Thursday, June 6, 2013

Two Wives in the House

1900 Census, Copiah County, Mississippi

Census records can be interesting. Every now and then I come across something out of the ordinary. In 1900, two women were listed as wife in the 1900 household of Jesse Fair, Amanda and Josephine. He was married to Amanda for 22 years, married to Josephine for 13 years. He had two children with Amanda, Mary and Sam; and four with Josephine; Walter, Jesse, Hezzie and Otis. They all were born in MS as were their parents. Jesse is renting the land he farms and he says he can read and write. All others are farm laborers and only six years old Hezzie is in school.

According to Copiah County marriage records, Jesse Fair and Josephine Demyers married 10 Feb 1887. I didn't find a marriage record for Jesse and Amanda in Copiah County or any evidence they were legally married in MS but the 1900 census indicates they were married about 1878.

I went back to the 1880 Copiah County census where I found 21 one year old Jesse, and 20 years old Amanda, and their infant daughter Mary. One page over, I found 10 year old Josie Myers living in the household of her uncle and aunt, John and Emma Demyers Whitaker.

Jesse and Amanda's last child, Sam, was born about 1884. I wish the 1890 census had not been destroyed by fire to see if Amanda and Josephine were both living with Jesse. One record can not give clarity to why both women are listed in the same household as wives of Jesse.

Amanda Fair disappears from the census records after 1900. Josephine is recorded in every census with additional children, recorded as a widow in 1930 and 1940. Jesse Fair died Oct 28 1928 in Copiah County, MS. He is buried at the Mt Olive Church Cemetery.


  1. Interesting. I wish the 1890 census would rejuvenate itself.

  2. I am hoping there is a copy in dry, clean boxes locked in a room of a forgotten basement.