A look at early Middletown through the 1880 U. S. Census
The first listing in the 1880 census of Middletown starts is the residence of Richard Williams, operator of Harbin Hot Springs, his wife Annie and their three children, followed by 14 “servants,” two Chinese cooks and 35 “boarders” – some of whom may also have been employees.
Residence number two is that of Allen Palmer, a stage driver, along with his wife Annie, and three children.
House number. 9 is that of laundrywoman N. G. Dye, age 39, once known as Nancy McGreer, and her children Hugh and Susan Davey, ages 19 and 12, and Thomas, Nannie and May Dye, ages 6, 4 and 2.
Residence number 17 is the boarding house at the Great Western Mine, under the charge of Mary Driscoll, brought in from Shasta County for that role by mine superintendent Andrew Rocca, her husband, Timothy, her nephew Michael, who serves as waiter, and cook Charley Denver. Guests include Andrew Rocca, his new wife Mary Ruby; the teacher who replaced her, R. D. Reed; and eight mine workers.
Dallas Poston and his wife Mary, who would years later lease the Stone House from Charles Young, and their five children occupy No. 21, still on the Great Western property. Poston is listed as a butcher. Nine more residences house mine workers and their families. Then comes a listing of 186 Chinese employees in several residences, one headed by Jim Bacon.
Following names still familiar in Middletown — Parriott and Quesenberry — a group of four Chinese laborers occupy house number 56, between — if census policies then were the same as later decades — the Henry Stockford and John Capps farms.
Then comes the family of W. J. and Anastasia Armstrong, who sold the northern half of Middletown to Berry and Armstrong before there was a town — we can assume their retained land would now be bounded on the south by Wardlaw Street. At number 62, Isabella Bradford is listed as a hotel keeper, sharing space with six sons and two daughters, next to the home of W. G. Cannon, a name long recognized among Middletown pioneer families. His wife and six children are included there.
The Anderson Springs resort is residence No. 68, with Aleck Anderson’s widow Jane listed as head of a household comprised of her daughters Barbara and Joanne and partner Laban Patriquin’s daughter Lexy, along with their six youngsters and a Chinese cook.
Page 13 is left blank after the home of Robert Hanna, his wife and four children, perhaps to indicate a change of location.
Most Middletown residents are listed as farmers, but local businessmen are identified. On page 14, we find, Mary Stark, midwife; William Good, blacksmith, and brother James Good, wagonmaker. Q.V.P. Day, Leon Love, David Lobree, Samuel Asher and E. Whiting are listed as retail merchants as is D. DePencier further down the street; whose brother Greg clerked in his store; John Reineke and his nephew Frederic were blacksmiths; Francis Cameron was a boot and shoemaker as was Charles Bishop. William Amesbury was a lumber dealer.
B. R. Wardlaw, civil engineer who had prepared the plat surveys for Middletown, lived next door to saloon-keeper Jacob Green. Another saloonkeeper down the street lived next to druggist C. W. Armstrong and retired brickmaker D. B. Armstrong. At the other end of town, Elihu Ford apparently had taken over as brickmaker.
Two houses just ahead of H. B. Argall’s saloon were occupied by four Chinese men, including one who listed his occupation as gambler. At the far end of town, another house was shared by eight young Chinese men. Blacksmith John Gavin lived next to John McGreer, divorced owner of the Stone House, and his daughter Kate, and next came the livery stables of Samuel Kenyon, which Charles Young bought shortly thereafter
Right next door was postmaster G. W. Rawson, then Joseph Friedman, dealer in real estate. Two doors down, a surprisingly candid C. B. Gordon listed himself as a pauper, while his wife Melissa was a laundress to support their three sons.
House number 104 was shared by G. R. Mahoney, 24, a clerk in a store, and 18-year-old J. Lampley, cook in a hotel. Next door was J. G. Sturgill, blacksmith, whose son Louis clerked in a hotel, and whose neighbor, J. H. Kellogg was also a blacksmith. M. E. Armstrong and her two young daughters lived with her father, Josiah Wells, the local mail carrier. They shared a home with eight members of the Daniel Rantz family, whose 4-year-old granddaughter Lenora had measles. Housepainter John Preble lived next to James Wilkinson and his extensive family. The next home was that of the widow Nicholson and her seven children.
Clergyman R. W. Williamson, his wife, their schoolteacher daughter Emily, portrait painter daughter Kate, and two younger children resided in house No. 113. Bachelor carpenter G. W. Smith lived next door, alongside an Orioto (?) manufacturer, Thomas Robbins, whose wife Esther told census-taker John Good Jr. about the cramp in her stomach.
Constable Z. A. Cockrill headed household number 116, which included his wife, two daughters and two stepdaughters, two sons and two stepsons – the 18-year-old stepson claiming a career as a gambler. Marcus Munz claimed his German heritage, although he was born in Missouri, made being the town brewer a natural path; still, an Irish brewer 10 years his senior was a member of his household, along with Munz’ wife and five children.
John Irwin, whose name eventually became almost synonymous with that of Middletown, was a 12-year-old in 1880, living with his parents Edward and Leah and four siblings next to the Reverend D. F. Ravens.
After the Young household — C. M., Lutitia, the three sons, two young visitors from Iowa and a Chinese cook — the page is blank, holding 21 listings rather than the usual 50, and marked “Here ends the Village of Middletown,” although the census listings continue for another two and a half pages.