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William A. Garrett, Orphan Train Rider

William A. Garrett came to Illinois in 1880 at the age of 9. In the letter he wrote in 1897 he reported having steady employment, but the succeeding years reflected a life of much change in his employment. In 1900 he was a day laborer, in 1910 a laundry laborer, in 1920 a molder in a shoe factory (alongside his wife who was a cementer in the shoe factory), in 1930 he was manager in a laundry and his wife was a supervisor in the shoe factory. By leaving his family before age 21, William forfeited the $150 he had been indentured for in 1880. This would have been a good start to a savings, or small farm if he had stayed.

He married Clara Bowman in 1891, and they made their home in Pontiac. In 1930 the Garrett's finally had a son. John Garrett was 14 years old in 1930, but was not present in the 1920 census. There is every possibility John was an orphan and not the natural child of William and Clara. William died in 1946, leaving no immediate family members living.

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