Today, we’re looking at our Scott ancestors in the 1850 United States census of District 28, Benton County, Alabama, enumerated on Thursday, 14 November 1850 by G. C. Ellis, Assistant Marshall.
First, a warning: I’ve noticed a fair lot of people’s family trees at Ancestry.com have cited the location of this census as the town of Benton in Lowndes County, Alabama. If you ever see genealogy claim our Grahams and Scotts were in Lowndes County, it is totally wrong. As proof, here is the top of the census page I’m citing:
That clearly reads “in the County of Benton.” Benton County changed its name to Calhoun County eight years later for pro-slavery reasons in the build-up to the Civil War.
There are three Scott family groups found on this page. First up, Robert Scott, the patriarch of this branch.
Robert Scott was enumerated as “R. Scott.” His age was given as 69, which would place his birth around 1781 in North Carolina, during the period of the American Revolutionary War. His occupation was farmer, with his farm worth $350 dollars then, about $12,275 in 2021 dollars.
In the same household was a 49 years old female named S. Scott who was born in Virginia around 1801. I’m not yet certain who she was. Could be a child, could be a spouse. I just don’t know.
Jesse M. Scott
Next up is the household of Jesse M. Scott, Robert’s son, enumerated directly below his father.
Jesse was recorded as “J. M. Scott.” His age was 39, which would place his birth around 1811 in North Carolina. His occupation was farmer, but there was no value recorded for his farm.
Jesse’s wife Senia was recorded as “C. Scott.” Ancestry.com has indexed her name as “H. Scott” here, but that’s not an H, it’s a C. The thing that makes it look like an H is the big back swoop from the J on the line above. This illustrates why it’s important to look at the actual records. Senia’s age was given as 31, which would place her birth around 1813 in North Carolina.
“W. T.” was their son William Thomas Scott. He was 16 years old, which would place his birth around 1834 in North Carolina, probably Caswell County, as that’s where his parents were married the year prior to his birth. His occupation was farmer, likely working with his father.
“W. L.” was son Willis Lee Scott. He was 15 years old, which would place his birth around 1835 in North Carolina, probably Caswell County. No occupation given.
Next was daughter M. J. Scott. She was 12 years old, which would place her birth around 1838 in North Carolina, probably Caswell County. This is the only record I’ve seen that refers to M. J. by name, though the 1840 census counted her. She likely died soon after this census because I’ve found no further references to her.
“J. H.” was son John Henry Scott. His age was recorded as 9 years old, which would place his birth around 1841. We know that year is wrong, though, because John was counted on the 1840 census as an infant. John was born in Carroll County, Georgia.
“M. A.” was daughter Mary Ann Scott. Her age was 8 years old, which would place her birth around 1842 in Georgia, probably Carroll County.
“S. F.” was daughter Sarah F. Scott. Her age was 6 years old, which would place her birth around 1844 in Georgia, probably Carroll County. Sarah was my 2x great grandmother.
“S. E.” was daughter S. Elizabeth Scott. Her age was 4, which would place her birth around 1846 in Georgia, probably Carroll County. I’ve seen no record that revealed what the S means.
“E. J.” was daughter Eliza J. Scott. Her age was 2, which would place her birth around 1848 in Georgia, probably Carroll County. I’ve seen no record that revealed what the J means. Eliza and Elizabeth are often mixed up by poor researchers due to the similarity of their names and the proximity of their births.
The year and location of Eliza’s birth suggests that the Scotts had recently settled in Benton County.
Finally, we come to the household of James Jackson, who was not a Scott, but he married one. James’ household was enumerated directly below Jesse Scott’s household.
James Jackson was enumerated as “Jas.” a common abbreviation for his given name. His age was 25 years old, which would place his birth around 1825 in Georgia. His occupation was farmer. No value was recorded for his farm.
“S. Jackson” was James’ wife, the former Sophia Scott, who was the sister of Jesse and the daughter of Robert. Her age was 29, which would place her birth around 1821 in North Carolina. James and Sophia were married on 24 September 1846 in Benton County.
“M. E.” was their daughter Martha E. Jackson. Her age was 2, which placed her birth about 1848 in Benton County, Alabama.
“M. S.” was daughter Mary Susan Jackson. Her age appears to read 2/12. Since the census was supposed to record households as of 1 June 1850, this could suggest Mary’s birth was in April. Alternately, since Mary was enumerated in November, this could suggest a September birth, though in this case she shouldn’t have been enumerated at all. Her grave marker placed her birth in November 1849, so there’s an error somewhere.
There’s always an error somewhere.
Ancestry.com, 1850 United States Federal Census (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data – Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the ), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Year: 1850; Census Place: District 28, Benton, Alabama; Roll: M432_1; Page: 285A; Image: 671. Record for J M Scott. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=8054&h=19114034&indiv=try.
Causey, Donna R. “This Alabama County Changed It’s Name over the Issue of Slavery.” Alabama Pioneers, 12 Sept. 2017, http://www.alabamapioneers.com/benton-changed-name-to-calhoun/.
Newspapers.com – Jacksonville Republican – Page 3 (Jacksonville, Alabama, Jacksonville Republican, 1861-04-04), http://www.newspapers.com, Probate notice of Robert Scott. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/73983843/probate-notice-of-robert-scott-jesse/?xid=637.
“$350 in 1850 → 2021 | Inflation Calculator.” Official Inflation Data, Alioth Finance, 2 Oct. 2021, https://www.officialdata.org/us/inflation/1850?amount=350.
Ancestry.com, North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Record for Senia Malone. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=60548&h=13033450&indiv=try.
Ancestry.com, 1840 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010), Ancestry.com, Year: 1840; Census Place: District 653, Carroll, Georgia; Roll: 38; Family History Library Film: 0007042. Record for Jepe M Scott. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=8057&h=1663947&indiv=try.
Ancestry.com, Alabama, County Marriage Records, 1805-1967 (Lehi, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Record for Sophia Scott. https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=61365&h=901493937&indiv=try.
Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/14242245/mary-susan-jackson : accessed 02 October 2021), memorial page for Mary Susan Jackson (11 Nov 1849–22 Sep 1934), Find a Grave Memorial ID 14242245, citing Muscadine Memory Garden, Muscadine, Cleburne County, Alabama, USA ; Maintained by FHTerry (contributor 47011755) .