|It isn't often that we can hear from the Census Taker. Maybe if we could, we would be more tolerant of his mistakes and handwriting because they worked under difficult circumstances to record the census for us. William Larkin Hayley and Ethel Anna Pearce were married June 28, 1899. One year later Granddad was taking the 1900 Census on their anniversary. Grandmother wrote her memories of this in 1953 - two years after Granddad died - just 27 days short of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
"There was plenty of rain in 1900, crop prospects good, but the people had no money, neither did we, but we had about $1000.00 on our books by June 1st. This was the year to take the census. It would pay $5.00 a day and allow two men for Coke County, so my brother, Hubert Pearce and Larkin Hayley applied for the job. They were sent examination blanks to fill in. They passed and got the job, though there were a dozen applicants. Larkin's part of the county was Cedar Hill, Silver, Sanco, Ft. Chadbourne and Bronte. The first two were small communities in the extreme west part of the county, mostly hills and mountains. He started there. I made him an oil cloth sack to carry his papers, he got a supply of pen points and blotters, borrowed a horse and saddle from his father, put his bag over his shoulder had a blanket roll for bedding. It was 12 miles from Robert Lee to where the work started. At about 4 P.M. he came to a little house at the foot of a mountain so his work began; the country was thinly settled, more than five miles between the houses. He had lots of interesting experiences and ran into some remote heart-breaking homes he could not imagine ever existed. He rode until darkness overtook him one night, trying to find a house where he could spend the night, he realized he was lost, so tied his horse and got out his bed roll and spent the lonesome night. He was supposed to put in ten hours a day of work, but it took 14 or 15 hours. No one charged him for board or horse feed. He gave the children a little money and invited them all to visit us. Bronte was on the road to Ballinger and we judged that two-thirds of them spent the night with us in the next two or three years. Some spent two or three nights with us. We were glad, enjoyed them, and made new friends. We were a little embaarrassed because we had to make down beds in the store for them to sleep on."
Submitted by her granddaughter - Mary Love Berryman
Note: The Census is an abstract - all the information in the Census is not recorded.
These Images are given as a memorial to W. L Hayley, Enumerator
by his granddaughter, Mary Love Hayley Berryman.