John Leon Shackford's birth record tells us he was the tenth child of John Laurent Shackford, insurance agent and Mary Jane Rollins born March 31, 1872 in Concord, New Hampshire. His parents were both living in 1880 so why was he in the orphan's home?
Two years before John's birth, we find his parents listed in the 1870 census with seven children: Henry J, Charles W, Alice, Fred, Burt, May, and Frank. John Laurent Shackford is working as a real estate agent and reports a real estate value of 2,500 and a personal estate valued at 1000. But in 1877, we find John L Shackford on a list of Concord City paupers. No other details about what may have caused this major change in the family's financial situation is available at this time but based on the documents listed above and the fact that in 1880 many of John Leon Shackford's siblings who were under the age of 18 are working as servants or recently released from the Orphan's home, we presume John Laurent Shackford, John Leon Shackford's father had a significant financial problem and perhaps other problems between 1870 and 1880 which forced him (or the State) to find other homes for his children.
1870 United States Federal Census, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, population schedule, Concord, Page No 57-58, dwelling 440, family 542, John L Shackford; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 May 2015).
The Concord Directory For 1872; Containing a General Directory of the Inhabitants, and a Business Directory, Including Fisherville and Suncook; City and County Registers, Map, &c., &c. (Concord: D. L. Guernsey, 1872), page 102, John L Shackford; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2015)
The Concord Directory for 1874-5; Containing a General Directory of the Inhabitants, and a Business Directory of Concord, Fisherville and Boscawen Village; City and County Registers, Map, Etc., Etc. (Concord:n.p., 1874), page 132, John L Shackford; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 May 2015).
Massachusetts, Massachusetts, Deaths, 1841-1915, DEATHS REGISTERED in the City of Lowell for the Year eighteen hundred and ninety-two, page 413, John L. Shackford, death, 22 September 1892; digital images, Family Search (http://familysearch.org : accessed 11 August 2013).
New Hampshire, New Hampshire, Birth Records, Early to 1900, , John Leon Shackford, 31 March 1872; digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 11 May 2015.
New Hampshire, New Hampshire, Death Records, 1654-1947, , Mary J Shackford d., 2 April 1901; digital images, FamilySearch, New Hampshire, Death Records, 1654-1947 (http://www.familysearch.org : accessed 24 March 2014).
The Twenty-Fourth Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenditures of the City of Concord for the Fiscal Year Ending February 1, 1877, Together with Other Annual Reports and Papers Relating to the Affairs of the City (Concord, N.H.: Republican Press Association, 1877), page 72; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 11 May 2015