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Saturday, November 24, 2018

#52ancestors Post Forty-Four: Poor Children of Edmonson County, Kentucky

The writing prompt for post Forty-Four of #52ancestors was Frightening 

I spent time looking at Edmonson County, Kentucky Order Books to find information about my 4th great-grandparents. I found very little about them but found many decisions regarding children from poor families. 

These decisions usually involved placing children in homes to learn a trade and may have been necessary.  In the early 1800s, there was no welfare, social services, foster care, or juvenile court system. Counties had to take care of their own. However, I felt especially sad for the very young and thought about how frightening this would be for both the parent and child. 

By 1837, my 4th great-grandmother, Nancy Davis, did not appear to be with her husband, Edward Davis. It is not known if he died or left. My 3rd great-grandfather, Seth H. Davis, age 18, and three of his brothers were bound out to others to learn trades. Seth was bound to his brother, Robert M. Davis, to learn the art and business of farming until he reached the age of 21. His brother, William W. Davis was 15 years old when he was bound to Harmon Otter to learn the art, trade, and business of farmingEnoch Davis, described as a poor boy, was also 15 years of age when assigned to Eldridge Woolsey to learn the art of farming. And brother, Elijah Davis, was 12 years old when bound out to Thomas Richeson to learn the art and business of tailoring

In 1853, Allen B. Davis (brother to Seth H. and others above) was summoned to court to show just cause as to why his children should not be taken from him and bound out to learn a useful trade. His wife had passed away in 1852 and the children were Elizabeth (age 15), William (age 13), Naomi (age 8), Margaret (age 14), and Eliza (age 5). 

A few of the many children found in the Order Books are listed below. 

Polina McCombs, age 4, bound to John Chandler, until she turns 18, to learn the business of Housewifing. 

James and Margaret Blair were summoned to court, 1842, to show why their ten-year-old son, James, should not be bound out to learn a trade. 

In 1847, seven-year-old James Atkins was bound to Joshua Dunn to learn the business of farming

In 1839, Mahala Houchin was required to appear in court to show cause, if any, why her 3 younger children should not be taken from her and bound out to learn some useful trade or occupation. 

William Jasper Decker, a poor boy the age of three years, was bound to John Harrison to learn the business and trade of a farmer. 

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Lloyd, J. T. (1863) Lloyd's official map of the state of Kentucky compiled from actual surveys and official documents, showing every rail road & rail road station with the distances between each station. Also the counties and county seats, cities, towns, villages, post offices, wagon roads, canals, forts fortifications &c. New York, 1863. [Map] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

Order books, 1824-1876 — Edmonson County, KY. Web. 2 Nov. 2018.
Order books; ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9PV-2WBF-C

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