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William French, Lawrence County

William French was ten years old when he left New York. In 1880 he had appeared in the census with his grandparents and a sister named Caroline. His only recorded guardian is Rebecca Childress, who in 1900 was a widow with three adult children and two grandchildren in her home. In 1893, Mrs. Childress reported that William was small for his age, which many guardians commented upon regarding the orphans. Perhaps these children had been deprived of food at some critical juncture in their development. William French was 24 years old at that time of the 1900 census and still living with Mrs. Childress.

William was married in September of 1900 and became a father in November 1900. His wife was Jennie Mitchell.

Their son Vern was their only child. He was born in Fountain County, Indiana, where the family would live the rest of their lives. William French was a grocer in Fountain County and operated his own store. He died in November 1931 at the age of 55.

In 1895, about the time Mrs. Childress wrote her report to the Asylum, Pinkstaff, Illinois had a population of 25 people! Also, it is interesting to note that typographical errors, although they do occur in the Annual Reports, occur at a surprisingly low rate when you consider the fact that the orphans were setting the type in their own printing press!

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