the 1st day of June.
Assistant marshals are directed to make inquiry at all stores, shops, eating houses,
and other similar places, and take the name and description of every person who
usually slept there, provided such person is not otherwise enumerated.
Inquiries are to be made at every dwelling house, or of the head of every family.
Those only who belong to such family, and consider it their home or usual place of
abode, whether present or temporarily absent on a visit, journey, or a voyage, are
to be enumerated. Persons on board of vessels accidentally or temporarily In port,
those whose only habitation was the vessel to which they belong, those who are
temporarily boarding for a few days at a sailors' boarding or lodging house, if they
belong to other places are not be enumerated as the population of a place.
The sailors and hands of a revenue cutter which belongs to a particular port should
be enumerated as of such port. A similar rule will apply to those employed in the
navigation of the lakes, rivers, and canals. All are to be taken at their homes or
usual places of abode, whether present or absent; and If any live on board of
vessels or boats who are not so enumerated, they are to be taken as of the place
where the vessel or boat is owned, licensed, or registered. And the assistant
marshals are to make inquiry at every vessel and boat employed in the internal
navigation of the United States, and enumerate those who are not taken as belonging
to a family on shore; and all persons of such description in any one vessel are to
be considered as belonging, to one family and the vessel their place of abode. The
assistants In all seaports will apply at the proper office for lists of all persons
on a voyage at sea and register all citizens of the United States who have not been
registered as belonging to some family.
Errors necessarily occurred in the last census in enumerating those employed In
navigation, because no uniform rule was adopted for the whole United States.
Assistant marshals are required to be particular in following the above directions,
that similar errors may now be avoided.
4. Under heading 4. entitled "Age," Insert in figures what was the specific age of
each person at his or her last birthday previous to the 1st of June, opposite the
name of such person. If the exact age in years can not be ascertained, insert a
number which shall be the nearest approximation to it.
The age, either exact or estimated, on everyone, is to be inserted.
If the person be a child under 1 year old, the entry is to be made by the fractional
parts of a year, thus: One month, one-twelfth; two months, two-twelfths; three
months. three-twelfths, and so on to eleven months, eleven-twelfths.
5. Under heading 5, entitled "Sex," Insert the letter M for male. and F for female,
opposite the name, in all cases, as the fact may be.
8. Under heading 8, entitled "Color," In all cases where the person Is white, leave
the space blank; In all cases where the person Is black, Insert the letter B; if
mulatto. Insert M. It is very desirable that these particulars be carefully
7. Under head 7, entitled "Profession, occupation, or trade of each person over 15
years of age," Insert opposite the name of each male the specific profession.
occupation, or trade which the said person Is known and reputed to follow in the
place where he resides-as clergyman, physician, lawyer, shoemaker, student, farmer,
carpenter, laborer, tailor, boatman, sailor, or otherwise, as the fact may be. When
more convenient, the name of the article he produces may be substituted.
When the individual is a clergyman, insert the initials of the denomination to which
he belongs before his profession-as Meth. for Methodist, R. C. for Roman Catholic,
O. S. P. for Old School Presbyterian, or other appropriate Initials, as the fact may
be. When a person follows several professions or occupations the name of the
principal one only is to be give. If a person follows no particular occupation, the
apace Is to be filled with the word "none."
8. Under heading 8 Insert the value of real estate owned by each individual
enumerated. You are to obtain the value of real estate by inquiry of each Individual
who is supposed to own real estate be the same located where it may, and insert the
amount In dollars. No abatement of the value is to be made on account of any lien or
encumbrance thereon in the nature of debt.
9. Under heading 9, "Place of birth." The marshal should ask the place of birth of
each person In the family. If born in the State or Territory where they reside,
insert the name or initials of the State or Territory, or the name of the government
or country if without the United States. The names of the several States may be
Where the place of birth is unknown, state "unknown."
10. Under No. 10 make a mark, or dash, opposite the name of each person married
during the year previous to the 1st of June, whether male or female.
11. Under heading 11, entitled "At school within the last year." The marshal should
ask what member of this family has been at school within the last year; he Is to
Insert a mark, thus, (1), opposite the names of all those, whether male or female,
who have been at educational institutions within that period. Sunday schools are not
to be Included.
12. Under heading 12, entitled "Persons over 20 years of age who cannot read and
write." The marshal should be careful to note all persons In each family, over 20
years of age, who cannot read and write, and opposite the name of each make a mark,
thus, (1). The spaces opposite the names of those who can read and write are to be
left blank. If the person can read and write a foreign language, he is to be
considered as able to read and write.
13. Heading 13, entitled "Deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict"
The assistant marshal should ascertain If there by any person in the family deaf.
dumb, idiotic, blind, insane, or pauper. If so, who? And insert the term "deaf and
dumb," "blind," "insane," and "idiotic," opposite the name of such persons, as the
fact may be. When persons who had been convicted of crime within the year reside in
families on the 1st of June, the fact should be stated, as in the other cases of
criminals; but, as the interrogatory might give offense, the assistants had better
refer to the county record for information on this head, and not make the Inquiry of
any family. With the county record and his own knowledge he can seldom err.
Should a poorhouse. asylum for the blind, insane or idiotic, or other charitable
institution, or a penitentiary, a jail, house of refuge, or other place of
punishment be visited by the assistant marshal, he must number such building in its
regular order, and he must write after the number, ant perpendicularly in the same
column (No.1) the nature of such institution - that is as a penitentiary, jail,
house of refuge, as the case may be; and in column 13 opposite the name of each
person, he must state the character of the infirmity or misfortune, in the one case,
and in the other he must state the crime for which each inmate is confined, and of
which such person was convicted; and in column No. 3, with the name, give the year
of conviction, and fill all the columns concerning age, sex, color, etc., with as
much care as in the case of other individuals.
EXPLANATION OF SCHEDULE 2-SLAVE INHABITANTS.
This schedule is to be filled up in the following manner: Insert in the heading the
number or name of the district, town, city, and the county or parish, and of the
state in which the slave Inhabitants enumerated reside, and the day of the month
upon which the enumeration was taken. This is to be attested on each page of each
set, by the signature of the assistant marshal. The several columns are to be filled
up as follows:
1. Under heading 1, entitled "Name of slaveholders, " insert, in proper order, the
names of the owners of slaves. Where there are several owners to a slave, the name
of the one only need be entered, or when owned by a corporation or trust estate, the
name of the trustee or corporation.
2. Under heading 2, entitled "Number of slaves," insert, in regular numerical order,
the number of all the slaves of both sexes and of each age, belonging to such owners
in the case of slaves, numbers are to be substituted for names. The number of every
slave who usually resides in the district enumerated is to be entered, although he
may happen to be temporarily absent. The slaves of each owner are to be numbered
separately, beginning at No. 1, and a separate description of each is to be give.
The person in whose family, or on whose plantation, the slave is found to be
employed, is to be considered the owner -the principal object being to get the
number of slaves, and not that of masters or owners.
3.Under heading 3, entitled "Age," insert, in figures, the specific age of each
slave opposite the number of such slave. if the exact age can not be ascertained,
insert a number which shall be the nearest approximation to it. The age of every
slave, either exact or estimated, is to be inserted. If the slave be a child which,
on the 1st of June, was under 1 year old, the entry is to be made by fractional
parts of a year; thus, one month old. one-twelfth; two months, two twelfths, three
months, three-twelfths; eleven months, eleven-twelfths; keeping ever in view, in all
cases, that the age must be estimated at no later period than the 1st of June.
4. Under heading 4, entitled "Sex" insert the letter M for male, and F for female,
opposite the number, in all cases, as the fact may be.
5. Under heading 5, entitled "Color," insert, in all cases, when the slave is black,
the letter B; when he or she is a mulatto, insert M. The color of all slaves should
8. Under heading B insert, in figures, opposite the name of the slave owner, the
number of slaves who, having absconded within the year, have not been recovered.
7. in column 7, insert opposite the name of the former owner thereof, the number of
slaves manumitted within the year. The name of the person is to be give, although at
the time of the enumeration such person may not have held slaves on the 1st of June
in such case, no entry is to be made in column No. 2.
8. Under heading 8k entitled "Deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic," the
assistant should ascertain if any of these slaves be deaf and dumb, blind, insane,
or idiotic; and if so, insert opposite the name or number of such slave the term
deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic, as the fact may be. If slaves be found
imprisoned convicts, mention the crime in column 8, and the date of conviction
before the number in the vacant space below the name of the owner. The convict
slaves should be numbers with the other slaves of their proper owner.
(The explanations relating to the schedules of mortality, agriculture, products of
industry, and social statistics follow the inquiries relating t4 these subjects
under their respective heads.)