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Prices and Wages by Decade: 1860-1869

Links to government documents and primary sources listing retail prices for products and services, as well as wages for common occupations.

Wages in the United States, 1860-1869

Jump down to WAGES ...
by STATE
In FOREIGN COUNTRIES

  • Farm wages in southern states - 1860, 1867, 1868
    Shows monetary pay for outdoor labor on farms, and details the rations and clothing that were distributed along with monetary pay in 1860. States covered: VA, NC, SC, GA, FL, AL, MS, LA, TX, AR, TN.
  • Farm labor wages - 1866-1922
    In one simple table, this source shows the national average for daily and monthly wages of hired farm labor, with board or without, at harvest or at other times. Data available for years 1866, 1869, 1875, 1879, 1882, 1885, 1888, 1890, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1895, 1898, 1899, 1902, and each year from 1910-1922.
  • Farm labor - Average wages by state, 1866-1909
    Tables 11-13 on pages 29-31 show average wages with and without board. Table 17 shows average wages per day without board, and Table 18 shows the daily wages with board.
    Section titled "Extras Received by Laborers" explains the prevalence and value of non-monetary benefits paid to farm laborers, such as the use of a house or dwelling and garden plot, firewood for heat, stable and pasture for the worker's horse or cow, laundry service, occasional use of a buggy or a team for hauling, and one meal per day, pp. 49-52. Starting on page 53, there is discussion of the purchasing power of farm wages over the years.
  • Farm laborer monthly earnings, 1818-1948
    Lists average monthly earnings with board, by geographic divisions. Data for years: 1818, 1826, 1830, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, 1909, 1919, 1929, 1940, 1948. Read the explanation and historical context for this table.
  • Farm labor wages in Missouri, 1866-1930
    Shows average farm labor wage in Missouri with and without board, during harvest time or at other times. Source: Missouri State Dept of Agriculture.
  • Farm wages in Maine, 1866-1885
    Shows rates per day and per month, with and without board.
  • Farm wages in Vermont, 1780-1937
    Table 26 shows daily and monthly wages with board for each year from 1780-1937. Source: Vermont Agricultural Experiment Station.
Lady at sewing machine, 1859Piece rates dropped with the advent of the sewing machine, and women who sewed by hand lost earning power
(read more about this)
  • Congressional salaries, 1789-present
    Historical chart shows salaries of members of the U.S. Congress, along with dates of enactment and statutory authority for each pay increase.

WAGES in the UNITED STATES, 1860s - General Sources

Wages by State, 1860-1869

WAGES in CALIFORNIA, 1860s

WAGES in MASSACHUSETTS, 1860s

WAGES in MINNESOTA, 1860s

WAGES in NEW HAMPSHIRE, 1860s

WAGES in NEW YORK, 1860s

WAGES in OHIO, 1860s

Wages in Foreign Countries - 1860-1869

WAGES in AUSTRALIA, 1860s

WAGES in BELGIUM, 1860s

WAGES in FRANCE, 1860s

WAGES in GREAT BRITAIN, 1860s

WAGES in IRELAND, 1860s

WAGES in SCOTLAND, 1860s

WAGES in SPAIN, 1860s

WAGES in SWEDEN, 1860s

Worldwide Wages by Occupation, Expressed in U.S. Dollars, 1860s

Prices in the United States, 1860-1869

PRICES for FOOD & SUPPLIES, 1860s

HEALTH CARE COSTS, 1860s

PRICES for ANIMALS, 1860s

PRICES for TRANSPORTATION, 1860s

TRAVEL using HORSE AND MULE DRAWN VEHICLES

STEAMSHIP TRAVEL

COST to MAIL AND SHIP MATERIALS, 1860s

TUITION and EDUCATIONAL EXPENSES, 1860s

UNITED STATES

CANADA

See tabbed box below for housing, farm and land prices.

PRICES for SERVICES, 1860s

Barber services

The following examples were found in newspaper advertisements.

  • 1861
    • Nevada -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
  • 1863
    • Ohio -- Haircut 15¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1865
    • Virginia -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
  • 1866
    • California -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
    • Iowa -- Haircut, 35¢ reduced to 25¢ in March 1866 (source)
    • Ohio -- Haircut 20¢, shave 10¢ (source)
    • Virginia -- Haircut 15¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1867
    • California -- Haircut 50¢, shave 25¢ (source)
    • Tennessee -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • South Carolina -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • Virginia -- Haircut 25¢, shave 10¢ (source)
  • 1868
    • Tennessee -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
    • Maine -- Shave 10¢ (source)
    • Mississippi -- Haircut 35¢, shave 15¢ (source)
  • 1869
    • Washington DC -- Haircut and shave together, 25¢ (source)
    • South Carolina -- Haircut 25¢, shave 15¢ (source)

 

MISCELLANEOUS PRICES, 1860s

READING MATERIAL

AMUSEMENTS

Housing, Farms and Land Prices, 1860-1869

Housing, farm and land prices are under tabs by state and territory, above.

1867 cottage


"There are many portions of the [American] West
where at the present time (fall of 1866),
this cottage could be fully completed for $400 to $500."
Floor plans and additional detail in: 
Woodward's cottages and farm houses,
published 1867, pp. 18-19.

Alabama

Arkansas

Arizona Territory

California

Colorado

Dakota

Connecticut

Florida

Georgia

Iowa

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Missouri

Minnesota

Montana Territory

Mississippi

North Carolina

Nebraska

New Jersey

New Mexico Territory

Nevada

New York

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

This dwelling was built in 1867 near Pilot Point, Texas.  Photo taken in 1885.
Source: University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, Special Collections.

Virginia

Washington Territory

Wisconsin

West Virginia

Consumer expenditures, 1860-1869

Wholesale Prices in the U.S., 1860-1869

Although we prefer to list retail prices on this website, it can be challenging to locate data collected during the Civil War.  Prices in various areas of the country could be quite different, and the economic environment was volatile.  These links to monthly wholesale prices may be helpful to researchers:

Prices in Foreign Countries, 1860-1869

Prices in AUSTRALIA, 1860s

Prices in BELGIUM, 1860s

Prices in GREAT BRITAIN, 1860s

Prices in INDIA, 1860s

Prices in IRELAND, 1860s

Prices in ITALY, 1860s

Prices in SPAIN, 1860s

Prices in SWEDEN, 1860s

Timeline -- Major Economic Events of the 1860s

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1861 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1862 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1863 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1864 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1865 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1866 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1867 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1868 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.
(Click image for detail)

1869 economic timeline

"75 Years of American Finance: A Graphic Presentation 1861-1935"
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis.

Legend

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Marie Concannon, Government Information Librarian
Government Documents Department
106B Ellis Library (1st Floor East)
University of Missouri, Columbia
Phone (573) 882-0748