Early Adoption

This page last updated June 9, 2005

Since ancient times and in all human cultures, children have been transferred from adults who would not or could not be parents to adults who wanted them for love, labor, and property. It would not be until the year 1917, the laws were passed to regulate the investigating of the adoptive homes. Various counties did attempt to make frequent visits to the adoptive parents before this time; however, that is when it became enforced.

Our first installment revolves around two girls named Maude and Priscilla (Sadie) White who were taken from their mother's home at the ages of 3 and 5 respectively in 1899. It is unclear just why the girls were removed from their home initially. Their mother had been widowed and remarried, but other then that, no evidence is shown for the removal. As the mother's letter show, it appears that she was writing the letters in search of her daughter's without her 2nd husband's knowledge. Perhaps it was him who didn't want the girls around. The links presented below are the result of the search of Vickie Stevens, who was the granddaughter of Maude. There are letters presented from the mother years later in search of her daughters; there are also the documents used by the county to investigate the adoptive homes. The birth parents of these girls were: Delaney DeWitton White and Sarah Ollie Price.

Maude's Story --Maude had been most fortunate in being placed in a new home not long after she became a Ward of the Owen County Court System. The letters from John Braatz give some picture as to just how much they truly loved her. It would not be until Maude was the age of 18 that she learned of her placement in the poorhouse and subsequent adoption. Her adoptive parents felt so strongly for her, they refused to let her know that she was not their own child. After her marriage to marriage to Jay Fisher in 1917, they searched for and located Sadie. Maude finally met her sister that she had not seen in almost 20 years and had no recollections of.

After raising her own 14 children, Maude would go on to take foster children into their home. These were not your average children, but those with severe disabilities.

Sadie's Story-- Sadie however, was not as lucky. The plans of the first family to want to adopt Sadie was perhaps the reasoning for her whirlwind of prospective parents. The prospective adoptive father died shortly after Sadie's arrival. The widow (living in Dearborn County) then gave Sadie to another woman who wished to adopt a child. By this time it was the year 1900. In reality however, the second woman simply wanted a child to utilize basically as a servant to care for her and her parents. Various letters below document the woman's displeasure with the child. It would not be until the year 1902 that Sadie finally found her home with Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pierson in Valley Mills, Indiana just outside of Indianapolis. From various statements from the Pierson's it was obvious that the second woman who had so many problems with Sadie was the problem. Not the child. Sadie would later marry August Fuchs.

Although the following items may appear confusing, they document the lives of these two girls from home to home. In later life, these letters show Sadie attempting to gain information for employment and Maude and Jay Fisher's search for Maude's sister. Also found here are the pitiful letters that the birth mother wrote in search of her daughters. The letters were addressed to the postmaster in hopes that he could find the girls for here. You will find enclosed also letters from the postmaster in his refusal to become involved.

It is fair to say that these were not the only children placed in the county systems of adoption. If you have any stories of your own to tell, please send them in.

Delany Lineage Chart

Mother in Search of Page 1- 1915

Mother in Search of Page 2- 1915

Letter to Daughter Page 1- 1915

Letter to Daughter Page 2-1915

Letter to Daughter Page 3- 1915

Post Office Letter- October 1915

Maude Sadie
Maude's Arrival page 1 Sadie's First Home- The Chapmans
Maude's Arrival page 2 Letter from Mrs. Chapman
Maude & new father, John Braatz Sadie's Home Inspection Page One
Maude going to school Sadie's Second Home Inspection
Inspection 1 of Maude's New Home Come Get This Child!
Maude's Search for Birth Certificate Page 1 Reply to Mrs. Burnett
Maude's Search for Birth Certificate Page 2 Sadie Gets a Home 1902
Maude in Civil Air Patrol New Home Certifications
Maude Birth Affidavit Sadie's Health 1902
Maude Birth Affidavit 2 Sadie's 1st Inspection- 3rd Home
Photo- Maude & Sadie (in apron) Home Inspections March 1904
Maude with some foster children & grandchildren Further Home Inspections March 1904
Home Inspections March 1905
Sadie's sister search

Debbie Jennings

Website Coordinator