|Iowa State Census Project||News Articles Concerning the 1905 Iowa State Census|
The census of the county will be taken in a very different manner this time than it has been taken heretofore. Up to the present time the book system was always employed but this year a new card scheme is to be put into practice and this will make it much easier to file the same.
Each man will take with him these cards and the entry will be made upon them instead of in the books as formerly. Auditor McManus is now busy arranging the cards, which consist of six different varieties. Among these are cards for farms of less than three acres on which the amount of stock will be registered and the amount of crops will also be entered upon this. Besides this there will be the entire value of the farm, and many other items.
The cards for Davenport will have a great number of questions to be answered by the residents, and among them are the following: Place of birth of mother and father, whether or not the farm or home is owned by the person using the same, how much incumbrance on home or farm, months in school in 1904, whether public, high school, private or college. Also months unemployed in 1904, together with questions regarding military service.
~source: Tri-City Star, Davenport, Scott co. Iowa
January 6, 1905
Assessor Jeppe Biering has appointed the following as census takers for the city of Davenport:
First Ward - William Blunck
Second Ward - Louis Berg
Third Ward - Henry Sindt
Fourth Ward - Henry Mundt
Fifth Ward - Phil. Morgan
Sixth Ward - W.W. Brown
It was moved and duly seconded [by the Scott co. Board of Supervisors] that the assessors shall receive for taking of the census, one cent for each name and ten cents for each farm.
~source: Tri-City Evening Star, Davenport, Scott co. Iowa
January 9, 1905
Census taking will begin here to-day, January 10, and those upon whom the responsibility rests are somewhat disturbed as to what is really required of them relative to taking Normal students, non-resident teachers, railroad and other employees who, in a strict sense, do not consider this their home. So far as getting the census here is concerned, it should be an easy matter to get at the true facts, and that is what census taking is for. All of those should be counted, but for the benefit of everybody interested and for the establishment of truth, the record should show the true state of affairs, classifying these people according to facts, and in this way our population both with and without these elements could be easily determined, and the population of our city could be established according to the decision of the state or legal authorities; but really none should be excluded who are here more than half of the time under employment or at school.
~source: Cedar Falls Gazette, Cedar Falls, Black Hawk co. Iowa
January 10, 1905
The people of the state seem suspicious of the census. The are asking many questions concerning its object. This is thought to be due mainly to the fact that the assessors are counting the people. They also assess property for taxation. In these days of ferrets and one thing and another, the people are wondering why so many questions are being asked by the authorities.
At one point the assessor persisted in making inquiry as to the number of chickens a citizen owned and had on the place. Evasive answers were returned, he says, to many of the inquiries, but he kept pressing them with a view to acquiring accurate information as to the number of fowl, etc., in the poultry house. Finally the farmer got his dander up. "Look here, mister," he yelled, shaking his fist in the assessor's face "by um, ye don't come no game like that on me, no sir-ee, Bob. I know what fer you want to know about them 'air chickens. You want to come back here tonight and rob that 'air roost, that's what is the matter of you. You git." And the assessor got.
Grief at Mt. Vernon
But the assessor of the town of Mt. Vernon is having trouble with the inquisitive Yankee, too. He has appealed to the executive council for assistance in warding off the boisterous questions of the town and has been sent a copy of the census of 1895 with information to the effect that the constitution of Iowa contemplates the enumeration of the people and their industries for their own satisfaction and the profit of the world at large. Assessor Hess of Mt. Vernon has written as follows:
Mount Vernon, Ia., Jan 31, 1905.
Mr. A.H. Davidson, Secretary of Executive Council.
I am the assessor of the town of Mt. Vernon, county of Linn, state of Iowa, and in my work I am continually asked what is the object of all these questions. What motive have the state in view? What is to be done with this information? etc. The American people are great questioners and none more so than our own Iowans. The common people are asking why. Some ascribe an ulterior motive. Some flatly refuse to answer in regard to products. The people are interested as I have never seen them before, but they question, really question the good intentions of the great state of Iowa. As a small arm of that state I have been trying to elucidate these matter and for this reason I now address you. Can you not send me some pamphlet or leaflet bearing on this matter, this real purpose of the state, or cite me where I can procure such information? What I would like best would be a plain, concise statement from yourself bearing on this question. Any information you may be able to send me will be thankfully received.
Fear Liquor Men Will Pad the Census
Des Moines, Ia., Feb 2 -- Suspecting that the liquor men might try to influence the census enumerators to pad the census in certain localities, former State Senator Julian Phelps of Atlantic, Cass county, called at the census bureau at the capitol yesterday to inquire as to what precautions had been taken by the executive council to guard against padding.
Senator Phelps made no direct charges and said that his interest was not based on anything tangible. But temperance folk had seen the possibility in the situation as it exists and thought it wise to make an investigation as to the means which may be commanded to previent census padding if it should be attempted.
The point to it is this: When cities atttain a population of five thousand, a petition of consent for the operation of saloons, signed by a majority of the votors is sufficient; if the town is under five thousand, 65 per cent are required. In a number of cities of just slightly less than five thousand efforts to secure consent petitions have failed. If the state census now being taken shows that these cities have to exceed five thousand people it will not be difficult to secure a majority of the voters to sign consent petitions.
It was shown the Cass county man that the executive council is requiring taken. This register includes cards, one of which is required for every man, woman and child in the state, also a register of the names of the persons of whom the count is being taken. This register includes every name of every person in the state and his street and number or rural free delivery address.
This register undoubtedly is a complete check against padding the census if such a thing be contemplated, which the council does not believe. But by making use of the register it will not be difficult to discover quickly whether padding is being perpetrated.
~source: Davenport Morning Star, Davenport, Scott co. Iowa
February 3, 1905
Newspaper article transcriptions: Sharyl Ferrall, coordinator of Iowa Old Press.
Release Date: 9 June 2008
The assessors this year will have a lot of extra work in taking the census. It is an important undertaking and every person should be prepared to answer the following questions:
Sex - Male, female
Can you read? - Yes, No
Can you write? - Yes, No
Color - White, black, yellow, red.
Place of birth - Self
Place of birth - Mother
Place of birth - Father
Do you own your home or farm? Yes, No
Entire value of home or farm - $
How much incumbrance on your home or farm? $
If you are forengn born, are you naturalized? Yes, no
Years in U.S.
Years in Iowa.
Conjugal condition - Single, married, widowed, divorced, separated
Months in school in 1904 - Public, high, private, college
Military service - Service in the civil war, Mexican war, Spanish war, company, regiment, state, class of service, cavalry, infantry, artillery, navy. Date of enlistment, date of discharge, remarks.
The assessors are not permitted to show their census returns to anyone, nor to tell something about them. The returns are sent to the secretary of state.
~source: The Lime Springs Sun, Lime Springs, Howard co. Iowa
February 9, 1905
Questions, comments, suggestions welcome. Please email the State Census Coordinator.
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