Sorting Saturday: Taxes for “Theodore & Springsteen”

May, 1863 Excise Tax Record for "Theodore & Springsteen" of Indianapolis, Indiana. (Click to enlarge.)
May, 1863 Excise Tax Record for “Theodore & Springsteen” of Indianapolis, Indiana. (Click to enlarge.)

Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

Here is the Springsteen name again on a tax record from Indianapolis, Indiana, in May of 1863. This is an excise tax record for a company called, “Theodore & Springsteen.”  So who is the Springsteen in this entry?

The entry itself gives us a clue, as the company is listed as “Builders & Contractors.” From censuses and City Directories, we know that our Jefferson Springsteen was a painter by trade, but was also in law enforcement- in 1860 he was the City Marshall, and in 1860 was listed as a detective. His oldest son John was noted as a painter in 1870, as were sons Jeff and Charles; younger son Abe F. was listed as a brickmason. The boys were still young enough to be living at home, but could possibly have been in business with a partner since all practiced trades involved in the building industry.

Another option was Abraham Springsteen, Jefferson’s brother, since he was a brickmason. Checking an Indianapolis City Directory, we were able to find both Jeff and Abraham listed at their homes, but further in the directory was another entry that gave us the answer we were seeking:

Theodore & Springsteen, bricklayers & builders, as listed in the "Indianapolis directory and business mirror for 1861," via
Theodore & Springsteen, bricklayers & builders, as listed in the “Indianapolis directory and business mirror for 1861,” via

So know we know it most probably was Abram/Abraham Springsteen (1824-1895) that was in the partnership, since Abe F., nephew of Abram, was just 11 and heading off to war as a drummer boy.

A tidbit in a newspaper article also mentions the elder Abram:

“Abe Springsteen, the great North American contractor, returned yesterday from Muscatine, Iowa.”

So the evidence is highly suggestive of Abram Springsteen (the elder) being the partner of Thomas Theodore.

We haven’t discussed the taxes yet. ‘Theodore & Springsteen’ was listed as owing $25 for a Class B license, likely for their business. That would be the equivalent of $456.75 in today’s money.

Abram probably said a few choice words about the government hitting him up in May on his income, and then again at his business in June of 1863!


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918, Online publication, Provo, UT, USA. Original data – National Archives (NARA) microfilm series: M603, M754-M771, M773-M777, M779-M780, M782, M784, M787-M789, M791-M793, M795, M1631, M1775-M1776, T227, T1208-T1209.
  2. Abraham Springsteen mentioned in “About People” in the 29 June 1882 Indianapolis Sentinel, Vol. XXII, No. 185, p.3.


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