Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Port Tobacco Occupations

Jim put together a simple set of tables showing what occupations were listed in the census data that we have collected for Port Tobacco from 1850-1880. When you break down any data into smaller, more manageable sections, some interesting facts start to appear. Here's a few tidbits about the occupations of the PT residents of the 19th Century.

- There is a dramatic upswing in the number of people employed in the town from 40 in 1850 to 151 in 1880, although 65 of those 151 are listed as either "at home, at school, or keeping house" so that number actually drops to 86 which is still double that of 1850.

- The number of servants jumped from 1 in 1860 to 33 in 1870. Could the jump in servants be from the number of ex slaves who were now employed by their previous owners? It was a common occurrence across the country after the war.

- The variety of occupations in the town changed from 19 in 1850 to 35 in 1880.

It is in the post Civil War censuses that we start to see more diversification in occupations while servants and merchants make up the majority of jobs held in town. The town was in decline but the specialty shops and occupations were actually increasing.

So there's a few interesting things about the census that we hadn't really looked at. There is more we can learn from the census data and I'll post more on it another time.

- Peter

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