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Sarah Lankanau, Iroquois County

Sarah Lankanau (1873 - 1950) was sent to Illinois in 1883 and lived with the Henry Hartman family in Danforth, Iroquois County. She was just ten years old when she came to Illinois. She married in 1892 to Albert S. Roush, at the age of nineteen, probably happy to end her indenture. By 1900, they had four children: George, Homer, Major and Charles. Albert was a stationary engineer and in 1910 they moved to Hartford Indiana, where Albert was an engineer in an electrical plant. They also had five additional children in 1910: Golda, Elsie, Hazel, Sylvia and Arthur. The Roushs eventually returned to Illinois, to live in Calumet City, where Albert worked as a boilermaker. Sarah reportedly could both read and write and had a 6th grade eduction. Albert died in 1940 and Sarah died in 1950. She is buried in Cedar Park Cemetery in Calumet Park, Illinois.

This letter expresses the cold, unfeeling attitude of the family trusted with this young girl, who expected to have some "benefit" from her. This girl meant so little in the general opinion of society that they took no care to disguise their avaricious view of the relationship between guardian and child. In 1884 social worker Hasting H Hart would present his research on the work of "child placing" at a convention of charity and prison workers (because of course those two occupations go hand in hand) and gave his opinion that children older than 12 should not be "sent West" because the guardians took children of those ages only out of an expectation of profit and not out of benevolence. Youth was no guarantee of benevolence, unfortunately.

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