Warrick County Orphans Home

Submitted by

Virginia L. Aldridge

Photo courtesy of Warrick County Museum 217 S. First Street Boonville, Indiana

The Warrick County Orphans Home opened its doors early in 1882. The first matron of the home was Mrs. Maggie Dillingham. She was the matron of the home until December 1882 when Ed and Malinda Meece assumed control of it.1 In its beginning, the earliest volume, “Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana”2 has sketchy information on the children who resided in the home and poorly documents whom they were bound out to and when they were returned to the home.

There is no documentation in the register from 21 March 1883 until 22 December 1886 when a new handwriting begins.

I believe this handwriting to be that of Elizabeth Barnett who states, in a newspaper article, “I took charge of the Home four years and four months ago.”3 Elizabeth Barnett gave a much better accounting of the events of the home during her time as Matron.

The next matron was Mary E. Wilson who began work on 1 April 1891 and was removed for neglect the following year, on 30 March 1892. Mary E. Wilson did not know how to write; all of the indentures where she bound out children are signed with an “X her mark”. The documentation in the “Register of  Inmates” during her time as matron, was most likely entered by another person.

The volume, Articles of Apprenticeship 1831 – 19074, held in the Recorders Office, Warrick County courthouse, adds a few more details regarding what became of the children and to whom they were bound out. This volume, though sketchy at times, does name most of the various matrons of the home.

From the beginning of the opening of the Warrick County Orphans Home the matron of the Home bound out the children to persons to have as adoptees or as servants depending on the family’s choice. The Orphans Home Association officers began binding out children from the Home 1 August 1896 and continued through the remainder of the volume of which ending date is 26 September 1907.

Prior to the opening of the Orphans Home you will find ‘pauper children’ bound out by the township overseers of the poor. On 29 July 1831 “Louisa Maria Hinkley, a pauper, was bound out to A. M. Phelps until she is of age which will expire August 8, 1841.” The overseers of the poor for Ohio Township were James Lenn and Lyndon Hines. Their signatures and A. M. Phelps are inscribed at the bottom of her indenture.4

Sources:

  1. “Orphan’s Home” Boonville Enquirer, issue 2 December 1882
  2. Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana
  3. “Elizabeth Barnett Matron” Boonville Enquirer, issue 4 April 1891
  4. Articles of Apprenticeship 1831 – 1907

Photo courtesy of Warrick County Museum 217 S. First Street Boonville, Indiana

These Individuals Served as Trustee for the Warrick County Orphan’s Home. Date unknown.
Seated: Mrs. Charlie Metz, Jenny Shafer, Lavina Smith, Libby Shafer, Tollie Perigo,
Louisa Armstrong, Louisa Fiebig, Mollie Allen.
Standing: Harriet Fisher, Ab McCool, Mrs. George Trimble, Charles Armstrong, Louise Wylie,
Bert Picker and William Allen.

Selected images of the Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana

9 April 2002 I attempted to copy the Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana. I found the volume so large it could not be photocopied on the machine at the library. I photographed every page of the volume instead. When I returned home I discovered all of the photographs were not clear. On 15 April 2002 I returned to the library and photographed the entire volume again. I continued to have some images that were not clear. That is why only Selected images of the Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana are available at present for viewing. There are many more pages of the volume that are clear and eventually will be added to the file above.

The Register of the Inmates of the Orphans’Home Warrick County, Indiana is the first volume of records for the Orphans Home and as such contains a great deal of valuable information regarding the orphan children of Warrick County and the surrounding counties who sent children to this facility. I have spent the last 17 years using this material in my personal research.

Warrick County, Indiana Orphans Home Records begining 01-01-1910

This is the second volume of records for the Warrick County Orphans Home. These images are the complete record with a date range from 1910 to the 1930s. This is a ledger with information across two pages. The second page tells where the children went when they left the home. I have used the second page to find specific children and trace them to adulthood. Because it is difficult to follow the information across two pages and accurately determine where the children went, I have cropped the pages and joined them to make it easier for me to research these children. See the next link for those cropped images.

Warrick Orphans Home joined

I cropped the left hand page right after the child’s Date of Birth column and cropped the right hand page right before the Religion of the Parents column. Now when one looks at the images of the pages one can easily determine where the children went when they left the home. Be sure to look for the child to return to the home and leave a second or third time.

Pauper children of Ohio Township, Warrick County, Indiana bound out July 1831

Check out these two records from the Articles of Apprenticeship 1831 – 1907 held in the Recorder’s Office at the courthouse in Warrick County, Indiana. Also available on familysearch.org in the Indiana Wills section under Warrick County.

Newspaper articles 1882 to 1907

I hope you enjoy exploring these newspaper articles that provide some data on the Orphans Home of Warrick County, Indiana.

What became of the children?