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John Hesleitner, Montgomery County

When John Hesleitner was sent West in 1895 he was assigned to the Sims family near Hillsboro. George Sims was a new father at that time -- his wife Addie had given birth to their first daughter Lillie in January of 1895. Mr. Sims, who had a large farm near Hillsboro, seemed to be a little disappointed in the orphan he had chosen, who was too small to be of any use in the fields. Although George Sims was a new father, he was not a young man. He was seventeen years older than his wife, and if his letter is any indication, a bit of a "stick in the mud." Even John admitted that he could not handle one of the horses on the farm.

John remained with the Sims for at least five years, despite George Sims disappointment. John attended four months of school in the year of the 1900 census, which is surprising because most young men of his age had stopped attending school by the age of 16 unless they were high school students.

At the time of the 1910 census John was still working as a farm hand but for another family in Cass County. He did not appear again in the census.

John died in December, 1930 in Springfield, Illinois. He was working as a cook at the time of his death, and he was unmarried. His death certificate showed the names of his parents: Mathew Hesleitner and Mador Lounkershour. From this information we can assume that John died in a hospital or place where his family history could be taken down before his death. No obituary could be located for John. Possibly his death was one of those lonely, unmourned deaths of an Orphan Train Rider who always lived a solitary life.

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