Orphans (Prairie County, Arkansas, Circa 1875) (McNew and Bennett)
Three McNew children were left orphans in Prairie County, Arkansas, circa 1875. These children were William H. L. McNew (1862), Martha “Mattie” McNew (1869), and Josephine “Josie” McNew (1874). The orphans’ parents were Isaac and Louisa McNew.
Our family knows that the three orphans were brought to present day Faulkner County, Arkansas, in the fall of 1875. A man, by the name of William McNew, heard of the McNew orphans, traveled to Prairie County, Arkansas, found the orphans, brought them to present day Faulkner County, Arkansas, and cared for them until they were grown. Although, they shared the same surname, McNew, they were of no relation.
Several stories have been passed down orally in our family. An uncle, by the last name of Bennett, checked on the orphans periodically. A nearby family provided some type of care to the orphans. The orphans lived near the White and Cache Rivers.
The 1870 Prairie County Arkansas Census (Surrounded Hill Township) lists the McNew family as follows: Isaac McNew Louisa McNew (Lou) Lycurgus McNew (orphan boy) Martha McNew (orphan girl) John Bennett Joseph Bennett *Josephine McNew wasn’t born until 1874.
Apparently, by July 19, 1875, the children were orphans. On July 19, 1875, Joseph H. Bennett, was awarded guardianship of the three orphans (Northern District of Prairie County, Arkansas, Book G, # 336). The orphans having an uncle by the last name of Bennett is verified in the 1870 Census and the guardianship.
Louisa, Joseph, and John Bennett are listed in the 1850 White County Arkansas Census (Royal Township).
What happened to Isaac and Louisa McNew (the orphans’ parents) and Joseph H. Bennett (awarded guardianship) is a mystery to us.
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