back The 1835 New York State Census next
Next door, about five years later…

Between the Federal Censuses for 1830 and 1840, New York State decided to inventory its citizens’ holdings by means of an Interdecennial State Census in 1835. The returns for the town of Freedom reveal the Wheeler family holding its own after seven years or so in its new frontier setting. An unnamed official, doubtless a fellow-citizen of Cattaraugus County, called on the Wheeler household, presumably in the white house in Elton, and recorded its membership and major possessions.
The relevant entries are the fourth and fifth lines on this double page, emphasized but illegible at this scale. We do observe, however, a contrast between our family’s entries and those of the bulk of their neighbors. By and large, the Wheelers lived in a community of farms, each with livestock enumerated in the columns toward the right. As we will argue on the next page, Oliver’s entry looks more like that of the cabinet-making craftsman that later censuses report.

A close-up, and a warm, amusing story, here.
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