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La Charrette Village

Interested in what Lewis & Clark, Daniel Boone, Zebulon Pike, John Colter, President Jefferson and other notables thought about America's newly acquired westernmost village? Enjoy the west...before it became distorted by TV, movies and novels.

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Location: Port Aransas, Texas, United States

A retired professor of Food and Animal Science at Texas A&M University, The University of Connecticut and Texas Tech. A cowboy in my previous life...never thought about being a professor or an author.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

La Charrette Orphans

Nine orphans represented a portion of the cultural diversity at La Charrette Village. The most probable reason for so many orphans residing among only seven village families was the announcement of a Spanish decree a few years previous allowing for larger land grants assigned to larger families. Joseph Chartran and Jean Baptiste Luzon both had children of their own but chose to adopt these nine orphans as reflected in their deed claims. But never are their names or other aspects of their identity revealed. The records associated with nearby St. Charles Borromeo seem a worthy place to search, but I have never had success with that. One wonders of their fate, yet orphans remained as a reality of rural Warren County for centuries into the future.

By 1864 the Central Wesleyan Orphan Home was founded in Warrenton, Warren County, Missouri to help rear orphans associated with the Civil War. This orphanage continued until 1939. For several summers, a few years or so before it closed, my parents 'took-in' a teenage girl and boy from the orphanage. The orphanage was suffering fiscal problems related to the depression. To help defray cost while at the same time provide work skills to the orphans, Mom and Dad were to care for them in exchange for their working on the farm. Hopefully, this arrangement worked to the favor of the orphans.

Upon arrival of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad in Marthasville in 1892 additional options were provided poor orphan children. Orphan trains from St. Louis and elsewhere would 'drop off' a few children in Dutzow, Marthasville, Peers...all along the the route. Typically, the local town families would have first choice. The remaining children would ride with the rural mail carriers seeking homes in the country. One such lad reared on the Henry Schulte farm, which later became a portion of my family farm, prospered from his rural Charrette Creek experiences becoming a Bank of America president in California. I attempted to establish details of this story as told to me by my parents but the Bank of America never sent me the promised documentation. To discover more about this chapter on social services check out the title link where the book, Orphan Trains in Missouri by M. D. Patrick, is introduced.

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