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Tragedies and Misfortunes

The story of two sisters after the loss of their mother, placed in an orphanage, then separated as children.

Posted on September 8, 2016 by Martha Cross Mordecai
The tragedies and misfortunes that brought children to The Home

It occurred not just in the lives of the children but in the lives of their families as well, this is one story of two girls. The circumstances that befell one child also affected other children if there was more than one child in the family. Many times siblings came to The Home. Two orphaned sisters, Myrtice and Estelle Brown, arrived early in the new year of 1900.

Myrtice and Estelle were the children of Gerald and Elizabeth Brown of Phoenix City, Alabama. Myrtice was born in 1890 and Estelle was born in 1892. The exact date of their father's death is unknown. Their mother remarried a Mr. H. T. Sanders. That date is also unknown.

Soon after her marriage, Mrs. Sanders became very ill. Knowing the end was near and concerned for the welfare of her daughters, she asked her husband to promise to take the girls to the Methodist Home for Orphans in Macon. He agreed. Upon her death he kept his promise. In the archives of today's Methodist Home for Children and Youth, there is a book that records arrivals and departures in faded, old handwriting. It lists the names of both girls.

Both were signed in on January 30, 1900. Both had short stays at The Home, especially Myrtice. She was adopted and signed out on February 12, 1900. Estelle also had a short stay before being adopted. She was signed out on September 17, 1900.

A childless couple, Lila and Thomas W. Faircloth, from South Georgia in what is now Grady County near the Florida line had decided to adopt. Mr. Faircloth was to make the trip from their farm to Macon and choose a child. With startlingly little consideration for the feelings of the children from today's viewpoint, they were lined up for viewing and selection. Mr. Faircloth picked Myrtice. He signed her out and took her home to South Georgia. She was nine years old and had just recently lost her mother.

Though Myrtice talked constantly on the way to her new home about a girl named Estelle, Mr. Faircloth thought she was only discussing a friend. When they arrived, Mrs. Faircloth quickly discovered that Myrtice and Estelle were sisters and poor Mr. Faircloth was chastised for not bringing her home also. No one at The Home had mentioned that Myrtice had a sister and he was sent for one child after all.

The Faircloths decided they wanted both girls and wrote The Home, but a distant relative of the girls had already contacted the home and arranged to adopt Estelle. Mr. Joseph McWearman of Birmingham, Alabama, signed Estelle out of The Home on September 17, 1900 and took her to her new home. The Faircloths felt the sisters should maintain contact with each other and wrote the McWearmans asking that Estelle be allowed to spend time on the Faircloth farm during the summers. The McWearmans agreed.

The girls grew to adulthood as sisters, separated sometimes, but also together sometimes to maintain their close relationship. In fact, Estelle's children came to refer to their aunt's adoptive parents as Grandpa Faircloth and Grandma Faircloth.

This story of Myrtice and Estelle, her grandmother and great-aunt, was provided by Mrs. Asbury (Eleanor) Walton of Macon, Georgia. As with all those who share their stories, I am profoundly grateful to Mrs. Walton's daughter, Kelly Walton Horne. Kelly works at The Home that provided a home for her great-grandmother and great great-aunt over a hundred years ago. She has been with The Home for nearly two decades. Isn't it interesting how things are connected? Kelly is now helping meet the needs of today's children and youth, taking her place in a long line of servants ministering to God's children.

Linked toMyrtice Brown (Faircloth)

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