Sunday, April 15, 2012

Two Ladies of Pleasure and a Minister Five Doors Down

While everybody was finding family members during the first week of the 1940 census release, I was trolling through the 1860 Henry County, Tennessee census. Page by page. My mission was to find a family that I couldn't find through a traditional search. I needed to cover my bases and see if they were listed with or under a different family name.

This search turned out to be an incredible and surprising look into the pre-Civil War South. There were people who were clearly plantation owners (the value of their real estate gives it away), and usually there were overseers either living with them or next door. There were also a lot of people whose professions were listed as Tobacconist. This of course leads me to believe that the crop of choice in the area was tobacco. One item that caught my eye were the number of twins in this county. I've never thought of twins being prevalent historically and being more of an anomaly. Well, not if you lived in Henry County. Makes one wonder what was in the water? Seriously, it did cross my mind that (if one had time) an interesting project would be to see if any of the parents of said twins were somehow related to each other in some way. Therefore sharing a twin gene.

However, my favorite discovery by far were two women living in the same house, whose occupation was listed as "Lady of Pleasure."[1] Even better, five families up from them is listed a Baptist Minister! Don't you just wish time travel was an option? I would love to know how that dynamic worked! I'm very curious about these two ladies as well. Only one is listed with a last name and there are a couple of kids living in the house too. It doesn't take much to imagine it was a tough life for them, but I do wonder how they got there.

[1] 1860 U.S. census, Henry County, Tennessee, population schedule, District 4, Paris Post Office, p. 53-54 (ink), dwelling 339, family 346, Martha; digital image, ( accessed 13 April 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1256.

1 comment:

  1. oh gosh! I know what you mean about time travel. I wish I could know more about the goings on of that little street in tennessee! Good luck in your research!