Thursday, June 23, 2016

Orphans

Far Guy and I were wandering around in a cemetery, filling some grave photo requests on our way back from Fargo ND.

Far Guy said “Why are all those stones the same?” 

eleven graves

They were all graves of children in the early 1900’s.   The large stone in the background told the story “ Orphan’s Home. ”

I did a little research…curiosity got the best of me….imagine that.

In 1895 The Norwegian Lutheran Chirch of America started an Orphanage in Lake Park Minnesota.  Later it would become a Lutheran Social Services Orphanage.

From the 1900 Census I learned that 31 orphans lived in the home, there was also a Superintendent, Teacher, a laborer and four servants.  The children that were in the orphanage were mainly children of Norwegian families but a few parents were born in Minnesota and France.  The children ranged in age from 3 to 14 and were born in Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Norway.

IMG_5059

I never knew about an orphanage in this area of Minnesota….I thought they were all down in “The Cities.”

Yes there are some words on this memorial…but they are in Norwegian.

I read some accounts…one mentioned a young Father not having the slightest idea what to do with his children after his wife died…so he dropped them off at the orphanage. 

There was another Orphanage called Wild Rice Orphanage ( near Twin Valley) a little further north….that burned down and many children were sent to Lake Park.

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22 comments:

  1. In a local cemetery there is a large stone placed in memory of orphans who died in a large fire at an orphanage back in the late 1800s.

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  2. I have a friend who could translate that if you are interested.

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  3. You really don't hear much about orphanages today. I think it is because Foster Care is the way they go now. That is a much better idea.

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  4. That's fascinating. I'm sure glad you are such a curious person. It would make a good story! :-)

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  5. Interesting post - I'm glad you were curious and discovered some of the background on the orphanage.

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  6. That is so sad! Orphanages have always seemed to me to be the bitterest of places! The death toll, I am sure, was due to sheer unhappiness of the children.

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  7. Very interesting! Not sure which is worse...orphanages or foster care....there are good foster parents and then not so good. My Aunt raised 7 or 8 foster children and that was the same Aunt I stayed with every summer (my Uncle ran the meat market 7 days a a week)...those were very fortunate foster children and I still communicate with some of them today. They are my cousins as far as I'm concerned.

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  8. Those stones tell a sad tale. Your story does also. The lost children. I think our foster system is very simular today.

    Linda

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  9. How interesting. I love walking through cemeteries and reading the gravestoneS!

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  10. Interesting, and so very, very sad. It looks like a storm might be coming up in the background there.

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  11. There were a lot more illnesses that raged through the population and killed people back then, especially the more vulnerable--children and seniors. Orphanages have always seemed like sad places, but glad they had them or where would those children have gone? Hard to live on the streets up here in the North country in the winter.

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  12. I can't imagine living in an orphanage - Oliver Twist and the sweatshop come to mind (perhaps unfairly) but imagine how kids pick on other kids at school - and making in 24/7?

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  13. The orphanage was a terrible system but at the time there wasn't much choice. I have experience with residential schools.

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  14. What a terribly sad graveyard and story.

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  15. So these are graves of children who died while living at the orphanage?

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    1. Yes all graves of children that died while in the orphanage.

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  16. This is a totally new kind of story for me to hear. We had a friend that lived up the street, Audrey, who was one of the train orphans. My wife's friend that we take care of, who is undergoing cancer treatment, lived in an orphanage but a couple of years later was picked back up by her mom. Our old state mental hospital of the past has a cemetery somewhat like that but they only have numbers on the markers. The don't let the public see the cemetery any more.

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  17. How very heart wrenching to see all those stones. Each one has its own sad story and we'll never know how it was that they died young.

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  18. This is an aspect of orphanages that I had not considered. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. If you have a readable copy of that Norwegian inscription to post here, I'm sure someone among your readers would be able to translate! Also, since the orphans died in the early 1900s, there should be death certificates for them somewhere. Yes, such details as parents' names would likely have to be omitted, but maybe not. At that time, someone surely knew whose families these children came from.

    What a sad discovery. But how kind of you to document it in your travels.

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  20. I love finding out interesting facts like that! Far Guy gets points for having good eyes! LOL

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  21. It seems to me that a lot of the increase in life expectancy averages is from modern times there is much less child mortality. a very intresting trip, thank you.

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie