Greenbrier County, Virginia 1810 Substitute Census


Greenbrier County, Virginia 1810 Substitute Census. [Abstracts from the 1810 Personal Property Tax List] by John Vogt. 2011.  

Greenbrier is one of eighteen Virginia counties for which the 1810 census is lost. In August, 1814 British troops occupied Washington, DC and public buildings were put to the torch. In the destruction that followed, numerous early records of the government were lost, including all of Virginia’s 1790 and 1800 census reports, as well as eighteen county lists for the state's most recent [1810] federal census. Although two “fair copies” of each county’s census had been left in the counties for public display, these were ephemeral lists and not preserved, and by 1814 they too had been mislaid, lost, or destroyed. Hence, the closest document available we have to reconstruct a partial image of the missing county lists is the personal property tax list.
According to research notes by Minor T. Weisiger, Library of Virginia archivist: “Information recorded in Virginia personal property tax records changed gradually from 1782 to 1865. The early laws required the tax commissioner in each district to record in “a fair alphabetical list” the names of the person chargeable with the tax, the names of white male tithables over the age of twenty-one, the number of white male tithables between ages sixteen and twenty-one, the number of slaves both above and below age sixteen, various types of animals such as horses and cattle, carriage wheels, ordinary licenses, and even billiard tables. Free Negroes are listed by name and often denoted in the list as “free” or “FN.”
The present abstract of Greenbrier's 1810 personal property tax list is NOT a transcript of the entire document; rather, it is a summary of three items important in delineating the 1810 "substitute" census for this county, i.e., number of male tithables 16 and older, number of slaves twelve years and older, and the number of horses. The original form of the census was in alphabetic order by date and letter.