A bit of what appears here is repetitive because some of this story is written on the Bussell Main Page on this website. But, just in case...
1898 was a tumultuous year! On January 1, 1898, the consolidated City of New York was born, including the Bronx as one of the five distinct boroughs (at the same time, the Bronx's territory moved from Westchester County into New York County, which already contained Manhattan and the rest of pre-1874 New York City). Typhoid fever was beginning to take lives in and around the city; diphtheria appeared to be making a comeback; on February 15th, the United States battleship Maine was suddenly blown up killing 260 officers and men on board, an act that would lead to the declaration of war not long after; and at 631 Walton Avenue, on March 22nd, shortly after a 5-inch snowfall, Nettie Bussell, just 32 years old, would die while prematurely giving birth to what would have been her 7th child, a girl, who also didn't survive. Her official cause of death: "Pleuro Pneumonia, Premature Birth (8) months, cardiac failure"
THIS HEARTBREAKING EVENT SETS THE STAGE FOR A REUNION TO TAKE PLACE 101 YEARS LATER
Two days after Nettie's death, on March 24th, 1898, Nettie and her child, would be laid to rest at Poughkeepsie Rural cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York. The mahogany business that once flourished in the city was in decline and certainly financial resources were disappearing by now, if they had not already been exhausted. And, not even 3 weeks after Nettie is buried, on April 8, 1898, Richard Bussell, her husband, surrendered three of the children, just the boys (Richard, Phillip and Victor), to the Home for the Friendless offering the reason to be that he was "unable to support them." According to intake documents, this was to be a "temporary" situation. All three boys ended up spending their young lives being shuffled around Midwest family farms working as "indentured servants" until each of them enlisted to serve the country during World War I. Whether any of the three of them ever saw each other again is unknown to me.
Two sisters (Bessie and Rosalie) would be entrusted to the custody of others. In particular, Bessie, only 2 years old, first would be boarded by Mrs. Jacob Miller on VanSiclen Ave (later to live with the Slagles) and Rosalie who was 8 years old, would go with her grandmother, Mary Rebecca Carlow, who was living in Saratoga Springs at the time. It is known that they never saw each other again. Rosalie married once, had one child who died and another, Phillip, who married and died childless. Rosalie remarried and died in 1948.
How or why the decisions of who went with whom came about can only be speculated as nobody today knows the real reasons. At some point, I will be adding the individual stories (what I know or have found) for each of the surviving children of Richard and Nettie Carlow Bussell.