We have confirmed that Oscar and Byron Black were both the children of John N.M. Black and his wife Ruth Leslie of St. Louis. Also, they had two other children who have birth records in St. Louis: Elizabeth Black b. 8 Jan. 1881 and Mary b.12 Jan. 1885.
The young man, John W. Black b. July 1880 (acc to 1900 census) who appears as adopted son of Stephen B. Taylor may have also been sibling to these four children, but we have been unable to confirm this.
Mary and Elizabeth do not appear again on the 1900 census. In fact Elizabeth disappears from the paper trail entirely as does her father.
I suspect that the same thing happened with John N.M.Black as with Mr. Underwood and most all working class widowed men of the day who weren't able to rapidly remarry or have someone else in their household to take care of the children: They could not make a living and rear the children so the children were given into someone else's care.
If anyone knows the name or the location of the orphanage that the Underwood or Black or other children were placed in prior to ending up in the foster homes in Shamrock, please let us know. It remains a mystery why these kids all showed up there and esp. the two boys from a hundred miles east in St. Louis!
Mary and Byron and Oscar all moved to El Paso TX in the nineteen teens, and to California in the 1920's.
Thanks again, cheri