Saturday, June 18, 2016

1850 Census Love!

I am just wild about the 1850 census. Sure it doesn't give family relationships or how many years the couple was married or how many children she had, but it has a raw freshness that's fascinating.

It was the first census that lists household member, and a lot more! But "more" in a different way that can reveal much about the people enumerated! Maybe the enumerator had that beginner's "unleashed" mindset in which lack of specific and clear instructions meant more candid listings. And it's always interesting to see who had valuable real estate!

Check these two entries from Cumberland, Allegany County, Maryland.

I posted these pages to the Western Maryland History Group on Facebook, which is a closed group of pretty serious historian and family researchers, and got a fascinating response. Brenda, who lives in the Kansas City area for some time recognized the name Jesse Quantrill, who was spending some quality time with the jailer, as you can see above. She added some frosting to this census return with the following, transcribed from this web page. Read on and be amazed!! Thank you so much, Brenda, for going the extra step to make history come alive.
“Mary Lane, daughter of Seth Lane, said to have been one of the foremost citizens of Hagerstown, was infatuated with him, and they were clandestinely married. She was to inherit a considerable sum of money at a certain age which she had not attained by a year when married. By making a very full and sweeping relinquishment he secured this money from the bank in which it had been deposited, and which, it was affirmed, belonged in part to Seth Lane and his son. When his wife had attained her majority he endeavored to collect the money again, alleging that the bank had no legal right to pay the money at the time it had been paid

“With the money of his wife he had engaged in the grocer business in Williamsport, MD. This business was a failure, and the money was lost. He then determined to engage in larger operations. He went to New York City, where he represented himself to be the son of a wealthy Virginia merchant well known there, and purchased on credit a large stock of goods, which he caused to be shipped to himself at Baltimore. This swindle was discovered by the merchants in time to stop a portion of the shipment and save some of the goods. But he succeeded in disposing of a part of the merchandise I a way which baffled all attempts to trace it. To avoid the consequences of this transaction he availed himself of the benefit of the law for bankrupts, but as his action was based on fraud he was cast into prison. For ix months his beautiful wife shared his cell. He finally secured an acquittal and was released. While in prison he had read law under directions from William Price, one of the leading lawyers of Western Maryland.

“From Maryland Jesse D. Quantrill went to St. Louis, Mo., where he was soon in trouble and in jail, securing his release finally through the efforts of his wife, who still clung to him. Upon his release he took boat for Cincinnati, and while on board committed a forgery which seems to have been discovered at once, and for which he escaped punishment. From Cincinnati he went to New Orleans, where he became dissipated and began to neglect and abuse his wife. She fell ill, and her condition appeared to work a change in him. He started by boat to take her home to Maryland but while to boat was yet on the Mississippi river he committed a forgery on a Cincinnati bank. He was soon detected in this crime, was taken to Cincinnati and thrown into jail. After a confinement in prison of seven months is wife succeeded in securing him bail, which he forfeited by not appearing for trial, deserting his wife at that place. She next heard of him at Hagerstown, where he was in trouble for a forgery he committed there, but for which he escaped conviction. He then went to Pennsylvania, were he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the penitentiary for forgery, and he served three years. While serving this sentence his wife secured a divorce from him, it is said, by the act of the Maryland Legislature. When he hear of her action in procuring the divorce he made many savage threats against her life. But upon his release from prison he married a Pennsylvania lady, and was soon thereafter arrested for another forgery, for which he was sentenced to a term of seven years in the penitentiary.

“Meanwhile, Mrs. Quantill had married a Mr. A. Cowton, proprietor of the United States Hotel, Cumberland, Maryland with whom she was happily living. Quantrill was released from the Pennsylvania penitentiary in 1848. In March, 1849, he appeared in Cumberland. On the fifth of that month Mrs, Cowton was in her apartments, when a servant showed up a gentleman who had just arrived in the city. He dismissed the servant, and closed and locked the door. He then turned to Mrs. Cowton, who was horrified to behold Qunatrill, her former husband. There was murder in his looks, and she screamed for help. He told her that her hour had come, caught her by the throat, threw her to the floor, placed his knee upon her breast, and snapped a pistol in her face. When the pistol missed fire, and just as he was drawing a long knife, several persons who had been attracted by her screams, broke down the door and rescued Mrs. Cowton

“For this attempt to murder he was sentenced to a term of imprisonment. He must have possessed a fascinating personality, for he soon obtained an unaccountable influence over the prison officials and was allowed considerable freedom, even acting as guard over other prisoners. In 1851 he was pardoned upon condition that he would leave the state and never return.”

No comments:

Post a Comment