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The Federal census for 1820 shows Oliver Wheeler’s household in Farmington. Left to right, the five entries report six inhabitants:
  1. a boy, aged between 10 and 15 years;
  2. three men, aged between 26 and 44;
  3. a girl, aged between 10 and 15 years;
  4. a woman, aged between 26 and 44; and
  5. three “persons engaged in manufactures.”
Oliver and Hannah were 38. His gravestone gives his death date as 18 September 1854, aged 72 years, 3 months, confirming his date of birth, 12 June 1782, as we know it from other sources. If Oliver still considered himself a housewright, that would be consistent with his identification as engaged in Manufactures: the alternatives were Agriculture and Commerce. Likewise, if he had already made the transition to “cabinetmaker,” as a later document describes him, and if he operated a shop out of his residence, the Manufactures category would still apply.

Seventeen-year-old Harriet married Isaac Decker in this Census year, and she doesn’t seem to figure in the parental family group. If we have their dates right, Charles Oliver (born and died 1805) would be deceased by this time. Henry Hammond at 14 may well have been out as an apprentice, enumerated in another household. Twelve-year-old Benjamin Franklin and Clarissa Caroline, 10, fit into the family as reported. The two extra adult men may have been boarding relatives, or perhaps more likely apprentices or hired hands.
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Oliver and Hannah
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Updated Feb 2014
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