Thursday, January 31, 2013

Those Places Thursday: Sterling Methodist Church

Sterling Methodist Church
The Workman family has been part of the Sterling Methodist Church congregation for much of the congregation's history.

The earliest records of the church date back to 1878 and include mention of travelling ministers.  In 1884, the Congregation of  the German Methodist Episcopal Church of Sterling Township of Dakota Territory was officially established and met in homes of the members.

It wasn't until 1895 that the congregation had a church building.  George L. Workman leased the three acres of land the church was built on in Sterling Township, Brookings County, South Dakota from Daniel Koester for $30.00.

The first wedding held in the church building was that of Anna Workman and Merle Taylor in June of 1946.

In 1984 the congregation had 29 members, many of them related to the Workman family.

Interior of the Sterling Methodist Church

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Occupation: Farm Laborer and Census Enumerator

In a rural community during a midwestern summer in the year 1900, one might expect to find a 20-year-old man working hard on the family farm. Right?

Of course! So it was no surprise when I found my great-great grandpa Jesse Workman in the 1900 U.S. Census listed with his parents and brother right there on the family farm in Sterling township, Brookings County, South Dakota. Twenty-one years old, single, and his occupation listed as "Farm Laborer".

Source: - 1900 U.S. Federal Census.  To see the census lines for the George Workman family, click here.

But as I looked up towards the top of the census page to gather the little bits of data identifying the location and date of the census, I saw a familiar name. 

"Enumerated by me on the 1 day of June, 1900, Jesse Workman, Enumerator."

Grandpa!  I never would have expected to see grandpa Jesse's name listed as the census enumerator.  I just always expected that city folks would be the enumerators.

I guess this might explain why his parents George and Minnie Workman are the first people listed for this enumeration district as well.  Gotta start with the people you know best!

(Disclaimer: I didn't really need to look at the top of the census page to identify the location of this family since Workman family members still farm the same land today. It's just a good habit to look there.  And now I have another reason to look at that information - you just never know what you'll find!)