Tag Archives: farmers

Samuel Elliot Ramsey: My Surprising Shepherd (52 Ancestors #37)

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If you’ve been reading No Story Too Small for awhile, you might have picked up on the fact that I love non-population census schedules. While they don’t give specific genealogical details, they can offer us wonderful context about the people we are researching.

Coming from a long, Long, LONG line of farmers, I’m often drawn to the agricultural schedules. Yes, the census lists him as a farmer, but what did he raise? I was surprised at the answer for my great-great-grandfather Samuel Elliot Ramsey.

In 1860, Samuel is listed as having four horses, three “milch cows,” five “other cattle,” ten sheep, and 27 swine. Total value = $371. He also had 20 pounds of wool, but no crops. His father James lived next door. Unlike Samuel, James did have crops, including wheat, Indian corn, oats, potatoes, butter, hay, and molasses. It makes me wonder if they combined their farming operation, with Samuel being in charge of the livestock and James in charge of the crops.

By 1880, Samuel’s farming operation had grown substantially. His farm was worth $3,390, with 91 acres of improved, tilled land, 2 acres of meadows, and 20 acres of woodland. He raised Indian corn, oats, and wheat. and had 30 apple trees. All of these were in amounts a bit below average with his neighbors.

Where Samuel stood out was in the number of sheep that he raised. In June 1880, he had 110 sheep, all of whom were either shorn or were to be shorn. One of his neighbors had 150 sheep, but the others had 58 or fewer.

"Sheep," by Alice Popkorn.  (Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 2.0.)

Sheep,” by Alice Popkorn.
(Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-ND 2.0.)

Samuel Elliot Ramsey was born in Perry County, Ohio in 1827 and was the son of James H. and Catherine Ramsey. He married Charlotte Danison in 1851. He died 2 August 1906 in Perry County and is buried in Mount Perry Cemetery.