top of page

Rose & William Michel; John, Elizabeth & Josephine Koehler, Orphan Train Riders

Rose Michel (1876 - ?) was sent with her brother William to live in Pana, Illinois with the Charles Sibley family in 1890. In 1896 Rose Michel married a young man named John J. Sibley. John J. Sibley worked for William Sibley in the same locale -- when he came to Pana from the New York Juvenile Asylum in 1883, his name was John Koehler. Rose's parents were Charles G. Michel and Lena Waldheim and John's parents were Andrew Koehler and Joana Denenwan.

John and Rose had three children: Arthur, Susan and Helen and moved to Noble County, Oklahoma where they owned a farm in 1930 & 1940. The Sibley/Koehler's lived in the same place throughout the Depression. John died in February, 1946 and Rose in March 1962.

The 1898 report contained a letter which was anonymized but clearly was written by William Michel. He reported that his sister had married John and that Johns sister was a nurse and his other sister was looking after their guardian. William Michel's plan at that time was to qualify as a teacher and then continue his education in the field of law.

John's sisters, Lizzie and Sophie, were both raised by Charles Sibley. Lizzie became a nurse in St. Louis before 1894. At the time of Charles Sibleys death in 1914 a report was made of the four children whom he and his wife had raised. Josephine had been living on the farm with Charles Sibley until his death, Elizabeth Sibley was still unmarried and working at a protestant hospital in St Louis, William Michel was a Captain in the U. S. Army stationed in Houston and Mrs. Rose Sibley was living in Billings, Montana with her husband John Sibley.

The same year as Charles Sibley's death, Josephine was married to Thomas E. Cook. Thomas was a farm laborer, but eventually, they purchased a filling station and grocery that they ran in Millersville, Illinois. Josephine was the postmaster for Millersville. Thomas died in 1959 and Josephine died in 1964. They never had children. Josephine was 35 when they married and she had been housekeeping for Charles Sibley from the age of 20 until she was married. She must have felt a strong obligation to Mr. Sibley, or simply loved him as a father. Either way, Mr. Sibley must have been a very good father to all of these young people.

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