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My grandmother, Rose Sedlacek Marlin, never told us much about her life. She had mentioned once or twice that she once had brothers living around the Omaha, Nebraska area, but that was about it. After her death in 1982, while going through a box of things left to me, I came across an old picture post card of the Turkey Creek. On the back was inscribed "This is near where I used to play as a young girl while in Pawnee City". How had she gotten THERE?? Why had she been there?.. My quest for information had started!.

I had heard about the Orphan Trains so on a whim contacted the Children's Aid Society in New York City and to my amazement Mrs. Helen Steinman replied to my letter. " I am writing in reply to your request for information about your grandmother Rose or Rosa Sedlacek and her two brothers, Charles and Frank. According to our records they came into the care of The Children's Aid Society on or about August 6, 1906 when their father surrendered them. Their mother had died on October 2, 1905, and their children had been at a children's home, Five Points House of Industry, for about eight months. At that time the father's health was poor, and he could not support them. The father was Anton or Anthony Sedlacek, a brushmaker, born in Bohemia. The mother's maiden name was Rosa Mutuchik. She also was born in Bohemia. The three children were born in New York City. We have Rose's date of birth as February 11 1895; but in a letter from her father he said she was born on February 8, 1895. Charles was born in May 1900; and Frank was born in May 1902. All three children were placed with families in Pawnee, Nebraska.

Rose was placed with Mr and Mrs. C.R. Miles who were described as well to do retired farmers. They bought a piano for Rose, and she Learned to play very well. In school she was at the top of her class. Not only was Rose musical, but her brother Frank was said to be a musical prodigy. He also did well in school. Charles too was a bright boy.

Through the years their father wrote numerous letters to The Children's Aid Society. He was living and working in Chicago, Illinois and he was in good health. He wrote to inquire about his children. His letters were answered, and he received pictures of the children."

My search for the boys continued to no avail, until the Nebraska GenWeb was started. I posted a query on the Pawnee County page, and this year got a reply!! I have now found and talked to a cousin I never knew existed.. learned about my great uncles, and hope to learn more about my grandmother. (Rose died in 1982 at the age of 86, Charles in 1995 age, 95, and Frank, 1992, age 90.)


My cousin Barbara spent years talking with her father and her Uncle Charles, recording the stories that were told to her. "By putting them down on paper, we wouldn't lose our precious past, and in the future, if there were someone that wished to use the information, they would be welcome to it". I am so glad that she did this!! I now have a window into the past, and have been able to "know" my grand uncles... something that I would have never been able to do without her diligence.

Here are some excerpts from Frank Sedlacek Booth's memoirs

I was born in the borough of Manhattan in New York City on May 26, 1902. My name at birth was Frek Sedlacek, and my family included a sister, Rose, and a brother Charles.

I don't remember much about New York except for the tenements and the push carts on the street. The push carts sat on the curb, gas lanterns lighting their wares at night.

After mother's death, my father thought my sister, Rose, who was about ten or eleven years at the time, could take care of her two little brothers while he worked. Charlie was about five and I was three. The authorities thought otherwise. Dad took us to the Five Points House of Industry in New York City on November 6, 1905 just a month after mother died. We stayed there eight months, until our dad took us out on June 14, 1906. On July 13, 1906, Rose, Charles and I came into the care of The Children's Aid Society of New York City after our dad signed papers giving us up for adoption. I don't remember anything about the Five Points House of Industry, but they kept good records. Rose said I spent a good deal of time in the dark closet for punishment while at the home. I don't know anything about that. I guess I was a "pill" though.

One case worker from the Children's Aid Society of New York took us to Nebraska by train, commonly known as the Orphan Train. According to Aunt Nellie Thieman, there were seven children brought to Pawnee City, Nebraska by one caseworker. I don't remember why, but I remember having a fried egg for breakfast.

We were all taken to the Opera House, which was the largest public place in town. Traveling operas and entertainers played there. It was like a theater andd real nice. We were put on the big stage and sat on the chairs placed there for us. Aunt Nellie said I was the last child to be selected as I was the youngest. Not very many people wanted a four year old. Aunt Nellie said she skipped school one day to go look at the children to be given away. She knew her brother and his wife wanted one of them, preferably the youngest. She watched us play violins with the corn stalks we found. This is probably true, as I understand it we were a very musical family. Everyone sang and played musical instruments. I was selected by Louis A. Booth and his wife Mary (May) Price Booth. I can't remember going home with them, but I do remember not liking the food so well. Mother Booth said I didn't like gravy at all.

Rose was born in February, probably about 1895 or 1896. When we came to Pawnee City, Rose was adopted by a family by the name of Miles. She became Rose Miles. She went on to high school, and then I think they all moved to California, Chico, or somewhere in northern California. There she married a fellow by the name of Marlin and had one son, Chester Marlin. They moved to Long Beach, California.

Charlie went to live with the Slack family (note: in 1987 Larry and Barbara Wilson visited with Charlie and asked about his earliest recollections and his life with the Slack family. The following is in his own words.) "I, Charles Slack, remember a few things about our life in New York City. The street lights were gas fed. A man with a torch lit them every night. There were street cars, an organ grinder with a monkey and puple cabbage in the grocery store. The Brooklyn Bridge was about a mile southeast of our tenement apartment. Our Dad had a moustache and wore a big wide brimmed hat. He worked in a factory as a brush maker.

After Mother died, her casket sat on top of a large tank of ice in the apartment. We stayed at the orphange at Five Points after Mother died.

About the only thing I remember about the trip to Nebraska was crossing the Mississippi River. Our train, an engine and four or five cars, was put on a barge and taken across the river.

I think there was eight of us kids on the stage to be given away. I was selcted by the Slack family and remember going home with them in a spring wagon behind a team of mules. I was six years old. Mr. and Mrs. Slack had lost two daughters before they took me. Later they had three boys, Bill, Harold and George (Reed). Mother Slack died in childbirth when I was twelve years old. The youngest boy, George, was adopted by the Reed family as he was too little for Dad to care for. When I was about eighteen years old, Dad bought a pair of mules. I told Dad they were mean, that they had tried to crush me between them, but I had jumped out of the way just in time. The very next day Dad was killed by those mules the same way they tried to get me. Now I was an orphan, AGAIN!.

All of us kids went to stay with Uncle George Beda near Table Rock. I struck out on my own when I was about nineteen. I worked on farms, but realized I was too small to do this all my life. When I was twenty-four or twenty-five I went to barber school in Lincoln. In 1927 I got a job in a shop in Nebraska City.

I was drafted in 1942 during World War II when I was 42 years old. After basic training in South Carolina, I was stationed at Camp Roberts in California. Pearl and her daughter from Nebraska City came out to visit me and Pearl talked me into getting married. Pearl and I were married in 1942...... When the draft age went from 45 to 38 years old I thought I would get to come home right away, but I didn't get to get back for another year- eighteen months altogether. All I did in the service was cut hair!

Frank's timeline
  • 1870-- Anton Sedlacek was born in Bohemia. He is the birth father of Frank Booth.

  • 1874-- Rose Matousek was born in Bohemia. She would later marry Anton Sedlacek. One of her children in Frek Sedlacek, later known as Frank Booth.

  • 1890-Rose Matousek, at the age of 17, arrived in New York City from Bohemia to join and wed Anton Sedlacek. Anton Sedlacek had come to the United States from Bohemia earlier to establish himself.

  • February, 1895-- Rose Sedlacek was born in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York. (Daughter of Anton and Rose Sedlacek who were immigrants from Bohemia)

    May 8, 1900 -- Charles Sedlacek was born in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York.(Son of Anton and Rose Sedlacek who were immigrants from Bohemia)

    May 26, 1902-- Frek (Frank) Sedlacek was born at 131 East 3rd Street in the Borough of Manhattan in the City of New York. Frank was the sixth child born, but only the third that survived in the family. (Son of Anton and Rose Sedlacek who were immigrants from Bohemia)

  • October 2, 1905-- Rose Matousek Sedlacek died at the age of 32 from childbirth. She died at home at 131 E. 3rd Street, Borough of Manhattan, City of New York.

  • November 6, 1905-- Anton Sedlacek took his three children, Rose, Charlie and Frank, to the Five Points House of Industry in New York City . They were half orphans and lived in the orphange for eight months.

  • January 25, 1906-- Anton Sedlacek took his children home for a month.

  • July 13, 1906-- The Sedlacek children came into care of The Children's Aid Society of New York City, after their father, Anton Sedlacek signed papers giving the children up for adoption.

  • August, 1906-- One caseworker for The Children's Aid Society of New York City took seven children on the "orphan train" to Pawnee City, Nebraska, to give to families that wanted them. It was felt that the children had a better chance in life on farm in the mid-west than on the streets. of New York City .Some folks wanted extra help on the farm, and in turn they provided food and shelter. Other people, like the ones that took Rose, Charlie and I, didn't have any children of their own. Rose was the only one that was adopted. Charlie and I were foster children.

  • August 21, 1906-- Frank Sedlacek was given away from the stage of the Opera House in Pawnee City, Nebraska. The people that chose to take him were Louis A. and Mary Price Booth. Rose was adopted by Mr. And Mrs. Miles, and Charlie was chosen by Dick and Nellie Slack.

  • 1912-- Charlie's mother Nellie Slack, died in childbirth. She had lost two daughters before taking Charlie. After they took Charlie, she had three more boys, Bill, Harold and George (Reed). George was the baby and too little for Mr. Slack to care for, so he put him up for adoption.

  • August 25, 1913-- Grandpa and Grandma Booth, Elmer and Natalie Thieman and children, Esther and Raymond Thieman, mother, dad and I moved to Washington State. We stayed in Wenatchee a few weeks before settling in Puyallup, Washington.

  • 1915-- Dad, mother and I moved back to Pawnee City, Nebraska, because mother was so homesick.

  • 1917-1918 -- I won the Nebraska State competition for addition.

  • 31 May 1918 -- I graduated from the 8th grade from the Pawnee County Public Schools.

  • June 1918-- Dad, mother and I moved back to Puyallup, Washington, for good.

  • Fall 1918-March 1924-- I got a job at the Washington State College Experiment Station to help support the family instead of going to high school. I was 16 years old.

  • 1918-- Dick Slack was killed by a pair of mules he had just bought. Charlie was an orphan again! All the children moved in with their Uncle George Beda near Table Rock, Nebraska.

  • 1919-- Charles Slack struck out on his own, working on farms.

  • 1919-1930-- I studied the trumpet with teachers in Tacoma and Seattle.

  • 1921-- I started playing trumpet on the radio. I worked for stations KGB, KVI and KMO.

  • 1923-- I had typhoid fever and nearly died. My hair came out as a result of the fever and a diet of jello for six weeks.

  • 1924-- Charles Slack went to barber school in Lincoln, Nebraska.

  • June 23, 1928-- Sylvia Roberts and I were married at her parents home in Thomas Washington.(Frank and Sylvia had two children, Barbara in 1930 and Richard, 1949.)

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