1850 Census Summary

For the purposes of this census, Brookhaven Hamlet (then known as Fire Place), is considered to be the locale along the south shore of the Town of Brookhaven from the Carman’s River west to the Motts Brook (the eastern boundary of what is now the Village of Bellport). It is bounded on the north by the properties along the highway now known as South Country Rd./Montauk Hwy., and on the south by the Great South Bay. It covers essentially the area shown in the 1858 Map of Brookhaven Hamlet, including the hamlet we now call South Haven, which also was known as Carmans (contemporary references sometimes refer to the Carman’s mills as being in Fire Place.)

About the 1850 Census.

See the 1850 Census Table for a transcription of the actual census enumeration schedules.

Search 1850 Census for last names.

Summary – Population

There were 425 inhabitants within the Hamlet.

850 Census Population Distribution

Households (Families) & Dwellings
There were 81 Households and 76 Dwellings within the hamlet. There are fewer dwellings than families since 5 dwelling units contained multiple families. Not all members of a household were necessarily related — some may have been lodgers, workers, servants, other dependents, etc. This census did not indicate relationships, although they may be surmised to some extent by last names, ages, and professions of men age 15 and older.

The average household size was about 5.2 people.

1850 Census Dwellings and Families

The average age of the residents was about 26.

1850 Census Age Distribution


For the 134 males age 15 and older, the most prevalent profession was “farmer” ( 43%, 58 people). The second most prevalent was “laborer” ( 18%, 24 people), and the third was “seaman” (14%, 19 people).

The enumeration of profession was done only for men 15 and older.

1850 Census Professions


The 1850 Census reports the value of real estate owned. Of the 57 residents who reported the value of their real estate, the wealthiest was John R. Ireland — $50,000. His real estate holdings represented 28% of the total wealth reported within the Hamlet. However, his reported holdings probably included properties elsewhere, including New York City and upstate New York.

Next in order were: Samuel Carman, owner of the mills and other properties at South Haven — $20,000, 11%; Theodosia Smith — $8,000, 4.5%; and Nathaniel Hawkins, the Congregationalist minister — $6,000, 3.4%.

The total wealth reported was $177,150.

1850 Census Wealth

132 residents (31%) attended school during the previous year. The oldest was age 20; the youngest was age 3.

Of 148 school age children (ages 3 to 15), 122 (82%) attended school. There were disparities between males and females, and between white and black youth.

Based on the 1858 Map, there appear to have been three schools in the Hamlet.

1850 Census Schooling

About the 1850 Census

The main table has been transcribed from the 1850 Federal Census Population Schedule, for the Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York. The other tables are various “views” of the main table.

The 1850 Federal Census is the first census that listed by name all members of a household. Prior to 1850, the censuses listed the “head” of the household, and a summary enumeration of its members.

The handwriting of the census enumerator sometimes makes it difficult to determine the entries — I’m not always very good at interpreting the flourishes of the mid-19th century hand. Therefore, doubtful entries are identified with “?’s.” — most now have been resolved, however, in consultation with others.

These pages are not fixed — they reference a database, which from time to time I updated as I get corrections or discover additional information. Please — don’t be afraid to correct me!

Only those pages which may contain residents in Brookhaven Hamlet (in 1850 called Fire Place) have been transcribed. In this locale, the census enumerator apparently traveled east to west. The first page of this transcription (page 116 ) starts at the Carman’s River in what we now call “South Haven,” and moves generally westerly along South Country Rd. and the side roads to what is now the Village of Bellport — the last entries (p. 121, lines 39-42 & p. 122, lines 1-5) being the Jehiel Woodruff farm. The next entry (p. 122, line 6) is for Henry F. Osborne, who resided at what is now the Gateway Theatre, within the present Bellport Village limits.

Since the boundaries of the hamlet are ill-defined, it is not certain that the list is all inclusive, or that all the residents listed resided in what is now loosely defined as Brookhaven Hamlet. I have checked the names against the 1858 Map of the Hamlet, but of course, residency no doubt changed in the eight intervening years. However, having issued this disclaimer, I’m reasonably comfortable that this is a good snapshot of the residents of Brookhaven Hamlet (including South Haven) in 1850.

The enumeration date for these pages was August, 1850. The Census Date was June 1, 1850 — the enumeration was to reflect the place of residence on June 1st.

Most of the names in this transcription were compared to a 1990 transcription of the 1850 census for the Town of Brookhaven by David A. Kerkhof. In only a very few cases do we disagree, and I have noted his interpretation in the comment column.