The 1840 Census of Pensioners, Revolutionary and Military Services was originally compiled by the federal government from the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, which required enumerators (census takers) to list the names and ages of Revolutionary War and other federal military service pensioners in households.

The 1840 census did not include the ages of any household members other than military pensioners, and no names appear in it other than those of military pensioners and heads of household. All other household members were enumerated numerically using what are commonly referred to as "fence post tallies," meaning that each household member was categorized by race, sex and free/slave status, with the totals for each category entered by the census-taker in the appropriate column.

Although the majority of pensioners were heads of household, this was not always the case, and a determination as to the relationship between the pensioner and the head of household (if any) can often prove uniquely valuable. One example of this can be found in the 1840 entry for 86-year old pensioner James STEVENSON of Franklin Township, Henry County, Indiana, which shows that he resided in the household of one Robert BOYD.

According to the Revolutionary War pension application of James STEPHENSON [sic], he was born 10 Dec 1754 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, applied for his Revolutionary on 10 Sep 1832 in Fayette County, Indiana, stating that he had resided in Washington County, Tennessee (then North Carolina) at the time of his enlistment (NC line), had moved to Greene County, Tennessee after the Revolution, where he resided until 1810, when he moved to White County, Tennessee. He further declared that he moved to Franklin County, Indiana in 1815, in 1819 to Fayette County, Indiana, and in 1820 to Wayne County, Indiana until 1822 when his wife (not named) died, and since that time had resided with his children (not named) in the Indiana counties of Wayne, Henry and Fayette. The only child named was a son, Samuel STEPHENSON, who also resided in Fayette County, Indiana in 1832.


According to the actual 1840 census record (partial extraction):

1840 Henry County, Census,
Franklin Township
Page 88, line 22
Head of household: Robert Boyd
White males: 1 under 5, 1 10-15, 1 16-20, 1 40-50, 1 80-90
White females: 2 6-10 years, 1 16-20 years; 1 40-50
Revolutionary Pensioner: James Stevenson, age 86