Wednesday, January 19

1880 Census

It is a little known fact that the 1880 Census was more detailed than any US Census before its time, and that no Census since 1880 has been as detailed. In particular, the 1880 Census included very specific data regarding individual occupations.

Not too many people in 2004 spend much time thinking about 1880. Even fewer people think about the fact that there were a significant number of people working in the field of dead animal removal.

If you were a regular, wealthy person in 1880, you traveled by stagecoach. Pulled by horses. So what would you do if one of those horses had a heart attack in the middle of the street? You weren't going to call the vet. Unlike a dead car, a dead horse can't be resurrected. By an average wealthy person, anyway. So you'd leave it there, in the middle of the street, for the dead animal removal specialists to clean up. Horses are freaking heavy, too. Heavy as a car.

No joke. This was a huge occupation in 1880. If I could go back in time, I'd gather all kinds of dead animals and put them in the street. It would be a new, fabulous kind of littering.