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Charles Wachsmuth, Madison County

Charles Wachsmuth (b. 1874) came to Illinois and lived with C F Kuhnen in Highland, Madison County. Mr. Kuhnen wrote a letter reporting Charles' condition and progress in 1889, after Charles had been with him nearly four years. Mr. Kuhnen had a farm, but found that Charles was too small to be a farmer, so he hoped that Charles would become more studious, so that he could go to college, as Mr. Kuhnen's own children had.

He claimed that he would be very generous with Charles, but was unwilling to enter into the indenture. The indentures were of course meant to be an advantage to the children and protect the children from people who would take advantage of them.

Charles never wrote a letter of his own, but in 1892 Mr. Kuhnen wrote again, revealing that Charles had actually turned out to be a success at farming. Although Mr. Kuhnen said that Charles was nearly out of his indenture, he never said that he would pay Charles the money due him for his work, but that when Charles was ready to set up in business, Charles could ask him for help. How very convenient for Mr. Kuhnen, if Charles never felt bold enough to ASK Mr. Kuhnen for money, Mr. Kuhnen would never feel obliged to actually pay Charles. No plans were made for Charles to attend school any farther, or even any mention of what he had accomplished at school.

It is possible that Charles parents were Louis and Mary Wachsmuth, who were also the parents of Lena, Lucy and Lewis Wachsmuth, Charles' younger brother and sisters. The parents did not appear in any census other than the 1880 census, but they were obviously still living in 1891 when they urged Charles to come home to them when his indenture was completed. No other of the Wachsmuth children were sent to the Asylum.

No trace of Charles Wachsmuth could be found in Illinois.


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