Before they owned a radio…before they purchased a Model T…before they opened a grocery and restaurant, they laid their lives bare. Information was recorded about them by a neighbor who passed it on to the Census Office. Their answers became a part of the Twelfth Census of The United States in 1900. This census asked more questions than had previous ones. On that official enumeration sheet, the lives of the Lafayette Edward Boultinghouse family would unfold in simple facts.
The 12th Census began on 1 June 1900 and was to be completed in one month’s time. The Boultinghouses lived in Tilden Township, Osborne County, Kansas. At the time, Lafe and wife Naomi had three children plus his mother and a lodger within the household. The couple had been married for six years in the previous year. Naomi had given birth to three children with all three living. Lafe was listed as a day laborer who rented their property. Lafe and Naomi were literate and could speak, read, and write English. The children ranged in ages from 1 to 6 years of age. Lafe, wife, and children had been born in Kansas. Lafe’s mother Mary was born in France. The census states that she immigrated to the United States in 1844 and had resided there for 56 years. The lodger, George W. Forrest, had been born in Ohio and was employed as a stone mason. The birth month and year for each was recorded . The birthplaces of their parents were listed.
Who from this household answered the questions? How well did they know the enumerator, George V. Rogers? Did they socialize at Sunday school picnics with their neighbors the Britts and the Tiltons? Biographical facts are told in the census, but personalities are not present. Those discoveries would be left to their descendants in the 21 Century.
Note: Two mistakes can be found in this record. Mother Mary Boultinghouse emigrated from France by 1843 as she was married that year in Manhattan, New York. One of the daughters’ names is listed as Ellen when it was Helen.
Further Note: The Boultinghouses are part of my mother’s family who had been in America since the early 1700s. My father’s parents would not come to America until the early 1900s. They would first appear in the 1920 Census.