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Joseph C. Eninger, Livingston County

Joseph C. Eninger was born in Connecticut in 1855 and sent to Illinois in 1868. He never wrote a letter until 1885, when he was working as a Methodist minister in Kenney, IL. At age 15 he lived in Livingston County with James Tapper near the town of Owego. He worked as a farm hand and the census in 1870 said that he was attending school.

In his very brief letter he let it be known that he had not received a good guardian, but that he prayed that Mr. Tapper had become a better man. All the same, he urged the orphans to stay in their homes. Joseph had apparently made his own way to Bloomington, Illinois, where he attended the University -- probably Wesleyan -- and became a minister.

In 1885 he was a minister in Kenney, but the life of a Methodist minister was apparently not a bed of roses. Records of the church indicate that every year or every other year, Joseph Enninger was assigned to a different church in yet another county of Illinois. Late in life he retired from the church and had a small farm in Wisconsin.

Joseph married in 1886 to Lovina Burton (she was from Logan County and they married in Kenney) and with her he had four children. His oldest son, Fred followed him into work as a churchman and his two other sons were farmers in Clay County, Iowa. Their daughter, Helen was a teacher of high school English for over twenty years in Rock Island and Nebraska. She eventually married and moved East. She received a bachelor degree from the University of Illinois and her masters from Columbia University (NY). She married in 1932 in Massachusetts and took a three month European honeymoon with her husband, N.J. King. Joseph and Lovina were buried in Iowa, Lovina in 1932 and Joseph in 1950. Family trees built by the descendants of Joseph Eninger do not reveal the names of his parents, but in his marriage license he named John B. Eninger and Emily Gerber as his parents.

John B. and Amelia Eninger, two immigrants from Germany, were, in 1870, residents of New York, but of the five children living with them, three were born in Connecticut. John B. Eninger worked as a pocket book maker in New York and died in 1886, twenty years after Joseph was sent to Illinois.

Why was Joseph Eninger separated from his family? Although his brother Charles was listed as a inmate of the Asylum at some unknown date, in 1880 Charles was living with his parents and his two sisters in New York City. This mystery can only be solved by looking at the records of the New York Juvenile Asylum!

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