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Conrad, Christian & Emma Will, Orphan Train Riders

Christian and Elizabeth (Dellerman/ Deleman) Will, immigrants from Germany who met in New York after immigrating, were the parents of five children. Christian came to the U.S. in 1877 and married Elizabeth in 1887. In 1905 three of their children were sent West by the New York Juvenile Asylum. They were lucky enough to find one family willing to take on three young children and were placed with Mr. and Mrs. William Powell. Christian and Emma lived with the Powells during the 1910 and 1920 census.

Conrad was born in April 30, 1893. In 1917 when he completed his draft card, he was in Canton, Missouri studying to be a minister. He claimed a physical disability that exempted him from service, but his disability was not specified. In 1920, he was married to Mattie and working as a stationary engineer in a college heating plant. His wife died in 1965 in Missouri and he died in Oxnard, California in 1972. They never had children.

Conrad asked for the addresses and names of the other children who travelled West with him. As the children were taken west, a photo would be taken when they left the asylum, or somewhere on the route. These photos were given to each child as a memory of their company. Children were often advised to forget about their family back East and accept their new homes, so keeping in touch with this new "family" may have held a good deal of importance for the children. There are three photos of companies sent in 1905, and this company from March looks oppressed by the hats the girls were issued. There are ten here, so perhaps this company includes the Will children.

Christian was born November 21, 1895. In 1918 he enlisted and served in the army in a machine gun unit. He was once again living with William and Mary Powell and his sister Emma in 1920. He was working as a farmer and called himself Christie. In 1940 he was working as an electrician. He married Antoinette Schulte and had two children: John and Anita. He died in Quincy November 28, 1942.

Emma was born December 1897. She married Frank Ohnemus in 1922. Frank was a farmer and they had their own farm in 1940. They had one daughter in 1932, Dorothy. Emma died June 8, 1996.

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