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1 is the official date for the 2020 Census, information provided by individuals
should include everyone living in the household on that date.  The information is used to determine the
number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives and for
redistricting of congressional, state and local districts.  It is also used in allotting funds to state
and local governments from the federal government and for a variety of planning

U.S. Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790.  For genealogists census information has
proven invaluable in tracing family lines. 
However, personal information is not released to the public until 72
years after the date of census so the most recent U.S. Census available for
researchers is 1940.

the years the method for collecting information and the questions have changed.
 In 1940 questions included location,
name, relationship to head of household, gender, race, age, marital status,
education, place of birth, residence in 1935 and employment information for
anyone 14 years of age or older.

were divided into enumeration districts and census takers were hired to take the
population, housing and agricultural census through a door-to-door canvas of
all residents.  Any enumerator sharing
information gathered was subject to prosecution. 

County enumerators in 1940 were S.S. Barnette, Walter Fisher, Hal Hart, L.F.
Lyday, Mrs. N.A. Miller, A.M. Paxton, Walter I. Reece, J.C. Whitmire, Frank Y.
Willbanks and Sutton Wilson.

All guesses for the Transylvania Times’ 1940 Census contest had

to be entered on this form.

April the Transylvania Times announced a contest to guess the county’s official
population designated by the 1940 census. 
The winner received $5.00, second place earned a one-year subscription
to The Times and third place got a six-month subscription.  Contestants did receive a hint in the form of
past census numbers of 9,589 in 1930, 9,303 in 1920 and 7,191 in 1910.  An article in the May 2 issue stated that there
were hundreds of entries.  The most
popular guess was 11,111 from fifteen individuals.  The highest entry was 22,000.

preliminary report released on June 26 listed the population of Transylvania
County at 12,229 up 27 percent from 1930. 
There were a total of 2,662 housing units with 298 of those vacant.  Although it was noted that some of the
unoccupied homes where summer residences. 
The farm count was 1,018, an increase of 288 from 1930, although down 58
from a 1935 count.  Brevard’s population
was 3,084 and Rosman’s was 529.

on this information Mrs. T.A. Smith of Lake Toxaway with a guess of 12,225 was
the presumed winner.  The next three
closest entries were from Mrs. Robert Scruggs of rural Brevard (12,222), Walter
Shipman from Penrose (12,237) and Mrs. D.H. Hollingsworth of rural Brevard (12,241).  An article in the June 27 newspaper stated
that, “Prizes will be sent as soon as the district office certifies the figures
as being correct.  However, the count may
be changed slightly.”  

follow-up information is available because Transylvania Times newspapers from
July 1940 through March 1941 are not available from any known source.

and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library
hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about our history and see additional
photographs. For more information, comments, or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected]
or 828-884-1820.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712