I am doing some research on the New Madrid Earthquake, which struck in 1811 and 1812 in New Madrid, Missouri. In doing so, I came upon a 1797 New Madrid MO Census. Know that Missouri didn’t become a state until 1821, so this is early, early territorial days.
And the census, while helpful and interesting, offered information like you might expect.
Pierre Derocher (family)
- 1 woman
- 1 girl
- 5 horses
- 20 cows
- 400 bushels of corn
Notice this family is named for male head of household, who isn’t counted among the occupants. There isn’t a count for “1 man.” And would the household have had slaves, they would have been counted separately, too. Again, this is super information especially for the territorial and pre-US Census era.
There are a half a dozen pages listing the 150 or so households in New Madrid at the time. And I was dutifully making prints one at a time from the microfilm machine, when I wondered what documents followed this census on the film. I was just curious.
Much to my surprise immediately following the census enumeration were footnotes. Each household had a sequential number following the name of the head of household in the formal enumeration. I thought, “that’s nice, they want to count the households.” NOOOO! Those numbers reference footnotes at the end of the census. The compiler took the liberty to offer the dear reader and joyful genealogist his 2 cents on what he knew about the family. He must have realized he was looking at history in the making!
Here’s what we learn about Pierre Derocher.
Pedro [Pierre] Derocher was a native of Nantee, Bretagne, France. In New Madrid he was captain of the militia, and acted as interpreter. He was a merchant. He married Rosalie Lafond, a daughter of Dr. Joe Lafond, who piloted Gen. Clark from Kaskaskia to Vincennes. He died at New Madrid and Capt. Robert McCoy was guardian and administrator of his estate.