Census-related articles, Dallas County, Texas

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(Updated December 13, 2002)




His Letter to the People.

     For some days past, my attention has been called to articles appearing in the Evening Mail with regard to myself in connection with the census of the city. At first, I supposed that the object of these publications was to make a false impression upon the minds of the people with regard to the true population of the city, and as I was not responsible for any falsehoods that might be perpetrated through the columns of the newspapers, I decided to keep silent; but as the matter has become so personal, and reflection after reflection thrust at me, I can no longer desist from speaking.
How can I, when I am challenged by the Evening Mail to arise and explain?
     This article may not be congenial to the feelings of some parties, and may have a tendency to writhe some, but they must understand that the responsibility rests upon them for the statements, which they have made, and which in every case is so palpably false, and which has called forth this letter. Inquiries have been made as to who the Census Taker was-and what of him, and insinuations thrown out, that he was incompetent to do the work, and if competent, that he was an indolent and sluggish creature, that would not do it, which insinuations not only reflect upon me, but upon the worthy Council that selected me. I shall in the first place answer the inquiries that have been made, and then briefly state the manner in which the census was taken, and then dispose of the assertions that have been made by individuals, and editors so-called.
     Well, to the inquiries made, I would state, that I am a citizen of the city of Dallas, and while comparatively a stranger to the population of the city, was sufficiently known to the Council, to be selected as a competent, and suitable person to do the work assigned me, and moreover, that selection was made without my solicitation, without my knowledge, or consent, and not until the day after the Council had elected me, did I know that there was the most remote idea of having the census taken, but when notified of the fact by some member of the council, I was duly qualified. I entered upon the duties of the office and with perseverance, and care, went from house to house, taking the statistics of each family, until I had visited every private residence, and taken the statistics of every private family, within the corporate limits of the city, except in very few cases, where families were absent and in those cases, the statistics were secured from their neighbors, and then I proceeded to go through the business part of the city, taking the statistics with all possible care, till the work was completed, and who ever asserts or may have asserted that "I" failed thoroughly to canvass the city, states that which is positively false, which assertion I am prepared to sustain by the statistics.
     With regard to individuals, whose names have appeared in the newspapers, and who have stirred up this question so unnecessarily, and so uncalled for, each of their houses were visited, and the statistics of each family given by some member of the family, except that of Mr. M. Guillot, and I would state for his satisfaction, that although so obscure as she intimates, I visited her house, and the family being absent, the statistics of the family were given by a gentleman working on the premises, and afterward I met Mr. Guillot on the side walk of Main street, in the presence of other gentlemen, and asked him in regard to the statistics of his family, which I found, upon referring to the books, to be correct. What the object of those individuals of those individuals were, I do not know, unless it was to deceive the public with regard to the true population of the city. They lose no money by it, and I cannot conceive that is of any interest to them in any way. I dare say the will not manifest the same interest in having the taxes of the city properly assessed and collected. But upon the other hand, each individual that I failed to take was a pecuniary loss to myself, as the pay that I was receive was so much per head. It may be that there is a fraudulent disposition on the part of those concerning themselves in the matter, and that they are unwilling for the Council to comply with their contract, but I can hardly conceive that they would be induced to act through such motives. I might have acted recreant to the trust imposed in me and have run up the population to twenty thousand (20,000) and have called on the city authorities for three hundred dollars ($300.00) for the services rendered, and doubtless the papers would have handled such reports abroad with gladness, but because I have endeavored to do the work correctly and make an honest report, I am abused and decreed as incompetent, unworthy and unfit for such a trust. God pity such a corrupt people.
     I quote from the Evening Mail of July 1st, the following: "Whole neighborhoods and streets have been entirely omitted, and that, too, in the most popular districts of the city." To the above quotation I have simply to say it is an unmitigated lie. Again, he says, "The so-called report is manifestly so incorrect that no attention should be paid to it by our authorities, who, if they should desire a census taker of the city, should secure the services of a competent man, and see that he thoroughly performed his duty."
     Is it possible that the worthy, generous and intelligent Council, selected by the voters of the city of Dallas, are so incompetent to transact the business entrusted to them that they are required to call upon the petty editor of a little evening newspaper to advise them! TATUM.

- July 7, 1876, Dallas Daily Herald, p. 4, col. 4.
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Women's Profanity
"Stumps" Two Census
Enumerators Friday

     [A] woman, who was said to have qualifications for being made "dean of the profane language department of a nut college," was encountered by one of the men enumerators of the United States census Friday, when he tried to interview her regarding statistics desired by the government in compiling the decennial figures, according to a report made to W. L. Chew, supervisor of the census for the Dallas district.
     When the enumerator called at her residence and explained his mission, he was met by such a tirade of abusive language and profanity, that he was dumbfounded. He alleged that the woman "cussed him out" for half an hour without using the same term twice. In the course of her word barrage, she informed him that no man had ever come into her house, and that no man ever would, as long as she lived. The climax came when the enumerator inquired her age, to which she stated that "her age, and no woman's age, was any of his damned business." By exercising diplomacy, he learned the woman's name and several other important facts needed in the census taking and left, "a sadder, but wiser man."
     One of the women enumerators also reported considerable profanity encountered on questioning a woman in her district.
     It was pointed out at the supervisor's office, that while information in connection with the census is entirely confidential, it must be furnished, or prosecution by the government will result. For the most part, it is said, those who have refused to give information about themselves do so through a mistaken idea of the purpose of the census and really have no intention of keeping anything back. Some persons believe that the census takers are a sort of detectives, who are prying into private affairs.
     On the whole, Mr. Chew said, the enumerators are being met with great courtesy wherever they go and are obtaining the desired information without any trouble. In the Mexican settlement on McKinney avenue, an enumerator who speaks Spanish is doing the work. The work will be completed on schedule time, judging from present success, Mr. Chew said.

- January 3, 1920, The Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 6.
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Must Notify Census
Bureau If "Nose Has
Not Been Counted"

     If you live in census district No. 72, bounded by Fitzhugh, Henderson, Ross and Fredrica streets, or, in district No. 32, bounded by the Texas Pacific and Santa Fe railroads, Hill and Worth streets, and you nose has not been counted by Uncle Sam, notify the Dallas census supervisor at the Chamber of Commerce at once." This is the order of W. L. Chew, census supervisor for the fifth census district.
     Local districts Nos. 21 and 72 have been covered by the enumerators, who have reported having obtained information on every person in them, to the best of their knowledge. Hence, Mr. Chew says, anyone who has been overlooked for various reasons must report to the local census bureau and "give an account of his stewardship" or the law will reach out its long arm and take him in.
     About one-third of the city had been covered up to Saturday night, with the enumerators reporting better progress since the weather has cleared up somewhat.

- January 12, 1920, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 9, col. 7.
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