|Map by Wyndell O Taylor (1)|
Today the area of Cherokee County, Georgia, formerly known as Wildcat, is part of the ever growing Metro Atlanta area. Today it is home to sprawling planned developments, strip malls, manicured lawns, and rolling hills, but 150 years ago, it was a different place.
I became interested in the Wildcat area while looking for information about my husband's second great grand uncle, Samuel Hillhouse, the gold digger. In the 1860 census for Wildcat, Cherokee County, Georgia, I found several of my husband's relatives plus a few of mine as well as a variety of occupations.(2) The teacher in me quickly started tallying the occupations found in the census pages in order to get a better view of life years ago in Wildcat.
Below is a listing of the occupations identified by the census enumerator of Wildcat, together with a few personal comments placed in [ ]s. The census covered 177 families and 946 people living in the Wildcat District. Listing the occupations ending up providing an informative snapshot of life in the 1860s. The occupations of folks in Wildcat included:
88 laborers [none of the laborers had a value listed for land, few had personal property values listed, apparently they were farming rented land]
86 farmers [all the farmers had a value listed for their farm land which they apparently owned]
14 students [all males, 15-21, other non-student males of that age were listed as farmers or laborers]
6 blacksmiths [I was surprised at this number until I looked at the number of farmers and laborers and the equipment necessary for them to farm the land. The blacksmith was essential for making and maintaining their farming implements.]
5 gold diggers [including my husband's uncle Samuel Hillhouse]
3 prostitutes [surprise!]
2 school teachers
1 bridge keeper [a woman]
1 cabinet workman
1 carriage maker
1 engineer [probably for the railroad]
The area had virtually everything necessary for a period mini-series on A&E. Such was life back in Wildcat!
(1) Taylor, Wyndell O. Land and Militia Districts of Cherokee County GA. www.rootsweb.ancestry.com, 1998.
(2) Georgia. Cherokee County, Wildcat. 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. Digital images. Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com : 2013.