The Tawney Family and the Census
1790-1930

copright 2005 by Jeffrey L. Thomas
jltbalt1@verizon.net

We are fortunate because our ancestor Frederick Tawney and his family appear in the first United States census taken in 1790. Prior to the census Frederick had appeared in other records, including the list of those who took the oath of allegiance in Maryland during the Revolutionary War in 1777, and land-tax records in 1789.

Frederick Tawney lived in the Westminster District of what today is Carroll County, Maryland. Carroll County was formed in 1837 from parts of Frederick and Baltimore counties. Until then most of the Westminster District was in Frederick County. It is in Frederick County, then, that we find Frederick Tawney in 1790.

Below you will find my short commentary on each census return from 1790 through 1930, along with a linked images of the actual returns from 1850 forward.


The Census, 1790-1840

  • 1790 Census
  • In the returns Frederick is listed as "Frederick Taney," and his household includes the following: 1 male 16 and older (Frederick), 4 males 16 and older (his 4 sons), and two females (his wife Elizabeth and a daughter). There is no other information in the census.

  • 1800 Census
  • Ten years later in the census of 1800 we find "Frederick Tawney" listed in the Westminster District of Frederick County. By this time his family had grown to include 3 males under 10, 2 males 10-16, 1 male 26-45 (Frederick), 2 females under 10, 1 female 16-26, and 1 female 26-45 (wife Elizabeth). The returns also indicate that 4 slaves were included in the household, indicating that Frederick owned a farm of at least modest size. Although by the early 1800s the majority of slaveholders were in the south, slavery still persisted in parts of Maryland. The fact that our ancestor was a slaveholder was a surprising and disappointing discovery.

  • 1810 Census
  • The family appears again in the census of 1810 for Frederick County, where we find F. Taney (Frederick) listed along side J. Taney and H. Taney. "J. Taney" is probably Frederick's son Jacob who by that time had started a family of his own. The returns for 1810 list the following: 1 male 10-15, 1 male 16-25, 2 males 26-44, 1male 45 and over (Frederick), 1 female 10-15, 1 female 16-25, 1 female 45 and over (Elizabeth), and 2 slaves. Given these ages it is likely that the household included husbands and wives of some of Frederick and Elizabeth's children.

  • 1820 Census
  • In 1820 we again find the Tawney family living in the Westminster District of Frederick County. Here the family of Frederick Tawney includes 2 males under 10 (undoubtedly Frederick's grandchildren), 1 male 10-16, 1 male 26-45, 4 females under 10, 1 female 16-26, 1 female 26-45, 1 female 45 and upwards, and 1 person "engaged in agriculture". This listing is curious because, although Frederick is listed as the head of the household, the returns fail to indicate a male 45 years and upwards. This was probably an error on the part of the census taker. It would also be Frederick Tawney's last census return.

  • 1830 Census
  • Frederick Tawney died between 1820 and 1830, for he is absent from the 1830 census. In his place we find his wife Elizabeth listed as the head of the household (the only time she would be named in census returns). She appears as "Elizabeth Taney" in the 7th District of Frederick County (The 7th district included Westminster.) Living near by is her son Jacob Taney and his family. Elizabeth's household includes only three individuals, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 30-40, and 1 female 50-60 (Elizabeth). This is the last time we will see the family in their original location outside Westminster.

  • 1840 Census
  • Elizabeth Tawney died in 1837 shortly following the creation of Carroll County. Her will and estate administration (number 1) was the first will probated in Carroll County, and is on file at the courthouse in Westminster. We don't know what happened to the Tawney family following Elizabeth's death, although they seem to have disappeared. I have found none of Frederick and Elizabeth's sons in the 1840 census, including our next ancestor, David Tawney, who by then would have been about 30 years old. Fortunately David and family would resurface in the census of 1850.

    1850 Census, 5th District, Baltimore Co., MD, Page 1 and Page 2

    Our next ancestor was David Tawney, son of Frederick and Elizabeth Tawney. He was born in 1810 and married Mary Ann Spencer in 1840. Their first child and our next ancestor James Thomas Tawney was born the following year in 1841.

    In 1850 we find the family of David Tawney living, not in Westminster, but rather in the 5th District of Baltimore County, Maryland. The census of 1850 was the first modern census - the first to list all members of the household rather than simply the head of the household. The head to the family was David Tawney, (age 39), who is listed simply as a laborer, followed by his wife Mary Ann (Many - age 32), children Thomas, (James Thomas, age 9), George, (age 7), Andrew, (age 5), and Charlotte, (age 10 months). There is little other useful information in the census.

    1860 Census, 5th District, Baltimore Co., MD

    In the census of 1860 the Tawney Family is still living in the 5th District of Baltimore County, Maryland, Post Office - Reisterstown. Although the 1850 census was the first modern census, the information offered was minimal. It was not until 1860 and 1870 that other useful details began to be included in the returns.

    In 1860 the Tawney family includes David Taney, (age 49), wife Mary, (age 41), and children James T., (age 19), George H., (age 17), Andrew C., (age 14), Charlotte, (age 10), Ruth, (age 7), and John, (age 5). David is listed as a "Blacksmith," owing real estate valued at $700.00 and personal property valued at $200.00. Son George is the only other member of the household with an occupation - "Laborer".

    1870 Census, 4th District, Carroll Co., MD

    Our next ancestor, James Thomas Tawney, was born in 1841 and grew up with his mother and father and brothers and sisters in the 5th District of Baltimore County, Maryland. He married Mary Elizabeth Lockard in 1862, and their first child, Sarah Rebecca Tawney (and our next ancestor) was born the following year in 1863. Mary Elizabeth was the daughter of William Lockard and his second wife Sarah.

    In 1870 we find the family of James T. and Mary Tawney back in the familiar confines of Carroll County, Maryland - 4th District, Post Office New Windsor. James was still living with his parents in Baltimore County in 1860, however records on file at the courthouse in Westminster indicate that his marriage to Mary Elizabeth Lockard took place in Carroll County in 1862. Therefore we can assume that James returned to Carroll County sometime around 1861.

    The census lists James T. Tawney, as the head of the household, followed by his wife Elizabeth, , and children Rebecca, (age 7), Mary E., (age 5), Andrew, (age 3), and James, (age 6 months). James's occupation is listed simply as "Day Laborer". The ages given for James and wife Elizabeth are 40 and 36 respectively. This is a mistake. Their ages in 1870 should have been listed as 30 and 26.

    Next to the Tawney's we find the family of Mary's parents, William and Sarah Lockard. The Tawney and Lockard family would remain near neighbors in the 4th District for many years to come.

    1880 Census, 4th District, Carroll Co., MD

    In the 1880 census we again see the family of James T. and Mary E. Tawney living close to Mary's parents William and Sarah Lockard in the 4th District of Carroll County. This is the same location were we found both families in 1870, an area that was also known as Woolery's District. We are fortunate because the 1877 atlas of Carroll County reveals the approximate location of the families of James Tawney and William Lockard - the far northwest corner of Woolery's District.

    The 1880 census lists James Tawney, (age 39), wife Mary E., (age 37), and children Mary E., (age 15), Andrew J., (age 13), James, (age 11), William, (age 9), Catherine, (age 7), and Georgiana, (age 4). This time James Tawney is listed as a Blacksmith, an occupation his father followed while living in Baltimore County. The 1880 census also has a category for any major illness afflicting family members. This is how we learn that James Tawney (Sr.) was suffering from "Liver Disease," and daughter Catherine was suffering from "Consumption". Fortunately, both Catherine and her father would survive their illnesses to be counted in future census returns.

    The returns show that daughter Sarah Rebecca was living nearby with her grandfather and grandmother William and Sarah Lockard, where she is listed as Rebecca Tawney - age 16.

    1900 Census, 4th District, Carroll Co., MD

    The census of 1890 was destroyed by fire, so the next glimpse we have of the Tawney family comes from the 1900 census. Our next ancestor, Sarah Rebecca Tawney, married John Thomas Little in 1882 and their first child John was born the following year. (To learn more about this family turn to the Little family section.)

    By 1900 Mary Tawney's parents William and Sarah Lockard had died, however the Tawney family was still present in the 4th District of Carroll County. James Tawney, (age 59), is the head of the household, followed by his wife Mary E., (age 38), and children Catherine, (age 21), Frank E., (age 19), Emma M., (age 14), and John C., (age 7). James is listed as a farmer, the owner of his farm, while daughter Catherine is listed as a "House Keeper". Interestingly, Frank Tawney is listed as a soldier, although I have no other information regarding his occupation.

    The returns tell us that Mary Tawney had given birth to 11 children, 10 of whom were still living in 1900. Son Patrick Henry Tawney died in 1881, and was likely the first family member buried at the nearby Leister's church cemetery. Catherine Tawney, age 29, would die in January of 1901, just months after the 1900 census was taken, and was also buried at the Leister's church cemetery.

    Over in District 7 of Carroll County (closer to Westminster) we find the families of children James T. Tawney, Jr., Andrew Tawney, and Milton & Annie Tawney Little. James Tawney is working as a laborer for the railroad, Andrew is listed as a farmer, while Milton Little's occupation is listed as "works on lines - Taney"

    1910 Census, 4th District, Carroll Co., MD

    By 1910 all the children of James and Mary Elizabeth Tawney were grown and out on their own. The census of 1910 shows that James and Mary were still residing (by themselves) in District 4 in Carroll County. James is age 69, occupation, farmer. Mary E. is listed as 66 years old, the mother of 11 children, 9 of who were still living in 1910. As mentioned previously, son Patrick died in 1881 and daughter Catherine in 1901. Sons James and John Tawney are living close to their parents in the 4th District, and daughters Anna (Little) and Mary E. (Freberthauser) are living nearby in the 7th District. Although Mary Elizabeth would be included in the next census in 1920, her husband James Thomas Tawney died on 15 June 1918, and was buried at the Leister's church cemetery.

    Frederick Tawney arrived in Westminster prior to the Revolutionary War, making him our only ancestor we can positively identify as living in Westminster during the colonial period. Although his son David Tawney and his son James lived in Baltimore County for several years, James T. Tawney returned to his roots in Westminster, where he married into a family who's own history was equally impressive.

    1920 Census, Westminster, Carroll Co., MD

    James Thomas Tawney died on 15 June 1918, and was buried at the Leister's church cemetery, where many members of the Tawney-Little family are interred. His widow Mary Elizabeth Lockard would make one final census appearance in 1920 before she died in 1926. In the 1920 census we find Mary E. Tawney, (age 76, widowed), living in Westminster on Manchester Avenue on what I will call "Groft Row," that group of Groft family houses that included Charles L. Groft and several of his children. The returns show that Mary Tawney was living by herself, but next to her granddaughters Mary Little Groft (wife of Harry L. Groft), and Anna Little (wife of Milton Little). Mary's daughter Sarah Rebecca Tawney and her husband John Little were living a few blocks away on George Street. The passing of Mary Lockard Tawney in 1926 would bring to a close the story of our Lockard ancestors.

    1930 Census, Westminster, Carroll Co., MD (coming soon)


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    Text and photographs copyright 2005 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved
    e-mail: jltbalt1@verizon.net