1860 Western North Carolina Census Data

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Western North Carolina Census Records

1860 Western North Carolina Census Data

North Carolina consisted of 86 counties in 1860, but today there are 100.

Western North Carolina was composed of 18 counties in 1860. In 1861 during the American Civil War, Western North Carolina added 3 mountain or western counties. Although created after the 1860 census, the 3 newly formed mountain counties were carved from existing counties so they had no impact on the 1860 population.

 

The 3 newly formed counties in 1861 were Clay County (formed from part of Cherokee County), Mitchell County (from parts of Burke County, Caldwell County, McDowell County, Watauga County, and Yancey County), and Transylvania County (from Henderson and Jackson counties).

Sources: University of Virginia Library; United States Census 

    County

Total Pop.

   White

  Free Blacks

 Slaves 

    Alleghany

 3590

    3351

   33

   206

    Ashe

 7956

    7423

  142

   391

    Buncombe

12654

   10610

  111

 1933

    Burke

 9237

    6645

  221

 2371

    Caldwell

 7497

    6295

  114

 1088

    Cherokee*

 9166

    8609

    38

   519

    Haywood

  5801

    5474

   14

   313

    Henderson

   10448

    8981

   85

 1382

    Jackson**

 5515

    4179

    6

   268

    Macon*

     6004

     5370

         115

     519

    Madison

     5908  

     5678

           17

     213

    McDowell

     7120

     5542

         273

   1305

    Polk*

     4043

     3317

         106

     620

    Rutherford

   11573

     9059

         123

   2391

    Surry

   10380

     8950

         184

   1246

    Watauga

     4957  

     4772

           81

     104

    Wilkes

   14749

   13280

         261

   1208

    Yancey

     8655

     8226

           67

     362

                                                                   Total            145,253**  125,761       1,991        16,439

*The 1860 census does not include the Cherokees in Cherokee, Macon, and Polk counties. In 1860, however, additional census records reflect 26 Cherokees in Cherokee County, 55 Cherokees in Macon County, and 5 Cherokees in Polk County.
**The 1860 census includes the 1062 Cherokees in Jackson County.

Western North Carolina's slaves comprised 11.3% of the region's total population. North Carolina's total slave count, however, composed 33% of the Old North State's population.

Recommended Reading: Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920. Description: The county has always been used as the basic Federal census unit. Genealogical research in the census, therefore, begins with identifying the correct county jurisdictions. This work shows all U.S. county boundaries from 1790 to 1920. On each of the nearly 400 maps the old county lines are superimposed over the modern ones to highlight the boundary changes at ten-year intervals. Continued below...
Also included are (1) a history of census growth; (2) the technical facts about each census; (3) a discussion of census accuracy; (4) an essay on available sources for each state's old county lines; and (5) a statement with each map indicating which county census lines exist and which are lost. Then there is an index listing all present-day counties, plus nearly all defunct counties or counties later renamed. With each map there is data on boundary changes, notes about the census, and locality finding keys. There also are inset maps that clarify territorial lines, a state-by-state bibliography of sources, and an appendix outlining pitfalls in mapping county boundaries. The detail in this work is exhaustive and of such impeccable standards that there is little wonder why this award-winning publication is the number one tool in U.S. census research.

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Recommended Reading: Western North Carolina: A History from 1730 to 1913 (Hardcover: 679 pages). Description: From the introduction to the appendix, this volume is filled with interesting information. Covering seventeen counties—Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey—the author conducted about ten years searching and gathering materials. Continued below...

About the Author: John Preston Arthur was born in 1851 in Columbia, South Carolina. After relocating to Asheville, North Carolina, in 1887, he was appointed Secretary of the Street Railway Company, and subsequently the Manager and Superintendent until 1894. Later, after becoming a lawyer, he was encouraged by the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) to write a history of western North Carolina.

 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers' and Civilians' Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865. Volume 2: The Mountains (Civil War in North Carolina) (Hardcover). Description: As with The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers' and Civilians' Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865. Vol. 1: The Piedmont, this work presents letters and diary entries (and a few other documents) that tell the experiences of soldiers and civilians from the mountain counties of North Carolina during the Civil War. The counties included are Alleghany, Ashe, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Surry, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey. The book is arranged chronologically, 1861 through 1865. Before each letter or diary entry, background information is provided about the writer. Continued below...

The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers' and Civilians' Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865 (Volume 2): The Mountains, is the soldier's story. It is an A-to-Z compilation of what the "rank and file soldier" experienced during the American Civil War. The Western North Carolina soldiers express their hearts to their loved ones and friends, thus allowing the reader the most intimate and personal view of the war. From triumph to tragedy, the "soldiers' letters" express what few authors or writers can achieve--realism. According to cartographic and demographic studies, Southern Appalachia comprised a unique indigenous people, and by isolating these rare letters it allows the reader the most detailed insight to their experiences. The soldier experienced various traumatic stressors in the conflict: such as witnessing death or dismemberment, handling dead bodies, traumatic loss of comrades, realizing imminent death, killing others and being helpless to prevent others' deaths.  Plain, raw and to the point: The reader will witness the most detailed insight to the so-called American Civil War. Intimate and personal: diseases, privation, wounds, loneliness, exhaustion, heartache, and death are all explored.

 

Recommended Reading: Touring the Western North Carolina Backroads (Touring the Backroads). Editorial Review: This guidebook, unlike most, is so encyclopedic in scope that I give it as a gift to newcomers to the area. It is also an invaluable reference for the visitor who wants to see more than the fabulous Biltmore Estate. Even though I am a native of the area, I learned nearly everything I know about Western North Carolina from this book alone and it is my primary reference. I am still amazed at how much fact, history and folklore [just enough to bring alive the curve of the road, the odd landmark, the abandoned building] is packed in its 300 pages. The author, who must have collapsed from exhaustion when she finished it, takes you on a detailed tour, laid out by the tenth of the mile, of carefully drawn sections of backroads that you can follow leisurely without getting lost. Continued below...

The author is completely absent from the text. The lucid style will please readers who want the facts, not editorial comment. This book, as well as the others in this publisher's backroads series, makes an excellent gift for anyone, especially the many seniors who have relocated, or are considering relocating to this fascinating region. “It is also a valuable reference for natives…”

 

Recommended Reading: Bushwhackers, The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains (338 pages). Description: Trotter's book (which could have been titled "Murder, Mayhem, and Mountain Madness") is an epic backdrop for the most horrific murdering, plundering and pillaging of the mountain communities of western North Carolina during the state’s darkest hour—the American Civil War. Commonly referred to as Southern Appalachia, the North Carolina and East Tennessee mountains witnessed divided loyalties in its bushwhackers and guerrilla units. These so-called “bushwhackers” even used the conflict to settle old feuds and scores, which, in some cases, continued well after the war ended. Continued below...

Some bushwhackers were highly organized ‘fighting guerrilla units’ while others were a motley group of deserters and outliers, and, since most of them were residents of the region, they were familiar with the terrain and made for a “very formidable foe.” In this work, Trotter does a great job on covering the many facets of the bushwhackers, including their: battles, skirmishes, raids, activities, motives, the outcome, and even the aftermath. This book is also a great source for tracing ancestors during the Civil War; a must have for the family researcher of Southern Appalachia.

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