By 1870 there had been drastic changes on John Cutter West's farm. In 1860 there had been ten people living on the farm, nine of whom were old enough to help out around the farm with the chores. Then came the Civil War and sons Hiram and Leonidas joined the Union Army. More devastating was the epidemic of 1862 in which three of the younger children had died, follwed by the death of John Cutter West himself later that Spring. Asa Atwood West, the oldest son, was already married with a farm of his own, so my great-great grandfather Jonathan Phelps West inherited the farm.

So by 1870 there were four residents of the farm listed on the Federal Census: J.P, his wife Louisa, and two sons, three year old John C. and nine month old George P. With that much of a reduction of people able to work the farm, a change in how the farm was run would have had to occur. Unfortunately, Ancestry.com is missing the second page of the 1870 Federal Agricultural Schedule for Upton, Oxford County, Me. but there's enough information from the first page to show that indeed there had been changes:


Acres of Land:
improved-40
wood-land-150
other un-improved-0

Present Cash Value:
Of farm-650 (dollars)
Of farming implements and machinery-25 (dollars)

Livestock June 1, 1870:
Horses-1
Mules and asses-0
Milch cows-2
Working Oxen-2
Other cattle-2
Sheep-11
Swine-0
Value of all livestock-475 (dollars)

Produce during the year ending on June 1, 1870:
Wheat:
Spring-35(bushels)
Winter-
Rye
Indian Corn
Oats-200(bushels)
Barley
Buckwheat-60(bushels)
Rice-
Tobacco

The first change I noticed from 1860 is that the total value of the farm is down to $1150 from the $1600 dollars of ten years before with less equipment and it is ten acres smaller with the loss being in the "wood-land." Could it have been sold off to pay a debt or to raise cash for some other purpose? There is also less livestock: only two working oxen, two "milch-cows" and two "other cattle". J.P.'s brother Hiram Ferdinand West's farm is listed a few lines below on the same page and there are two oxen and seven "other cattle" on his farm so there might have been a division of livestock between the two brothers after their father's death. But there is one addition to the West farm: there are now eleven sheep!

Since the second page is missing I don't know if J.P. had a potato crop or not but from the first page there is one difference with what his father chose to plant and grow as J.P grew spring wheat instead of rye. And with eleven sheep I think it's a safe assumption that there would
have been more than the 30 lbs of wool listed on the 1860 schedule.

Without seeing the second page of the Schedule I can't be absolutely sure but I'm guessing the changes reflect a farm that would be a little less labor intensive and more manageable for just two adults.

Since I haven't found an 1880 Agricultural Schedule yet for J.P.West, I'll turn next to his brothers Asa Atwood and Hiram Ferdinand West.

Views: 31

Comment

You need to be a member of Maine Genealogy Network to add comments!

Join Maine Genealogy Network

© 2019   Created by Chris Dunham.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service