New Philadelphia Population Census
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In compliance with the United States' constitutional requirement
to count the country's population on a ten year basis, federal
census enumerators visited every home and establishment across
the nation. Beginning in 1790, they were instructed to records
information, such as the age, sex, race and occupation of each
inhabitant. Individual states took their own census on a five
year schedule. Since small towns, such as Barry, Baylis and New
Philadelphia, Illinois, were reported collectively under the heading
of Hadley Township in the mid- to late 19th century, determining
exactly who lived in New Philadelphia during that time and their
personal characteristics is challenging. The quality of microfilms
preserving the census records themselves as well as the legibility
of penmanship and interpretation of reporting instructions by
the enumerators posed additional challenges.
A small cluster of individuals recognized as entrepreneurs and
residents of 1850 New Philadelphia facilitated isolating the townsfolk
from the rest of Hadley Township. Identifying New Philadelphia
residents from the rest of the township on subsequent census reports,
however, was not as straight forward; maps, land deed records
and historical reports helped define the populace. Oral histories
recently collected from town and area descendants are further
identifying New Philadelphia's townsfolk.
In 1850 and 1860, census enumerators were instructed to leave
the field recording "color" blank for white people and to insert
a "B" for black individuals; an "M" in that column represented
the mulatto designation. In 1870 and 1880 those instructions were
revised; enumerators were cautioned not to leave the space blank.
Some enumerators chose to write "ditto" to indicate a repetition
of information from the record above. Unfortunately, other enumerators
chose to insert a quotation mark (") to indicate a repetition
from the record above. Because of the poor quality and damage
to either the original document or the microfilm on which it is
stored, the marks are sometimes questionable and confusing.
Federeal Census of 1850
Census records show that settlement in Pike County, Illinois boomed
in the years following New Philadelphia's founding in 1836. The
town straddled major county crossroads; construction of the Illinois-Michigan
Canal promising to further facilitate transportation of goods
and individuals also attracted new settlers. By 1850, 58 residents
lived in 11 households. New Philadelphia boasted a Baptist preacher,
a cabinet maker, a laborer, a merchant, two shoemakers, a wheelwright
and four farmers. While 20 town residents, 35% of the population,
were recorded as "mulatto," the majority of the residents, 36
individuals, or 62%, of all the townsfolk were listed as white.
Two individuals, or 3%, were recorded as black. The state of Illinois
reported only 0.6% black residents on the 1850 federal census.
Thirty-seven percent, or 22 residents, were born in the Great
Lakes region of the country. Twenty-two percent of the townsfolk,
13 individuals, originated from the state of Illinois. The next
highest representation came from the New England and North East
regions, each with 11, or 19% of New Philadelphia's residents.
In addition to McWorter, the names Burdick, Clark and Hadsell
first appeared on the census in 1850 and they continued to be
associated with the town for years to come.
State Census of 1855
Frank McWorter died a year before the 1855 state census was taken,
but the town he founded continued to grow. Eighty-one people,
an increase of 40% from the federal census taken just five years
earlier, now lived in the town. The 18 black residents accounted
for only 22% of the populace; white residents were in the majority
with 63 individuals, 78% of the townsfolk. Occupations were not
recorded, but the town's livestock was valued at $3,230; an average
of $215 for each of the town's 15 households.
Federal Census of 1860
By 1860, 114 people lived in New Philadelphia. The 1860 federal
census reported that a blacksmith, a carpenter, a physician, a
schoolteacher and additional farmers and farm workers had joined
New Philadelphia's workforce. Ninety-three New Philadelphians,
82% of the town's 114 residents, were white; 21 individuals, 18%
of the populace, were recorded as black and mulatto. New Philadelphia
was still well ahead of the state of Illinois in its representation
of black residents. The entire state reported only 0.4%, or 7,628
black individuals, among a populace numbering 1,711,951 citizens.
Restrictive and prejudicial Black Codes most likely contributed
to the low number of black and mulatto individuals residing in
The town continued to attract settlers from other Illinois communities;
50 individuals, 44% of the population, claimed Illinois as their
place of origin. Twenty-four people, 21% of the population, originated
from the North East region of the country, including the states
Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The large number
of settlers from the North East may have come to escape the economic
chaos experienced in the East at the time; in pursuit of affordable
land available on the frontier; and in answer to advertisements
that appeared in east coast newspapers (McCartney 1988). Economic
opportunity may also have lured settlers to the region. Two of
the town's residents, about 2% of the population, were born in
State Census of 1865
New Philadelphia's population peaked by the time of the 1865 state
census with 160 individuals living in 29 households. Those 160
individuals represent an increase of 40% from the 114 residents
reported in 1860 and reflect an increase of 175% from the 58 individuals
reported on the 1850 census taken only 15 years earlier.
The total value of livestock owned by the town's residents now
totaled $8,700, and increase of $5,470, or 169% more than 10 years
earlier in 1855. However, only 9 of the town's 29 households,
or 31%, reported owning livestock. In 1855, 14 of the town's 15
households, or 93%, reported owning livestock. Seven, or 24% of
the town's households produced 354 pounds of wool. Wool production
was not reported on the 1855 state census. Geographic origin and
occupational distribution were not reported on the 1865 state
New Philadelphia remained a bi-racial town, but the majority,
112 individuals, or 70% of the population, was white; 48 individuals,
or 30%, were recorded as black. Although the majority of residents
were white, the number of black and mulatto individuals had more
than doubled in just 5 years, from 21 to 48 individuals. The large
influx of black and mulatto residents may be attributed to the
migration of formerly enslaved people moving from the South following
The Burdick, Hadsell, Clark, Cartwright (Kirtwright), Vond and
McWorter families still figured prominently in the history of
the town as residents and landowners; the Bower, Kellum, Hadsell
and Baker families were among New Philadelphia townsfolk in 1865.
Federal Census of 1870
When the Hannibal-Naples Railroad bypassed New Philadelphia in
favor of nearby towns Hadley and Barry in 1869, New Philadelphia
was doomed. Town residents moved away in search of jobs and economic
opportunities elsewhere. The 1870 federal census reported 123
individuals living in the town, a decrease of 23% from 1865's
peak report of 160 individuals. Seventy-five percent of the population,
92 individuals, were white. Twenty-nine individuals, 23% of the
population, were listed as mulatto; only 2 residents, less than
2% of the townsfolk, were recorded as black on the 1870 census.
The Burdick, Clark and Hadsell families continued too hold a presence
in the community.
While New Philadelphia's population was declining, the state
of Illinois experienced continued population growth, but not as
dramatic as the increase from 1850 to 1860. The federal census
of 1870 reported 2,539,891 people residing in the state, an increase
of 48.4% over 1860's count. The majority of the population, 1,704,291,
or 98.9% of the state population, was white, but the 28,762 black
residents represented 1.1% of the state's population, an increase
of 0.7% from the census of 1860. Those figures reflect an increase
of 21,134 people, or 277%, from the 1860 census that recorded
7,628 black residents. Although restricted by the state's stringent
Black Codes, people freed from slavery and eager for economic
opportunities and self-determination made their way to Illinois.
The town's occupation distribution also changed in the years
between 1860 and 1870. In addition to one carpenter, two blacksmiths
now lived in the town and a coal miner joined the community. There
were 3 schoolteachers living in New Philadelphia in 1870 along
with a physician, a minister and 3 laborers. Farming occupied
21 of the 34 townspeople, or 61% of the population, who were gainfully
employed outside the home. A seamstress, shop worker, 3 school
teachers and a speculator rounded out the town's workforce.
In 1870, as past years of New Philadelphia's history, most of
the town's populace, 79 individuals, or 64% of the population,
originated from the Great Lakes region of the country. Illinois
again held the largest representation with 69 individuals, or
56% of the populace. The South Central region of the United States,
including Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri, was represented by
13 individuals, 10% of the population. The relatively large number
of settlers from that region is most likely attributable to the
migration of freed people moving away from the South.
The majority of New Philadelphia's population, 92 people, or
75% of the population, were white. The 2 black and 29 mulatto
individuals represented the minority, or 25% of the total number
Federal Census of 1880
By 1880 the population of New Philadelphia had plummeted to 84
individuals, a reduction of 31% from the 122 individuals reported
in 1870 and a 48% decline from the town's population peak of 160
residents in 1865. The number of 17 households in 1880 represents
a reduction of 41% from the town's peak of 29 households in 1865.
While New Philadelphia's population declined, the state of Illinois'
population continued to grow. In 1880, the state's population
included 3,077,871 people, an increase of 21.2% over 1870's number
Black individuals living in Illinois now numbered 46,368 representing
1.5% of the state's total population, and reflected an increase
of 61.2% over the 28,762 included on the 1870 federal census.
In New Philadelphia, white residents, 70 individuals, or 83% of
the population, continued to maintain the majority racial representation
of the town. New Philadelphia's 14 black and mulatto individuals
represented the minority, 17% of the populace.
Most of New Philadelphia's townsfolk, 20 individuals, or 24%
of the total population continued to be occupied in farming. That
number represents 64%, or 31 individuals gainfully employed outside
the home. A school teacher, a store keeper, a house servant and
a blacksmith also lived in the town. Thirty-two individuals, 38%
of the populace, were recorded as "at home." For children "too
young to be involved in production," census enumerators were instructed
to mark the occupation column of the census form "at home." The
town's 28 children 14 years of age and under are reflected in
the "at home" group. However, other individuals listed as "at
home" ranged from infants to 34 years of age, another indication
that census enumerators sometimes took liberty with interpretation
of their instructions.
The majority of the town's residents, 67 individuals, or 80%
of the population, originated from the Great Lakes region of the
United States. Fifty-two individuals, or 62% of the population,
were Illinois natives, including 29 adults and 23 children under
14 years of age.
1850 Census: Instructions to Marshals and Assistant Marshals
Matteson, Grace E.
- "Free Frank" McWorter and the "Ghost Town" of New Philadelphia,
County, Illinois. Pike County Historical Society.
- Freedom in New Philadelphia. Illinois Magazine.
27:1:17. January -
Omni-Gazetteer of the United States of America
1990 Omnigraphics, Inc. Detroit, Michigan.
State of Illinois
- Census of Hadley Township, Pike County, T4S, R5W, p. 96.
- Census of Hadley Township, Pike County T4S, R5W, pp. 8-12.
United States Bureau of the Census
- Popuation Schedule of the Seventh Census, Illinois Free Schedules,
Perry, Piatt and Pike Counties, Roll 124.
- Population Schedule of the Eighth Census, Pike County, Hadley
- Population Schedule of the Eighth Census, Pike County, Pleasant
Vale Township, Illinois.
- Population Schedule of the Ninth Census, Pike County, Hadley
- Population Schedule of the Tenth Census of the U.S., Illinois,
Pike Part E.D. 1-Sheet 44, Roll #242.
Walker, Juliet E. K.
- Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier.
The University Press of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky.