Sunday, April 11, 2010

1880 Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules and a Few Mysteries

A recent Ancestry Weekly Discovery newsletter highlighted these seven schedules:

“While finding any record on our ancestors is a thrill for us, sometimes the contents in those records give us pause. Such is the case with the “1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes.” Seven supplemental schedules were taken with the 1880 U.S. Census that tallied and gave intimate details on the insane, idiots, deaf-mutes, blind persons, homeless children, inhabitants in prison, and paupers and the indigent.”

In the case of my Lewis family, there was an ancestor – a great-great aunt named Sarah Lewis – whom I expected to find there. I already knew that she was deaf from the regular census schedules. And sure enough, a search on the Lewis name in South Carolina turned up Sarah Ann Lewis in Centerville, Anderson County.

Surprisingly, it turned up two other Lewises in Anderson County: Mary Lewis (also listed as Margaret Lewis) in Belton and Martha Lewis in Centerville. The Lewis family was a large one with many branches still living in Anderson at this time, so I cannot be sure whether or not Mary and Martha were the sisters of my great-great grandfather Elisha Berry Lewis (I do know that he had two sisters by these names) or were from other branches of the family.

There are enough “mystery” siblings of Elisha Berry Lewis (son of Elisha Lewis and Rosannah Dalrymple) to make this family one of my main research subjects. To narrow down the identities of Mary and Martha I may have to go back a generation as well to look into the families of at least a couple of Elisha Sr.’s brothers (Major, Jesse, and possibly John; I believe the rest moved to Tennessee around 1810).

Speaking of “mystery siblings,” one is missing here whom I expected to find: J. Newton Lewis. But then again, the only census I have ever seen him on is the regular 1880 census. Here are the Lewis siblings, minus Elisha Berry, listed as living together on that census:

1880 US Federal Census, Centerville Township, Anderson County, South Carolina, Enumeration District 19, page 36, 19 June 1880, dwelling number 326, family number 335

Lewis, Martha W F 60 Single At home SC SC SC
Lewis, Sarah Ann W F 57 Sister Single At home Listed in columns for “Deaf and dumb” and “Maimed, crippled, bedridden, or otherwise disabled” SC SC SC
Lewis, J. Newton W M 53 Brother Single Farmer “Maimed, etc.” SC SC SC
Smith, Mary E. W F 51 Sister Single Divorced SC SC SC
Dalrymple, Rebecca W F 91 Aunt Single “Maimed, etc.” SC SC SC

J. Newton must have suffered from some sort of disability, but perhaps it was from an accident or illness and did not merit his inclusion on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule. The big mystery remains: Why is this the only mention of him I am able to find? I almost wonder whether he was a “phantom”! To deepen the mystery a little further, one genealogy (on the Dalrymple side) mentions two other brothers whom I have not been able to find: Samuel and Pinkney; a Dalrymple researcher with whom I have corresponded says that this information is included in the diary of a clergyman who was a friend of the family.

Sarah Ann Lewis is listed under “deaf mutes,” a condition which appeared at birth (indicated by a “B” in the age of onset column). It is further indicated that she spent 6 years at an institution for deaf mutes in Cedar Springs, Spartanburg, SC. This would have been the South Carolina Institution for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind, which was founded in 1849 by N. P. Walker and is still in existence today. The schedule also indicates that Sarah was at least partially able to support herself.

The information for Mary on the “insane” schedule may indicate that she was not Elisha Berry’s sister: it indicates that the symptoms appeared at age 19 and have continued for 8 years, so she would have been too young. This Mary Lewis is said to suffer from “melancholia.” On the regular census, Elisha Berry’s sister Mary is listed as Mary Smith, divorced. (There is an intriguing possibility that her ex-husband may have been a member of the Smith family to which the Lewis family had a number of ties.)

Martha Lewis is listed on the “pauper and indigent” schedule; no age is given. She is said to be blind. I do not believe this Martha Lewis is Elisha Berry’s sister, either; on the 1860 census, his sister Martha’s occupation is given as “School teacher.”

So there are a number of mysteries that I can look forward to investigating:

Did J. Newton Lewis exist, and if he did, why doesn’t he show up anywhere else?

Who were the Mary and Martha Lewis who appear on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedule and were they related to my Lewises?

Who was Mary Lewis Smith’s ex-husband?

Did Elisha Lewis and Rosannah Dalrymple have sons named Samuel and Pinkney?

One final point of interest is that none of Elisha Berry Lewis’ siblings seems to have had children. The only sibling who appears to have gotten married was Mary, and since she was shown as single on the 1870 census (when she would have been around 40-41 years old), she probably had no children and none are shown living with her in 1870.

Elisha Berry Lewis is buried in Midway Presbyterian Cemetery, Anderson, SC, as are his sisters Sarah Ann (1828-1897) and Mary Rosanna (1835-1898).


  1. Thanks for the info on the schedules. I will check those out.

  2. I hoped they would help me find someone who disappeared from the 1880 census, but they didn't. Oh well. LOL

    It looks like you can find quite a bit of info from the schedules! And you also have more questions now, I see. :-D

  3. Joan and Wendy - The most surprising and rewarding thing for me was to learn that Sarah Ann had been sent to a school for the deaf; she must have been one of the earliest students, since she was born in 1828 and the school was founded in 1849. (And Wendy -aren't those ancestors who pop up on one census and disappear from another frustrating?)