Exploring the 1880 Defective, Dependent & Delinquent Schedule was a new experience for me. A search of family surnames, both in the Stufflebean line and the Sabo line yielded only one distant relative result and that was for Benjamin Blyther of Machias, Washington County, Maine. I believe he might be the son of Benjamin Blyther of Calais, Maine, who was the second husband of my ancestress, Rebecca Jones Crouse. Rebecca and her first husband, Peter Crouse, are my direct line. However, that has not been proven.
In the case of Benjamin Blyther, not only was he listed as a pauper, but his wife, Charity, and two youngest children, Joseph and Henry, were dependent upon public charity. They were found in the “Pauper and Indigent Inhabitants in Institutions, Poor-Houses or Asylums, or Boarded at Public Expense in Private Houses” schedule.
However, no reason is given for the family’s need. Benjamin’s and Charity’s sons were 19 and 17, so certainly of an age where they could be out working, particularly if their father was unemployed.
The 1850 census of Machias, Maine shows Benjamin with his young family:
Benjamin likely married Charity about 1838 or 1839, as the oldest child in the house in 1850 was Mary A., aged 10. Also in the home were Benjamin D., aged 8, John W., 6, Andrew F., 5 and George S., aged 1 year old.
The family is split onto two pages in 1860, but adds daughters Naomi, born about 1851, Martha, born about 1855 and Sarah, born about 1868 to the household.
In 1870, Benjamin Blyther Jr. was living in his own household next door to his parents and siblings. Benjamin Sr. and Charity had two more children, Joseph, born about 1861 and Henry, born about 1863. In this census, neither of the Benjamins had any value listed under real estate or personal estate, although others on the page had entries in these columns.
Benjamin Sr. died sometime between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. Widow Charity is enumerated next door to her son, Benjamin, still in Machias in 1900.
Charity reported in 1900 that she had given birth to eleven children, with seven still living in 1900. There is no occupation listed for either her or Benjamin Jr. Instead, Benjamin’s column says “WG 022” and Charity’s column says “NG 002.” I have no idea what those codes mean.
It is always a good thing to explore a new resource, so even though I didn’t find any people directly related to Dave’s family or my own, it was a learning experience.