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Census data for canal workers, 1850 to 1920 ( more details)

in Washington County, Maryland Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Washington County data on the United States Census, 1850 – 1920

Included to date:
1850- Sharpsburg and Williamsport areas.
1860- Bakersville, Clear Spring, Hancock, Indian Spring, Sandy Hook, Sharpsburg, Tilghmanton, Williamsport areas.
1870- Bakersville, Boonsboro Clear Spring, Fairplay, Indian Spring, Hancock, Keep Tryst, Millstone Point, Rohrersville, Sharpsburg, Sir Johns Run, Weverton, Williamsport, areas.
1880- all areas along and near the canal.
1900- Boonsboro, Clear Spring, Downsville, Hancock, Indian Spring, Keedysville, Sharpsburg, Tilghmanton, Williamsport areas.
1910- Clear Spring, Downsville, Hancock and area, Sandy Hook, Sharpsburg, Tilghmanton, Williamsport,
1920- Clear Spring, Downsville, Hancock areas, Indian Spring, Keedysville, Sandy Hook, Sharpsburg, Tilghmanton, Williamsport


This data was obtained from the United States Census enumeration sheets from 1850 to 1920. Names were identified by browsing the online census sheets by census year, state, county and district. The census sheets for the areas along the canal in Washington County, Maryland, were searched individually for occupations with a canal connection such as boatman, canal laborer, lock tender, foreman on canal, cook on canal boat etc. For census year 1880 which is indexed on occupation, the list was produced by searching for census terminology, eliminating the need to look at the individual census pages. Although the canal existed prior to 1850, that year marked the first inclusion of occupation data on the federal census. The 1890 census for Washington County was lost in a fire.

The listing is not complete. Several variables were involved in producing this list. District designations and occupational terminology have changed through the years. Transcriber interpretation of handwriting and inability to read some individual records has made the process long and tedious. The information in this list is as accurate as possible.

The number of workers in Washington County connected to the canal is as follows
1850       32
1860       199
1870       251
1880       364
1900       187
1910       134
1920       99
So far in our research, a total of 1382 county residents were listed in the census with an occupation connected to the canal during those 70 years. Many were listed only once, but a few appeared in several censuses. For example, Owen Bissett of Sandy Hook was listed in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census as a boatman.

---Click on the first PDF to see the list of names and occupations. The second PDF includes a breakdown of occupation and district.



Public domain

See also William Baumann's lists Payrolls of Canal Company, C&O Canal Association.


Collection Location:

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Md.); Washington County (Md.), History

Maryland, 1824-1938

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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