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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Girls Industrial Home, 1910

Updated: Jun 29

Although the home was called the "Girls" Industrial Home, in 1910 the population of the home was much older, with 7 young women over the age of 20 living in the home. In October of 1910 an article was written in the Pantagraph after a tour of the home. The reporter gushed about the small children in the home and three actual infants being cared for in the home, but did not mention any of these rather old "girls" at the home.

The Home had received a special dispensation to keep girls in the home after the age of 18 -- for an additional 3 years. It was thought that girls under the age of 21 were still in need of a guiding hand and could not be thrust out into the world. The eldest of these girls was Sadie Dillman, who was 26 years old. She had no occupation, and there was no mention of the education of the young women. Each child was responsible for various housekeeping tasks about the house and all slept in dormitories.

Children were indentured out at this point in the home's history. The home was very careful to avoid placing girls in homes where there was any drinking or "immorality of any sort." The families were expected to keep the girls in school and to treat them as members of the family. Over twenty girls had been placed in the home over the past year (from October 1909 to October 1910) and at the time of that writing, there were 21 girls in the home. At the time of the census, there were 30 persons in the home, including two widowed ladies of advanced age.

One family group in the home at this time was the Rasor family -- Rena (12) and Goldie (14). The parents of Rena and Goldie were Frank and Christina Rasor of Heyworth, per the 1900 census. Christina died suddenly in 1903, leaving the children motherless. In 1910 Frank Rasor was living in Heyworth with his divorced daughter, Maggie Swearingen (age 25), and his 16 year old son Willard. Why the younger daughters were living in the Home when there was an able bodied woman in the house is unknown, perhaps her residence there was merely temporary. In 1910 Frank was advertising in the Pantagraph for a woman to help with housework. Perhaps after the time of the census the family lived together.

According to her obituary, Goldie outlived all her sisters and died in Lansing, Michigan. She married in 1918 to Charles Slaughter. The 1940 census indicates that Goldie attended school only through the 7th grade, which would not have been unusual at that time. She had eight children, four of whom still lived in McLean County at the time of her death in 1978. Rena (Denniston) was the first of all the brothers and sisters to die. She died in 1942 and left four sons and three daughters as well as her husband, Ira Denniston. He was a farmer and they lived in Randolph.


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