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1883 Orphan Train Rider Report

The 1883 holds a few clues as to the identity of many orphans, but not many could be confirmed in the census records.

The farmer who chose Charles W. Cluder in an Illinois town in 1882 wrote to the New York Juvenile Asylum wrote to the Asylum in 1883 .

Charles did not appear in any census until 1900, when he was living in Vermilion County, Indiana with his wife, Carrie Salyards. Their Indiana wedding license, granted when Charles was only 19, was signed by his guardian, J.A. Bozarth, who stated in the license, "I am the legal guardian of said male who was bound or apprenticed to me , he has no father or mother or other legal guardian."

Possibly Charles was moved to Indiana by his guardian, because as stated in other posts, the New York Juvenile Asylum placed children in Illinois exclusively. Charles farmed in Vermilion County, Indiana for the remainder of his life. Charles and Carrie had three sons, Vernon, Gilbert and Gerald. Charles died December 2, 1948.

Jesse O Drake was born in 1868 and sent to Illinois in 1877 and in 1880 he was living with William Huffman, a Whiteside County farmer in the Garden Plain Township. He did not appear again in the census until 1920 when he was living in Salem, Oregon and working as a laborer. He appeared again in 1930 and 1940 when he was working as a gardener in a private home. The 1940 census further reveals that Jesse had gone to high school for four years. In 1930 he had a 19 year old step daughter living with him, but the census never revealed a partner for Jesse Drake.

Anna Dewaldt was sent west in 1879 and in 1880 she was living in the home of Julius Elliott in White Rock, Ogle County. Another orphan train rider was also living the home: George W. Taylor, a fourteen year old boy. Both of these children were classified as "indentured" in the census. A servant girl from Iowa, a school teacher and two farm laborers also lived in the home.

William Chester was sent west in 1878 and appeared in the 1880 census with Samuel Carpenter, a farmer in Fancy Creek, Sangamon County. He may be the same William Chester who lived in Springfield, Illinois in 1920 and 1930 who was an employee of the watch factory there. He was listed as a widower, but always lived as a boarder in the home of others and had no children.

George and Alexander Bovay were sent to Illinois in 1881 at the ages of 15 and 11. Alexander never appears in the census, but George appears from 1900 to 1940, living as a lodger and working as a bartender or coal miner in Peoria County & Stark County. The 1930 census places him in the federal penitentiary in Ft. Leavenworth. He died in Stark County in 1952. Whether a man with such ephemeral ties to the community would return after imprisonment is highly doubtful, and I question whether the man in Stark County could be the same George Bovay as the one in Leavenworth..

Robert G. Burke came west in 1874 and was placed with Mr. C Newburn in Grant Township of Vermilion County. Although Mr. New burn writes in his letter that Robert is progressing well in school and even going to the high school in Hoopeston (four miles from Grant Township), no further trace of Robert Burk can be found in Illinois.

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