top of page

Henrietta Cashau, Richland County

Henrietta Cashau (1878 - 1967) was sent to Illinois in 1884 at the age of six. In 1880 she and her sister Jessie were living at the Five Points Mission in New York City -- Henrietta was 2 and Jessie was 4. They knew the names of their parents -- George and Matilda Cashau -- because they continued to be in contact with them for many years. Henrietta's brother Jules (1883 - 1967) lived in Chicago as a young man and as an elderly man lived in Olney, Illinois, near Henrietta. (Jules was not a ward of the NYJA, but Jessie was listed as a ward of the Asylum.)

Henrietta lived with George and Sarah Jaggers in Richland County and was the only child of the house. In her letter she reports on all the animals she looked after, a young pig, a red cow, a white dog and two cats. She also said that she received letters from her mother in New York, as well as another sister there. Why would parents give up their children?? The photographic record of the slums of New York in 1888 that was compiled by Jacob Riis, a Danish immigrant and newspaperman, vividly portrays the squalor of the New York tenements in the Five Points area of New York City.

One square mile of New York City was inhabited by over 300,000 people. It was the most densely populated place on the entire earth. The only light in the tenement pictured above was the light of Riis' camera flash. People lived crammed into two room apartments with no windows, no water and no privacy. It is hardly any wonder that a parent would think their child might benefit if sent to the country, where food was plentiful and there was room to live a sanitary life.

Henrietta married in Richland County to David Nolen at the age of thirty. They moved to Chicago, but after David Nolen's death in 1917, Henrietta returned to Claremont to live with her foster mother and her son Len. She worked as a saleslady in a department store to support herself and her son. Sadly, Henrietta had not fulfilled her foster parents' hopes of becoming a teacher.

Jessie Cashau (b. 1874) was also sent to Illinois, but her location here is unknown. No trace of Jessie could be found in the census records or any other genealogical record. Jessie wrote a letter to the asylum in 1888 and expressed satisfaction with her home.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page