1830 US Census transcriptions:

Madawaska Settlement, Upper St.John River
Penobscot County, Maine and York County, New Brunswick

(includes communities on both banks of the upper St.John River valley in what are now Aroostook Co., Maine and Madawaska Co., New Brunswick)

Transcriptions of the 1830 US Census of Madawaska Settlement on both sides of the St.John River, Penobscot County, Maine (now Aroostook Co., Maine and Madawaska Co., New Brunswick)
(Microfilm Roll # M19-51, pp.373-390)

The area described in the 1830 US census as Madawaska Settlement, St. John River is an area that today is in Aroostook County, Maine and in Madawaska County, New Brunswick, including all the communities and settlements along both sides of the St.John River from Van Buren, Maine to the St. Francis River, plus settlements along the Green, Madawaska, and Fish Rivers.

This area was included in the US census because at that time the whole area of northern Penobscot County (Aroostook was formed in 1839 from parts of Penobscot and Washington Counties) as well as much of what is today northwestern Madawaska County (at that time, and until 1832, part of York County; from 1832 to 1850 part of Carleton County), New Brunswick, was disputed between Great Britain (New Brunswick was a British colony) and the United States. The dispute was finally settled with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which established the St.John River and the St. Francis River as the final border. More information on the border dispute.

In 1830, though, the US still claimed the area north of the St.John, in what is today New Brunswick. So the census taker included those communities in his returns.

Although by this time there did exist distinct communities, villages and settlements in this region, this census and others lumped them all together into what was called the "Madawaska Settlement." This is despite the fact that these communities had a relatively large population. The fact that the census authorities did this is an indication that they perceived these communities to be marginal and to some extent foreign. (For example, much smaller communities in other parts of Penobscot County were counted as separate units or townships in the 1830 census). It was also a reflection of the fact that these areas had not been fully incorporated into the state and county governmental frameworks.

The Fifth Census of the United States, undertaken in 1830, was a head of household census; that is, it recorded the name only of the heads of families; the rest of the information was recorded in terms of numbers of people within households, without names. The census taker had finished the survey and submitted the returns on November 30, 1830. The actual enumeration was undertaken by an Assistant US Marshal, John Webber.

The census form itself breaks the population down by race, sex, and slave vs. free status. In particular, it asked about number of free white males and females in 5-year age groups to 20, 10-year age groups from 20 to 100, and 100 years old and over; number of slaves and free colored persons in six broad age groups; number of White Persons who were "deaf and dumb" within 3 age groups (0-13, 14-24, 24+); number of White Persons who were blind; number of Whites who were "Aliens: Foreigners not naturalized"; the number of Slaves who were "deaf and dumb" within the same 3 age groups; and the number of Slaves who were blind.

In this particular census, the census taker consistently took information only about numbers of people in each age group. There are no people listed under "deaf and dumb" or blind. The census did note the number of people who were "Aliens," although the meaning of this is unclear especially for people living on the north bank of the St.John. In a number of places the total number of people within a household is written down incorrectly; in a number of places the census taker misplaced the totals into the column above (this is noted in the "Remarks" section of the transcription). It is possible, and seems likely, that the figures under "Aliens" in those cases are also misplaced.

Although the census taker was instructed to survey every household in his district, in the case of the two districts Madawaska North of the St.John and Madawaska South of the St.John, we know from other censuses and from marriage records that John Webber, the enumerator for these districts, missed a significant number of families. If you do not find someone in the 1830 census, it does not mean they were not there. Be sure to check the 1831 survey of the Madawaska Settlement, as well as the 1833 New Brunswick census of Madawaska.

Indeed, a useful and interesting comparison can be made between the 1830 US census and the 1831 Deane and Kavanagh survey undertaken by the State of Maine, which also covered both sides of the upper St.John River. Although not a census, it provides good information on the actual location of those people who had established settlements in the region by 1831. It is also very useful in conjunction with the 1830 census to establish the geographical location of people in the census, to establish names (the 1831 survey was much more accurate in its spelling of French names), and approximate dates of settlement.

In addition, the Province of New Brunswick in late 1833 also conducted a census of this region, on both sides of the St.John river, which gave information about heads of household, number of other people, which side of the river they lived on, as well as information on the livestock and crops of each household and whether they were in need of assistance because of poverty. Taken together, these three surveys/censuses, all undertaken within a span of about three years, provide a relatively full picture of the region and its population, one that is not available for other parts of New Brunswick or Maine until much later.

In 1830 the communities covered in Madawaska Settlements, St.John River had a total of 2,487 inhabitants, living in 407 households. There was one person listed under "free colored" people (a 36-55 year old living in the household of Isaac Yarington); and obviously no slaves (Maine had entered the Union in 1820 as a free state). 212 persons were listed as being "Aliens: foreigners not naturalized" (though it is unclear to me how that term was defined, especially for people living on the north bank of the St.John). The breakdown of the total White population by age and sex:




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If you see someone you know, I would like to put a link to info you have on your web site, or that you could provide to me and that I could put up on this site,

These pages are transcriptions of names as the census taker wrote them. Some of the names (especially the French ones) were not taken down correctly by the enumerator, but the census transcription project's goal is an exact copy of what was written (or my interpretation of what was written, given difficulties in reading handwriting). Only information in the space after "Remarks" is not transcribed from the census (rather, it explains or gives further information).

For clues on the French names that are misspelled, see my page on French names in the 1830 US census of the Madawaska Settlement. For a few people for whom I have specific information, for example the "correct" spelling of the name, I have put that information into the "Remarks" space (in parentheses).

If you have information about someone in the census--correct name spelling, maiden name, etc.--let me know and I'll add it.

I am also putting links into these pages. If there is a page elsewhere with info on an individual, I will put a link from the census transcription page to that page. If you'd like me to link anyone, please let me know the page address.

I have made these transcriptions from the microfilm copy of the 1830 census, have proofread them, made corrections, and input them into the US GenWeb Census Project software CenTrans. I then formatted them into the pages here. This is a work in progress.

A hint on printing
These pages are in a "preformatted" format, which means that, unlike many web pages, the text spacing does not change to fit the window, and thus the printed page. If you want to print them out and get the entire table, these instructions may make it easier.

For Netscape, go into File, Print, Properties, click on "Landscape" (that is, print sideways so the paper is effectively 11 inches wide by 8-1/2 inches high). You may also have to reduce the font size (in Netscape: View, Decrease Font, or just hit Control key and [ key at the same time; or: Edit, Preferences, Appearance, Fonts, then change the "Fixed width font size" probably to 9 or 10).

For Microsoft Internet Explorer, go into View, Fonts, then click on medium or smaller.

Another option instead of changing the font size is to print Landscape orientation but use legal size paper (8-1/2 by 14 inches).

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Last revised 10 Jul 2003
© 2005 C. Gagnon