In 1785 Vermont was a de-facto independent country that was unrecognized largely because the government of New York adamantly insisted that Vermont was legally part of New York (as King George III had ruled it was, in 1764).
It is asserted on this page that that unrecognized state conducted a census in 1785, and has some links to data (for example this page lists heads of households in Ferrisburgh Township who were enumerated in that census.
But this page asserts "No Vermont State Census Records are known to exist."
- Can the contradiction be resolved?
- Where can one find authoritative information about this?
- In 1791, just after deciding to grant Vermont's latest petition for admission to thte Union, Congress decided Vermont would have two representatives in Congress, and that the census conducted the previous year throughout the U.S. but not in Vermont would get extended to Vermont in 1791. Might their decision on the number of representatives have been based on an actual enumeration, namely the 1785 census?
PS: The comment by "SMS von der Tann" posted below confuses matters. Let us recall that
- In 1777 Vermont's declaration of independence and constitution referred to that polity as "the State of Vermont".
- Unlike what happened with most (maybe all?) states admitted later the State of Vermont was not succeeded by a new entity when it was admitted. The 1786 constitution of the State of Vermont continued in effect until two years after Vermont was admitted to the Union. Thomas Chittenden began a one-year term of office as governor of Vermont in October 1790, and somewhat less than five months into that one-year term, Vermont was admitted to the Union, and he did not then begin a new term as governor of a new entity, but as a matter of course continued his one-year term uninterrupted, as did other officers of the state. Thus the status of the State of Vermont changed from that of a not-fully-recognized independent country to that of one of the states of the Union, but the state did not begin its existence at that time.
Thus a census conducted by the government of Vermont in 1785 can reasonably be called a state census, construing the word "state" in the sense in which the term was used in the constitution of Vermont that was then in effect, rather than as meaning one of the states within the Union.