Friday, August 5, 2016

Was Boy Missing in 1911 Ever Found?

I'm currently reading a fictional story by Kate Morton that involves the disappearance of a toddler in 1933. (If you love suspense, family secrets, and a touch of history, I highly recommend all of Kate's books. They're fabulous.)

The Pittsburgh Gazette Times,
November 5, 1911
The book got me thinking about real cases of missing children and how devastating that would be for a family. After searching historic newspapers, I found the following article from a 1911 Pittsburgh newspaper with the headline "Butler Boy Missing":

"Raymond, the 13-year-old son of William C. Cooper, a merchant tailor living at 519 West Clay Street, Butler, Pa., has been missing from his home since October 27. On that morning his father had taken him to school and at the morning recess Raymond disappeared from the institution. He left a note on his desk saying he was going to Pittsburgh to look for work.
As a result of Raymond's disappearance, his mother has become ill. Mr. Cooper has conducted a thorough search for the boy and the police of Pittsburgh and neighboring cities have been asked to keep a lookout for him. Mr. Cooper has appealed to The Gazette Times to assist in the search for the missing boy. If the lad sees this article he is requested to communicate with his father at once. The latter will extend his forgiveness, as Raymond's mother wants her son badly."

I couldn't find any news updates to see if he had been found, and I just had to know what happened to him or if his family was left guessing for decades. My son will be turning 13 soon, so the story touched a nerve.

Fortunately, a WWI Compensation Application on Ancestry provided the answer. I don't know how long Raymond was gone or when he returned, but it looks like he came back to his family...before leaving them again. The document says that he enlisted in the Army in 1914 (when he was 16 but apparently claimed to be 19), and he served until 1920.

1 comment:

  1. I think it was fairly common for young boys to take off from home to get a job in the early 1900s. I am sure it caused much heartache for parents if the child did it without telling them beforehand.


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