The Stewarts have been chock full of roadblocks in what feels like forever. They are the bane of my genealogy work. Recently, I was able to finally break through one of my Stewart family brick walls and discovered the ending to my 4th great aunt’s story.
I have written before about the Woodhull Cemetery that my DAR chapter is wanting to preserve and restore. I’d been having quite a few roadblocks on the town level to getting official approval to make changes to the cemetery. One would think since it’s abandoned, that this should be a no-brainer. The town doesn’t really want to shell out funds to maintain it, so you think they’d be jumping at the chance to get rid of it. Part of that process is getting the deed and land records to prove that nobody currently “officially” owns the land.
My trip to the county clerk’s office to find the deed didn’t go so well. In fact, I was told my task would take months of research or I could pay a title search company nearly $600 to find it for me, to which I wanted to keel over on the spot. Determined, I came home and sat down at the computer to look through the old grantor/grantee records. And don’t you know…
While researching my great-grandfather Jesse Archer, I found the 1870 Federal Census and got a bit of a giggle at his occupation that was listed as “loafer”. I mean, I’ve read about several silly occupations on the censuses but I’d never come across “loafer” so it brought up a bit of a mystery for me and brought debate between friends and relatives but nobody was quite sure.
My relative Suzanne thought perhaps it was a baker, referring to the loaves of bread. Another, thought perhaps a person working on a farm, rolling bales of hay, which could have made sense because he was a farmer nearly all his life. Personally, I thought it meant more like our modern meaning – a slacker. However, as Suzanne pointed out, how does a slacker have personal property in 1870 in the amount of $1000? That was a lot of value then! (I’ll discuss that below later….)