Monday, May 24, 2010

The Very First US Census

Early Census Is Found in a New Jersey University’s Files

New York Times, May 18, 2010

Talk about being late with your census forms. Curators at Kean University in New Jersey recently found a population count of the United States from an “actual enumeration” conducted at least four years before the country’s first official census in 1790.

The handwritten tally was found among the papers of John Kean, a delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, which met in Philadelphia and gave birth to the Constitution. A central issue delegates tackled was how to configure a new Congress that would more fairly represent the disparate populations of the 13 states. Kean was later appointed by President George Washington as the first cashier, in essence president, of the Bank of the United States.

Bill Schroh, director of museum operations at Kean’s Liberty Hall Museum, was perusing a ledger a few weeks ago when he came across the census results.

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