Brewer man was a census taker in 1910 and 1970

Posted April 04, 2010, at 4:58 p.m.

Two cents per person and 10 cents per animal — cows and pigs, for example.

That’s how much census takers were paid in 1910, Forrest Kingsbury told a Bangor Daily News reporter in a story that ran on April 6, 1970.

In 1910, the University of Maine student was one of just two census-takers for all of Brewer.

By 1970 — yes, Kingsbury was a census enumerator that year, and at 82, probably the oldest one in Maine — the pay was about $2 an hour.

I was particularly intrigued with one family Kingsbury had listed for the Brewer census in 1910, though I haven’t found their name.

“I remember calling on one woman. I asked her how many kids there were in her family. She told me 18,” Kingsbury said in his BDN interview. “We started listing them by age. She told me the name of the first, the second and the third. But on the fourth and fifth, and for each child afterward, she had to look out the window, where the kids were playing outside.”

In 1910, Kingsbury covered half the city on foot, by trolley car or in a borrowed carriage.

By 1970, he had a car, but it was up on blocks, so he planned to walk the whole route. That same year, Kingsbury had to go to Bangor International Airport to take a test to become a census taker, and he passed.

Speaking of Brewer, I’ll give a program, “We Love Those Census Records,” at the meeting of the Brewer Historical Society at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, at First United Methodist Church, 40 South Main St.

The society also will hold its annual meeting, with refreshments afterward. All are welcome to attend.

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The Brewer Public Library will sponsor a program with the 20th Maine Co. B Re-enactment Group 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, April 10, at the library.

Learn and interact through the living history presentation. See original artifacts, including a musket and letters from Civil War correspondents.

Co. B, 20th Maine, is a living history group dedicated to preserving the memory of Maine Civil War volunteers. The original Co. B was mustered into the 20th Regiment, Maine Volunteer Infantry, in August 1862, in time to march to Antietam with the Fifth Corps, Army of the Potomac.

Co. B had been recruited in Piscataquis County, among the farmers of Dover, Milo and Sebec. At Gettysburg, Co. B was sent out as skirmishers by Col. Joshua Chamberlain to protect the regiment’s exposed left flank. Co. B was with the 20th in all its battles, from the Wilderness to Petersburg to Appomattox. Walter G. Morrill became the regiment’s last commander in March 1865.

The re-enactment group is made up of men and women from throughout Maine and into Canada.

Donations will be accepted at the door to help preserve archival materials pertaining to the Civil War at Brewer Public Library — a great project.

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In Maine, we associate French ancestry with Quebecois or Acadian roots.

We often forget about the Huguenots or Walloons, the French who were Protestant.

Did you know that in 1663, the year Nouvelle France became a royal colony and the year before the Dutch Colony of der Nieuw-Nederland became the English Colony of New York, there were more French in the Dutch Colony than there were in New France?

It is estimated that some 10,000 of the up to 400,000 Huguenots who fled France came to the 13 colonies. By the 1760s, it is estimated, as many as 20 percent of Americans were of Huguenot ancestry. For instance, Mayflower passenger Francis Cooke married Hester Mahieu, who was a Huguenot.

A major aspect of 16th century France was the political-denominational conflict known as the French Wars of Religion.

After Henry IV came to the French throne, he issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598, which granted a large measure of religious toleration. After his death, conditions deteriorated steadily for the Huguenots, and in 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes.

Twenty-one U.S. presidents, including George Washington, John Adams, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, were of Huguenot descent.

Also having Huguenot heritage were the first chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Jay; authors Longfellow, Whittier and Thoreau; Paul Revere; military leaders Frances Marion, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, John Pershing and Claire L. Chennault.

There are two national groups for people who can prove their lineage back to a Huguenot. Both have religious requirements as well as documentation of ancestry.

The National Huguenot Society, for those age 16 and up, is for those who are “a member of the Protestant faith.” For more information, visit www.huguenot.netnation.com.

The Huguenot Society of Maine, which is affiliated with the National Huguenot Society, will meet at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 10, at DaVinci’s Restaurant in Lewiston. For more information, call the society’s president, Edwin Garrett, at 288-1057.

Another national group is the Huguenot Society of America, for those who are age 18 and up, “whose religion is consonant with that of the Huguenots.” For information, visit http://huguenotsocietyofamerica.org.

I mention the religious requirement for joining these groups because people of many denominations and beliefs have Huguenot ancestry.

Both Web sites have links to more information on the Huguenots.

Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail queries to familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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