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Little Orphan Annie Sherman

Cora E. Sherman was my 2nd great-grandmother. She had at least five brothers and sisters, of which she was the third born. Addie was the oldest, born about 1868. William was born the following year and Cora was born in 1872. Carrie was born in 1873, Adelbert was born in 1876, Christina was born in 1874, and Anna, also known as Annie, was born about 1878.

They were the children of James Sherman and Amy Dow (McDowell) Sherman. The family was counted on the census of 1870 in Ledyard, Cayuga County, New York. At the time, there were only two children in the home.

In 1880, they were still living in Ledyard. Four more children had been born in the previous decade.

Ledyard is a small town of a little over 48 square miles, on the east shore of Cayuga Lake. It was founded in 1823 from part of Scipio. The southern part of Ledyard was part of the Central New York Military Tract and the northern part was part of the Cayuga Indian Reservation. In fact, James Sherman's mother, Eleanor Sparks (or Spore), was said to have been Native American, and may have been affiliated with this tribe.

Notable historic sites in Ledyard include the North Street Friends Meetinghouse, which may contain some family burials. Levana is a hamlet in Ledyard and Aurora is a village in Ledyard, where the Wells family of the Wells-Fargo banking empire lived. The population of Ledyard in 1880 was 2,199, but in 2010 only 1,886 people were counted on the census there.

Sadly, Amy, the mother of these children died on April 20, 1886, at the age of about 47, and the fate of James, their father, is unknown. What is known is that the children were orphaned and the family was broken up. So, where did the children go?

Well, eight months after Mrs. Sherman died, on December 20, 1886, Cora married Lewis Leonard in Moravia. Cora was only about 14 years old and Lewis was about 16. They were my 2nd great-grandparents. In 1892, their new family was living about 15 miles southeast of Ledyard, in Summerhill, Cayuga County. Cora's 17-year old brother, Bert, was living with them and Lewis and Cora already had three children. My great-grandfather, Albert, wasn't born until 1894 and a few years later, in 1897, Lewis died of Typhoid Fever, leaving Cora in similar circumstances, perhaps, as her mother. Cora also died young, at the age of 42.

1892 New York States Census Summerhill, Cayuga, New York
1892 New York States Census Summerhill, Cayuga, New York

Christina, also known as "Carrie", married at the age of 16 to Robert Tighe and the couple lived in Moravia in 1892. Around the same time, Addie, the eldest child, married William Whitmore. They lived in Moravia in 1920.

William Sherman married Bessie E. Luce about 1903, and lived in Cortland County the remainder of his life. He died in 1936 and is buried in Virgil. (There was a William Sherman in Summerhill, however, his father was Dwight Sherman and that family was living in Summerhill as early as 1870).

What about Annie? Little Annie was only about eight years old when her mother died and we learn that she was put into the Auburn Orphan Asylum, which her older sister, Addie was paying for until her aunt, Mrs. Jacobs (Melissa), removed her from the orphanage to care for her. We learn from the story published in the local news, that Addie didn't approve of the arrangement and fought to have Annie removed from the home. Finally, she was placed in the custody of a "wholly disinterested" (impartial) person, Mrs. Gould.

The transcription of these three articles is provided here:

Annie later married Wilber Miner and had at least two children, Bertha and Henry Miner. (Ancestry). The family was counted on the census in Auburn from 1915 to 1940.

Today, James and Amy Sherman's descendants are many, despite their family being broken early. Life may have been better for their children and grandchildren if they had lived full lives, or maybe not. We may never know the details, but their memory lives on because the seeds they planted were fruitful and continue to this day.

Click here to learn more about this branch of my family. Subscribe for updates to follow my research and if you have any information to contribute, please contact me or comment below!

#jamessherman #corasherman #anniesherman #lewisleonard


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