I, and others, have long suspected that Burrell Baggett was on the 1810 Federal Census in Haywood County, North Carolina. There is a listing on ancestry.com for a “Berrell Beggett” at that location. Unfortunately, two pages of that census (pages 58 and 59) were, basically, destroyed and somehow made unreadable. And wouldn’t you know it … his entry was second from the top on page 59.
Recently, however, I learned about a 2010 publication by the Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society of a transcribed census from Haywood County, written and complied by Sandra Samz. I contacted the organization and spoke to the sweetest lady on the phone. I told her that I was interested in obtaining a copy if my ancestor was in the listing. I asked her if a Burrell Baggett was in the new publication.
She told me, “I don’t think so. The name doesn’t sound familiar. But let me grab a copy and check.”
As she thumbed through the booklet, she mumbled, “No, no, there’s no Burrell Baggett on the list …” I was so disappointed.
Then, suddenly, she blurted out, “Wait a minute! Here he is right here. Burrell Baggett, top of page 59!”
I was elated. I told her, “I want a copy!” And she proceeded to tell me how to go to their Ebay store and order one. Three days later I had it in my hands.
Here’s the cover:
In the introductory comments Samz explains how she had access to two older documents with lists from the census. The author of one of those lists had direct access to the microfilm in the National Archives, which is apparently more readable than the one available today to the public. It is from this earlier list that she gleaned the previously unknown names.
And Burrell Baggett was one of those!
Here he is, in black and white, on the transcription. He’s the second listing down on page 59.
According to the notes of the census enumerator, Thomas D. Love, there were only 384 households totaling 2780 people within this HUGE geographical area (now encompasses 5 counties in western North Carolina). Burrell Baggett was one of those heads of household.
Unfortunately, the author who had access to the original microfilms did not record the family enumeration numbers (ages, sexes, etc… of all family members). So we have no definitive knowledge of the makeup of Burrell Baggett’s household in 1810.
But I tried a little computer magic, and I think I came up with something.
I saved an image of the faded microfilm page from ancestry.com and opened it in a basic photograph enhancement program. I played with the contrast, brightness, and yellowing of the image. Here are two versions of my amateur enhanced photos. I have outlined the line which held Burrell Baggett’s information. And I think you will notice that you can make out very faint “tic” marks under columns 3 and 8. These are the columns for “Males 16 and Under 26″ (column 3) and “Females 16 and Under 26.”
Which makes sense, because we know that Burrell Baggett’s correct date of birth was approximately 1785 (based upon his army enlistment paper recording him as 28 years of age in November 1813). So Burrell was married in 1810, but with no children … as we already suspected.
But I still do not believe that his wife was named Elizabeth McLemore, though folklore says he married Elizabeth McLemore in 1809. Of course, this same folklore says that he was 12 years old when he did so (popular info says he was born in 1797). Again, something is amiss. A possible corroboration of my hypothesis is the fact that there is not a single McLemore family listed in the 384 households of Haywood County in 1810. Not one. Clearly, more research is needed.
I have discovered that marriage records are available from Haywood County beginning in 1808. My next stop is Haywood County, North Carolina, where I plan to search their early book of marriage records. Hopefully, he was married there!