1850 Federal Census of the
The 1850 federal census is the seventh census of the United States. It was
authorized by Congress on May 23, 1850 (9 Stat. 428), and was begun on June 1, 1850. The enumeration was to be
completed within five months.
Minnesota became a territory in 1849. The Minnesota Territory in 1850
had five western counties (Pembina, Mahkahta, Wahnahta, Dakotah, and Wabashaw) on the territory's western boundary
extending deep into Indian lands in what is today North Dakota and South Dakota .
The 1850 federal census of the "Pembina District" of the Minnesota Territory is the first official United
States government list of white inhabitants residing in what is today North Dakota. The official 1850 census enumerated
1,134 persons, but the true total was actually 1,116 persons, as three families were counted twice.
The inhabitants of "Pembina" were mostly metis (mixed-blood) buffalo hunters, fur trappers, and voyageurs of French-Canadian
and Indian descent who were residing in the northern portion of the Red River Valley just south of Canada on the
present-day Minnesota-North Dakota border.
The 1850 federal census contains this information:
name of every person in the family
profession, occupation, or trade
value of real estate
state, territory, or country of birth
whether married within the year
whether attended school within the year
whether over 20 years of age, and unable to read or write
whether deaf-mute, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict