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Part 7: Early this summer, I happened upon the tale of a little foundling left at a Minneapolis confectionery in 1909. The woman behind the counter, Mary Sanford, had been longing for a child, and she and her husband, a real estate man, welcomed the happy infant into their home. The feel-good story extended to the neighborhood and beyond, thanks to the Minneapolis Tribune, which published stories and photos about the foundling nearly every day for two weeks: Tribuna is wrapped in loving arms, Tribuna is a thriving tot; Tribuna is showered with gifts.
I posted the first few pieces without knowing how the story would unfold. I hoped Tribuna would continue to thrive and enjoy a happy childhood. I hoped she would grow up to be a fine woman with children of her own. I hoped to track down her descendants and talk with them about how their great-grandmother got her start in life. I hoped to give you a happy ending. Instead, then as now, the ending is abrupt and heart-breaking.
[read part 1] | [read part 2] | [read part 3] | [read part 4] | [read part 5] | [read part 6]
The next day, the Tribune published a funeral announcement accompanied by the most recent photo of the little girl.
|A day before Tribuna died, a minister from Gethsemane Episcopal Church in Minneapolis visited the Sanford home and baptized the girl "in extremis," according to church records. This postcard of the church at 905 4th Av. S. in downtown Minneapolis is from about 1905. (Image courtesy of mnhs.org)|
In this, the Tribune’s final story on the little founding, Tribuna’s true given name, Evelyn – the name listed at the church where she was baptized and at the cemetery in which she is buried -- is mentioned for the first time:
Tribuna is buried in an unmarked grave in Crystal Lake Cemetery in north Minneapolis. She was laid to rest next to the Sanfords’ other child, Albert, who died in infancy on Aug. 22, 1908, nearly a year to the day after Tribuna was left in their care. His grave is also unmarked, which was common for infants of that era.
It's unclear what happened to the Sanfords after Tribuna's death. I can find no Minnesota death record for Mary (or Leah, as she was listed in Tribuna's baptismal record), but it appears the couple parted ways at some point, whether through death or divorce. Carlton sold off his family property in Faribault and headed to California, where it appears he married a woman named Alice. Carlton C. and Alice I. Sanford are buried at San Gabriel Cemetery in Los Angeles County. I will try to locate Carlton Sanford's descendants to see if I can confirm his move to California and perhaps find out what happened to Mary Sanford. Please let me know if you can help in that search.