Milford, PA

While visiting Milford Pennsylvania last month my sister and I also visited the county tax office where we were able to view and copy the tax schedules for the early 1800’s.

Typical pages in the Pike County Pennsylvania Tax office.


We copied over 25 pages from the tax rolls, from 1840 -1855, any page that had Dougherty or Westfall. The woman at the county office who helped was wonderful and very accommodating and I’m sure the errors made in copying the pages were mine.  We missed a few pages but this really gives us a great picture of what the Westfall place must have been like and what William L. Dougherty was doing when he and Jane (Westfall) were first married. Why William L. Dougherty fell off the tax rolls is unclear. The last son to carry the Dougherty surname was Solomon Dougherty born 1853. By the 1860 US Census Jane was alone, and the last tax roll for William L. Dougherty we copied was for 1848.

click on image to enlarge

Above is the information from the tax rolls extracted for William Dougherty and his father-in-law John Westfall from 1842 – 1855.  In looking over this information I could clearly see that in 1848 John Westfall and William Westfall (John’s eldest son) combined their taxes under John’s name. By 1850 William Westfall and his brothers were on the tax rolls for the sawmill their father had been paying taxes on since 1842.

headings:

  • SF = single family
  • HH = Head of household
  • improved = # 0f acres,  tax
  • unimproved = # of acres, tax
  • taxable items= # of item, tax
  • mechanic and shoemaker was the profession of the individual that was listed for the tax year.
  • Do = ditto (?)

The 1850 census for William L. Dougherty listed him as a Laborer. This tax list him as a mechanic in 1842 and 1844, then as a shoemaker in 1843. I found it interesting that William was listed as a shoemaker, you may not recall one of the letters written during the war to John Lyle Dougherty from his mother Jane encourages him to come home and he could take up the trade of shoemaker. I thought that was an odd trade for his mother to suggest to a man who had just lost most of his leg due to a snipers bullet in the days following Gettysburg. Maybe shes thinking there are all those tools for the shoe trade laying about that John Lyle could make good use of.

These papers to not indicate what happened to William L. Dougherty, but we now know that he was in Pike county Pennsylvania paying taxes in 1842 The recorded deed (October 18, 1842) transferring the land from John Westfall to William Dougherty states:

This indenture made the nineteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty one …. sum of Sixty Dollars……. a certain lot or parcel of grounds situated in the township of Lackawaxen, county & state aforesaid and bounded on the East  by lands of Almanza Griswould, on the South by lands of the said John Westfall and on the West by the Delaware & Hudson Canal. Being eight rods in width along the canal and twenty rods in depth containing  one acre strict measure more or less. Being the same piece or parcel of ground on which the said William Dougherty has lately erected a dwelling house in which he now resides.

We know that he was there as early as November 1841  when he built a house on the one acre of property that was  to be his for the sum of $60.

It looked like he was doing well for the first few years, things started going down hill and by 1850 he was not paying any taxes in Pike county. I have more questions in regard to William. What happened? The property went from approximately one acre to 3/4 of an acre  Taxes paid went from $260 down to $80.

In 1848 he now has three sons. two more boys are born by 1853. Is he working outside the community? Where did you go? Why did he go?  It seems the more I learn about William, the less I know. Time to move on.

 

 

One thought on “Revisiting Milford Pa. part 2

  1. You always are able to put all the pieces together. Just thinking if he died after 1853 why is there no record of the event. Another good blog

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