Southern California Genealogical Society

1890 Census News Items

Los Angeles Times , April 30, 1890. "L. E. Mosher, Supervisor of the Census, in charge of the Fifth District of California, comprising the counties of Inyo, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego and San Bernardino, has divided the district into 169 enumeration districts, with one enumerator in each. None of these enumerators have as yet been appointed. The scheme of subdivision has been submitted to the Superintendent of the Census for approval, after which the nominations for enumerators will also be sent to Washington for approval. In 1880 there were only 21 enumerators in Los Angeles County, including the present county of Orange. Now, with Orange county segregated, there are 89, while Orange county has 10. The compensation to enumerators in city districts is 2 cents per capita, 2 cents for each death during the current census year, 75 cents for each veteran or widow of a veteran, and 50 cents for each manufacturing industry. In the country districts it is 8 cents a name and 20 cents for each farm.”

Los Angeles Times , May 28, 1890. "To Be Prosecuted. What Will Happen to Persons Who Snub Census Inquisitors.” The Superintendent of Census has issued the following important order to all census supervisors: Please instruct examiners in cases where persons refuse to answer the questions of the population schedule relating to physical and mental disabilities (22 and 23) or to questions relating to farms, homes and mortgages (28 to 39, inclusive) to enter in the proper column the words, "Refused to Answer." No further steps will be necessary on the part of the supervisor. All legal proceedings will be instituted by the Washington office through the Department of Justice."

Los Angeles Times , May 30, 1890. " Counting The People. The eleventh census of the United States will be taken during the month of June. The census enumerators will begin their work on Monday, June 2 nd, and will visit every house and ask questions concerning every person and every family in the United States…” [long article which describes the questions to be asked]

Los Angeles Times , June 2, 1890 , page 4. " New York, June 2 (By the Associated Press). The census enumerators began work this afternoon. One of them, Louis Marks, met with a warm reception in a liquor store on East Forty-fifth street. He was unceremoniously hustled out amid a volley of beer glasses. Marks then returned to the place under police escort, but was unable to obtain the information he desired. He reported the matter to the main office and was told to write out his story, which would be forwarded to Washington.”

Los Angeles Times, June 2, 1890 , page 4. "At the close of his first day of work as census enumerator, Frank Magne committed suicide.”

Los Angeles Times , June 2, 1890. " San Francisco June 2. Census Supervisor Davis today expressed himself as pleased at the way affairs have gone during the first day of the national census. Those enumerators who have come to the office during the day report that the public generally respond in a cheerful manner to their questions. It is only among the French and Spanish population that there is any difficulty in obtaining proper information. The Chinese respond freely to questions. One man reports four hundred names up to 1 o'clock today in the Chinese quarter. "

Los Angeles Times June 15, 1890. "Breakfast Table Talk”

"How old is your father?” asked a Third-ward census enumerator the other day of a young lady who answered his ring at the front door.

"Fifty-one,” she replied.

"How old are you?”

"Twenty-two” was the answer, accompanied by a maidenly blush.

"And your mother?”


"What are you giving me?” exclaimed the astonished census man. "Do you mean to say you were born when your mother was three years old?”

"No, not exactly,” replied the young lady, angry at the man’s impertinence. "The present wife is the fourth one. My mother was No. 1.” And the front door slammed in the face of the gatherer of facts and figures, who went away humming the familiar lines:

What a queer world this would be

If the men were all transported far beyond the Northern Sea.

Los Angeles Times,June 15, 1890. "A lady who would not state her age to the census enumerator has been arrested in Los Angeles. If all the ladies who have stated their age, but stated it wrongly, were arrested, the County Jail would not hold them."

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