Search for content in message boards

Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

Posted: 967564366000
Classification: Query
Edited: 998119860000
I was looking in the 1850 Pitt County N. C census for some of my kin folks. In the census were jobs listing beside each name. Some of them have me curious and I would like to know what they are. Here they are... Overseer, Copper, Pauper, Mulatto, Coach Joiner, Coach Trimmer, (does this mean a distributor of terpentine>),Terpentine dis. (could this be the same as a blacksmith>)Silversmith, (is this a peson that gets shingles for roofers>), Shingle getter and last but not least a Scot Farmer. Does anyone have any idea what any of these are?How many of them did I get right?
Thanks, Deborah

Odd jobs

Posted: 968145076000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1011675266000
Since slavery was alive and well in North Carolins in the 1850s, it seems like some of these could be related to overseeing slave workers on a farm.
Overseer - one who directs or supervises the work of others (in this case could be freemen or slaves?)

Mulatto - not an occupation but a racial connotation - someone of mixed birth typically Caucasian and African American

Pauper - not an occupation per se - just someone who is desperately poor and perhaps homeless

Copper - puzzling - perhaps a coppersmith? this is modern slang for policeman, but don't know if this was the case in the 1850s. There is another similar word called Cooper - someone who makes barrels and casks

Re: odd jobs

Posted: 968334619000
Classification: Query
Edited: 998119967000
Hi Cori,
Thanks for the information you gave to me. It will be helpful in my search of my ancestors. Thank You Again!

Re: Odd Jobs

Posted: 979248674000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1025812405000
I can't be of too much help, but I can shed some light on the job of a silversmith.

You're right in equating it to something like a blacksmith. A silversmith works with silver in much the same way as a blacksmith works with iron and other metals, but it is a much more delicate art. A silversmith would be the one you'd turn to if you wanted silver goblets for your dining room table or a new silver tea service made.

If you've ever seen the old Disney movie "Johnny Tremain," then you've seen what type of work goes into the craft.

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

Posted: 1030735118000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1073325501000
An overseer is the guy who supervised the slaves while they were working in the field and made sure the work was done in a timely manner.
pauper is a poor person who probably doesn't or can't work.
A Cooper is probably a law enforcement guy or a dealer in the copper metal.
A mulatoo refers to mixed race heritage oif Black and white. Even a drop of Black blood in you would make you considered a Black person in those days. A mulatto would be a light-skinned Black person. We had one in our family.
A coach joiner is the guy who assembled the wagons or coaches of the day.
A coach trimmer is the guy who put the accessories on the coach as it was being built --maybe repaired.
Terpentine distributor means exactly that. Terpentine was not only used to light houses but it was used oftn for medicinal purposes like to kill intestinal parasites.
A silversmith was a guy who made silver jewelry or silverware or silver teapots, etc.
A shingle getter was the guy who either went in the forest and cut the shingles for the roof and gave them to the roofers or he handed the already -cut ones to the roffers.
A Scot farmer is a guy from Scotland who was working as a farmer. That IS a curious designation considering that NC had a large Scottish highland population.
Hope this helps.

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

Deborah Cannon Speight (View posts)
Posted: 1030803218000
Classification: Query
Thank you so much.

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs? - Cooper

Brian R. Pipe (View posts)
Posted: 1030867654000
Classification: Query
A Cooper was a skilled man who made wooden barrels initially in the days when there were no other forms of packaging except for glass and earthenware. Accordingly the barrels were used for transporting apples, cooked meat, grain, in fact pretty much anything as well as beer, wine, spirits and water.

With the increase in brewing and distilling etc and the introduction of other packaging alternatives the cooper became more directly associated with the beer, wines and spirits trades.

The cooper made barrels from staves (specially cut shaped and trimmed pieces of wood) and hoops (Riveted iron bands). The correct making and assembling of these items made a liquid tight container.

A skilled cooper who had learnt his trade was called a journeyman cooper and he could travel around plying his trade wherever there was a need.

An abroad cooper was a specialist who worked for a brewery and who travelled around their pubs to ensure that the barrels on site were in good condition and were being properly stored and treated and that the beer was being kept and served in good condition. The barrels were owned by the brewery as was the beer until it had been sold to the consumer hence the brewers interests in this activity.

Hope this helps. There is a historic London Livery Company for Coopers. There are still a few Coopers working for the brewers in the UK

Brian R. Pipe

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

karen (View posts)
Posted: 1031279560000
Classification: Query
a COOPER is one who makes or repairs vessels such as casks,barrels,tubs, etc. i got the information from a book called genealogy basics online.

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

deborah Cannon Speight (View posts)
Posted: 1031310756000
Classification: Query
Thank You for your reply!

Re: Can anyone explain these "odd" jobs?

Posted: 1060898015000
Classification: Query
"Mulatto" originally had a very specific meaning (it's the first meaning in Webster's): "The first-generation offspring of a black person and a white person"--so technically would have applied only to people who had only black ancestry on one parent's side and only white ancestry on the other. There were different terms for different combinations of racial bloodlines; e.g., "quadroon" for a person of one-quarter black ancestry, "octoroon" for a person of one-eighth black ancestry, and "high yaller" or "high yellow" for a black person with a light complexion who could sometimes "pass for white."

As for "Terpentine dis.," I think the "dis." more likely meant "distiller" than "distributor." Several types of turpentine are made by distilling oleoresin obtained from pine and fir trees, which would have been abundant in that part of the country. See "turpentine" in Webster's dictionary.

I think the other definitions given are probably accurate.
per page

Find a board about a specific topic