Prior to following up on the link Randy Seavers gave to the collection of the Federal Nonpopulation

Census Schedules 1850-1880, I hadn't really given much

thought to how my West ancestors made their daily living.

I knew the regular census images said they were farmers

which seems to have ended with my great grandfather P.J.

West. My grandfather Floyd Earl West Sr was a lumberman

and his brother Clarence worked as the caretaker of the

Aziscohos Dam for over fifty years. And frankly, I never

noticed many farms up there when I visited as a kid other

than one near my Aunt Flossie's place in Milan, NH. It

wasn't until a few years ago when I found the Federal Census

images on that I learned that my West

ancestors had been farmers. I thought they were all


These schedules have been invaluable. Now I know what crops JP

and his brothers grew,that they periodically changed what they grew,

that they supplemented the income from the farms by cutting wood on

their farms. I think that Jonathan and Asa sold their logs to Hiram or

used his mill to turn them into lumber to be sold. But while I now know

what they did, I wonder about the why and how. That entry for a crop

of hops on Asa's farm in 1870 for example. How long had he been

growing hops and why did he start? Why did he stop by 1880? Was

it a case of it not being a good cash crop, or due to weather conditions,

or was it just a one year experiment that failed? What prompted

Hiram's decision to sell his farm and run a saw-mill and grist-mill

instead?(more on that later)

Where in Upton was the farm that John Cutter West and then JP West

owned? When was it sold and why? Was it because JP's sons Paul,

John and PJ had no intererst in farming or did financial reasons force

him to sell?

So you can see that while the Nonpopulation Schedules provided me

with information I hadn't known about my family, they've also given me

more questions for which to find answers.

To me, that's the fun of genealogy!

(As to that sale of Hiram's farm:it turns out he sold it to my 2x great

grandfather Asa F. Ellingwood in 1877 who then sold it agaIn sometime

between 1880 and 1885. I found that in Florence O'Connor's book,

The Ancestors and Descendants of Asa Freeman Ellingwood and

Florilla (Dunham)Ellingwood. I should have known to check there first

for answers about my Ellingwood line! )

Views: 48

Comment by Chris Dunham on June 12, 2010 at 8:25pm
The 1858 Oxford County map shows J. C. West living on the Bear River Road (what is now Route 26), just north of Grafton town line. It appears to have been the same place occupied by "J. E. Brooks" on this 1880 map. Heywood's History of Upton says that Joseph E. Brooks "built a set of buildings" here about 1870, but doesn't mention that the Wests had earlier lived here.

The 1880 map shows J. P. West living on what is now Back Street in Upton. This is confirmed by Heywood, who says that Jonathan P. West bought a farm of Stevens Morse south of the Back Street school house "about 1862, living there until his death in 1917, at the age of 86."
Comment by Bill West on June 12, 2010 at 10:13pm
Thanks Chris, I've been to the Back St location but didn't know that had been JP's farm. By the time I visited there as a kid there was a small wooden cabin that my grandfather Floyd E. West Sr used. That's since gone
as has the family ties to that land.

J.C. and several of his children are buried in a small unmarked cemetery by Rte 26 so the farm must have been nearby.
Comment by Chris Dunham on June 12, 2010 at 11:06pm
Can you give me the exact location of that cemetery? I was thinking of making a trip up to Grafton sometime this summer.
Comment by Bill West on June 13, 2010 at 1:43am
I'm not sure, Chris. I know it's on Rte 26 on your left hand side after you pass Back St driving towards Grafton State Park. There's no sign and but you can see the gravestones that are still standing. We were up there last with my Aunt and my cousin from Ohio looking for it and nearly drove past it.
Comment by Chris Dunham on June 13, 2010 at 1:51am
Is it the one quite visible from the road in the north part of Grafton? If so, I'm familiar with that one, though I haven't stopped at it in years.
Comment by Bill West on June 13, 2010 at 12:45pm
I think that's the one, yes. I think the only thing that might be keeping the trees from taking it back over is the
spongy moss covering the ground,
Comment by Chris Dunham on June 14, 2010 at 1:46am
I may have an answer why Asa stopped growing hops by 1880. An article in the Lewiston Evening Journal of 8 July 1880 said that "hop-raising has been rather a poor business in New England for the last few years. The low prices ruling for the last few years previous to the fall of 1879, has given such a meagre return for the labor and land invested in the cultivation of hops that last year many plowed up the vines and abandoned the culture."
Comment by Bill West on June 14, 2010 at 9:41pm
Wow, Chris, thanks again! Do you mind if I quote you on this and the maps over on my
other blog?
Comment by Chris Dunham on June 14, 2010 at 9:43pm
I don't mind at all.
Comment by Bill West on June 14, 2010 at 9:46pm
Thanks, Chris!


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