A Tale of Two Farmers in 1860

Robert Garrett Stephens (1804-1881) and Edward Haney Ruffner (1820-1908) were both farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. On August 8, 1871, Robert’s youngest offspring of twelve, Hulda Stephens, married Edward’s oldest offspring, James Alexande…

Robert Garrett Stephens (1804-1881) and Edward Haney Ruffner (1820-1908) were both farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  On August 8, 1871, Robert’s youngest offspring of twelve, Hulda Stephens, married Edward’s oldest offspring, James Alexander Chapman Ruffner, linking the two families. (1)  We get some hint from Robert’s will probated in 1881 that he did not regard Hulda’s husband James as positively as his other sons-in-law. (2)  And later events will justify his trepidation. [No footnote here; that story stands on its own!] 

We have a comparative snapshot of the two future in-laws in 1860, thanks to Non-population Census Schedules, in this case the Agricultural Schedules. (3) The next research step will be to obtain the 1870 values and see how their relative fortunes unfolded in the decade that led up to the marriage of Hulda and James.

 

Agricultural Census Category

Robert G. Stephens

Edward H. Ruffner

Improved Acres

155

200

Unimproved Acres

125

96

Cash Value of Farm

$6,300

$1,000

Value of Farming Implements

 and Machinery

$150

$50

Horses

5

2

Milk Cows

5

2

Other Cattle

5

1

Sheep

15

6

Swine

15

5

Value of Livestock

$595

$300

Bushels of Wheat

57

8

Bushels of Rye

12

12

Bushels of Indian Corn

150

50

Bushels of Oats

270

48

Lbs. of Wool

55

8

Bushels of Irish Potatoes

140

30

Bushels of Buckwheat

105

75

Lbs. of Butter

300

200

Tons of Hay

25

2

Bushels of Clover Seed

5

 

Lbs. of Beeswax

5

 

Lbs. of Honey

50

 

Value of Homemade Manufactures

$35

 

Value of Animals Slaughtered

$165

$42

NOTE:  Categories that were blank for both farmers were omitted.  For instance, neither raised tobacco or sweet potatoes, made wine or cheese. Overall, there were 45 data items — just on this schedule alone. Compare that to today’s 10 question census.

———————————————–

(1)  Civil War Pension File of James A. C. Ruffner, Sr., Co. A, 1st Battalion, Penna. Cavalry, 1925 Declaration for Pension. Record Group 15, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Archives, Washington, D.C.  

(2) Indiana County, Pennsylvania, Wills, 1807-1917. Register of Wills, Indiana. Book 5: 65, will of Robert G. Stephens, 1879; FHL microfilm 128,595. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

(3)  1860 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, agriculture schedule, pp. 7-8, line 23, Robt. G. Stephens, NARA microfilm publication T1138, roll 14. 1860 U.S. census, Indiana County, Pennsylvania, agriculture schedule, pp. 71-72, line 30, Edward H. Ruffner, NARA microfilm publication T1138, roll 14.

 

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