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Sarah, Frederick, Robert & Mary Auer, Orphan Train Riders

Sarah Auer (1876 - 1958) wrote two letters to the Asylum and reported her own marriage. She was sent West in 1889 to Winchester, IL. She first lived with the Towel family and when she and her husband built a home, it was just half a mile from the Towel home. Sarah married Silas "Mack" Young and had five children: William, Mary , Ruby, Thomas and Lucinda. The Youngs first lived in Scott County, but before the 1920 census had moved to Jacksonville in Morgan County. Mack did not work in Morgan County, but three of their children were working there and living with their parents. Sarah died in 1958 at the age of 82.

Sarah mentioned her brothers and sisters who had also been sent to Illinois: Fred, Robert and Mary. Sadie, Mary and Frederick all appear in the 1880 census, together with their parents, Frederick and Georgiana (Hogg) Auer. (Mrs. Auer's maiden name is recorded in Sarah's marriage record.) Frederick Sr. was born in Maryland of German parents and Georgiana Hogg was from Scotland. Frederick worked in a distillery and the family lived in Queens. The Auers had two older siblings, George and Louise, who are not mentioned in the letters to the Asylum.

Frederick Auer was sent to Pike County and lived with the Hill family near Barry, IL. He wrote in a letter that his brother Robert lived just 6 miles away. Although the brothers had lived in Illinois for 5 years, Fred reported that his brother had visited him just twice and he had been able to visit his brother once in that span of time. They must have been kept extremely busy with their chores and school!

In 1900 Fred was a farm hand for Ella Blentlinger, a widow with four children in Quincy, Illinois. In 1910 he was married to "Ellie" and had a stepson named Blentlinger in Galesburg, Illinois. Ellie was 13 years his senior. His parentage in 1910 was marked "unknown" and a mention of a foundling hospital was in the place of parent's nativity. In 1920 he was still living in Galesburg, but was single. In 1940 Fred appeared in the 1940 census with a new wife, Alice. Fred died in Ottumwa, Iowa on December 18,1941. This is the first instance of a ward marrying his employer that I have researched. Because some boys were sent at such advanced ages, it is all too possible that this happened with some frequency.

Robert Auer, was a soldier who died during the Spanish American War in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A notice appeared August 3, 1898 in the Decatur Herald stating that Robert Auer had died of typhoid fever in camp and that he was buried as an orphan.

Mary Auer was also sent to Pike County and married there. She married John Henry Watts in 1896 in Griggsville, IL. They had 6 children: Hubert, Vernon, Freda, Charles, Beulah, and John. John Watts worked in Mason County as a machinist on gas engines in 1910, but in 1920 the entire family had moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where John was a jeweler. Mary died in Florida in 1964.

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