The Confusing 1850 Census of Navarro District, Texas
Nancy Timmons Samuels
[The 1850 census of Ellis County is confusing because some residents of other counties are shown. Nancy Timmons Samuels has provided a clear explanation in the following article. Originally published in Footprints, (quarterly of the Fort Worth Genealogical Society, August 1997) it is reprinted on the Ellis County TXGenWeb website with permission of the author.]
Ellis and Tarrant Counties were created from Navarro County in December 1849, barely in time to have their own 1850 censuses taken. I have never seen an adequate explanation about their situation in any published version of their censuses. The confounding "notes" on microfilm rolls merely obfuscate, and copiers have mainly ignored them.
This mish-mash, together with the fact that Mr. Hogan began each page anew with dwelling-family numbers [1-1], making it impossible to follow his sequence of enumeration by the progression of such numbers, has caused confusion to those unfamiliar with the residents of the counties. Further confusion is caused by the fact that these censuses are not in proper page sequence of enumeration. Mr. Hogan numbered most of his pages, but, in some instances, his page numbers are missing (or were not filmed).
The only way Mr. Hogan's progress can be determined is by the date of enumeration at the top of each census page. He enumerated present Navarro County from September 16 - October 18. This included the sparsely settled parts of present Hill County, to Fort Graham on the Brazos, and some of present Johnson County, both counties not yet created and still part of original Navarro.
On 21 October, Mr. Hogan began his enumeration of "Navarro District, Ellis County." This included present Ellis County, plus a northeast triangular area of yet to be created Johnson County (said area remained part of Ellis County until 1871). He finished Ellis County on 30 October 1850 and entered sparsely settled Tarrant County. Obviously, he did not know where he was at all times, which explains his haphazard page headings. Fort Worth was just a recent reality, its first soldiers stationed there. Mr. Hogan rambled around the county, backtracking, finding pockets of settlers here and there - all in the eastern half of the county - and in the process, enumerated at least one Denton County family, several Dallas County families, and a few more Ellis-Johnson County families, before returning to his home in northeast Navarro County.
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