Sometimes it’s easy to think foster care stories begin with the children. But really, it starts with the story of their families who fall upon hard times.
In May1864, the American Civil War was leaving a trail of death and destruction. In Cold Harbor, Virginia, the Union army led by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant battled the Confederates led by Gen. Robert E. Lee. Over 16,000 casualties resulted from this bloody conflict, including the death of Union solder Tom Wilson. His wife Frances Wilson was left widowed and struggling to raise her baby girl Mary Ellen in New York City. The widow found herself in financial difficulties, so she began working double shifts washing laundry at the St. Nicholas Hotel. Although she received $2 per week as a widow of a soldier, childcare for her baby used up all of that income.