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Census Takers Wanted

Census figures for the year 2010 will give an updated view of the population of Nebraska and of its agriculture and industries. The state has been included in all federal censuses from 1860 to the present. The Grand Island Independent of March 1, 1890, reprinted from the Nebraska State Journal a brief article on practical preparations for the census of 1890, including the pay scale for government-hired enumerators:

“The new census supervisor for the First district of Nebraska, the genial Tom Cooke, is now comfortably ensconced in the rooms of the district clerk and the United States marshal in the government building [in Lincoln]. . . . Mr. Cooke said: ‘The work of taking the census will be commenced on June 1 and must be completed by July 1, and in cities of over 10,000 inhabitants enumerators will be expected to complete their work during the first fifteen days of June.

“I intend to sub-divide the First district into enumerator’s districts and each enumerator will have from 2,500 to 3,000 people. The districts will be divided so as to comply as nearly as possible with the ward or voting precinct lines. In the country districts I propose to appoint one enumerator for each voting precinct. . . . [T]hose who desire to be appointed enumerators must make written application containing the applicant’s name, postoffice address and the ward or precinct in which he resides.’

“‘The compensation of enumerators will be as follows: Two cents for each living inhabitant, 2 cents for each death, 15 cents for each farm, 20 cents for each establishment of productive industry, 5 cents for each surviving soldier, sailor or marine or the widow of each soldier, sailor or marine.’

“‘It is desired that persons who may be tendered appointments as enumerators should be given to understand distinctly that if they accept such appointments and qualify as enumerators, they cannot without justifiable cause refuse or neglect to perform the duties of the position. Having assumed the office they cannot retire from it at their own pleasure.'”

Dr. Edgar Z. Palmer, author of a 1951 article in Nebraska History on the 1890 census, concluded that there was some misreporting, designed to inflate the population figures of some cities of southeastern Nebraska. The original records were later destroyed by a fire in Washington. Only a fragment of the general population schedules and an incomplete set of special schedules enumerating Union veterans and widows are available today.

 

John M. Thayer appeared on the list of Union veterans and widows of veterans that survived a 1921 fire that destroyed most census returns of 1890. Thayer served two full terms as governor of Nebraska 

 

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Other Publications

The Bachelors’ Protective Union of Kearney

When the Bachelors' Protective Union gave a gala reception for two of its newly married, former members and their brides in March of 1890, the social club for young, ...

U.S. Weather Bureau in 1890s Nebraska

The U.S. Weather Bureau was established by an act of Congress on October 1, 1890. It took over the weather service that had been established in the office of the Chief ...

Canning the Way to Victory

During American participation in World War I the U.S. Food Administration, under the direction of Herbert Hoover, launched a massive campaign to persuade Americans to ...

The Shoemaker’s Ashes

"Edward Kuehl, one of the most peculiar characters that ever lived in Omaha, or anywhere else, was found dead in his bed last night in the back room of his place of ...

Crazy Horse Surrender Ledger Foreward

Red Dog, an Oglala Lakota who lived at the Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, 1876-77 (Nebraska State Historical Society RG2955.ph).   In the summer of 1876, following the ...

Darryl F. Zanuck

Darryl F. Zanuck Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979), a native Nebraskan, produced some of Hollywood's most important and controversial films. He helped found 20th Century Fox ...

The Burlington’s Profitable Pork Special

Nebraska railroads were much concerned with developing an adequate economy in the areas they served. The Burlington, for example, had a long history of caring for the ...

Bungalow Filling Stations

After the giant Standard Oil Company was broken into thirty-four separate companies in 1911, the newly independent Standard Oil of Nebraska dominated the state's market ...

The Bull Fight

This is the perfect time of year for a visit to the old fishin' hole. But a group of fisherfolk from Plainview discovered that this bucolic pastime sometimes has ...

Buffalo Soldiers West

African-American soldiers on the western frontier are the focus of an exhibit at the Nebraska History Museum in Lincoln. Buffalo Soldiers West, on loan from the Colorado ...

Protection for Buffalo

The extermination of the buffalo on the Plains occurred largely between 1870 and 1885. The Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln on February 1, 1874, editorialized in vain ...

Buffalo Hunting

In late October 1877 young Rolf Johnson and three friends left their homes in Phelps County, Nebraska, for a buffalo hunt in northeastern Colorado. The hunt was not very ...
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