Thursday, April 5, 2012
1940 in Cooperstown - Mom was Sweet 16
My mother was 15-going-on-16 when the census was taken in 1940. Her sister Peggy was 14 and in eighth grade. They were living in the home that I knew twenty years later on Brooklyn Aveue in the Town of Middlefield, on the south side of the village of Cooperstown, NY. It was the home her grandfather had built for his bride, and home of her father, William, and his sister, Bess.
The house was valued at $4000, twice that of the next home. I know they had a large barn and more acreage, which may account for the difference. Her father was a foreman in a sawmill, which was a short walk away on the Susquehanna River. This was the same place his father and grandfather had worked. His salary was listed at $1416, which is slightly more than the neighbors, and he states he worked 53 hours the previous week. The neighbors who were employed all worked much more than today's 40 hour norm.
Aunt Bess had a hat shop on Main Street in Cooperstown. She doesn't list a "salary."
The education column reveals that William had 3 years of high school, while the women in the family each had 4. Bess had continued in a teaching training class and taught school for several years. My grandmother, Sara Meeneghan, also finished high school before working in child care for several private families.
Bessie's stated age or 56 would have been correct as of her birthday in May, but Sara was approaching 51 and the census form states that she is 44. William was 49 at the time of the census, but is listed as 47. Based on the "X" next to her name, it was my Grandmother, Sara, who gave the information to the census taker.