Wednesday, April 8, 2015


    While examining the 1850 Census Record for Wilson MacKie (McKie) of East Feliciano Parish, Louisiana1, I noticed his listed occupation.

     It wasn't a word I recognized and I tried searching on Google for old occupations but the websites I happened to check didn't have any occupation that was even close.  
     The first letter was definitely a 'G' based on Georgiana and Georgia which appeared earlier on the same page.
     After sleeping on it I read the pages of the census before and after this page and there I found an occupation listed which I recognized.

     Wheelwright was probably written by a different person based upon the 'ght' but wheelwright brought me to Ginwright. It turns out that a ginwright (gin wright) is someone who builds cotton gins or maintains and repairs existing cotton gins.   
       By the middle of the nineteenth century, cotton gins were large machines which were housed in large industrial-sized buildings.  Cotton was big business and it is easy to see that it could be costly if the cotton gin didn't operate. 
    So the 1850 Census shows Wilson H MacKie (McKie) as a Ginwright.  He is living, along with his first wife, Elizabeth, and child, James. They are living with Elizabeth's parents, Sothy and Nancy Hays.

1. Year: 1850; Census Place: East Feliciana, Louisiana; Roll: M432_231; Page: 248B; Image: 177
Old Hill Burying Ground, 1850 United States Federal Census

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