Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Richard Lusky Gray (1853-1917) 1880 U.S. Census Non-Populated Agricultural Schedule

Richard Lusky Gray (1853-1917) was my great-great grandfather. He passed away 25 years before I was born, so I did not know him. He and his wife Mary Ellisor Gray (1859-1943) had nine children born in Anderson County, Texas. One of their children was my Granddaddy Richard Lusky Gray (1893-1978). I learned a lot about my great-grandfather today by reading in great detail the U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 Agricultural Record for his farming production recorded on June 1, 1880 about the previous year, 1879, up to the then current date of June 1, 1880.

Richard Lusky Gray, farmer, age 26, lived with his wife Mary Ellisor Gray, homemaker, age 21, in District 3 of Precinct 2 in Anderson County with daughers Linnie, age 1, and Mary Etta, age 6 months according to the 1880 U.S. Census. Richard Lusky's, sometimes called "Dick" and Mary's parents were from Alabama and Richard Lusky was born in Alabama. Mary and the two daughters were born in Texas.

The 1880 U.S. Census Non-Populated Agricultral Schedule states that R. L. Gray was the owner of 40 tilled acres and 40 acres of woodland. The farm value of the land, fences, and buildings was $800.00 and $5.00 worth of implements and machinery. The livestock was worth $250.00. R.L. paid $105.00 in labor and hired 26 whiite laborers. The farm produced $187.00 of goods.

Animals included two horses, two beef cattle, four milk cows, four dropped calves and one slaughtered cow. One hundred pounds of butter was made in 1879. He had five sheep on June 1, 1800, three dropped lambs and three shorn fleeces for 12 pounds. He also owned 25 hogs and 18 poultry that laid 60 dozen eggs.

R. L. Gray, #7 on the 1880 Non-Population Schedule, also grew 175 bushels of Indian corn on 12 acres and 2 bales of cotton on 25 acres in 1879.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Agricultural Schedule helped me learn more about operation of a farm in east Texas by a young man, his wife, and his hired helpers. I feel sure that his relatives and his neighbors were a part of his hired laborers, if not all. I got the real sense that not every crop was a success as evidenced by only two bales of cotton for 25 acres of plants. Also there was mostly hand labor as evidenced by $5.00 worth of equipment and machinery.

From this report, I was able to understand how my Granddaddy Richard Lusky Gray (1893-1978) knew so much throughout his life about planting crops and raising animals. He grew up learning from his dad and continued living his life in the same way, providing food for his family with fruits and vegetables from the large gardens around their home and with chickens and eggs from the chicken yard.

I hope this will encourage others who use www.ancestry.com to link to the U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 and locate information about their ancestors who were in agriculture or industry in many of our states. As far as I have been able to determine, the U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 are found on microfilm elsewhere. Below is more information about how I discovered what farming was like for my great-grandfather Richard Lusky Gray (1853-1917) in 1880 in Anderson County, TX.

At http://search.ancestry.com/search/DB.aspx?dbid=1276, I discovered the following: U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880. The easiest way to find ancestors who are listed in any of these agricultural or industrial schedules is to go to the states (not all) where these existed and search only by surname "last name", and add ", county name, state" (Example: , Anderson County, TX). So far I have located Gray in Anderson and Houston Counties, TX, Willis in Houston County, TX, Love and Tower in Chautauqua County, NY, Wheeler in Orange County, NY, and Robbins in Suffolk County, NY.

Note 1: I was curious about how much cotton would someone expect to get out of 25 acres. I found a partial answer in an online Yahoo question and answer at:

Question/Statement: I have a letter written by my great-great grandfather in 1852 which he says he hopes to get 29 bales out of 40 acres.

Answer: US average=740 pounds of cotton per acre; 40 acres=29,600 pounds of cotton; and, 29,600 pounds of cotton=59.2 bales.

Bale of cotton=500 pounds (22 in wide, 33 in deep, 55 in long)
Volume=17 ft(3)
Density=28 pounds/ft(3)

I do not know if this is correct or not, but it does seem plausible. Hence, my great-grandfather's two bales of cotton from 25 acres is not very good production for the year 1880.