I do not have an Ancestry subscription, but I am lucky enough to live in a library district that DOES have a subscription that can be accessed in the library by anyone with a vaild library card. And a few years ago, Ancestry made this worth even more by allowing me to have my discoveries emailed to me. Since I do not frequently have time to run to the library to find one item, I keep a list of items to search for, and frequently my list of ‘finds’ gets quite long. I’m not as good as I could be about processing my finds when I get home. This is a long way to explain my surprise when I discovered that I’d found Samuel in the DDD over a year ago and had done nothing about it! I didn’t even remember I’d found him!
Once I realized I’d already found Samuel in the schedule, I quickly downloaded the page and examined it. The first thing I learned is the precise definition of ‘idiot’ when used in the 1880 census. You can read the detailed description from the schedule page below*, if you are interested. What I learned about Samuel made me sad. Here is what I learned.
According to Find A Grave, Samuel died at age 36 and is buried in Rosebank Cemetery, Dickinson County, Kansas. He may have been living with an older brother who had migrated with his family to Kansas sometime before 1900.
* From the 1880 Special Schedule of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes:
“The object of this Supplemental Schedule is to furnish material not only for a complete enumeration of the idiots, but for an account of their condition. It is important that every inquiry respecting each case be answered as fully as possible. Enumerators will, therefore, after making the proper entries on the Population Schedule (No. 1), transfer the name (with Schedule page and number) of every idiot found, from Schedule No. 1 to this Special Schedule, and proceed to ask the addition questions indicated in the headings of the several columns.
The word “idiot” has a special meaning which it is essential for every enumerator to know. An idiot is a person that the development of whose mental faculties was arrested in infancy or childhood before coming to maturity.
It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the stupidity which results from idiocy and that which is due to the loss or deterioration of mental power in consequence of insanity. The latter is not true idiocy, but dementia or imbecility. The enumeration desired for the Census is of true idiocy only. Demented persons should be classed with the insane.
Enumerators may obtain valuable hints as to the number of idiots, and their residences, from physicians who practice medicine in their respective districts.”