The 1840 US Census of Aroostook County, Maine includes 46 divisions or towns. Two of them were listed as "Madawaska South of the St. John River," and "Madawaska North of the St.John River." Together these two districts had a population of 3,460. Since Aroostook County had a total population of 9,413, the Madawaska settlements represented 37 percent of the county's population.
Madawaska North of the St. John River - most of this households in this part of the census were located in an area that today is part of New Brunswick. This area was included in the US census because at that time the whole area of northern Aroostook County as well as much of what is today western Madawaska County (at that time 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 1840, though, the US still claimed the area north of the St.John, in what is today New Brunswick. So the census taker included that area in his returns. Along with the 1840 New Brunswick census of the Madawaska Settlement (undertaken in April-May of that year), this 1840 US census provides those interested in the upper St.John valley in New Brunswick with data not available for the rest of the province. (There is however an 1834 census of New Brunswick; Madawaska--again on both sides of the river--seems to be the only place in the province that included details by household.)
The section of the census that is under "Madawaska North of the St.John River" covers communities running from across the river from Hamlin, Maine, to the St. Francis River. But it also includes some communities that are now in the United States. For some reason the census taker seems to have included here communities from Fort Kent westward into the Allagash (including St.John and St. Francis), and southward along the Fish River.
Madawaska South of the St.John River covers communities
running from east of today's Van Buren all the way to about Fort
Please note: people living in what are today Fort Kent, and westward along the St.John, as well as southward along the Fish River, are included in "Madawaska North of the St.John River."
A useful and interesting comparison can be made to the 1831 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 useful in conjunction with the 1840 census to establish the location of people in that later census, to establish names (the 1831 survey was much more accurate in its spelling of French names), and approximate dates of settlement. The 1833 New Brunswick Special Census of Madawaska is also very useful to compare with the 1840 US Census, and of course also the 1840 New Brunswick census of the Madawaska Settlement.
The Madawaska Settlement in 1840
In this part of Aroostook County, there were no people listed under "free colored" people; and obviously no slaves (Maine had entered the Union in 1820 as a free state). In the two Madawaska divisions, the vast majority of people were employed in agriculture; only 5 were not, and all five were listed under "learned professions and engineers." My guess is that all five were school teachers, since the census identifies five schools (listed under specific names; probably the teachers). The only other information recorded for these divisions is the number of schools (5), the number of pupils (107), and the number of people over 20 who could not read or write (833).
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 1840 census of Aroostook County. 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).
Once the enumeration was finished, "correct" copies of the completed census forms were "set up at two of the most public places within the Division, open to the inspection of all concerned," according to notes at the end of each division's pages, signed by Storer Rines and John Baker. Eventually, one copy was sent to the census bureau in Washington, and one was sent to the US district court in the region.
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 1840 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. I have included
links to images of the microfilm copy of the census. As you can
see, the originals are often not very legible. In some cases,
they are so dark that, while the names are readable (barely) on
the microfilm, they are not even visible in the copies. These
images are located on this website.
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Last revised 20 Dec 2008
© 2003-2008 C. Gagnon