MADISON PARISH TAX ROLLS 1879 and 1881
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Tax rolls, especially early ones, have traditionally contained a wealth of data for genealogists. Since in those days nearly all families paid some sort of property tax, almost every family was represented on the tax rolls, whether they were land owners or not. In addition to land, taxes were levied on horses, mules, cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, carriages, boats and almost any other type of property imaginable.
All of the data contained herein was gathered from records in the Clerk of Court’s office at the Madison Parish courthouse in Tallulah during the months of December 1997 and January 1998. Many thanks are due Carolyn Caldwell, Madison Parish Clerk of Court. Madison Parish’s older tax records are stored away from the courthouse in an annex building and are not readily accessible to the general public. A separate book was maintained for each tax year, and the records were recorded alphabetically by the first letter of the last name with landowners first, followed by other taxpayers. The data contained herein is sorted first by year, then by last name and first name. A plantation name or location sort is also provided.
The 1879 tax book was the earliest that could be located. The names of all of the resident taxpayers listed in 1879 & 1881 are included. Also listed are: for landowners, the plantation or property name and/or location (usually Township and Range) of the property, the number of acres and assessed land values. In 1881, however, the plantation (or “place”) name was given for almost everyone, thus providing interesting information on who lived where. For instance in 1879 there were 8 George Washingtons listed with no indication where they lived or whether they were separate individuals. In 1881, however, each of the 5 George Washingtons could be individually identified by the plantation on which they lived. In fact just the plantation names themselves make entertaining reading. Such unusual names as Killie Krankie, Pinchem Easy, Terrapin Neck, Nil Desperandum, Fortune’s Fork, Duckport and others will be noted. Unfortunately, by 1879 many of the large pre-War-Between-the States plantations had lost their identity and were no longer in existence – the War and bankruptcy having forced the former owners out.
Every effort has been made to preserve accuracy, especially in the spelling of names. In most instances the handwriting was fairly legible. Unfortunately many times the same name was spelled differently by the recorder. For instance in 1879 all “Johnsons” were spelled “Johnston”. However, in 1881 the name was always spelled “Johnson”. The same was true for “Nichols” and “Nicols”. Throughout the tax rolls the words “plantation” and “place” were used interchangeably depending on the recorder. In order for this report to achieve some sort of uniformity, all farms that contained sufficient acreage and were not named for the owners or former-owners were listed as “plantations”. Those that were smaller or had an obvious surname were called “places”. To make 1881 listings more identifiable, they are shown in Italics.
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