Mortality schedules, or lists of people and their cause of death for the twelve months preceding the census, appear at the end of each town’s population schedule in the United States Census for the years 1850-1880. The New York State Census from 1845-1875 also contains mortality schedules for the communities of New York. Taken from the same census as the Lansingburgh Census of Mortality, this record demonstrates that local records can reflect national events and historical persons.
This schedule from North Elba, Essex County, New York, documents the death of John Brown and members of his family. North Elba township, located in the Adirondacks, includes the village of Lake Placid today. Brown purchased the land in the late 1840s from Gerrit Smith, an abolitionist and philanthropist. Smith had a plan to sell Adirondack land to poor African American men so they could relocate. Brown purchased land from Smith planning to help the resettlement. However, Brown’s attentions turned to the civil unrest developing as western territories sought statehood. John Brown’s farm and burial plot are maintained as a historic site. As noted in the record, Brown was executed by hanging. This occurred after his conviction for treason associated with his infamous raid on the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia in 1859. This record is from the New York State Library. Additional records about John Brown and his family are located in the records of the Essex County Clerk and the Historian’s office in Elizabethtown, NY.
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