top of page

William, Frank & Anna Lemme, Christian County

William Bert Lemme (1885 - 1961) was sent to Illinois in 1891 at the age of six and lived with Henry Burke in Christian County. Although Mrs. Burke thought he was not paying enough attention to his studies, in 1913 he graduated from the Illinois State Normal University as part of the largest class that university had ever enrolled. He is therefore one of that elite class of college-educated Orphan Train Riders. He married Lola Green in 1914 and had two children: Nell and Gordon. He was a school teacher in Macon and Scott County and ran for superintendent of schools in Scott County in 1934. In 1942, when William registered for the draft, he was living in Scott County and no longer working at age 57.

In 1920 William's brother Frank (1883 - 1964) was living with the family. He was a machinist in a Decatur factory. In 1900 Frank was living in Flat Branch, Shelby County with Frederic and Minnie Schzykle as their adopted son. During the Great War Frank was a supply sergeant with the Machine Gun Company of the 61st Infantry. He was shipped to France in April of 1918 and shipped home July 1919. During the war, he gave his sister, Mrs. Anna Loveless as his next of kin so these men had sister as well. During the Great Depression he was a WPA worker, but in 1939 had only worked 20 weeks and had earned $140. He lived in Scott County, where his brother also lived. Frank apparently never married.

Anna Lemme (1880 - 1963) was the oldest of the Lemme children. Through Anna the names of the parents of these three children were preserved. Anna's parents were Ferdinand and Elizabeth Baldoof Lemme of New Jersey. The first record of Anna in Illinois is of her marriage to Tony Loveless in 1900. Anna and Tony made their home in Marion, Williamson County. Anna's brother Frank is mentioned in her obituary as living in Carbondale. Anna had six children: Carl, Lawrence, Leonard, Charity (Haseker), Paul and Mabel (Barring).

William died in 1961 and his wife in 1972. When the Burkes died William was noted as their foster son in each obituary. The Burkes had also fostered two girls, but only their married names were given: Mrs. George Grothe of Olhman, IL and Mrs. John Pepper of Las Animas, IL.


Mrs. George Grothe was Lena Burk, who appeared in the 1900 census with the Burks, sister Emma and William (Lemme) Burk in Flat Branch, Shelby County. Lena (1883 - 1976) married George using the name Burk, so her maiden name has been lost. She was always described as having been born in Illinois, and at one point she indicated in the census that she did not know where her father was born. Emma Burk (Peper) (1888 - 1963), who was living with the Burks and her husband in 1910, and was then listed as an adopted daughter (also listed as born in Illinois). The Burks and Pepers moved to Las Animas, Colorado around 1919. When John Peper registered for the draft he indicated that he had three children, a wife and mother all dependent on him. Two of the Peper children died in Colorado before reaching adulthood and the third did not appear in any official record. Emma Peper died in Colorado in 1963. These women could have been orphan train riders, or not, it is impossible to tell.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page