18 Apr 2014
Now that we have made it past April 15, here is a more pleasant way to think about tax records! As most researchers know, the 1890 census was destroyed by fire. Only three North Carolina townships, two in Gaston County and one in Cleveland County, survived the 1921 fire in the Commerce Department Building in Washington, D. C. Many genealogists have hit a brick wall when confronted with the twenty year gap between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.
As a partial substitute for the 1890 census, the Cabarrus County Tax Scroll showing heads of household is better than no list at all. By 1883, the Cabarrus Scroll lists the taxable head of household by name, race and age, if male. It also shows property by acreage, location and value, as well as numerous personal property categories.
Examples from Cabarrus County Tax Scroll, 1890
- Township No. 4 (Kannapolis Area)
D. M. Isenhour, white male, aged 55, owns 167 acres, valued at $1275, on Astons Run. He has three mules at $160, 8 cattle at $50, and 9 hogs at $20. Farming utensils and tools are valued at $175 and all other personal property totals $90. Isenhour’s county tax is $4.63 and his township tax is $1.04.
- Township No. 8 (Mt. Pleasant area)
Mathew Peatrea, white male, aged 77, owns 143 acres, valued at $1000, near St. John’s Church. He has one horse at $35, 5 cattle at $30, and 4 hogs at $10. Farming utensils and tools are valued at $115 and all other personal property totals $60. Peatrea’s county tax is $3.22 and his township tax is $1.04.
- Township No. 12 (Town of Concord)
Robert McRee is a black male, aged 60. He owns one town lot near Scotia Seminary, valued at $600. He also has 4 hogs at $5.00 and other personal property totaling $50. McRee’s county tax is $1.71 and his township tax is 55¢.
V. Y. Suther, white male, aged 31, owns one town lot, valued at $100, which is his residence. No location is given. His personal property is valued at $50. Suther’s county tax is $1.18 and his township tax is 38¢.
Betty White is a black female whose age is not given because women are exempt from poll (or head) taxes. She owns a town lot near Robert McRee, valued at $100. With no other personal property listed, White’s county tax is $1.71 and her township tax is 55¢.
Cabarrus County Tax Scrolls for 1872-1888, 1890-1895 and 1897-1898, are available on microfilm at the Concord Library, Lore History Room.
Courtesy of the Cabarrus County Public Library, Lore Local History Room