by Gwen Norman

Thursday, August 28, 1958

A dream come true for James Raby Jordan and his sister Mrs. Mildred McCarthy of the Jericho community in Union County near Baldwyn.

The children along with a baby sister were placed in an orphanage following the death of their parents over 22 years ago. They have suddenly found that they have an interesting past as well as a future with a number of relatives including two uncles whom they have always dreamed about but never expected to attain since they had been told all their lives that they were the only survivors of their family.

At the age of 7, James, his sister Mildred 5. and Jane, 2, were placed in a children's home in Nashville (ed.: This should read "Memphis:) over 22 years ago.

James recalls his parents had died and he felt that it was up to him to care for his little sisters. He has a vivid memory of his mothers grave and of a person called Uncle Doc in the deep dark past, but all other memories vanished when he entered the orphanage.

Mildred recalls only her big brother who had always been her constant companion.

The real story for James and Mildred began at the orphanage. The little boy who had already had more than his share of grief and heartaches again had to bear a great shock, that of having his baby sister Jane. taken away. Jane so tiny and lovely was adopted soon after the children entered the home. Her going was almost more than the little brother could bear for he felt that this tiny sister needed his love and protection. All though the years this loss was a deep ache in the heart of her brother.

James was then adopted by the Mr. and Mrs. George Jordan, natives of Union County. The only thing that kept his new home and parents from being perfect was the loss of both of his sisters.

Mildred was adopted a year later (see Note 2) by a couple in Memphis. The little girl, with only one memory of the past, that of her big brother, James, who she idolized and whom she looked for protection was determined to wait at the orphanage until he came back for her. Carrying her away was a mistake for both foster parents and child. She cried constantly and never ceased to beg for her brother. She was finally returned to the children's home where officials decided to place both children together. The Jordan's, who had kept James a whole year decided to adopt Mildred also.

Brother and sister grew up in normal surroundings, happy in the love and care of their foster parents, yet they worried continually abut little Jane for they did not know whether she was still living or not. They spent much of their time wondering if she had good parents like the Jordans or if she was a neglected waif.

Finally when James 10 years old the Jordans gained information from officials at the orphanage that little Jane, now 5, had been adopted by the Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Coffin, in Winn, Arkansas and that they loved her very much. When James was 15, she was allowed to visit the Jordan's and according to James it was the most thrilling and happy week of their life.

Now the only cloud on the horizon for the children was the gap in the dark past which could not be filled in. If they could only find the missing link that would connect them with the past. There were no records at the orphanage, except their names, children of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Raby, of the state of Tennessee. They had been told over and over there no relatives living yet the memory of the name Uncle Doc lingered on, in the mid of James, who kept wondering if he were not a relative after all.

Through the Tennessee Bureau of vital statistics, James finally secured a death certificate of his parents, both signed by members of the Raby family and one signed by Doc Raby, at Chattanooga, Tenn. He then wrote the Postal Department at Chattanooga receiving information that a Doc Raby was on the mailing list and his address. They then wrote Doc Raby, asking if he was a relative of their deceased father, Sam Raby.

A return answer came that Doc was their uncle, the youngest brother of their father, and that another uncle, Lon Raby was living, the oldest brother in the family, but that he was not expected to live and asking the long lost nieces and nephew to come at once if they could. Needless to say they started right away and two weeks ago James and Mildred were receiving a warn welcome from their uncle and cousins in Chattanooga.

The search was over, they learned that their father, a World War 1 veteran, died at an early age, results of poisonous gas he had received during the war. Their mother followed him in death in three months time. A Government trust fund was set up for the children which they received at the age of 12, but the family including the Grandfather and uncles were not allowed to raise the children, (ed.: WHY?)

Uncle Doc, whose memory had haunted James for over 32 years presented them with their favorite toys, saved by Grandfather Raby until his death, who died of a broken heart because he was not allowed to rear his grandchildren.

Mildred and James visited the graves of their parents, as they started to the cemetery memory came flooding back to James in a flash, and without direction he flew to the grave of his mother, falling down on his knees he gave thanks for finding his sisters, for the wonderful foster parents they have and for finding his relatives.

They were directed to their mothers parent's home place in Chattanooga. Here the only living member of the family, an aging aunt, still resides. (ed.: What is her name?) The welcome here was everything but warm. Probably due to the fact that at the death of her sister and one brother she inherited not only the massive home-place but a whole sub-division in the city. The children, whose parents died so long ago, were not asked to enter their grandfathers home.

The home where their mother grew up along with their aunt. They wer told that relatives or not, strangers were never asked to enter the house. Mildred begged so hard for a picture of her mother whom she had never seen that auntie finally handed her one out the door bidding her good day.

These children, with characters, who are highly esteemed in their community and the surrounding area of Northeast Mississippi were denied their request to photograph the massive house where their mother was born. James said, "A little rain always follows a lot of sunshine, but we could have loved our mother's sister so much".

Uncle Lon Raby, their fathers oldest brother gained new strength finding his nieces and nephew and was able to visit them at their homes in Jericho last weekend, along with four of their Raby cousins. The aged Uncle was afraid that he would not live to see the early winter reunion, at which time Jane and her family from Arkansas will join James, his wife (Sarah), their three husky sons (Roy, David, and Danny), and Mildred and hubby, John McCarthy, in a reunion at Uncle Doc's home in Chattanooga.

(Note 2: Georgia Tann changed my mothers birthday to make her younger and more adoptable. According to the book BABY THIEF by Barbara Raymond, Tann did this to lots of children. Sort of like turning back the mileage on a car. We had always celebrated my mothers 'false" birthday of February 1 when later in the eighties she found out her real birthday was February 28. Such a slight change also suggests that my Mother was not born in 1922 as she always believed but earlier perhaps 1921 or 1920. We will never know. However according to scraps of documents obtained via the state of Mississippi I do know that my mother Mildred was adopted away from Georgia Tann and the Memphis Orphanage in 1930. If she was really born in 1922 she would have been 8 years old which meant that she spent three years in the Memphis Orphanage under Georgia Tann (the year of the nation wide depression (1929) she spent alone in the absence of her brother, Mildred suffered her own personal depression.) Her true and actual birth year will always be a bit of a mystery.