Charles Watts and his sister Blanche Watts were each counted twice in the 1940 census for Searcy County, Arkansas.

The first count for both was on sheet 4B of enumeration district 65-1, the city of Marshall in Bear Creek Township, Searcy County. Enumerator Blaine T. Myatt visited the Watts home on Walnut Street on Friday, 5 April 1940 and interviewed William Marley Watts. Mister Myatt recorded the family as follows:

1940 Census Marley Watts
1940 Census, Marshall, Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Recorded was Marley, his wife “Dealy” (Cordelia), and their children: daughter “Blanch” (Blanche), son Charles, and daughter “Ermidine” (Ermadean). Marley and Cordelia’s marital status was “M” for married, naturally. It was the same for Blanche and Charles, yet no spouses were recorded for either. Also, it was recorded that Cordelia, Blanche, and Charles all had completed an eighth grade education, while Ermadean had completed sixth grade. Marley was employed as a surveyor at the Dogwood Mill.

This enumeration probably seemed very routine to Mister Myatt. How could he have known that Marley gave him incorrect information? Charles and Blanche did not reside at Walnut Street at that time.

Elsewhere on that same April day, enumerator Alta Shillings visited the household of Charles Watts, who was renting a farm in rural Bear Creek Township. While interviewing Charles’ wife Ruby did Mister Shillings record the following:

1940 Charles Watts
1940 Census, Bear Creek Township, Searcy County, Arkansas.

Charles, then, was counted twice – once in the household of his parents and once as the head of his own household. Note the difference in his age here, 23, and his age given by Marley, 22. Charles’ education level was the same as Marley had given it: eighth grade. Charles and Ruby had been married for just over a year at this point and had a six-months old son, Billy Wayne Watts.

It took some time for an undertaking as vast as the Federal census to be completed. It would be over a month before Charles’ sister Blanche would get her second entry.

On 13 and 14 May 1940, enumerator Ella Parks was working to record the households in rural Red River Township. Mrs. Parks recorded the following upon interviewing John Henry Graham at the Graham farm:

1940 Census, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. This is the bottom of sheet 1A.
1940 Census, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. This is the top of sheet 1B.

John informed Mrs. Parks that his household included son Daniel, his wife Blanche, and their three children: Leroy, Janice and William. Note that John had given Blanche’s age as 25, while her father Marley had given it as 23. Also, John said Blanche’s education level was fourth grade, while Marley said eighth grade. Thus was Blanche Watts counted again.

Sources 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Marshall, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 65-1. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Bear Creek, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 65-2. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 1940 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Red River, Searcy, Arkansas; Roll: T627_173; Pages: 1A, 1B; Enumeration District: 65-13. Retrieved 28 December 2014.

One thought on “Two Watts Twice Counted

  1. You got that all right – Byron – and of course I had Charles and Ruby to help me with all of that, back in the mid 1990’s. I really thank the Good Lord for allowing me to know those two people – they were wonderful to me and told me so many stories about those who lived our in Watts, AR.


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