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Lexington District State Census Population Schedule, 1839

Manuscript volume, 1839, a rare state census population schedule for Lexington District is one of only three 1839 South Carolina district returns that are known to exist today. Official population schedules made in 1839 for Kershaw and Chesterfield districts are held by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

A state census distinct from the federal census had arisen in South Carolina as part of reapportionment politics. An 1808 amendment to the state's 1790 constitution had balanced the representation between the upper and lower sections of the state and had mandated state censuses every ten years to determine the population of election districts. On 19 December 1838, as the anniversary year approached, the General Assembly passed appropriate enabling legislation-"an act directing a census to be taken of the free white inhabitants of this state."

The manuscript "Census of Lexington District taken by Joseph R. Miller in the Year of our Lord 1839" may be Miller's original draft copy. The copy returned to the secretary of state likely would have contained a carefully tallied set of totals, and if intact, should have been accompanied by a justice's certificate endorsed on the back.

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