South Carolina Thornes in the 1940 Census

The Thorne Family in the 1940s

The information  below was extracted from the 1940 Census for my mother’s THORNE family.

Source: 1940 US Census, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, population schedule Campobello Township, Enumeration District (ED) 42-26 . sheet number 10A., Line numbers 20-23, Randell Thorne; NARA digital images; http://1940census.archives.gove/ (accessed April 3, 2012)

From this image we learn the following about the THORNE Family.

On April 17, 1940, Charity Thorne provided the following information to the census taker, based on things as they were 16 days before, on April 1, 1940.

The THORNE family was living on a farm in a rural location, at Route 2, Campobello, South Carolina in April of 1940.  They were renting their farm for $5 a month.  They apparently did not live in the same place in 1935, but were living in a rural location in Spartanburg County, South Carolina at that time, location unknown.

Randell Thorne (the Head of House) was 36 years old on his last birthday.  He was born in South Carolina and completed 3 years of high school.1 Randell was employed as a card runner2 in a cotton mill.  During the week of March 24-March 30, 1940, Randell worked 40 hours in the cotton mill. He worked a full 52 weeks at the same occupation during 1939, earning $720.

Charity Thorne, wife of Randell, turned 33 on her last birthday. She was born in South Carolina and completed 8 years of school. Charity engaged in housework during the past year.

The children listed in the household are:

A daughter, Ruby3 Thorne turned 13 on her last birthday. She was also born in South Carolina. She was a student in 1940 and had completed 7 years of school.

William Thorne, was a baby, not yet a year old. He was born in South Carolina.


1. He probably graduated from high school as high school was generally only three years in South Carolina at the time he would have been in school.

2. A card runner was the worker who ran the carding machine. Carding machines perform a combing operation, aligning the fibres so they will make a strong thread when spun. The process leaves the operator covered in cotton fluff. Seen as a low-status job by others in the industry.

3, My mother, Ruby Jeanne Thorne, despised the name Ruby. She was called Jeanne from the time she was old enough to tell people what to call her. She threatened to haunt me if I had Ruby carved on her headstone. Needless to say, I did not. Her headstone says “Jeanne Thorne Brown.”

NOTE:  The data found on the census records is not always completely accurate. This was information given orally to the census taker by the a household member. Errors were frequently made, particularly on ages and places of birth. Spelling is often incorrect as the census taker would write it down as it sounded to him or her. Examples of errors in this census extraction are as follows. Randell Thorne’s name was spelled incorrectly, it should have been Randall. However, his name wasn’t actually Randall at all, but that is another story entirely. He was born 28 Dec 1901, so would have been 39 when the 1940 Census was taken. William Thorne, my uncle Bill, was just over two weeks old at the time the census was taken. He was born 31 Mar 1940, so JUST made the cut-off for even being enumerated. Think of the census as a starting point and always verify the information in another, primary source.

Template for this extraction is based on the work of Spencer Fields, who is working towards a degree in Genealogy from Brigham Young University.


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