Monday, December 29, 2008

Adam Redcay and His Job

Adam Redcay is my brother-in-law's great-great-great-great-great grandfather. He was born in 1799 and was deeded land up in Berks County, PA.

By 1870 though, his wife had passed away, and he was no longer farming, but had apparently moved to a house in Adamstown in what is now Lancaster County, PA (Adamstown is known now as the antiques capital of the world, at least according to their website). He was living on his own with a servant. Interestingly, the servants name was Leah, which is a pretty rare name, even back then.

I know all this from looking at census information. Another column on census sheets is occupation. 90% of the time, occupation for women was left empty because it was just assumed that they were home doing housework. Some census's listed it as "Keeping House". If you were a grandmother or grandfather living with your son or daughter and their family, you usually didn't have an occupation listed either. Maybe "widow" or "widower" would be listed.

But for the 1870 census and 70-year-old Adam Redcay, they didn't just leave his occupation blank.

They listed an occupation for him - it was: "old man".

Now that has to be an occupation. I can only imagine that being an "old man" involves being cantankerous, grumpy, and irritated by everyone. Much like the old men driving cars in front of me every day who think it is their occupation to prevent me from going around them. I don't run into angry old men in stores, or on sidewalks or at my job. Only when driving.

Maybe Adam Redcay's occupation is why he isn't living with any of his kids. They probably all got together and were all like, omg, I am not taking Dad in, he trips us with his cane and never likes what we make for dinner. Let's buy a house for him in the next county over and pay some poor sap named Leah to take care of him.

1 comment:

  1. When I grow up I want my occupation to be listed as 'Old Man'!