Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Orphanages and Dairies


In the early days of San Francisco, right in the middle of the gold rush period, I researched and included two institutions in SINS OF THE MOTHERS (book four /Texas Romance family saga series): orphanages and dairies. Called Orphanage Asylums in the day, when they were founded and supported strictly through charitable donations, the new government stepped in to subsidize the children’s care in 1870.

The government paid fifty dollars per year per child paid quarterly to the orphanages to support and maintain the care of the orphans. For this money, the directors had to keep immaculate records as to each child’s name, age, arrival, and leaving—whether by adoption or reaching a self-sustaining age. The Mercy House, my fictitious orphanage met all the criteria.

In my story, partners made rich by their gold mining, Moses Jones and Jethro Risen, discerned the need for an orphanage as children kept turning up without parents, many of whom were simply abandoned when unsuccessful mining left little to feed their families, and parents with gold fever moved on to other areas, leaving their children behind.

The founder the Mercy House Orphanage, Jethro Risen, was divinely inspired to purchase enough land to support a dairy, as well, to provide not only milk for the children but on the job training to the older orphans, giving them the knowledge and experience to make a living when they grew up and eventually left.

But as the dairy went into operation, its profit potential to subsidize the daily expenses of the orphanage shone bright. A quart of milk sold for fifty cents in 1851. It took fifty dollars per month to maintain each cow which in turn produced eight gallons of milk a day worth four dollars or one hundred twenty dollars a month for a net profit of seventy dollars per animal.

Jethro not only imported quality cows, but shorthorn bulls were carried around the Horn in the late 1850s to breed with his resident stock and improve the standards of his producers’ quality and quantity for milk. 

By 1870, San Francisco was the fourteenth largest city in the United States and the dairy industry flourished with their rich pastures and improved cattle herds. The Mercy House orphans, because of their work at the dairy, were ready for employment when they reached the age of leaving the orphanage.

After the Civil War, when my childless heroine in AT LIBERTY TO LOVE (book seven / Texas Romance family saga) is widowed, she thinks of adopting children to share the remainder of her life. As her sister Mary Rachel had married Jethro Risen, she decides to travel to San Francisco (see previous post Stagecoaches and Steamships) to adopt an orphan from the Mercy House.

Loneliness had engulfed her after her husband’s death, and she believed she could be a blessing to the parentless children, providing love and a home. And as God’s economy is for all to be blessed, she expected the baby—or babies—would give purpose and bring great joy to her life.

Her other half-sisters, Gwendolyn and Bonnie Buckmeyer, had previously traveled to San Francisco to help with the orphanage. While it remained unusual to release children for adoption to a single parent in the 1860s, Rebecca Baylor Rusk hoped that family ties would work in her favor.

GIVEAWAY: I'd like to offer a free print book of VOW UNBROKEN, book one in this Christian historical series to one randomly chosen commenter on this blog! In it, you'll meet the mother  of both the lovely ladies on these two covers (book four SINS OF THE MOTHERS and book seven AT LIBERTY TO LOVE! Winner will be chosen and the end of the week, and winner notified.

Do you know an ex-orphan? Have you ever milked a cow? Has God ever inspired you to do something out of the blue?

Hugs and blessings! 

Bio: Caryl McAdoo loves God, and currently writes four series: the historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’ a family saga; a contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; The Generations, her Biblical fiction, and the newest Days of Dread Trilogy for mid-grade readers. Known as the “Singing Pray-er”, she loves praising with new songs the Lord gives her and prays her story gives God glory! In 2008, she and high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-plus years—to the woods of Red River County. Caryl counts four children and sixteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings, believing all good things come from the Lord. Besides glorifying Him, she hopes each title also ministers His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. The McAdoos live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State with two grandsons.

22 comments:

  1. Love this series and I have not yet read this first book!!

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    1. OH Deborah! That can be easily remedied! Maybe you'll win one! :) Love and hugs!

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  2. A worthy series you have.Isn't it amazing how hisory provides the pieces that help to tell the story of our characters. Continued success. Angela

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    1. It is! I was not a history lover in school...except for Texas history :) But I LOVE doing the research for this series, finding out how our ancestors lived. And it helps make the stories so real...to me too, writing them! :) Thank you for your kind words and the comment! :) Blessings!

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  3. Would love to read this series. The ex orphan I know is my dear, precious 86 years young mama. I've never milked a cow. God inspires me to do things out of the blue often.

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    1. Awwww, your mother was an orphan! How wonderful that the Lord blessed her with a family! I milked a cow once when I was a little girl and the man across the street from My great-aunt had a dairy...Mr. Lunch. Lake Eufaula buried his land. I love God's spontaneity!

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  4. Thank you, Caryl, for sharing the backgrounds of your novels, the characters, premises, and your deep and abiding faith. Enjoyable post! It's a pleasure to have you with us on Sweet Americana Sweethearts.
    Best,
    Kristin

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    1. Why, thank you, Kristin! It's a pleasure to be here with you wonderful writes of historical romance! :) I always loved reading y'all's posts before I joined Sweet Americana Sweethearts! :) Hugs and blessings!

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    1. Awesome, Marguerite! I hope you have the opportunity to! Maybe I should have more than one winner! :) Hugs and blessings! Thank you for stopping by!

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  6. This is an absolutely awesome series! Caryl's writing is unique and exciting with great characters and so many lessons from God without being preachy. I highly recommend all of them. You will love this family from the first book to the current book!

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    1. Awwww, thank you Connie! I'm so glad you've enjoyed this series and the Buckmeyers, Baylors, and Nightingales! I love all these people! To me, they are real :) Love and hugs!

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  7. This is an absolutely awesome series! Caryl's writing is unique and exciting with great characters and so many lessons from God without being preachy. I highly recommend all of them. You will love this family from the first book to the current book!

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  8. I love the history you've shared here Caryl. I know an former orphan and I have milked a cow. I've been inspired to do things out of the blue lots of times.

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    1. HI Andrea and thank you for answering my questions! God had me to do something today! I'm glad you enjoyed the history. These two--orphanages and dairies seemed to go together so well in SINS OF THE MOTHERS (bk 4). There's the cutest lil' orphan in it, and more in AT LIBERTY TO LOVE (bk 7) Blessings!

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  9. Great history lesson. Can't wait to read this series.

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    1. Thanks, Younique :) Or should I say Denola? :) Both are cool names! lad you enjoyed the post and hope you have the chance soon! :)

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  10. Love the history.. Can't wait to read the series..

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    1. Hi there, Tina! I hope you win the book that starts it all off :) So far, I've covered three generations and six decades, starting in 1932 and up to 1885 now! :) Thanks for clicking over for a visit! Blessings!

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  11. I grew up on a dairy farm, so I have lots of experience in all things milking and cows. I know many former orphans, cousins and friends. Sounds like a wonderful story!

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  12. Awesome, Susan! Thanks so much for your comments! :) Hugs and blessings!

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  13. Lucy Reynolds, YOU are the winner of a copy of VOW UNBROKEN! I'll need your snail mail address :) Congratulations!

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