"Uncle Joe was adopted," said Nana, my son-in-law's 91 year old grandmother. Sure enough, the 1900 census verified that the family's youngest child, Joseph Greene, was, in fact, adopted. He was the 12th child in the family and the adoptive parents would have been over 50 years old.
1900 MI Houghton, Pct #2, Osceola Twp.
Green, Joseph, June 1845, m35, b. Ire, To US 1861, 39 yrs here, Na, laborer
" , Julia, Sept 1846, m35, 12children/8living, to US 1860, 40 yrs
" , Philip, son, Feb 1869, 31, b. MI
" , Kate, dau, July 1874, MI
" , John, June 1876, b. MI
", Julia, dau, Mar 1879, b. MI
", Jessie, dau, Aug 1888, b. MI
", Joseph, adopted son, b. June 1895, b. Don't Know, Don't Know, Don't Know
Now the question; why was he adopted.
According to Nana, an orphanage in the area burned down and families in the area were asked to adopt a child from that orphanage if possible. Her grandparents, Joseph & Julia (Lynch) Greene, were willing to adopt and went to see the children. They spotted a small blond child across the room and started to go over to him. As Julia passed by, another child reached out his little arms, reached for her and said in a plaintive voice, "Mama?". Well, that sealed the deal. Uncle Joe had found his Mama.
Nana said that Uncle Joe died of TB; the same disease that killed his first Mama. He was the only one in the Greene family who contracted TB.
I have not found a record of an orphanage that burned down in Houghton Co., Michigan. Was there more to this story? Was the orphanage in a different county and/or state?