Posts tagged ‘Craig Township’

April 12, 2012

James Wakefield, More Than Just a Farmer

This article is in reference to James Wakefield, born in South Carolina in 1803, husband of Elizabeth Ann Jones, and resident of Craig Township, Switzerland County, Indiana from the late 1840s until his death in 1876.

 

According to the 1860 census, in which James was 57 years old, James’s occupation was that of a farmer. Unbeknownst to me until just a few days ago, James also was a peddler and even dabbled as a retailer selling liquor. According to Indiana tax records from the 1860s, James was assessed a tax annually from 1862 to 1866 for a Class B License and in 1866 was assessed an additional tax as a retail liquor dealer.

  • 1862 – November, 18 – Class B License – 3rd Class Peddler – Amount of Tax: $10.00 
  • 1863 – May, 15 – Class B License – Peddler – Amount of Tax: $6.67
  • 1864 – July – Class B License – 3rd Class Peddler – Amount of Tax: $12.50
  • 1865 – Annual Assessment – 2nd Class Peddler – Amount of Tax: $25
  • 1866 – 6/1 – Annual Assessment – 2nd Class Peddler – Amount of Tax: $25
  • 1866 – 6/1 – Annual Assessment – Retail Liquor Dealer – Amount of Tax: $25 

It is unknown, at this time, if James did his business beyond his farm. It is known, however, that he was a resident of Craig Township for the period he was being assessed the tax. It is also unknown what type of liquor he sold and the source of that liquor.

Since these assessments were primarily during the Civil War, it is possible that these ventures were a result of a void in the market caused by the departure of younger men engaged in the war effort. It could also have been undertaken as a result of financial necessity since Jacob and Thomas, sons of James, were involved in the war effort. With James and Thomas away, it is possible that James assisted his extended family with the additional income earned from these ventures. Another possibility is that James, being older, was not able to work the land like he once did or was missing the help provided by his sons, and others at war. Without the ability to produce a viable income from farming, a second, or alternative job, may have been a necessity.

Next steps are to review of the tax assessment periods to see if James was assessed a tax beyond this range and to browse through Vevay newspaper from the 1860s to see if there are any references to James or liquor establishments. Maybe we’ll get lucky find an additional piece of information.

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