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HomeNews100 Years Ago/HistoryHistory: Haddam and Killingworth's First Census - 1790

History: Haddam and Killingworth’s First Census – 1790

By Connie Harris Farrington.

On August 2, 1790, United States marshals went door to door by foot, horseback and boat on a hot Monday morning. There were 13 new states plus Kentucky, Vermont, Maine, and Southwest Territories (now Tennessee). Marshals were given nine months to collect the data, but it was to be accurate as of August 2.

The 6 questions included on the census were:

  • How many people live at the residence?
  • How many are free white males age 16 and up?
  • How many free white males are under age 16?
  • How many are free white females?
  • How many other persons live here?
  • How many slaves?

Indians/Native Americans were not counted until 1870.

The number of free white males over 16 would help Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, assess the potential for military service.

Calculating statistics from the typed internet pages on, these are the results:


Number of households: about 356
Number of residents: about 2105
Free Males 16 and over: 552
Free Males under 16: 455
Free Females: 1093
Other: 2
Slaves: 3

1790 census totals are unclear. Images of original census pages are difficult to read. The Haddam Historical Society website reports Haddam’s population in 1800 census as 2307, and 2010 census as 8346 residents.

Note that Haddam’s 3 slaves were owned by Rev. Elerzer May; Hezh (sic) Brainard, Esqr.; and David Brainard. The 2 “other” residents are accounted for by “Necho (Negro)” with one under Other, and Joel Arnold with one under Other, perhaps a free Indian or Negro.

The 39 Brainard families listed in Haddam offer some interesting first names for Head of Family: Nehemiah, Eliakim, Phinehas, Zadock, Josiah, Cornelius, Jedediah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Bushnell and Prosper.


Number of households: about 388
Number of residents: about 2114
Free Males 16 and over: 581
Free Males under 16: 447
Free Females: 1067
Other: 11
Slaves: 8

Note that four slaves were owned by William Morgan, Esqr; two by Joseph Willcox 2d; two by other individuals. Killingworth apparently also had one free Negro since listing was Elie (Negro) with one “Other.”   In the “interesting name” department, I select Brister Bozalee and Theophilus Crane.

CT’s Official State website shows Killingworth’s numbers as 2047 population in 1800 and 6524 in the 2010 census.

To put the figures in perspective, the US population for the 1790 census was 3.9 million. The 2020 US census is expecting to count 330 million. Let’s see how many folks it finds in Haddam and Killingworth.

Photo of May’s headstone from



  1. Good stuff! Thank you. Let’s hope Haddam and Killingworth continue to be small New England towns in a census of 330 million.

  2. While this is an interesting article, I would like to hear about this year’s census. It is estimated that each person included in the count is worth $2900 per year for the next 10 years of Federal Funds allocated to the State. It also means that anyone missed will be a loss of those funds. I want to seem more of my taxes come back to our state.

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