1860 United States Census, Township 9 Range 2E, Williamson County, Illinois, population schedule, page 830. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
Davidson's farm was in Township 9, Range 2, Williamson County, Illinois (post office: Marion).
Schedule 4 - Productions of Agriculture
Acres of land, improved: 20
Acres of land, unimproved: none
Cash value of farm: $200
Value of farming implements and machinery: $100
Live stock, June 1, 1860
Asses and mules: none
Milch cows: 1
Working oxen: none
Other cattle: 4
Value of live stock: $350
Produce during the year ending June 1, 1860
Indian corn: 120 bushels
Ginned cotton: none
Peas and beans: 5 bushels
Irish potatoes: 18 bushels
Sweet potatoes: 20 bushels
Value of orchard products: none
Value of produce of market gardens: none
Butter: 100 pounds
Clover seed: none
Grass seeds: none
Hemp, dew rotted: none
Hemp, water rotted: none
Other prepared hemp: none
Silk cocoons: none
Maple sugar: none
Cane sugar: none
Molasses: 20 gallons, made from sorghum
Value of homemade manufactures: $5
Value of animals slaughtered: $40
Davidson had improved all of his property. He grew Indian corn, peas and beans, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, and sorghum (which he used to make molasses). He made butter with the milk that he obtained from his milch cow.
A farmer could grow 5 top 10 acres of corn by hand, or 20 acres of corn with a horse and plow (Historic Farming: Corn). Davidson had two horses; he probably used at least one of them to plow his cornfields.
Irish potatoes do well in early spring and late fall, when the weather is cool at night (Easy Gardening: Irish Potatoes). Sweet potatoes do well in hot weather (How to Grow Sweet Potatoes). The climate in southern Illinois is between humid continental and humid subtropical (Southern Illinois). Davidson may have grown the two types of potato at different times.
Sorghum is grown in the summer months (Meet David Smith's Grain Sorghum). When sorghum molasses was produced, women were the skimmers. and the men brought in the sorghum cane. The skimming was done in a long pan over a fire (Fain's Sorghum Molasses/Sorghum Syrup). Davidson's wife, my 3rd-great-grandmother Angeline (Mayo) Binkley, may have skimmed the sorghum molasses on the family's farm. The whole family typically helped in the production of sorghum (Sorghum FAQs). In 1860, Davidson and Angeline only had two children: William, age 4, and Malvina (my 2nd-great-grandmother), age 1. They may have had help from their neighbors; some of their neighbors had also produced sorghum molasses, and sorghum making had been a community event (Fain's Sorghum Molasses/Sorghum Syrup).