On the 1900 Census, it shows James having a spouse named Ethel.

+5 votes
James and Ethel are showing as being married in 1900 on the Meigs County registry. Does anyone know what happened between James and Ethel that would lead to her and 4 White children being listed as "inmates" on the 1910 Census?
WikiTree profile: James White
in Genealogy Help by N Howard G2G Rookie (290 points)

1 Answer

+6 votes
While I don't know what happened between James and Ethel, I believe Ethel and the children were most likely in a poorhouse. When my 3rd Great Grandmother was widowed she and her children ended up in a poorhouse in WI. They were listed as "Inmates" in their census record.
by Chandra Garrow G2G6 Mach 6 (62.1k points)
They used to call it debtor's prison.
I understand that things like that do happen. I believe that i am related to this family, and the question came to mind while researching them. Although, they have passed on, I guess I was just fishing for an answer or something.
Why would they call it debtor's prison? What in the world could a young woman with 4 kids done to have to go there?
Their "crime" was being poor. Society didn't look kindly on people who weren't able to support themselves. Most of these places decided that if they made life miserable for these people they would work harder to get themselves out of poverty. Conditions were often disgusting. My Great Grandmother remarried as soon as she could to get out of there. She ended up marrying a man who turned out to have a wife already.
I get what you all are saying. But, what I'm not getting is what could have happened to James? Could he have passed at such a young age? Yes, I know it's possible. Because he sure didn't make it to the debtor's prison with his wife and kids. Anyways, I believe this James could be my gg grandfather and well you know, thoughts do cross minds.
The institiution in question is the McMinn County Infirmary, in Athens, Tennessee, which is an almshouse. Almshouses were run by charities and typically better than government run institutions. They also doubled as 'old folks' homes as you can see from the roster.

Are you certain this Ethel White was Ethel McGhee who married James 17 Jan 1900? Four of six children surviving (Apr 1910): Harriet J, Jennie M, Mary M, and Pearl.
The term Almshouse better explains it, although I have never heard that term either. This Ethel McGhee married James White in 1900. From what I have been told, Ethel and the 4 girls stayed at this home for an undisclosed amount of time. I knew not of 6 children, only the 4. Ethel met a man named EZ Sharp, and later married.  Ethel later moved to Georgia with Harriet J, Jennie M, Mary M "Maggie", and Pearl. They all resided in Georgia until their passing. My great grandmother always said that they had lived in an orphanage type home when she was  younger, and that she basically grew up there until the move to Georgia.

I sketched in profiles for Ethel and E C Sharp. It was apparently E C as evidenced from his signature on Ethel's death certificate. His first name may have been Ezekiel hence the nickname 'E Z'. There was a Zeek Sharp who died in Dalton in 1933.

Anyways, I left them open if you want to adopt them and connect them to yourself when you become a member.

You might also look at West Hill Cemetery in Dalton. there are four Sharp children all born between 1910 and 1920, none of whom lived past four. There is a good chance they were the children of Ethel and E C as no other Sharps are buried there.



Thank you for your time. I will definitely look in to Ethel and E.Z.. But, I still feel a need to look at James also, for it was his Jennie M. that was my great grandmother. and, Jennie visited Ben a few times when my Aunts were children.

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