The December 22, 1910 Skidmore New Era reported this story – undoubtedly Mrs. Dawson’s best present ever – on its front page.
Mrs. Esau Dawson Greatly Surprised
Mother and Sons Meet for First Time Since Boys Were Placed in Orphan’s Home, 19 Years ago
A few days ago James and George Barrett delightfully surprised their mother, Mrs. Esau Dawson, four miles west of Skidmore, by making her a visit. This was the first time that Mrs. Dawson and the boys had met for over 19 years, since the boys were mere children. This little story of mother and sons would furnish the novelist with enough romance to make a book.
Some eighteen or nineteen years ago, Mrs. Dawson’s husband died leaving two boys, James and George, aged five and three years respectively. Owing to her limited means of support, she placed the boys in the care of the Chillicothe Orphan’s Home, which soon secured good places for the boys, and at once notifying their mother. She wrote the institution asking for the boys address, but for some reason they failed to tell her, but assured her that the children had good homes where they would be well cared for and, if anything happened to them she would be notified at once.
The boys were placed in homes five hundred miles apart. James in southern Missouri and George in eastern Iowa.
They were not given their mother’s address and their new environments soon led them to forget their former home. They grew to manhood and James, the eldest, remembered that he had a brother and resolved to find him. He wrote the Home at Chillicothe and obtained the address of the foster parents of his brother, then he wrote his brother. In a short time George made a visit to southern Missouri and called on his brother, James. The two boys then started out to find their mother, if she was living. They at once began a system of correspondence and among other places wrote the Odd Fellows lodge at Mound City, Mo., and from them received their mother’s address and at once came to make her a visit.
Some time after placing the boys in the Chillicothe Home Mrs. Barrett, as it was then, married Mr. Esau Dawson, she made numerous inquiries for the whereabouts of the boys but got no trace of them. A few months ago she received a letter from an attorney in Arkansas, stating that her son’s grandfather had died leaving the boys with two other heirs, a tract of land, near Green Forest, Arkansas, of 120 acres, and the boys woudl have to be found before the estate could be settled. Mrs. Dawson was making another effort to find them where when they surprised her by their visit. She handed the letters to the boys and they will take up the matter with the attorney of the estate.
George is married and is breakman on a freight. After a short visit with his mother and brother, he left for his home in Iowa. James is still visiting his mother and stepfather and will probably make this part of the country his home. He and Mr. Dawson went to Mound City Saturday to investigate the Arkansas land estate.