Prologue: The term Indian Country was used to describe the western areas encompassing several Indian tribes, whether nations, reservations, or those roaming free over the Great Plains. The evolution of the Indian Country into an official Indian Territory took place over much of the 19th Century. However, Indian Territory was never a territory in the official sense of the term. For the entire period of its existence, it never had a combined territorial government or a federally appointed territorial governor. This essay is presented as a loose timeline of events from the first removals of Eastern Indians up to the 1907 admission of the state of Oklahoma.
1804. First Wave of Removals. Soon after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Thomas Jefferson urged the resettling of tribes of the eastern United States on the newly acquired lands west of the Mississippi. In 1804, Congress passed legislation authorizing the negotiation of removal treaties with the eastern tribes, and over the next twenty years, several tribes or portions of tribes moved west. The first phase of removal was mostly voluntary, mostly peaceful, but often conflicted with white settlers moving west of the Mississippi at the same time.
Aftermath of the War of 1812 and Creek War. Cherokees, Creeks, and others of the five civilized tribes were to pay dearly for their support of the British Army during the War of 1812. And, after the Creek War of 1813-1814, the American government voided treaties, took lands away, and forcibly sent Indians West. This movement was sponsored by General Andrew Jackson, who rode a wave of resentment against the Indians into the White House.
1819-1821. Areas supposedly set aside for Indians was compromised further when Arkansas Territory was established in 1819, it included most of the area of present-day Oklahoma. And in 1821, Missouri was admitted to the Union, further reducing the perceived range of land that was to be dedicated to the relocation of eastern Indian tribes.
In 1828, the present western boundary of Arkansas was drawn, and for the first time, the law described the area west of that line as the exclusive domain of Indian tribes. But, its jurisdiction was still part of the larger area officially called Unorganized Territory, an area that extended from the Red River of the South (present Texas) to the Red River of the North (present Minnesota). Due to a misunderstanding of the Arkansas boundary, early white settlers north of the Red River (in present-day McCurtain County, Oklahoma) thought they were living in old Miller County, Arkansas Territory. In 1828, several hundred families were moved to areas south of the Red River to vacate the newly defined Indian domain. This was a rare case in American history where whites were relocated to make room for Indians – it was usually the other way around.
In the early 1830s, forced removal of eastern Indian tribes continued, the most notorious being the Cherokee removal, which history remembers as the “trail of tears.” During this period, the majority of the five civilized tribes moved to new reservations in the Indian Country.
In 1834, Congress defined “Indian Country” as any portion of the western United States that was not part of a state or territory, thus, Indian Country was the same as Unorganized Territory. The new law also regulated certain activities of non-Indians within the region and established judicial boundaries: the northern portion of the region (modern Kansas) was to be under the control of the federal courts of Missouri; the southern portion (modern Oklahoma), under the federal courts of Arkansas. Federal censuses in the Indian Country taken from 1820 through 1870 for non-Indians were under the jurisdiction of the Missouri and Arkansas federal marshals. (Indians were specifically excluded from the federal censuses, except those who lived off reservations and subject to taxes like non-Indians). In the Indian Country, the most populous of the tribes were located in the southern portion, namely, the relocated Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations (the Five Civilized Tribes). To the north in present-day Kansas were the reservations of numerous small Midwestern and Plains tribes.
1854. Second Wave of Removals. The next removals and concentration of Indian populations took place in 1854, when twelve treaties were negotiated with tribes living in the northern part of the Unorganized Territory. Together, these agreements opened most of present-day Kansas for white settlement. That same year Congress created Kansas Territory, which encompassed the remaining tribes and their diminished reservations. As a result, the Indian Country was reduced to the area of present-day Oklahoma (except for the Panhandle) with most of the land owned by the Five Civilized Tribes.
1860 Federal Census. Evidence of non-Indians living in the Indian Country can be seen in the 1860 federal census, where whites, blacks, adopted, or intermarried persons living on “Indian Lands West of Arkansas” were named and listed at the end of the Arkansas census schedules.
Aftermath of the Civil War Era. In 1865, because the governments of the Five Civilized Tribes had supported the South during the Civil War, the U.S. federal government declared void its existing treaties with the five tribes. New treaties were negotiated the following year, in which the tribes either ceded the western portions of their lands to the federal government for the resettlement of more Indians, or, in the case of the Cherokees, provided for the sale of their western lands (the Cherokee Outlet).
1865-1885. Third Wave of Removals. A third wave of removals began when the government in 1865 started moving remaining tribes from Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and elsewhere into the southern region (present Oklahoma). This is where the newly ceded western lands of the Five Civilized Tribes were now available for Indian settlement. During this time, the Cheyenne and Arapaho, the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache, the Wichita and Caddo, the Potawatomi and Shawnee, the Kickapoo, the Iowa, the Sauk and Fox, the Pawnee, the Oto and Missouri, the Ponca, the Tonkawa, the Kaw, the Osage, the Peoria, the Wyandot, the Eastern Shawnee, the Modoc, and the Ottawa reservations were established in the Indian Country.
1872. Indian Territory. In the Osage Reservation Act of 1872, the law stated that the reservation was located in Indian Territory, and all subsequent tribal agreements, executive orders, and other federal actions relative to the region now referred to the area officially as Indian Territory.
1887-1906. Indian Allotments. In 1887, Congress passed the General Indian Allotment Act, which initiated the process of dividing tribal property and dissolving tribal agreements. Subsequent allotment acts by 1906 had essentially ended tribal land ownership in present-day Oklahoma, with allotments of land divided among individual Indians. Records of the allotments, including a final “census” of the families involved, provides the most complete list of inhabitants of the Indian Territory for that time period.
In 1889, Congress established a separate federal court at Muskogee for Indian Territory, and for the first time it officially defined the area’s boundaries: Indian Territory was the area bounded by the states of Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas and the Territory of New Mexico. On April 22 the Unassigned Lands were opened to settlement by non-Indians in the first of the famous land runs. Over fifty thousand homesteaders settled in the region on that day. (Try that today without computers!)
In May 1890, Indian Territory was divided into Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory was defined as incorporating the Unassigned Lands and all reservations, with the exception of those of the Five Civilized Tribes and a few small reservations. While all of the reservations in the Cherokee Outlet (the panhandle) were to be part of Oklahoma Territory, that portion of the Outlet still owned by the Cherokee Nation would remain as part of Indian Territory until purchased by the government. Almost immediately a special commission was organized to negotiate the allotment of the reservations in Oklahoma Territory and the sale of unallotted lands so that they could be opened for non-Indian settlement.
1890-1900 Censuses. Special censuses were taken periodically for Indians, and in the 1890 and 1900 federal censuses, Indian tribes were enumerated with population schedules added to the regular schedules for each territory or state (1890 lost, 1900 extant).
In 1893 the Cherokees sold their remaining portion of the Outlet, which was immediately incorporated into Oklahoma Territory and opened for settlement. Thus by 1893 Indian Territory had been reduced to just the reservations of the Five Civilized Tribes proper and the small reservations in the northeast. Also in 1893, the Dawes Commission was created by Congress to negotiate agreements with the Five Civilized Tribes to allot their lands,
In 1898 the allotment process began in what remained of Indian Territory.
1900. Map of Oklahoma Territory & Indian Territory. This map shows in black, the counties and Indian jurisdictions of Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory at the time of the June 1900 Federal Census. The current 77 counties of the state of Oklahoma are shown in white. Oklahoma Territory, created in May 1890, had the following Indian jurisdictions: 1) Osage, 2) Kaw (alias Kansas), 3) Ponca, 4) Otoe and Missouri, 5) Wichita, and 6) Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache. Census Availability: The 1900 federal census is extant for all counties and Indian jurisdictions. The Poncas and Otoe/Missouri were enumerated in Noble County, Oklahoma Territory. Map Source: Page 278, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.
In 1905, an attempt was made to maintain some semblance of continued Indian separation. Leaders of the Five Civilized Tribes organized a constitutional convention, drew up a constitution, and asked to be admitted to the Union as the state of Sequoyah. Congress rejected the plan.
In 1907 Congress approved a statute that joined Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to create the new state of Oklahoma.
Censuses for Indian Territory, Oklahoma Territory, and Oklahoma
Several censuses were taken by the Five Civilized Tribes separate from the federal censuses or those taken by Oklahoma Territory. This included censuses taken in 1880 and 1890 by the Cherokee government; an 1885 Choctaw census; and an 1890 census by the Chickasaw tribe. The Indian censuses identify both Indians and non-Indians living on their reservations.
The 1890 federal census included population schedules for the newly formed Oklahoma Territory, and added the Indian tribes of Indian Territory on separate schedules. Unfortunately, most of the 1890 federal censuses were burned or destroyed after a fire in the Commerce Building in Washington, DC in 1921. But some relief to the 1890 disaster exists, since Oklahoma Territory took a special territorial census in 1890 for its original seven counties (Beaver, Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne), which all survive.
The 1900 federal census for Oklahoma Territory included separate population schedules for Indians.
1907 Special Federal Census. Just prior to statehood in 1907, the federal government sponsored a census for Indian and Oklahoma territories. However, of the 75 counties enumerated, only the name list for Seminole County survives at the National Archives.
Prologue: The timeline begins with Ohio’s first European visitors, its jurisdictions in French, British, and American claims; with the names, places, and events important to the growth of Ohio.
1614-1615. Ohio Country. Samuel de Champlain, governor of New France and the founder of Québec, was the first of the French explorers to visit the Ohio country via Lake Erie. He is believed to have entered the Maumee River in 1614 or 1615.
1668. Great Lakes region. French Jesuit missionaries Jacques Marquette and Claude Dablon established the first mission at Sault Sainte Marie.
1670. Illinois Country / Great Lakes region. René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur La Salle) explored and claimed the Illinois Country for France. That was the first name for the entire Great Lakes region, including present Ohio.
1717. French Louisiana. The Illinois Country was officially added to the French Louisiana jurisdiction within New France. At that time la Louisiane Française extended from the Wabash River, down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to include several ports on the Gulf of Mexico. Any trading posts or forts north of the Highlands (Terra Haute) were considered part of French Québec.
1721. Fort Philippe, later called Fort Miami, was built by the French on the St. Mary’s River, near present Fort Wayne, IN where the St. Mary’s, St. Joseph’s and Maumee Rivers meet.
1754-1763. French and Indian War. The Ohio Company of Virginia asserted its British claim to the Ohio Country and began sending fur trading parties to the area. The British map of Virginia in 1754 was based on the claim of Sir Walter Raleigh (1584), who had claimed and named Virginia as everything between present Florida and Chesapeake Bay, “sea to sea,” but Raleigh’s northern line from the Chesapeake extended on a 45° angle to the North Pole. thus Virginia included the entire Great Lakes region. The French map of the 1754 Illinois Country was based on the explorations of Samuel de Champlain (1614) and René-Robert Cavelier (1670). The British encroachment into the French Illinois Country and the French encroachment into British Virginia led to a war between Britain and France. In America, the war was called the French and Indian War, but the conflict expanded into a global war with virtually every country of Europe involved. In Europe, the war was called the Seven Years War. The first French Fort in the Illinois Country/Virginia area was at the Forks of the Ohio, Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) which became the focus of British military forays into the western wilderness of colonial America for the first time. As a result of those forays, two wagon roads emerged (Braddock’s Road and Forbes’ Road) that after the war provided overland migration routes to the Ohio River.
1763. Treaty of Paris. This was the end of the French and Indian War / Seven Years War. At the 1763 Treaty, the big loser was France, who was forced to surrender all their remaining claims in North America. Spain acquired the former French areas west of the Mississippi, renamed Spanish Louisiana. Great Britain gained all of Québec, and also gained control of the rest of areas east of the Mississippi River, including Florida (which they immediately divided into West Florida and East Florida. They named their entire area British North America. The British continued the most important activity in the acquired areas: fur trapping and trading. The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Fur Company, both British owned companies, were entrenched in the Great Lakes region, and the British Army was there for their protection.
1763. British North America / Proclamation Line. Soon after the Treaty of Paris, King George III issued the Proclamation Line of 1763, as a way of rewarding the Indians who had helped Britain against the French. The proclamation established an Indian Reserve that stretched from the Appalachian Mountain Range to the Mississippi River – preventing the British colonists from migrating into their undeveloped western regions. The Proclamation was to become one of the “Intolerable Acts” that led to an American rebellion.
1768. Treaty of Fort Stanwix. An adjustment to the Proclamation Line of 1763 took place in New York. The British government, led by Sir William Johnson, met with representatives of the Six Nations (the Iroquois) at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, NY). A new “Line of Property” was drawn, separating British Territory from Indian Territory. From Fort Stanwix, the division line ran to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) on about the same line as the 1763 Proclamation Line; but at the Forks of the Ohio, the line followed the Ohio River to the Tennessee River, then into the present Kentucky and Tennessee regions. The Fort Stanwix treaty line effectively ceded present West Virginia and Kentucky to Virginia, and a sizable area of western North Carolina to the Tennessee River was opened for white settlement for the first time.
1774. Québec Act. In response to increased American colonial rebellions, the British sought to solidify loyalty from their former French communities in British Canada. The British Parliament passed the Québec Act, which restored the name Province of Québec, allowed the French Canadians to retain French laws and customs, and permitted the Catholic Church to maintain all of its rights. The early French claims to present-day Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin, were by the act included in the Province of Québec, under British rule.
1776-1783. Revolutionary War in the Great Lakes Area. British-held interests in the Great Lakes region suffered major defeats, losing the former French communities of Vincennes and Kaskaskia. Both victories were led by American General George Rogers Clark, who was later called the Conqueror of the Old Northwest. But the British maintained other communities without a fight, such as Fort Detroit, Prairie du Chien, and Fort Miami (now Fort Wayne). The left-over British presence in the Great Lakes region was related to the fur trade, a lucrative source of revenue they were reluctant to leave.
1783. The Treaty of Paris recognized the United States of America as an independent nation and defined its borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. Although the settlements in the Great Lakes region (formerly part of the Province of Québec) were to be included within the United States, British military forces continued to maintain control of a string of trading posts and forts in the Great Lakes area for several years after the Revolution.
1784. Ohio Country. Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts relinquished their claim to lands in the Ohio Country. Title transferred to the “public domain” of the United States Government. Connecticut retained ownership of the Western Reserve on Lake Erie, then sold the tract to the Connecticut Land Company in 1795. The bounds of the Western Reserve can be viewed on the 1800 map below.
1787. Jul 13. Northwest Territory. The Ordinance of 1787 established the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, and defined the procedure for a territory to obtain statehood. Present states carved out of the original area of the Northwest Territory included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and that part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River.
1788. Flatboats. The initial family transportation on the Ohio River (usually beginning at Pittsburgh, later Wheeling) was by a flatboat designed for a one-way trip. The large, steerable rafts were constructed of lumber and nails that could be disassembled by migrating families when they arrived at their new home sites along the Ohio River and tributaries. Flatboats remained the primary method of entering the Northwest Territory until the first inland wagon road (Zane’s Trace) was built in 1796.
1788. First Ohio Settlements. Marietta was present Ohio’s first permanent settlement. It was founded in 1788 by General Rufus Putnam and named in honor of Marie Antoinette. Putnam’s Ohio Company of Associates purchased a large tract of land above the Ohio River and sold parcels to the first settlers of Ohio. The Ohio Company purchase was followed soon after by the Symmes Purchase, located “Between the Miami Rivers,” with a land office near present Cincinnati, Ohio. Most of the first settlers arriving at Marietta or Cincinnati came by Ohio River flatboats via Brownsville, Pittsburgh, or Wheeling.
1790. The Northwest Territory Population was specifically left out of the 1790 Federal Census. Since the purpose of the census was to apportion the U.S. House of Representatives, Congress decided that a count of people (with no representation in Congress) in the territories was not necessary. Estimates of the 1790 white population was about 4,200 people, which included those in Fort Detroit and Fort Miami, two enclaves still under control of the British Army. There were about 2,000 left-over French-Canadian fur-trappers and traders, mostly around Vincennes and Kaskaskia. The Ohio region had an estimated 1,000 settlers in the Ohio Company settlements near Marietta, and another 1,200 souls in the Symmes Settlements near Cincinnati. Except for these settlements, the entire Northwest Territory was still mostly under control of the Indians. In 1786 they had joined together to form a Western Confederation of American Indians to defend their territory from the white invaders.
1791. Northwest Indian War. Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair, a former Revolutionary War general, was the leader of the local militia force. In 1791, he suffered a terrible defeat against the Western Confederation of American Indians, with over 1,000 militia deaths. Soon after this battle, the confederacy received the official support of the British government of Upper Canada, who hoped to continue their fur-trading businesses with the Indians of the Ohio Country.
1792. Legion of the United States. President George Washington had long believed that the United States did not need a large Regular Army during peacetime, and that local militia forces could handle any military needs. General St. Clair’s disastrous defeat in the “Battle of a Thousand Slain” changed his mind. In 1792, Washington reactivated Major General Anthony Wayne, his favorite Revolutionary War general, to counter the Indian attacks in the Northwest Territory. General Wayne was put in charge of an all new Legion of the United States, the first post-Revolutionary War regular army force.
1794. Battle of Fallen Timbers. Led by General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, the Legion of the United States mounted a ferocious assault against the Indian forces concentrated on the Maumee River near present Toledo, Ohio. The American forces won a decisive victory which led to the end of the Northwest Indian War.
1795. The Treaty of Greenville was the official end to the Northwest Indian War. A “Greenville Line” across present Ohio and Indiana defined the extent of areas opened to settlement by whites. The Greenville Line is easily seen on the 1800 map below, where the northwest area of “Indian Lands” is indicated above the Greenville Line.
1796. Jay Treaty. Thirteen years after the Treaty of Paris in which the boundaries of the United States had been defined to include the entire Great Lakes region, Great Britain finally relinquished control of a series of military forts from Lake Champlain to the Mississippi River, including the Northwest Territory military bases at Fort Detroit and Fort Mackinac. The defeat of the Confederacy of Indians supported by the British Government and the subsequent Treaty of Greenville in the Northwest Territory were the events that allowed the Jay Treaty to take place. The British-owned fur-trading companies were allowed to continue their operations in the Great Lakes region, and their employees residing in the U.S. were given the option of becoming U.S. citizens.
1796. Zane’s Trace. Col. Ebenezer Zane, founder of Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), operated a ferry across the Ohio River. In 1796, Zane made a deal with the U.S. Government to construct a wagon road, beginning at his ferry landing across from Wheeling, and heading west into the public land areas of what was to become the state of Ohio. Zane said he would build the road from Wheeling to Limestone (now Maysville, KY), in exchange for land grants where the new road intersected the Muskingum, Hocking , and Scioto rivers. Zane’s Trace was the first wagon road into the Ohio Country. See the earlier Blog article, Getting Stumped on Zane’s Trace for more details on this wagon road.
1800. July. Indiana Territory was established from the Northwest Territory with William Henry Harrison as the first Governor and Vincennes the capital. The area included all of present Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the western half of Michigan. The Northwest Territory was reduced to the present-day area of Ohio and the eastern half of Michigan. See the inset on the 1800 OH/Northwest Territory map below.
1800. Aug. Map of Ohio as part of the Northwest Territory. Prior to the 1800 federal census, Congress had decided that a census in a territory might be useful for determining whether the population was sufficient for the territory to petition for statehood. Beginning in 1800, all U.S. territories were included in the federal censuses. The above map shows in black the five counties of the Ohio area at the time of the 1800 Federal Census. The current 88 counties of Ohio are shown in white. The population of the Northwest Territory in August 1800 was 42,159 people. The original census schedules for the 1800 Northwest Territory census were lost for all counties. However, the 1800 Washington County census name lists were copied into the New Ohio Company records. Those manuscripts have survived and are located today at the Campus Museum, Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio. Map Source: Page 268, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920..
1803. Mar 1. Ohio was admitted to the Union as the 17th state, with boundaries nearly the same as today. Chillicothe was the first state capital. The portion of Michigan included in the Northwest Territory 1800-1803 became part of Indiana Territory. Upon Ohio’s statehood, the name Northwest Territory was dropped.
1810. Ohio. The state capital was moved from Chillicothe to Zanesville.
1812-1813. Ohio in the War of 1812. Fort Meigs was constructed to protect Ohio from an invasion of British troops during the War of 1812. The fort was the largest walled fortification in North America. In 1813, Fort Meigs successfully defended the Maumee River gateway to Ohio and Indiana from two major invasions of the British Army and their allied Indians.
1812-1815. Steamboats. First introduced in 1812, steamboats would soon become the main mode of transportation on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. The classic flat-bottomed steamboat design began in 1815. Before that the boats had too much draft for the Ohio River low water seasons.
1814. Treaty of Ghent. The War of 1812 ended. The British had successfully defended their territory in present Canada, but retreated from captured areas in the Great Lakes region. The end of the war allowed for the American settlement of the Old Northwest to resume in earnest.
1816. Ohio. The state capital was moved from Zanesville to Columbus.
1825. Erie Canal opened. This New York route from the Hudson River to Lake Erie provided direct access to the Ohio Country. It was now possible for a sailing ship to dock at New York Harbor, where passengers could connect to a steamboat going up the Hudson River to Albany and the start of the Erie Canal. Western New York and the State of Ohio were impacted the most, with many settlements attributed to the early Erie Canal travelers. For example, Ohio’s 1820 population of 581,434 people increased to 937,903 in 1830, an increase heavily attributed to the first five years of Erie Canal traffic, 1825-1830. The opening of the Erie Canal gave rise to a new shipbuilding industry near Buffalo. Soon, a fleet of steamboats began transporting Americans, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, and other European immigrants to points all over the Great Lakes region.
1835. Toledo War. Michigan Territory’s drive for statehood created heated arguments in Congress over the Michigan-Ohio boundary. Michigan was not admitted to the Union because Ohio would not surrender their claim to the Toledo strip. As an adjoining state, Ohio asserted its veto power over the first attempt for statehood for Michigan Territory.
1837. Jan 26. Michigan was admitted to the Union as the 26th state, after the Toledo Strip was finally surrendered in exchange for the remainder of the Upper Peninsula. Ohio gained the Toledo strip from Michigan, and Michigan gained the Upper Peninsula, extended to its present border with Wisconsin. At first, it seemed that Ohio had won the Toledo War, because Ohio was really interesting in using the Toledo Strip as the start of a new canal. But later, Michigan claimed victory, due to the huge increase in natural resources gained from Upper Peninsula.
1845. The Miami and Erie Canal was opened for business by the state of Ohio. Running from Toledo to Cincinnati, it was the longest canal in America and an enterprise that probably would not have happened without the help of a major land donation by Michigan. For the first few years of operation, the M & E Canal was a financial success. In the 1850s, railroads began operating in Ohio, and the preferred method of transportation shifted from wagon roads and water canals to railroads.
About Ohio’s Censuses & Substitutes
There has never been a state-sponsored census taken in Ohio, at least not one using the name “census.” An “enumeration” was authorized in the State Constitution of 1802, which provided for a listing of white males over the age of 21 to be taken every four years. They became known as Quadrennial Enumerations. In addition, there were a series of tax lists from each of the Ohio counties that became known as Duplicate Tax Lists. Together, these name lists have become the primary census substitutes for all of Ohio:
Ohio Quadrennial Enumerations. The first of these enumerations was taken in 1803, and continued every four years until they officially ended in 1911. Tax assessors from each county were in charge of the Quadrennial Enumerations, and they were often taken simultaneously with lists of property owners subject to taxes. But the Quadrennial Enumeration lists were separate from tax assessment lists – they were compiled specifically for determining the number of males of voting age and reapportioning the state legislature every four years. Of the more than 1,800 county-wide Quadrennial Enumerations taken between 1803 and 1911, less than 100 county name lists have survived.
Ohio Duplicate Tax Lists. During the first half of the 19th century, numerous tax lists were taken at the county level in Ohio. The original lists were gathered and maintained by county tax assessors, with a duplicate copy sent to the state auditor’s office. Some of the original county tax lists have survived, but most of the surviving name lists today are the state auditor’s duplicates. It is the Duplicate Tax Lists that are more common census substitutes with microfilm copies available for virtually all counties of Ohio.
Ohio Federal Censuses. The earliest census taken in the Northwest Territory was for 1800, and the first federal census taken in the state of Ohio was for 1810. Both censuses were lost for most areas. The exception was for Washington County, where Rufus Putnam’s Ohio Company of Associates kept good records beginning in 1788, and saved copies of the earliest censuses. Putnam’s papers are located today at the Campus Museum of Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio. The federal censuses, 1820 through 1940 are complete for all counties of Ohio, with the exception of the 1890, lost in a fire in Washington, DC in 1921 (like all states).
Prologue: This historical timeline begins with the French fur-trading excursions into the Dakota Country; followed by the names, places, and events important to the peopling of the North Dakota area , up to the year 1925.
1738. Dakota Country. French explorer Pierre Gaultier de la Vérendrye visited Mandan villages near the Missouri River. This was the first known white expedition into what is now North Dakota.
1763. Treaty of Paris. This was the end of the French and Indian war. (In Europe it was called the Seven Years War). At the 1763 treaty, the French surrendered all their claims in North America. Spain acquired the former French areas west of the Mississippi plus New Orleans, an area called Spanish Louisiana. Great Britain gained all of Québec, which they renamed Province of Canada. Britain also gained control of the rest of North America east of the Mississippi River. They named their entire area British North America.
1783. Treaty of Paris. As the official end of the Revolutionary War, the 1783 treaty recognized the United States as an independent republic, with borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River. The treaty also reaffirmed the claims of Britain to present-day Canada; and Spain’s claim to lands west of the Mississippi River.
1792. Dakota Country. French-Canadian Jacques D’Englise opened trade on the Missouri River between Mandan villages and his Spanish employers located at St. Louis.
1797. Pembina Settlements. The French-Canadian trading posts known as the Red River Settlements were mainly in what is now Manitoba. There were a number of Métis traders who followed the Red River south into the Dakota Country to engage in trade with the Indians there. In 1797, Jean Baptiste Chaboillez, working for the North West Fur Company, established a trading post at Pembina (present North Dakota). Soon after, a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post was established near Pembina as well. The Pembina Settlements were not within American territory until 1818.
1800. Louisiana. Napoleon acquired title of Louisiana from Spain. At the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, the Spanish acknowledged that it was too costly to explore the country and could not see the rewards being worth the investment. Spain retro-ceded Louisiana to France in exchange for the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (now part of Italy).
1803. Louisiana Purchase. The United States purchased Louisiana from France. Sent by President Jefferson to attempt the purchase of New Orleans, the American negotiators (James Madison and Robert Livingston) were surprised when Napoleon offered the entire tract to them. The Louisiana Purchase was officially described as the “drainage of the Mississippi and Missouri River basins.” Adding the area doubled the size of the United States.
1804.Lewis and Clark Expedition. Under orders from President Thomas Jefferson, Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corps of Discovery left St. Louis in search of a passage to the Pacific Ocean. Based on information from his spies, the Spanish governor of New Mexico dispatched soldiers from Santa Fe to the Arkansas River to intercept the party and arrest them. But, the Lewis and Clark party had taken a more northern route, following the Missouri River into the Dakota Country. The Lewis and Clark party wintered in Mandan villages (present North Dakota) along the Missouri River.
1804-1805. Orleans Territory and Louisiana District. In 1804, Congress divided the area of the Louisiana Purchase into two political jurisdictions: Orleans Territory had north and south bounds the same as the present state of Louisiana, but did not include land east of the Mississippi River, and its northwestern corner extended on an indefinite line west into Spanish Texas. New Orleans was the capital of Orleans Territory. For a year, Louisiana District was attached to Indiana Territory for judicial administration, but became Louisiana Territory with its own Governor on July 4, 1805. St. Louis was the capital of Louisiana Territory. The northern limit of Louisiana Territory (a theoretical line between the Dakota Country and Rupert’s Land), was still not precisely known.
1805. 1st Pike Expedition. U.S. Army Lieutenant Zebulon Pike led a small party of soldiers to investigate the Mississippi River above St. Louis. He was given specific orders to find the source of the Mississippi, and while doing so, to note “…any rivers, prairies, islands, mines, quarries, timber, and any Indian villages and settlements encountered.”
1805. Louisiana Territory had five original subdivisions: St. Louis District, St. Charles District, Ste. Genevieve District, Cape Girardeau District and New Madrid District. The unpopulated area north of these original districts was referred to as Upper Louisiana, which extended west to the Continental Divide; and north into the Dakota Country.
1812. Missouri Territory. On June 4th Congress renamed Louisiana Territory as Missouri Territory. This was to avoid any confusion after Orleans Territory became the State of Louisiana on April 30, 1812. The General Assembly of the Territory of Missouri met in St. Louis in October, and converted the first five original districts into counties: Cape Girardeau, New Madrid, St. Charles, St. Louis, and Ste. Genevieve. A year later, the territorial legislature created Arkansas County from lands ceded by the Osage Indians.
1818. Anglo-American Convention. The 49th parallel was agreed to as the boundary between the U.S. and the British territory known as Rupert’s Land. In the treaty, the United States acquired part of the Red River drainage in present Minnesota and North Dakota, and ceded part of the Missouri River drainage in present North Dakota and Montana. As a result of this treaty, the Pembina Settlements of present North Dakota were added to the territory of the United States for the first time.
1827. Independence, Missouri. The frontier town of Independence was founded in 1827, the farthest point westward on the Missouri River where steamboats could travel at that time. Independence immediately became a supply point, staging area, and primary starting point for the growing number of trappers and traders using the Santa Fe Trail.
1832. First Steamboat into Dakota Country. After dredging projects near the mouth of the Kansas River, steamboat traffic could continue up the Missouri River. In 1832, the steamboat Yellowstone left St. Louis to begin the first of its annual fur-trading voyages up the Missouri River, reaching Fort Union (present North Dakota/Montana line).
1832-1870. Manitoba Censuses. There is a combined index to the nominal (head of household) census returns for the Red River Settlements of present Manitoba, including 1832, 1833, 1838, 1840, 1843, 1846-47, 1849, 1856 (incomplete) and every-name 1870 for the Lower Settlement, Grant Town and Indian villages. The index and original censuses are available at the Provincial Archives of Manitoba, part of the Hudson’s Bay Company Archival Records. The people identified therein includes those who traveled back and forth into the Dakota Country. NOTE: The 1870 Manitoba/Red River census names all members of a family, relationship to head, age, sex, occupation, religion, whether Métis (French & Indian blood), or other race; and identifies the full name of a father and full maiden name of a mother for each person. It is one of the most detailed censuses ever done in North America.
1833. Jun 1st. Black Hawk Cession. After the Black Hawk War of 1832, the Sauk and Fox tribe of present-day Iowa was forced to cede land on the west side of the Mississippi River to the United States. The cession opened a large area of the Ioway Country for legal white settlement for the first time.
1836. Wisconsin Territory was created, taken from Michigan Territory. Its area extended from its present Lake Michigan border to the Missouri River. The first American census taken in the Dakota Country was the 1836 Wisconsin Territory census, which included the Pembina settlements on the Red River (2 miles south of the Canadian border). A name index to the entire 1836 census is available online at a USGenWeb site. There are good prospects for finding Pembina people with the same surnames as those enumerated in the Red River Settlements censuses (now Manitoba) for the same general time period.
1838. Iowa Territory was created, encompassing all lands north of the state of Missouri between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. An 1838 Iowa Territorial Census included the Pembina Settlements of present North Dakota. The entire IA 1838 census was indexed in Ronald Jackson’s Iowa 1838 Territorial Census Index (FHL book 977.7X22ji). That book was included in a combined Iowa census database at Ancestry.com.
1842. Nebraska Country. The word “Nebraska” first began to appear in publications in 1842 after John C. Fremont explored the Platte Valley/Nebraska Country/Dakota Country areas.
1850-1857. In the 1850 federal census, the Dakota Country areas east of the Missouri River were part of Pembina County, Minnesota Territory. The same area was included in the 1857 MN Territory Census.
1854. May 30th The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed the U.S. Congress, creating Kansas Territory and Nebraska Territory. The act allowed residents of the two territories to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. Separated on their present common boundary, both extended from the Missouri River to the Continental Divide. Thus, Nebraska Territory included parts of present North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. Kansas Territory included present Kansas and parts of present Colorado.
Western U.S. at the time of the 1860 Federal Census
1860. Unorganized Dakota. When Minnesota was admitted as a state in 1858 with its present boundaries, Dakota was orphaned, and remained without jurisdiction for three years. However, the area from the western Minnesota line to the Missouri River was enumerated in the 1860 federal census as Unorganized Dakota. This was not an official jurisdiction, but one invented by the Census Office to gather census data for the Red River/Pembina settlements. Areas west of the Missouri River were part of Nebraska Territory, but for convenience, a number of outposts west of the Missouri River were instead enumerated as part of Unorganized Dakota. In addition to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census available online at various sites, there is a special USGenWeb site with the digitized 1860 census pages for all of Unorganized Dakota. The images are the actual census forms, where the “County of” and “State” blanks are crossed out and replaced with “Unorganized Dakota.”
1861. Mar. Dakota Territory was created by Congress. The original area included all of present North Dakota, South Dakota, and parts of present Montana and Wyoming east of the Continental Divide (The area of the first Dakota Territory can be visualized on the 1860 map above: extend the modern boundary line of South Dakota/Nebraska west to the Continental Divide). Yankton was the first territorial capital, replaced by Bismarck in 1863.
1885. Jun. Dakota Territory Census. The territory took only one territorial census, a special enumeration taken in 1885 with federal assistance. The format was similar to the 1880 federal census. The original manuscripts for the 1885 Dakota Territory census schedules were divided, the northern counties now kept at the State Historical Society of North Dakota in Bismarck; the southern counties at the South Dakota State Historical Society in Pierre. 50 of the 56 counties in place in the North Dakota area in 1885 have survived.
1885 Dakota Territory Census Online: The North Dakota portion of the 1885 Dakota Territory census was indexed online at the ND State Univ. website; and indexed as well at the Ancestry.com website.
1889. Nov. North Dakota and South Dakota were both admitted as states with the same boundaries as today. Although Dakota Territory had petitioned Congress to be a single state, that would have probably caused two Democratic senators to be added, upsetting the balance in Congress. By splitting Dakota Territory into two states, two Republican senators and two Democratic senators were added to Congress, maintaining the balance of power.
1905-1925. North Dakota State Censuses. After admission to the Union in 1889, the state of North Dakota conducted three state censuses, in 1905, 1915 and 1925. Only a statistical summary of the 1905 state census survives, but the full census schedules for the 1915 and 1925 censuses are extant. The original state census manuscripts are located at the State Historical Society of North Dakota in Bismarck.
1915 & 1925 North Dakota State Censuses Online: The 1915 and 1925 North Dakota Sate Censuses are digitized and indexed online at both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.
Prologue: This historical timeline begins with the first English discoveries along the Atlantic Coast of North American and the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke; followed by the era of the English Civil War, which was the root origin behind the founding of the Province of Carolina. The subsequent events, people, and places important to the growth of North Carolina have to be viewed along with the historical events taking place in England:
1498. Italian sea captain Giovanni Caboto was commissioned by the English King Henry VII to explore America. He landed in 1497 on the island of Newfoundland. There is recently discovered evidence that on his second trip in 1498, he visited the coasts of present New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. He made the initial claims to the English North America region in the name of the English king. In honor of the event, the king changed his name to John Cabot.
1558. Elizabeth I became Queen of England. The early explorations of English North America took place during her 45-year reign, the Elizabethan Era, or “Golden Age.” When Elizabeth I was crowned, England was nearly bankrupt, but during her reign, the English Empire expanded and thrived, and English culture flourished in Literature, Theater, Music, and Architecture.
1584.Virginia. Sir Walter Raleigh claimed and named Virginia for the “Virgin Queen,” Elizabeth I, an area from present Chesapeake Bay to Florida, and everything “sea to sea” below a northwestern line to the North Pole.
1584-1590. Roanoke Colony. In 1584, Queen Elizabeth I granted to Sir Walter Raleigh a charter for the colonization of the entire area of English North America, i.e., Virginia. In 1585, the first group of settlers recruited by Raleigh were led by Sir Richard Grenville, and established the first English colony at the north end of Roanoke Island (present Dare County, North Carolina). The first group left Roanoke Island after a few months, returning to England with Sir Francis Drake. When a second group brought by Grenville in 1586 found the colony abandoned, the bulk of the second group returned to England as well. The final group, led by Governor John White, arrived in 1587. Soon after, he returned to England to plead for more supplies. White had left 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, including his grand-daughter, Virginia Dare, the first English birth in America. It took White over three years to return to Roanoke due to several incidents with pirates, the Anglo-Spanish War, and the blockade of the Spanish Armada. When he did return to Roanoke Island in August 1590, there was no trace of the colonists. There was no sign of a struggle or battle at the site or surrounding areas. To this day, no one is completely sure what happened to “The Lost Colony.”
1603. England. James I became King of England, the first monarch to rule both England and Scotland. (He was James VI of Scotland since 1566). During his reign the first permanent English colonies were established in Virginia and New England. James I was also an advocate for the transportation of thousands of clan people living along the Scottish-English border to Ulster Province / Northern Ireland.
1606. Virginia Companies. Two joint stock companies were founded in 1606, both with royal charters issued by King James I for the purpose of establishing colonies in English North America, aka Virginia. The Virginia Company of London was given a land grant between Latitude 34° (Cape Fear) and Latitude 41° (Long Island Sound). The Virginia Company of Plymouth was founded with a similar land grant between Latitude 38° (Potomac River) and Latitude 45° (St. John River), which included a shared area with the London Company between Latitude 38° and Latitude 41°.
1607. April 26. Jamestown, Virginia. Three ships of the Virginia Company of London under the command of Capt. Christopher Newport sought shelter in Chesapeake Bay. The forced landing led to the founding of Jamestown on the James River. It was the first permanent English settlement in America, consisting of 104 men and boys. The Jamestown colony was led by Capt. John Smith and his cousin, Bartholomew Gosnold. A year later, about 100 new settlers arrived, finding only 38 survivors from the first group. In 1610, recently appointed governor of Virginia, Thomas West (Lord De La Warr) arrived at Jamestown to find only 60 settlers alive.
1625. England. Charles I became King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Soon after taking office, Charles began to note a large number of non-conformists among his subjects. Along with his Archbishop, William Laud, the King began a campaign to purge his church of the largest group of non-conformists, the so-called Puritans, a militant Calvinist religious sect attempting to purify the Church of England.
1629. Carolana/Cape Fear Area. The first Royal Charter for a colony in the area south of the Jamestown settlement was granted to Sir Robert Heath by King Charles I. The “Cape Fear Area” described in the charter was between Latitude 31° and Latitude 35°, “sea to sea.” Due to the political events leading to the English Civil War, the charter would never be used, and was later ruled invalid. The proposed name Carolana came from “Carolus,” Latin for Charles. The name Carolina did not become official until 1663.
1629-1640. “The Eleven Years of Tyranny.” Since taking the throne in 1625, King Charles I’s campaign to purge non-conformists from the Church of England had disenfranchised a large group of people, in spite of a Parliament generally opposed to the King’s campaign. In 1629, Charles I disbanded Parliament and ruled England alone for the next eleven years, ending over 400 years of liberties since the Magna Carta. The Puritans referred to this era as “the eleven years of tyranny.” It was during these eleven years that some 21,000 Puritan immigrants established the Massachusetts Bay Colony of North America.
1641. Virginia. Sir William Berkeley was appointed governor by Charles I. He served from 1642 to 1652 and again from 1660 to 1677. His older brother Lord John Berkeley of Stratton, was the first Proprietor of the East New Jersey colony, and both brothers would become Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina in 1663. William Berkeley was to transform the Virginia colony by emulating the culture of southwest England’s plantation system.
1642. English Civil War. When Parliament was restored in 1640, it quickly became dominated by the same Puritans who King Charles I had removed from the Church of England. Beginning in 1642, Royalist supporters were forced to fight the armies of the Puritan Parliament in the English Civil War. The English Colonies took sides: the Virginia colony favored the Royalist/Cavalier side, while the New England colonies were in support of the Parliamentarian/Puritan side. Actual battles in the colonies were concentrated in Maryland. The Province of Maryland’s population was nearly evenly divided between Puritans and Catholics, and Maryland tried to remain neutral during the English Civil War; but in fact, Maryland’s Puritan colonial governor invited any persecuted Puritans from Virginia to move to Maryland with an offer of free land grants. In response, Annapolis was established by Puritans from Virginia. But, Maryland soon saw the full force of Virginia-based Royalist privateers, who invaded, pillaged, and burned every Catholic church building in the province.
1645-1651. England. After his defeat and capture in 1645, Charles I refused to accept his captors’ demands for a constitutional monarchy, and briefly escaped captivity in 1647. While recaptured, his teenage son, Prince Charles, was able to marshal Scottish forces for the king. However, by 1648, Oliver Cromwell had consolidated the English opposition. King Charles I was tried, convicted, and beheaded for high treason in January 1649. The Civil War continued until 1651, when Oliver Cromwell, a Puritan, became Lord Protectorate, ruling the Commonwealth of England for the next seven years.
1653. Albemarle Settlements. The first settlements on the Chowan and Roanoke Rivers near Albemarle Sound were established by pioneers from tidewater Virginia. The Albemarle Settlements were the first English colonists in present North Carolina.
1658-1660. England. After Oliver Cromwell died in 1658, his son, Richard, inherited the leadership role of the Commonwealth of England, but was too weak politically to remain in power. In 1660, a new Parliament offered a restored English throne to the exiled Scottish King, son of Charles I, who accepted to become King Charles II.
1663-1665. Carolina Charter. In 1663, King Charles II granted eight noblemen a Royal Charter to form the Province of Carolina, replacing the 1629 grant. The grant area extending from Latitude 31° (present FL/GA line) to Latitude 35° (just below Albemarle Sound). In 1665, the Carolina charter area was extended north to Latitude 36°30’ (present NC/VA line) to include the existing Albemarle Settlements; and south to Latitude 29° (just below present Daytona Beach, FL). The Carolina proprietorship was essentially a repayment for the loyalty of certain Royalists during the English Civil War, and their support of the Restoration of the Crown in 1660. The eight noblemen became known as the Lords Proprietors, and included George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608-1670); Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609-1674); John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton (1602-1678); William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608-1697); Sir George Carteret (c1610-1680); Sir William Berkeley (1605-1677); Sir John Colleton, 1st Baronet (1608-1666); and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftsbury (1621-1683). The eight Lords Proprietors ran the government of the province from London, meeting regularly as an executive committee. A Fundamental Constitution of Carolina was drawn, featuring an appointed colonial governor, and a legislative body consisting of an appointed/elected Executive Council and an elected only Provincial Assembly. Province of Carolina Map Source: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike.
1669-1670. Carolina. In late 1669, three shiploads of colonists sailed from London, headed for Carolina. Recruited and financed by the Lords Proprietors, most of the colonists were indentured servants, willing to work as laborers for five years to pay for their passage and receive a grant of land. At Barbados, the ships were struck by a hurricane. The Albemarle was destroyed and the Port Royal and Carolina were badly damaged. In March 1670, the Carolina arrived at Bull Harbor and Sewee Bay (now South Carolina). In April, Charles Towne was founded as the capital of the Province of Carolina.
1682. Carolina. The first four counties of the Province of Carolina were created, named after Lords Proprietors Berkeley, Colleton, Craven, and Granville.
1705.Bath was the first town in present North Carolina.
1707. England and Scotland merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The English Colonies now became the British Colonies.
1708-1712. Carolina’s Provincial Assembly met in Edenton, NC.
1712. Separation of North Carolina and South Carolina. The territory of the Province of Carolina since 1665 ran from Latitude 29° to the present NC/VA line (36°30’), including the area of present Georgia. In 1712, the Lords Proprietors divided Carolina into North Carolina and South Carolina as two separate proprietary provinces. The division line was nearly the same as today, but the line was not surveyed for several more years. Each province had its own colonial governor, under the authority of the eight Lords Proprietors, but the elected Council and Assembly continued to represent the area of both Carolinas. The capital of Charles Towne continued for the South Carolina/Georgia area, while the nominal capital of the North Carolina area was wherever the Provincial Assembly agreed to meet.
1715-1716. The Executive Council called for the Carolina Assembly of 1715-1716 to “…meet at the home of Capt. Richard Sanderson in Little River, instead of the Church in Chowan which was the place of ye last meeting.,” – Encyclopedia of North Carolina, UNC Press.
1717. “We’re no Eerish bot Skoatch.” The arrival of the so-called Scots-Irish immigrants to the British Colonies was via Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Alexandria, Norfolk, New Bern, and Charles Towne. The Scots-Irish (or Ulster Scots) were former border clan people who had lived near the Scottish-English border for centuries. A good number of them had moved into areas of Northern Ireland in the early 1600s, and a mass migration to most of the British colonies of America began in 1717. Up to the time of the Revolutionary War, the Scots-Irish outnumbered all other British colonists (by about four to one) with the largest numbers settling in the Piedmont region of the Old South, i.e., Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. After the Revolutionary War, later generations of the Scots-Irish were the dominate group to migrate into areas of Tennessee, Kentucky, and present West Virginia.
1721. The Province of South Carolina became a separate Royal British Colony in 1721 with a Royal Governor appointed by the King, and its own legislative body. Charles Towne was the capital.
1729. The Province of North Carolina became a separate Royal British Colony in 1729, after seven of the eight Lords Proprietors sold their interest back to the Crown. A one-eighth portion of the original proprietor land was retained by Lord John Carteret, great-grandson of Sir George Carteret, who refused to sell his share back to the Crown.
1733. The Province of Georgia was separated from South Carolina. Georgia’s first boundaries were described in its Royal Charter as “…between the Savannah and Altamaha Rivers from the Atlantic coast to the headwaters of these streams and thence to the South Seas.” The location of the headwaters of the Savannah River was misunderstood by South Carolina, who continued to claim a strip of land between North Carolina and Georgia from the Atlantic to the Mississippi River until South Carolina finally ceding the strip to Georgia in 1788 (even though the strip had been in North Carolina all along).
1742. Carteret’s Proprietorship. After some 13 years of petitions asking for a ruling, King George II finally recognized the area of Lord Carteret’s one-eighth of Carolina as a proprietorship separate from the Royal Province of North Carolina. The proclamation gave Lord John Carteret exclusive proprietary ownership of the area, which shortly thereafter would become known as the Granville District.
1746-1777. Granville District. John Carteret inherited the title of Earl of Granville in 1744. By 1746, he began selling land in his privately held Granville District, the northernmost 60-mile wide strip of land representing the northern half of present North Carolina. The first official survey of the Granville District described the area as lying between Latitude 35°34’ and 36°30’. At the first Granville District Land Office established in Edenton, NC, the first few years of land sales were well documented, providing good evidence of the earliest inhabitants of north-central and northwestern North Carolina into the 1760s. Later records were incomplete due to cross-claim disputes. After the death of John Carteret in 1763, most of the Granville holdings were tied up in British Chancery Court litigation for a decade, and when finally settled, the Carteret heirs were unable to reactivate the land sales due to the impending American Revolutionary War. The Granville District operation was officially dissolved in 1777, with the unsold Granville lands confiscated by the Provisional State of North Carolina – for the first time, the area of the Granville District was merged into the area of present North Carolina. After the Revolutionary War, the British Crown compensated the Carteret heirs for their loss. Map source: Univ. of North Carolina School of Education
1746-1777. Colonial Wagon Roads Leading to North Carolina Before 1746, many immigrants to North Carolina came by way of the coastal seaports, such as Edenton, New Bern, or Wilmington; or via the Kings Highway, the earliest coastal wagon road. The opening of lands for sale in the Granville District in 1746 saw a strong increase in the use of the few inland wagon roads leading to North Carolina. The main migratory routes via Virginia into North Carolina were the Fall Line Road or the Upper Road. Both routes were heavily traveled by Scots-Irish immigrants. On the above map, all the roads to 1750 suitable for full horse-drawn wagons are shown as bold black lines. The bold dashed lines indicate paths suitable mostly for single-file pack teams. The Great Valley Road was often called The Irish Road by locals, because they saw mainly Scots-Irish immigrants traveling on it. By 1756, an extension to the Great Valley Road began at Big Lick (now Roanoke), entering North Carolina and joining the Upper Road between Hillsboro and Salisbury, NC. British immigration to the colonies essentially ended with the Revolutionary War. Map source: Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 1735-1815.
1754. Arthur Dobbs was named the Royal Governor of the Province of North Carolina by King George II. Dobbs served until his death in 1865. A native Scotsman, as early as 1745, Dobbs had purchased over 400,000 acres of land in North Carolina and was an advocate for the immigration to North Carolina by thousands of his Scottish kin living in Northern Ireland. His term in office matched the time of the French and Indian War in America, and as the Governor/Militia Leader, Dobbs spent nearly his entire time in office recruiting colonial soldiers to serve in military units formed from North Carolina.
1763. Proclamation Line. At the Treaty of Paris ending the French and Indian War, Great Britain gained control of all lands previously held by France east of the Mississippi River, which became the dividing line between British North America and New Spain. Soon after, King George III issued the Proclamation Line of 1763, as a way of rewarding the Indians who had helped Britain against the French. The proclamation established an Indian Reserve that stretched from the Appalachian Mountain Range to the Mississippi River – preventing the British colonists from migrating into their undeveloped western regions. The Proclamation was to become one of the “Intolerable Acts” that led to an American rebellion.
1765-1771. William Tryon was named the Royal Governor of the Province of North Carolina in 1765 by King George III. Tryon served until 1771 when he became the Royal Governor of the Province of New York. He was an adamant and loyal supporter of the British Crown and aggressively put down a rebellion of Regulators and later Patriots in North Carolina. Soon after Tryon took office in North Carolina, opposition to the Stamp Act imposed on the British Colonies created a strong common bond among the thirteen colonies, and North Carolina patriots were immediately ready to join in a general rebellion against the King. Gov. Tryon stopped any meetings of the North Carolina Assembly specifically to prevent any voting in opposition to the Stamp Act.
1766. New Bern was named the permanent capital of the Province of North Carolina. The Provincial Assembly voted to build what became Tryon Palace, colonial governor William Tryon’s mansion.
1768. Treaty of Fort Stanwix. An adjustment to the Proclamation Line of 1763 took place in New York. The British government, led by Sir William Johnson, met with representatives of the Six Nations (the Iroquois) at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, NY). A new “Line of Property” was drawn, separating British Territory from Indian Territory. The new line extended the earlier proclamation line much further to the west. From Fort Stanwix, the division line ran to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) and down the Ohio River to the Tennessee River, then into the present Kentucky and Tennessee regions. The Fort Stanwix treaty line effectively ceded present West Virginia and Kentucky to Virginia, and a sizable area of western North Carolina to the Tennessee River was opened for white settlement for the first time.
1768. The Regulators were organized in the North Carolina back country. Mostly farmers, they were formed in protest of excessive taxes. Though they were the earliest rebels against the Royal government in North Carolina, they more resembled a vigilante mob rather than a Sons of Liberty organization. The Regulators’ first target was Governor William Tryon, who had imposed a new tax on all North Carolinians solely for the purpose of building an elaborate home for himself.
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Prologue: This historical timeline for New York begins with the first discoveries and colonies in the area by the Dutch, then by the English; continuing through events leading up to New York’s admission as the 11th state of the Union, and New York at the time of the first census of the United States in 1790, as follows:
1497. Giovanni Caboto, an Italian sponsored by English King Henry VII, explored the Atlantic coast of North America. He claimed the area for the English King, who changed his name to John Cabot in honor of the event.
1524. Giovanni da Verrazano explored the Middle Atlantic region. An Italian hired by the King of France, he sailed past the present New Jersey coast, entered New York bay and saw the Hudson River, then headed north towards present Maine.
1558. Elizabeth I became Queen of England. The earliest explorations of North America took place during her 45-year reign, the Elizabethan Era, or “Golden Age.”
1606. Two joint stock companies were founded, both with royal charters issued by King James I for the purpose of establishing colonies in North America. The Virginia Company of London was given a land grant between Latitude 34° (Cape Fear) and Latitude 41° (Long Island Sound). The Virginia Company of Plymouth was founded with a similar charter, between Latitude 38° (Potomac River) and Latitude 45° (St. John River).
1607. May. Led by John Smith and his cousin, Bartholomew Gosnold, the London Company established the first permanent English settlement in North America – the Jamestown Colony.
1609. Frenchman Samuel de Champlain explored the upstate New York area, after dropping down from the St. Lawrence River. He claimed the region as part of New France, and managed to name several places after himself.
1609. Henry Hudson was an English sea captain sailing for the Dutch East India Company, with instructions to find a shorter route to China. His first northern voyage was blocked by ice floes, so he turned west, stopping at several places later identified (by Latitude-Longitude from his ships log) as the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Cape Cod, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, and the Hudson River. Unlike Champlain, Hudson did not give names to any of his stops, because he considered them all as reminders of his failure to find the Northwest Passage. The Hudson River seemed like the most likely candidate for the way to China, so Hudson navigated up the river as far as present Albany before giving up. His Dutch sponsors named the river for him upon his return.
1613. A Dutch trading post was set up on lower Manhattan Island. The Dutch discovered that a Swiss Army Knife would buy just about anything from the Indians.
1624. Fort Orange was established by the Dutch. It was the first permanent white settlement in the New York region, located on the Hudson River, just south of present-day Albany.
1626. Dutchman Peter Minuit purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians for about $24.00 worth of beads and baubles (according to my 1958 High School history book). The value of that real estate has since increased a little due to inflation and Donald Trump.
1652-1654. First Anglo-Dutch War. Under Lord Cromwell, the Commonwealth of England had become a larger naval force. The Dutch merchant ships were numerous and lucrative carriers of trade goods, but with far less firepower than the English warships. The resulting imbalance gave the edge to the English, who used it to consolidate their possessions in North America.
1664. The Dutch colony of New Netherland became controlled by the English following a naval blockade of Manhattan Island. Gov. Peter Stuyvesant surrendered following an “invasion” of about ten Red Coats, who had marched to Stuyvesant’s house on lower Manhattan. They knocked on the front door, and the Governor appeared and handed them his only weapon, a non-functioning dueling pistol. Stuyvesant then asked, “Are you fellows staying for lunch?” The English also took control of the New Jersey settlements from the Dutch with about the same amount of resistance. Soon after these glorious victories, King Charles II granted to his brother, James, the Duke of York, the following: “…the main land between the two rivers there, called or known by the several names of Conecticut or Hudsons river… and all the lands from the west side of Connecticut, to the east side of Delaware Bay.” Soon, the area called New Netherland was renamed New York.
1665-1667. Second Anglo-Dutch War. Restored to the throne in 1660, Charles II of England soon began a campaign to rid North America of Dutch colonies, replacing them with English colonies. Most of the battles were fought at sea. The rich merchant ships of the Dutch East India Company suffered the most.
1669. French nobleman Rene-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de La Salle), explored the Niagara region. He later floated down the entire length of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, claiming everything he saw for France.
1672-1674. Third Anglo-Dutch War. In 1672, bolstered by new warships, the Dutch East India Company took back New York, New Jersey, and Delaware from the English. By 1673, English King Charles II had lost the support of Parliament for continuing the wars against the Dutch. But England’s superior naval forces still managed to force the Dutch out of North America once again. The 1674 Treaty of Westminster ended hostilities between the English and Dutch and officially returned all Dutch colonies in America to the English. This ended the official Dutch presence in North America – but many of the Dutch settlements continued under English rule, particularly along the Hudson River of New York, and around Bergen in East Jersey.
1707. During the reign of Queen Anne, the United Kingdom of Great Britain was established after the Union with Scotland Act passed the English Parliament in 1706; and the Union with England Act passed the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The English Colonies now became the British Colonies.
1763. Treaty of Paris. The French and Indian War ended. Great Britain gained control of all lands previously held by France east of the Mississippi River, which became the dividing line between British North America and New Spain. Soon after, King George III issued the “Proclamation Line of 1763,” as a way of rewarding the Indians who had helped Britain against the French. The proclamation established an Indian Reserve that stretched from the Appalachian Mountain Range to the Mississippi River — preventing the British colonists from migrating into their undeveloped western regions. The Proclamation was to become one of the “Intolerable Acts” that led to an American rebellion.
1765. New York City hosted a conference dealing with the Stamp Act, recently imposed on the British Colonies by the British Parliament. The conference was the first cooperative effort by the colonies to resist the “Intolerable Acts” imposed by the British.
1768.Treaty of Fort Stanwix. An adjustment to the Proclamation Line of 1763 took place in New York. The British government, led by Sir William Johnson, met with representatives of the Six Nations (the Iroquois) at Fort Stanwix (now Rome, NY). A new “Line of Property” was drawn, separating British Territory from Indian Territory. The new line extended the earlier proclamation line much further to the west. From Fort Stanwix, the division line ran to Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh) and down the Ohio River to the Tennessee River, then into present Kentucky and Tennessee. The Fort Stanwix treaty line effectively ceded present West Virginia and Kentucky to the British Colony of Virginia, and a sizable area of western New York and western Pennsylvania was opened for white settlement for the first time.
1776-1783. New York in the Revolutionary War. The 1777 Battle of Saratoga in New York was a major victory by the Americans; a decisive battle of the war that led the French to believe the Americans could win the war. The subsequent French alliance was to become the key to the American victory at the final battle of Yorktown in 1781. The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war, and the United States of America was officially recognized as an independent nation.
1788. Jul. 26. New York ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the 11th state. Albany was the state capital.
NY State Censuses: The array of state census records for New York are more numerous and more complete than most other states. A few states have had more census years with territorial or state censuses, but none with the large populations of New York, and they are complete for virtually every one of the 62 counties of New York.
For the purpose of apportionment of the New York State Assembly, the legislature authorized censuses for 1795, 1801, 1807, 1814, and 1821, but none of these early “electoral censuses” included the names of inhabitants.
More formalized state censuses for New York began with an act in 1825, “An act to provide for taking future enumerations of the inhabitants of this state, and for procuring useful statistical tables.” Under that act, state censuses were taken in 1825, 1835, 1845, 1855, 1865 and 1875; then one in 1892, followed by 1905, 1915, and the last one in 1925. In 1930, the state began using the federal decennial census population figures for apportioning the State Assembly.
As part of the 1825 State Census Act, each New York county was charged with taking the state census for their area. And, the Office of the County Clerk was named as the final repository for the original manuscripts, with instructions to “carefully preserve the tables.” Two sets of the state census tables were recorded, the original set remained in the county, and a copy was sent to the state’s census office in Albany. Long before there was a NY State Archives, the NY State Library was the main repository for archival documents, including the state copies of the NY State Censuses.
The importance of the “carefully preserve” provision was dramatically fulfilled after a disastrous fire in the NY State Library in March 1911. The state copies of all state censuses, 1825-1905, were reduced to ashes. The extant census manuscripts for that period we read today on microfilm or online databases, came from the original county copies held in each of the 62 counties of New York. For 1915 and 1925, most county copies exist, as well as the state copies. For a look at the copies that exist for all 62 counties, refer to Table 1-NY State Censuses a full-page printable PDF file.
NY Federal Censuses: A spin-off benefit of the “carefully preserve” provision of the 1825 law was that the county clerks were also keepers of their original federal census schedules – there are more surviving county copies of federal censuses in New York than any other state. Beginning with 1790, the federal copies, those sent to Washington, DC, are complete for all NY counties through 1940, with the exception of the lost 1890 federal census for all states. But, only in New York are there 30 counties holding 105 county copies of original federal census schedules. (Michigan has ten county originals, the next highest number of any state). Each of the NY county original copies were microfilmed. Thus, the county originals can be compared with the federal copies for accuracy, i.e., missing names, different spellings, etc.
About Dollarhide’s First New York Censuses book
New York State Censuses & Substitutes , by William Dollarhide, publ. 2007, 250 pages, Item GPC1492. This book features an annotated bibliography of state censuses, census substitutes, and selected name lists in print, in microform, or online. The book includes unique county boundary maps, 1683-1915; and state census extraction forms, 1825-1925. The identification of state censuses and substitutes is for statewide lists, but also for each of New York’s 62 counties in great detail. An extensive description of the contents of this book is at the Family Roots Publishing product site for Item FR1492. After ten years in print, this book remains a staple at New York libraries and genealogical societies; and is recommended as a valuable desk reference by the prestigious New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.
Prologue: This historical timeline is related to New Mexico, beginning with the early Spanish claims and settlements along the Rio Grande; and continuing up to the time of New Mexico’s statehood in 1912, as follows:
1536. Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca entered present New Mexico via the Rio Grande valley. He was the first Spaniard to repeat the story of the Seven Cities of Cibola (or Seven Cities of Gold) he had learned about from the local Indians. The Indians perpetuated the rumor, always telling the Spaniards that the cities of gold were just a little further away. This ploy worked for 60 years, keeping the Spanish soldiers from staying long in one place.
1539. Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza and companion Esteban explored present New Mexico and Arizona looking for the Seven Cities of Cibola. They reached the Zuni village of Hawikuh where Esteban was killed.
1540. Francisco Vasquez de Coronado of Spain came searching for the Seven Cities of Cibola. Coronado never found the cities of gold, but did find the Gulf of California, Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and the Arkansas River Valley areas of Colorado and Kansas. He claimed the entire region as part of New Spain.
1590. The first attempt to colonize Nuevo Mexico was made by conquistador Gaspar de Sosa, who led a party of some 170 settlers into the Pecos River Valley. De Sosa was infamously known for the numbers of natives he captured and sold into slavery.
1598. Juan de Oñate founded the first permanent Spanish colony at San Juan de los Caballeros (near present-day Espanola, New Mexico). San Juan became the capital oft he Province of Nuevo Mexico.
1600. San Gabriel was founded at the confluence of the Rio Grande and Chama Rivers. San Gabriel became the new capital of Nuevo Mexico. Lists of settlers living in Nuevo Mexico exist for as early as 1600. Microfilm of the Seville originals are at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe.
1609.Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. Governor Pedro de Peralta founded Santa Fe as the final capital, and renamed the Spanish province as Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico.
1680. The Pueblo Indians revolted and drove the Spanish out of northern Nuevo Mexico, who fled to El Paso del Norte.
1693. Diego de Vargas conquered Nuevo Mexico (again) for Spain.
1743. French Louisiana traders from Arkansas Post (near the Mississippi River) reached Santa Fe and initiated trade with the Spanish colonists. The route they blazed to get there became part of the Santa Fe Trail.
1750. A Spanish census taken in 1750 exists for Albuquerque, Belen, Santa Fe, and Valencia. Microfilm of the Seville originals are at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe.
1776. A route from Santa Fe to Los Angeles was explored, later known as the Old Spanish Trail.
1790. A Spanish census for Santa Fe and Taos survives. Microfilm of the Seville originals are at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe.
1800. The Spanish colonial population of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico had reached about 20,000 people.
1804. Hearing of a supposed intrusion of Americans into their territory, Spanish troops were dispatched from Santa Fe to intercept the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but failed to find them.
1807. U.S. Army Captain Zebulon Pike led the first American expedition into the Rocky Mountains and returned via Nuevo Mexico. Pike’s published book reporting his expedition was the first written English description of the Rocky Mountains, as well as descriptions of the Spanish culture in North America, and became a best seller in North America and Europe. The book was also the inspiration and guide to a great number of Mountain Men, the only non-Indian residents of the Rocky Mountain region for another twenty-five years.
1821. Mexico gained independence from Spain and exerted military control of the provinces of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico and Coahuila y Texas. That same year, merchants and traders from the United States come into the area via a route called the Santa Fe Trail.
1829. The first commercial caravan along The Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles was led by Mexican trader Antonio Armijo. He is best known for naming an artesian spring oasis in the desert as Las Vegas (The Meadows).
1830. A Mexican census for Santo Domingo is extant. The originals are located at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe.
1836.Texas Claim. As a province of Mexico, the southwestern border of Coahuila y Texas was along the Nueces River and an extended line to the southeast corner of present New Mexico. The border was extended by the new Republic of Texas in 1836, from the Nueces to the Rio Grande, thus adding eastern New Mexico and areas into present Colorado. Although claimed by Texas, the extended area was never occupied by Texas. Map source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.
1839. A Mexican census for Valencia exists, the originals are at the New Mexico State Archives in Santa Fe.
1841. Texas troops invaded present New Mexico areas along the Rio Grande, attempting to possess their claim to the area, but the Texas troops were held at bay by Mexican forces.
1845. Texas was annexed to the United States as the 28th state. The U.S. wanted to acquire the Texas Claim to the Rio Grande, but Mexico warned that a war would result from such an action.
1846. Feb. The U.S. officially made an offer to Mexico to purchase the area of the Texas Claim. Mexico rejected the offer.
1846. Apr. Mexican-American War. U.S. Forces quickly took control of the Rio Grande Valley. The captured area from the old Texas line to the Rio Grande was annexed to the United States, based on the acquired Texas Claim.
1846. Dec. A Provisional New Mexico Territory was organized by U.S. Army General Stephen Kearny. The provisional territory operated until the official New Mexico Territory was created by Congress in 1850.
1848. Mexican Cession. As part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the war with Mexico, the United States gained ownership to the remainder of New Mexico west of the Rio Grande, including most of present Arizona; a portion of western Colorado; part of southwestern Wyoming; and all of present California, Utah and Nevada. In compensation, the U.S. paid Mexico a sum of 18 million dollars for an area which was nearly half of the Republic of Mexico, and was comparable in size to the Louisiana Purchase. The Provisional Territory of New Mexico now extended from Texas to California. Map source: Wikipedia.
1850. June. Federal Census. The provisional Territory of New Mexico was included in the 1850 census, with the original seven counties of Bernalillo, Rio Arriba, Santa Ana, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Taos, and Valencia counties. Taos County included an area of all or part of 13 modern Colorado counties. The area of present Arizona north of the Gila River was also part of New Mexico Territory, but no population was enumerated there.
1850. Sept 9th. California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state; and on the same day, Congress established both Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory.
1852. Doña Ana County was established, stretching across the southern portion of New Mexico Territory, well into the area that later became Arizona.
1853. Gadsden Purchase. Seeking access for a southern railroad route, the U.S. paid Mexico a sum of 10 million dollars to purchase a 45,000 square mile tract of land south of the Gila River. The purchase was negotiated by James Gadsden, minister to Mexico. The entire area of the Gadsden Purchase was added to New Mexico Territory, which immediately expanded Doña Ana County to administer the newly acquired area.
1857-1861. Butterfield Overland Stagecoach. Beginning in 1857, the Butterfield Overland Mail Co. held the U.S. Mail contract for service from either St. Louis or Memphis to San Francisco. The first part of the routes converged on Fort Smith, AR, then through Indian Territory to points including Fort Worth and El Paso, TX; and on to Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory. From Santa Fe to Los Angeles, the Butterfield route followed the same general trace as the Old Spanish Trail, passing through Tucson and Fort Yuma, en route to Los Angeles; and then up the Central Valley of California to San Francisco. For nearly three years, two Butterfield stages per week made the trip, one leaving Memphis each Monday and St. Louis each Thursday. From San Francisco, Butterfield stages departed each Monday and Thursday. The trip would take at least 22 days and sometimes up to 25 days to complete. The Butterfield southern mail service was discontinued upon the start of the Civil War, replaced by the Central Stage Route in 1861. The Butterfield operation was taken over by the Wells Fargo Co in 1866.
1859. New Mexico Territory created Arizona County from Doña Ana, within the Gadsden Purchase area of present Arizona south of the Gila River.
1860. Federal Census. New Mexico’s population of 93,516 people was enumerated in areas of present southern Colorado, and all of present Arizona and New Mexico. Arizona’s enumeration was in Arizona County, New Mexico Territory, including the few settlements just north of the Gila River; plus Fort Mojave on the Colorado River, technically in New Mexico’s Valencia County. Map Source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.
1861. Confederate troops from Texas invaded and occupied New Mexico Territory, mostly the settlements along the Rio Grande Valley, but also as far west as Tucson.
1861. The Territory of Colorado was created by the U.S. Congress. New Mexico lost the northern-most parts of Taos and Mora counties to the new territory.
1861-1862. The Confederate Territory of Arizona was declared by the Confederate Congress with the capital at La Mesilla. The area of the Confederate Territory of Arizona was a southern swath of the original New Mexico Territory on a horizontal line running from Texas to California.
1862. April. The battle of Velvarde and Glorieta Pass was fought to a stalemate, but soon after, the Confederate armies retreated from New Mexico, and the Confederate Territory of Arizona disappeared. However, Confederates troops did not leave Tucson until 1863.
1862. Arizona County, New Mexico Territory was abolished, its area returned to Doña Ana County.
1863.Arizona Territory was created by the U.S. Congress, with Prescott as the first capital. The area of New Mexico Territory was reduced to its present size and shape. Arizona Territory was created during the Civil War, and after the demise of the Confederate Territory of Arizona, the combined Confederate/Union area was managed by a military governor for two years. The northern boundary of Arizona Territory extended west to the California line, and included all of present Clark County, Nevada. When Congress divided New Mexico Territory on the same meridian as Colorado’s western line, the resulting map created the “four corners” of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, the only point in the U.S. where four states meet at a quadripoint.
1870. Federal Census. New Mexico Territory’s population was at 91,874.
1880. March. The Southern Pacific Railroad reached Tucson, Arizona Territory, completing the route from Los Angeles. The Southern Pacific had purchased a railroad running from the Atlantic Coast to Texas, and was now starting the connection from Arizona Territory to Texas.
1880. June. Federal Census. New Mexico Territory’s population was at 119,565. After microfilming, the National Archives gave away the original 1880 census schedules for New Mexico Territory (3 vols.). In the 1950s, they were first located at the DAR Library in Washington, DC., but recent inventories there show the NM 1880 originals may have been later moved (to New Mexico?).
1881. October. With the completion of the leg from Tucson, Arizona Territory to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and on to Sierra Blanca, Texas, the Southern Pacific Railroad became the second transcontinental railroad.
1885. June. A New Mexico territorial census was taken with federal assistance, the only territorial or state census in New Mexico.
1912. Jan 6. New Mexico became the 47th state, with Santa Fe as the state capital.
Prologue: An earlier GenealogyBlog article was Acadian/Cajun Timeline, 1603-1812 with historical events extracted from both the Maine Name Lists and Louisiana Name Lists books. This historical timeline is related to Louisiana separately, beginning with the early French claims and settlements of the Mississippi Basin; and continuing up to the time of Louisiana’s involvement in the Civil War, as follows:
1673. Mississippi River. French missionaries Jacques Jolliet and Louis Marquette left their base in Ste. Sault Marie, and made their way to the Illinois River, which they descended to become the first Frenchmen to find the Mississippi River. They floated down the Mississippi as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas River before returning to the Great Lakes area.
1682. La Louisiane Française. Following the same route as Jolliet and Marquette, René-Robert Cavelier (Sieur de LaSalle) floated down the Mississippi River, continuing all the way to its mouth at the Gulf of Mexico. He then claimed the entire Mississippi Basin for Louis XIV of France, for whom Louisiana was named. Soon after, the French established La Louisiane Française as a district of New France.
1685-1716. French claims in North America during this period included all of Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, plus the entire Mississippi Basin. French Forts and settlements established in the Mississippi region during this period included Prairie du Chien (1685), Arkansas Post (1686), Kaskaskia (1703), and Fort Rosalie/Natchez (1716).
1713. Queen Anne’s War. At the Peace of Utrecht ending the war, France ceded to Britain its claims to the present Maritime Provinces, including the Peninsular part of French Acadia (which the British renamed Nova Scotia). The remaining French claims in North America were contained within two jurisdictions: Quebéc, which included the St. Lawrence River Valley and Great Lakes region; and La Louisiane Française, which extended down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. The dividing line was at the Highlands (Terra Haute) on the Wabash River.
1718. La Nouvelle-Orleans (New Orleans) was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne (Sieur de Bienville). It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, the Regent of France. That year saw the first of many shiploads of French colonists arriving in Louisiana ports.
1719. Baton Rouge was established by the French as a military post.
1721. Arkansas Post. French and German colonists abandoned Arkansas Post, the largest settlement of all of French Louisiana. As a failed farming community, Arkansas Post was typical of the French efforts to colonize North America south of the Great Lakes. Arkansas Post continued as a fur trading post, but except for a handful of military units, the French presence in the Mississippi Basin now became one of single French fur trappers and traders paddling their canoes on the waterways.
1721. German Coast. A group of German immigrants, who had first settled at Arkansas Post, acquired farm land on the east side of the Mississippi River north of New Orleans. Most of them were formerly of the German-speaking Alsace-Lorraine area of France. They easily adapted themselves to the French culture of Louisiana, and later intermarried with the French Acadians coming into the same area. Their main settlements were at Karlstein, Hoffen, Mariental, and Augsburg, all part of the German Coast. The farms they operated were to become the main source of food for New Orleans for decades.
1722-1739. During this period of La Louisiane Française, a few more settlements and trading posts were established, including Fort du Rocher in 1722; Vincennes in 1732; Ste. Genevieve in 1735; and Fort Assumption in 1739.
1755-1758. Expulsion of the Acadians. When the British first took over the area known as Acadia in 1713, they asked the French Acadians to swear allegiance to Britain or leave. Many of the Acadians left the Peninsula (now Nova Scotia), crossing the Bay of Fundy to areas of Continental Acadia still under control of the French (now New Brunswick and Maine). They had a fairly peaceful coexistence with the British until 1755, when the British completed their conquest of Continental Acadia. The British then began forcibly removing Acadians, at first by deporting them to the Atlantic British colonies, but in 1758, they began transporting Acadians back to their homelands in France. Some of the Acadians left voluntarily, making their way to other areas of North America held by the French. A great number of the Acadians had lost their relationship with mother France after several generations in North America. These were the ones who sought out enclaves of Acadians forming over the next five or six years, moving into areas on both sides of the present border between New Brunswick and Maine; while the largest group eventually found a haven in the Lower Louisiana region.
1763. Treaty of Paris. The French and Indian War in colonial America ended. In Europe and Canada, it was called the Seven Years War. As the biggest loser in the war, France formally ceded all of its North American claims – Louisiana on the western side of the Mississippi was lost to Spain, the eastern side of the Mississippi and all of French Quebéc went to Britain. Soon after the treaty, all French military personnel left their North American posts. But, French civilian settlements continued in Lower Louisiana, such as New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Arkansas Post, and Natchez; and in Upper Louisiana, such as Prairie du Chien, Kaskaskia, and Vincennes. Spain did not take military control of Spanish Louisiana until 1766 (at New Orleans) and 1770 (at St. Louis).
1764-1765. Acadian Coast. In 1764, British forces completed the deportation of French Acadians from their homes in present Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine. The remaining Acadians were all herded onto ships. The destinations were not always clear, and the displaced Acadians were sometimes unloaded in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Savannah, Charleston, or Mobile. After a few initial families made their way to New Orleans via Mobile in early 1764, several shiploads of Acadians arrived in New Orleans in early 1765. Their first settlements were on the west side of the Mississippi River, near the present areas of St. James and Ascension Parishes. That first area became known as the Acadian Coast. Today there are 22 parishes of Louisiana considered part of Acadiana, a modern description of the region of southern Louisiana west of the Mississippi River first settled by French Acadians. For more details on the first Acadians in Louisiana, visit the Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History website.
1766. Antonio de Ulloa became the first Spanish governor of Louisiana, headquartered at New Orleans. He was a brilliant scientist (discoverer of the element Platinum), highly regarded by Spanish Royalty, but rose to his highest level of incompetence as a military leader.
1768. The Louisiana Rebellion of 1768 was an attempt by a combined armed force of Acadians, Creoles and German Coast settlers around New Orleans to stop the handover of French La Louisiane to Spain. The rebels forced Spanish Governor de Ulloa to leave New Orleans and return to Spain, but his replacement Alejandro O’Reilly was able to crush the rebellion. O’Reilly, an Irishman turned Cuban, was responsible for establishing military rule in Spanish Louisiana.
1770 – .Colonial Censuses. Original colonial Spanish censuses and name lists are located at the archives in Seville beginning with 1770, also available on microfilm.
1777-1778. During the Revolutionary War, a number of French-speaking Acadians from Louisiana joined their counterparts from the leftover French settlements of Kaskaskia, Vincennes, and Ste. Sault Marie. They were added to the Virginia Militia force commanded by General George Rogers Clark. General Clark later noted that the fiercely anti-British fighters he gained from the French communities contributed greatly to his monumental victories against the British in the conquest of the Old Northwest.
1783. United States of America. The treaty of Paris of 1783 first recognized the United States as an independent nation, with borders from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and from present Maine to Georgia. The treaty also reaffirmed the claims of Britain to present Canada; and Spain’s claim to East Florida, West Florida, New Spain (including Nuevo Mexico & Tejas), and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River.
1800-1802. Louisiana. In Europe, France gained title to Louisiana again after trading the Duchy of Tuscany (now Italy) to Spain. However, Napoleon found that his troops in the Caribbean were under siege and unable to provide much help in establishing a French government in Louisiana. Several months later, when American emissaries showed up in Paris trying to buy New Orleans from him, Napoleon decided to unload the entire tract. – legally described as “the drainage of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.”
1803. Louisiana Purchase. President Thomas Jefferson urged Congress to vote in favor, and the U.S. purchased the huge area from France, doubling the size of the United States. But, new disputed claims to areas of Lower Louisiana now existed between Spain and the U.S., in particular, the area between the Red River and Sabine River in present Louisiana; and the area of West Florida, east of the Mississippi River.
1804-1805.Orleans Territory and Louisiana District. In 1804, Congress divided the Louisiana Purchase into two jurisdictions. Orleans Territory had north and south bounds the same as the present state of Louisiana, but did not include its present Florida Parishes, and its northwest corner extended on an indefinite line west into Spanish Texas. The first capital of Orleans Territory was New Orleans. For a year, Louisiana District was attached to Indiana Territory for judicial administration, but became Louisiana Territory with its own Governor on July 4, 1805. St. Louis was the first capital of Louisiana Territory.
1806. Neutral Ground. The dispute between the U.S. and Spain over the Louisiana-Texas boundary was informally addressed by the two parties. Spain claimed east to the Red River; the U.S. claimed west to the Sabine River. In 1806, they made a temporary compromise with the so-called Neutral Ground, where neither exercised jurisdiction, creating a haven for fugitives. That lack of jurisdiction inspired the French Pirate, Jean Laffite, to use bayous within the Neutral Ground as a base of operations. The boundary issue was not resolved until the Adams-Onis Treaty, ratified in 1821. (Refer to the 1810 Map of Orleans Territory below).
1806. Orleans Territory Census. In its first legislative session of 1806, Orleans Territory authorized a census for that year. Although statistical returns were transmitted to the federal government, there appears to be no name list associated with the census.
1810. Map of Orleans Territory. The 20 parishes of Orleans Territory at the time of the August 1810 Federal Census are shown in black. The current 64 parishes of Louisiana are shown in white. Parish boundaries shown as dashed lines are uncertain due to poorly defined ecclesiastical jurisdictions and imprecise surveys. The disputed area northwest of the Neutral Ground reflected the view the U.S. held regarding the limits of the Louisiana Purchase. The area of present Louisiana east of the Mississippi is often referred to as “The Florida Parishes.” Map Source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.
1810-1940. Federal Censuses: The U.S. Federal Census name lists open to the public begin with the 1810 Orleans Territory, followed by Louisiana 1820-1880, and 1900-1940. The LA 1890, like all other states, was lost in a fire in Washington, DC in 1921. A complete 1890 census name list for Ascension Parish, Louisiana is one of only two parishes/counties in the U.S. for which a copy was made and survived in the local courthouse (the other was Washington County, Georgia).
1810. September. A small group of Americans overcame the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge, and unfurled the new flag of the Republic of West Florida.
1810 West Florida Annexation
1810. October. In a proclamation by President James Madison, the U.S. arbitrarily annexed Spain’s West Florida from the Mississippi River to the Perdido River, an area that the U.S. believed should have been part of the Louisiana Purchase. The area included the existing towns of Baton Rouge, Biloxi, and Mobile. Spain disagreed that the area was ever part of Louisiana, refused to recognize the annexation, and continued their claim to West Florida in dispute with the U.S. for another ten years.
1811. The side-wheeler steamboat New Orleans was the first Mississippi steamboat. Launched in Pittsburgh, it was first used between Natchez and New Orleans. The port of New Orleans and other ports along the Mississippi River were to see dramatic increases in docking, warehousing, and manufacturing related to the huge increase in river traffic after the introduction of steamboats.
1812. January. Congress added to Mississippi Territory the portion of the West Florida annexation from the Perdido River to the Pearl River, an area which included Mobile and Biloxi; and the portion from the Pearl River to the Mississippi River was added to Orleans Territory, an area that included Baton Rouge.
1812. April 30th. Louisiana Statehood. The same area as old Orleans Territory became the state of Louisiana, the 18th state in the Union. New Orleans was the first state capital.
1812. June 4th. Louisiana Territory was renamed Missouri Territory. For about five weeks in 1812, a Louisiana Territory and a State of Louisiana existed at the same time.
1815. January. Battle of New Orleans. Andrew Jackson commanded an American force of about 3,100 men that prevented an invading British Army with about 7,500 men from seizing New Orleans. Word of the December 1814 Treaty of Ghent officially ending the war had not reached New Orleans yet, and upon the retreat of the British Army, the Battle of New Orleans became the final American victory of the War of 1812. Listen to Johnny Horton – Battle of New Orleans Lyrics for the story.
1821. Adams-Onis Treaty. The treaty included the purchase of Florida, but also set the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain, from Louisiana to the Oregon Country. The treaty established the Sabine River and Red River borders with Spanish Tejas; ending any further claim by the U.S. to Texas as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The treaty also formalized the Arkansas River as the border with Nuevo Mexico; and established Latitude 42° North as the division between California and the Oregon Country. The treaty was named after John Quincy Adams, U.S. Secretary of State, and Luis de Onis, the Spanish Foreign Minister, the parties who signed the treaty at Washington in 1819. It was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1821. John Quincy Adams was given credit for a brilliant piece of diplomacy by adding the western boundary settlements with Spain to the Florida Purchase.
1833. Louisiana State Census. The constitution of 1812 provided for state censuses to be taken every four years commencing in 1813. It is known that at least some of the years were actually taken, but only the original 1833 state census for St. Tammany Parish has ever been found.
1860.Louisiana Federal Census. Ten months before the start of the Civil War, the June 1860 Federal Census for Louisiana revealed a diverse population of 708,002 people. For example, the African-American slave population of 331,726 was about 47% of the total, the largest percentage of any state. In 1860, the Acadians, German Coast settlers, and Creoles (descendants of colonial French, Spanish, or African settlers) outnumbered the Anglo-Americans, who were less than 20% of the population, the smallest number of any state.
1861-1865. Civil War Era. Louisiana seceded from the Union in January 1861 and joined the Confederate States of America soon after. New Orleans was the largest city in the Confederacy, and was an early target by Union forces to control and maintain the flow of cotton on the Mississippi River to northern textile manufacturers. The city was captured in April 1862 and ruled by a Union Army General for the duration of the war.
Prologue: The highlighted events of this historical timeline for New Jersey are focused on the colonial settlements and subsequent jurisdictional changes that evolved. The goal is to give genealogists a sense of the jurisdictions in place at the time an ancestor lived there. The events include areas near New Jersey inhabited by Dutch, Swedish, English, and finally American settlers, as follows:
1497. Giovanni Caboto, an Italian sponsored by English King Henry VII, explored the Atlantic coast of North America. He claimed the area for the English King, who changed his name to John Cabot in honor of the event.
1524. Giovanni da Verrazano explored the Middle Atlantic region. An Italian hired by the King of France, he sailed past the present New Jersey coast, entered New York bay and reached the Hudson River, then headed north towards present Maine.
1558.Elizabeth I became Queen of England. The earliest explorations of North America took place during her 45-year reign, the Elizabethan Era, or “Golden Age.”
1606. Two joint stock companies were founded, both with royal charters issued by King James I for the purpose of establishing colonies in North America. The Virginia Company of London was given a land grant between Latitude 34° (Cape Fear) and Latitude 41° (Long Island Sound). The Virginia Company of Plymouth was founded with a similar charter, between Latitude 38° (Potomac River) and Latitude 45° (St. John River).
1607. May. Led by John Smith and his cousin, Bartholomew Gosnold, the London Company established the first permanent English settlement in North America – the Jamestown Colony.
1608. English Capt. John Smith of the Jamestown Colony, explored Chesapeake Bay. He was probably looking for crab cakes.
1609. New York. Samuel de Champlain explored the New York area, after dropping down from the St. Lawrence River. He claimed the region as part of New France, and managed to name several places after himself.
1609. Delaware Bay and River. Henry Hudson, an Englishman sailing for the Dutch East India Company, discovered a large bay and river. A year later, Captain Samuel Argall, an English sea captain, named the bay and river after Thomas West, Baron De La Warr, governor of Virginia.
1613. New Amsterdam. A Dutch trading post was set up on lower Manhattan Island. The Dutch discovered that a Swiss Army Knife could buy just about anything from the Indians.
1614. New Netherland Colony. The extensive Dutch claims now included settlements ranging from above present Albany on the Hudson River; then south, to include areas from the Hudson River to the Connecticut River; plus New Amsterdam and much of Long Island. Their claims also extended south of Long Island to the uninhabited areas of present New Jersey, the Delaware Valley, and the shores of Delaware Bay.
1638. Delaware. Dutchman Peter Minuet led a group of Swedes to the Delaware and established Fort Christiana (now Wilmington), the first permanent settlement on the Delaware and the founding of the New Sweden Colony.
1651. Delaware. Peter Stuyvesant, Dutch governor of New Netherland, built Fort Casimir (now New Castle) just a few miles south of Fort Christiana on the Delaware, but the Swedes were no longer getting along with the Dutch and resented the intrusion.
1654. Delaware. The Swedes captured Fort Casimir and renamed it Fort Trinity. A year later the Dutch defeated the Swedes, ending the New Sweden colony, and Delaware became part of New Netherland. But, several Swedish communities continued.
1660. Bergen was established by the Dutch, the first permanent settlement in present New Jersey. At that time, the entire area of present New Jersey was referred to as “Bergen.”
1664. New York. The Dutch colony of New Netherland was taken over by the English after Gov. Peter Stuyvesant surrendered to the British following an “invasion.” About ten Red Coats had marched to Stuyvesant’s house on lower Manhattan, knocked on the front door, when the Governor appeared and handed them his only weapon, a non-functioning dueling pistol. Stuyvesant then asked, “Are you fellows staying for lunch?” The English also took control of the New Jersey settlements from the Dutch with about the same amount of resistance. Soon after these glorious victories, King Charles II granted to his brother, James, the Duke of York, the following: “…the main land between the two rivers there, called or known by the several names of Conecticut or Hudsons river… and all the lands from the west side of Connecticut, to the east side of Delaware Bay.” The area called New Netherland was now named New York.
1664. Delaware. Sir Robert Carr drove the Dutch off the Delaware and claimed the land for James, Duke of York. Delaware then became an English colony.
1665. New Jersey. James, Duke of York, granted to Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkley of Stratton, a part of the New York colony between the Hudson River and the Delaware River.
1674-1676. East Jersey and West Jersey. In 1674, Lord Berkley sold his share to a group of Quakers led by William Penn. Sir George Carteret’s original portion was then named East Jersey. In 1676, the Quaker’s portion was named West Jersey. Still in England, William Penn was now heavily involved in the transportation of Quakers to the West Jersey Colony. He was a trustee in the colony’s establishment, and was responsible for drawing up the first set of laws. They would become the basis for the Great Experiment he envisioned for Pennsylvania a few years later. Map source: www.reddit.com.
1674. The Treaty of Westminster ended hostilities between the English and Dutch and officially returned all Dutch colonies in America to the English. This ended the official Dutch presence in North America – but many of the Dutch settlements continued under English rule, particularly along the Hudson River of New York, and in and around Bergen, East Jersey.
1681. Pennsylvania. William Penn was granted land in North America by Charles II to establish the colony of Pennsylvania. He arrived in October 1682 on the ship Welcome. He visited Philadelphia, just laid out as the capital city, and soon after his arrival, summoned a General Assembly, called for uniting Delaware with Pennsylvania, and created the first three Pennsylvania counties of Bucks, Chester, and Philadelphia.
1682. Delaware. James, the Duke of York, transferred control of the Delaware Colony to English Quaker William Penn.
1702. Province of New Jersey. East and West Jersey were combined into one colony again. The two proprietors appointed a governor for the Province of New Jersey, but retained independent land management for both East New Jersey and West New Jersey. Thereafter, the two original land offices remained intact under the administration of Land Commissions, for the purpose of selling land to individuals. Both commissions still exist today.
1707. During the reign of Queen Anne, the United Kingdom of Great Britain was established after the Union with Scotland Act passed the English Parliament in 1706; and the Union with England Act passed the Parliament of Scotland in 1707. The English Colonies now became the British Colonies.
1763. Treaty of Paris. The French and Indian War ended. Great Britain gained control of all lands previously held by France west of the Mississippi River, which became the dividing line between British North America and New Spain.
1776-1783. Revolutionary War. The 1783 Treaty of Paris ended the war, and the United States of America was officially recognized as an independent nation by Britain, France, and Spain.
1787. Dec. 12. New Jersey became the 3rd state to join the Union just a few hours after Pennsylvania.
New Jersey Censuses and Substitutes:
1780s-1840s. New Jersey Ratable Lists. From the late 1700s through the early 1800s, numerous tax lists were prepared at the county level in New Jersey. A person named in one of these assessment lists of county residents was called a “ratable.” Many of the original Ratable Lists are now at the New Jersey State Library. After the NJ Federal and State Censuses, the NJ Ratable Lists probably provide the next best chance of finding a lost ancestor in New Jersey.
1790, 1800, 1810 & 1820 New Jersey Federal Censuses. The first four federal censuses taken in New Jersey were lost (the most for any state).
1830-1840 Federal Census Years. The 1830 map above shows the 14 counties of New Jersey at the time of the 1830 Federal Census. New Jersey’s first four Federal Censuses, 1790-1820, were lost. The only difference in county boundaries between the years 1790 and 1830 was the addition of Warren County, taken from Sussex in 1824. The 1840 map above shows the 18 counties of New Jersey at the time of the 1840 Federal Census. Counties formed after 1840: Camden County, taken from Gloucester in 1844; Ocean County, taken from Monmouth in 1850; and Union County, taken from Essex in 1857. Map source: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920.
1850-1880 & 1900-1940. New Jersey Federal Censuses are complete for all counties. The 1890 census for all states was lost in a fire.
1855-1915. New Jersey State Censuses: For the purpose of apportionment of its General Assembly, New Jersey began taking state censuses in 1855. They continued every ten years thereafter until the last one in 1915. The 1855 and 1865 censuses have some missing counties, but cover most of the state. The worst losses are for the 1875 census, which has just three counties with name lists. The 1885 through 1915 censuses are complete for all counties. All of the extant census originals were microfilmed by the NJ State Archives and copies are available elsewhere, including the FHL library in Salt Lake City.