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1900 Portage County Census (photos from the Portage County Historical Society Web Exhibit)

Introduction to the 1870 U.S. Census
Portage County, Wisconsin

Portage County, from an 1895 Rand McNally Atlas (click here for a larger view of the area (288KB)

Portage County, from an 1895 Rand McNally Atlas
 Click here or on the map for a larger view of the area (288KB)

Click Here to Search the Central WI Genealogy Index
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1850 | 1860 | 1870 | 1880 | 1900

The 1870 census, taken during the month of June, 1870, was taken by Assistant Marshal Peter Grover, a resident of the town of Amherst, who was responsible for visiting each of the nearly 2000 households in Portage County, to determine the following, as of June 1, 1870, the effective date of the census:

  1. The name of every person whose place of abode on the first day of June, 1870, was in this family
  2. Description: age at last birthday, sex, color (white, black, mulatto, Chinese, Indian)
  3. Profession, Occupation, or Trade of each person, male or female
  4. Value of Real Estate owned
  5. Place of birth, naming State or Territory of U. S.; or the Country, if of foreign birth
  6. Parentage: Father of foreign birth, Mother of foreign birth.
  7. If born within the year, state month [new for 1870]
  8. If married within the year, state month [new for 1870]
  9. Attended school within the year
  10. Education: Cannot read, Cannot write
  11. Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic

Constitutional Relations: Male citizens of U. S. of 21 years of age and upwards; male citizens of U. S. of 21 years of age and upwards, whose right to vote is denied or abridged on other grounds than rebellion or other crime [new for 1870]

Nationally, the enumerators went door to door, counting and compiling data on the 38.6 million inhabitants of the country, not including Native Americans not taxed, who were counted separately. Portage County at that time consisted of eighteen governmental units (fifteen townships and three city wards), and had an official total population of 10,634. The residents of the city of Stevens Point numbered 1,810.

Although the boundaries of Portage County had been fixed by 1856 as they are today, the township boundaries remained unsettled until 1899. Small areas were being traded back and forth among Plover, Grant, Buena Vista, and Pine Grove townships, the political reasons for which are interesting (see Our County Our Story by Malcolm Rosholt). In 1870 the towns of Alban, Carson, Dewey did not yet exist. At that time the town of Eau Pleine extended to the east of the Wisconsin River, and the town of Hull extended north to the Marathon County line. The present town of Carson, and part of Linwood, fomed the township of Stevens Point, what remained of the old Territorial township of that name which had originally extended east to the county line. The land now in the town of Alban was then part of New Hope. The part of Linwood south and east of the Wisconsin River had been ceded to the town of Plover in 1864. It should therefore be kept in mind that finding families in different townships in different censuses does not necessarily mean that they had moved.

This index groups families together, alphabetized by surname, for ease of identification. Exceptions to the family grouping occur when family members have a different surname (married daughters living at home, stepchildren, mothers-in-law, etc.); these are indexed separately. Each entry gives, in the right-hand column, the page number of the census schedule where the name can be found. On the microfilm, look for the number in the upper right-hand corner: imagine a large book opened flat; the left-hand page is the “A” side, the right-hand page, bearing the page number, is the “B” side. You will find a few persons erroneously counted twice, generally young people working away from home, who were counted in both places.

In producing this index, considerable care and effort has gone into deciphering the penmanship, which is generally good, but as with all records of this type, large allowance should be made for variant spellings and misspellings. In some cases it is only possible to make a reasonable guess as to the enumerator’s intent.

The 1870 Census

Unit Census Pages Population
Town of Almond 53B – 61B 651
Town of Amherst 62B – 74B 982
Town of Belmont 75B – 81B 508
Town of Buena Vista 82B – 90A 624
Town of Eau Pleine 90B – 94B 333
Town of Grant 95B – 98A 240
Town of Hull 98B – 106A 621
Town of Lanark 106B – 112A 471
Town of Linwood 112B – 117A 388
Town of New Hope 117B – 126B 751
Town of Pine Grove 127B – 131A 318
Town of Plover 131B – 142B 881
Town of Sharon 143B – 155A 948
Town of Stevens Point 155B – 156B 85
First Ward, Stevens Point 157B – 166A 691
Second Ward, Stevens Point 166B – 176A 788
Third Ward, Stevens Point 176B – 180B 331
Town of Stockton 181B – 194A 1,023
Total Population 10,634

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This page last modified: Monday, January 30, 2012