1852 - 1945
Communicants from St. Aloysius Orphanage
(it is not known whether these are the same children listed in the story below)
Six children received their first Holy Communion in the chapel of the St. Aloysius Orphanage during the Mass held there at 6:30 o’clock this morning. The chaplain Rev. Alphons O.F.N. delivered a very instructive talk to the children who were about to receive, on the Lord’s Love for children and on the Sacrament which they were about to receive. In addition to the inmates of the Home a few relatives of the communicants were present. The communicants were: Maurice Fisk -- Russel Sprick
-- John Haskins -- Mary Loretta Dierking -- Mary Imogene Hickman -- Dorothy Hickman
[Source: Letters rescued from St. Aloysius Orphanage by Janet Peters - Submitted by Tammy Peters Bruns - Transcribed by Cinda Head]
From F. P. Cummins for John Chase
Sep. 2, 23
Rev Sister Superior
St. Aloysius Orphan Asylum
Dear Rev. Sister:
Mr. John Chase, a non-catholic of Brookfield has requested me to inquire if it would be possible for him to place his children, two boys aged three and seven and a girl aged 20 months in your institution. He says he would be able to pay $10.00 or $12.00 per month. The mother is insane and the children are now in the care or rather under the supervision of the Missouri State board of charities, and cared for by private families. Mr. Chase is not willing to permit adoption and is dissatisfied because he is not permitted to visit the children.
Nov. 28, 1924
Hon. John H. McCoy, Judge of County Court, Decatur, Ill.
Pursuant to a request by Fannie A. Bivans of your city who addressed our Sister Superior and which letter has been handed me for reply.
The communication is in the form of an inquiry regarding the four Schweiss children who are making their home with us, and while it pleases us to be asked for an explanation which affords us a certain amount of satisfaction, and on the other hand it seems that someone is meddling into something of which they know very little, and this brings on a feeling of resentment hard to repress.
Our records show that these children were admitted to our home, on or about October 19, 1922, about two weeks after their mother died, by their Uncle, Mr. David J. Cantrell, who is also their guardian and executor of Mrs. Schweiss’s last will and testament. It has been intimated that the children have been harshly treated but to what extent has not been stated, but enough to demand an investigation and to this I will reply, by stating, that none of our children are mistreated or abused, and am ready to admit that all children are kept under certain restrictions, but not unreasonably, nor any more than in any well regulated family. For this we stand ready to challenge anyone to prove that this is not the fact, not only this, I claim, that all our children are given a far better home than is given children on the outside, regardless of what remuneration is given us in return. There is also no distinction between those who pay board, and those that do not, all are treated alike.
The sisters look after the moral, physical, spiritual and intellectual training and general welfare of the children, while the Board of Administration, of which I am one, looks after the financial management.It happens once in a great while that someone either through prejudice or ignorance, selfish motive or other reasons try to stir up trouble, but so far we have never had any trouble to fully vindicate out action. As to the physical condition of these four girls must say that they are well liked, they Are of various dispositions and temperaments, and are always treated with kindness and consideration.
It is also stated to me, that Mr. Cantrell did not act like an uncle and did not call on them often enough, to which I will say that he did, and when the school period did not prevent he would give them a good time at his home, which is some miles in the country and he has them now, took them out last Wednesday and will return them on Saturday when the thanksgiving vacation ends.
Some people think that they can lavish their affection on children by calling on them and put their little minds full of more mature troubles, and by so doing injure them more than benefit them. Some of the institutions permit visitors once a month; while with us it is once a week. With some it would be far better if they never called, but it is hard to make exceptions.
Our institution is not a new organization, in fact we claim it to be the oldest in the state of Illinois, the society was organized in 1852 and since 1861 we have has our own home, it being under the management of the same Sisterhood for all of these years and we point with just pride to our past record which has been most satisfactory, as our citizens will testify to, and our society with its 1000 members stand ready to defend the charitable Sisters in their noble work and many sacrifices, both day and night for the poor and unfortunate children.
As an illustration of what interest and care is given our children will cite the Scarlet Fever epidemic early this year which was the worst we had in fourteen years. We had about 15 cases in our isolation hospital, a building separated from our main building, we had two of our best doctors, two professional nurses whose fees alone were between five and six hundred dollars and not a penny extra of our extra costs were charged to any on the children’s accounts.
As proof of the high regard in which our home is held by our County Judge Charles Nauert will state that two children were placed in our home and later the Guardian saw fit to take them out without the Courts consent, and as soon as this came to his attention, and not on our part either, but an outsider, he immediately sent an officer after them and brought them back to our home, greatly to our surprise.
We had another case recently, in which a mother brought legal action for the custody of her child in the Court at Garden City, Kansas, and in this case the children were awarded to us.
Was informed by the Sister Superior that some lady visitor called recently and made some disparaging remark about the pale look on the face of one of the girls, which is only natural for some, also expressed some surprise that one of the girls suffered a broken arm, which came about by an acy[sic] of disobedience, she and the others went on the Merry-Go-Round and fell off.
During the regular appointed time to play the children are under the supervision of one of the Sisters. The girls arm is fully healed and left no bad results. No charge for medical attention was made in this case.
As to the regular charges for the children will state where children are left with financial means we ask a reasonable fee, which in this case is only $2.00 per week, for each one, which practically covers everything, board, lodging, schooling, medical care, clothing, shoes and many other things.
Nothing is left undone to give all a proper education, the smaller children are taught in our own class rooms, and those in the grades from the fifth up are sent to St. Francis School, the largest parish school in the city.
Our children have no time to roam the streets at night, as many others do to their own ruination. Ours are taught regular duties, with plenty of healthful recreations. At night each one has their own bed, in clean and well ventilated dormitories, each have their own locker in which they can keep their own belongings, teaching them individuality.
The older children are given such duties to perform as is deemed good for them, such as helping in the kitchen, dining room or dormitory and never taken advantage of, or overworked.
Good food is very essential for young children and I can say our children are all well fed, as I do the buying, and know that they get plenty milk, no coffee, none but the best butter, no oleo, fruits at various times. I know they get better food than I got when I was of their age, and the Board of Administration wants them to have it.
For play and recreation they have their out-door playgrounds and when the weather is bad they have rooms in-doors, plenty of music is provided, as we have a player piano recently purchased, three phonographs, two organs, one radio set which keeps them in touch with the outside world and last and not least, toys galore. No holiday passes without their special favors in the way of recreation, or at the table in the way of delicacies, such as, cakes, candies, ice cream or other dainties.
Now I think I have given this matter sufficient attention, but if any fair-minded, or unprejudiced person thinks that I have overlooked anything, or exaggerated, then let them speak up and I will further try to familiarize them with our work, if I can, and with this I will close.
Awaiting your further requests and reply, Respectfully Yours
To Mr. Trimpe
Quincy, Ill., April 1, 1925
Mr. J.B. Trimpe
My Dear old friend Ben:
This may surprise you some to get a letter from me, and it’s no April fools joke either, but a real heart to heart one.Yesterday and the day before I had a man with me who came from Chicago to learn something about his early family history, in which I helped him all I could for the present, but will try further.You may be able to assist me in my efforts, so for this reason I gave him a letter of introduction to you, which is written on a scrap of paper which I had in my pocket at the time, so excuse its appearance, it was the best I had at the time, don’t consider its looks, but its purpose.This man I think will call on you about Friday noon, and anything you can do for him will be appreciated by me.
He came to Quincy under the impression that he had been an inmate in our St. Aloysius Orphans Home as a child, and that he had been sent to Chicago by us for adoption by some people there. In this however I think he is mistaken because his name does not appear on our records, and besides he tells that he was one of a car lot, and you know we never had that many to send out at one time. He also tells of having a tag attached to his clothes and from this I surmise that he was one of the same
crowd that was sent out from New York to which your adopted son belonged.
I made quite a search for him here, called on Fred VonderHaar, John Duan, George Kroeger, Mrs. Marie Bowman and Mrs. Marie Hildenbrand, she married August Bickhaus. Others who came with those mentioned was Sister Emerntia Benz, Mrs. Rose Schneider (Tepe), William Lammers, Agnes Gerweler, Jos. Koetter, Mary Bockenfeld, Andrew Arnold, Edith Warmker, Joseph Schmits, Grace Oenning and another whose name I could not learn, but who was taken by a Mrs. Hinders at St. Johns Church.
Help him if you can, his name is Rennie Thomas, resides at 3012 West Madison, telephone Kedzie #5159 and is a conductor on a car line.
Regards from your brother, Theodore, who we met yesterday. B_?___ Alphons, works at the Angel Guardian Orphanage and lives at 2408 Burling St.
1026 n. 20th St.
To Mr. Esteep
April 16, 1927
Mr. Edward F. Esteep
St. Louis, Mo.
In answer to yours of the 9th inst. will say that we have the name of John Esteep on our records. Should have answered a few days earlier but your inquiry came during a busy time when we were preparing for Easter.In the early days of our society which was organized on Jan. 11, 1852, and our first opened on April 16, 1865 our records were kept very briefly, consequently cannot give much of family history of children admitted in these days.One of our registers shows the name of Johnny Esteep, aged 3 years, orphan, his home is listed as Alton, Ill, was admitted on July 12, 1867 and released March10, 1876, when he was sent to Rev. H. Reinecke, near St. Louis.Another record book corresponds with the other but gives the additional information that he was a diocesan child and sent to Rev. H. Reinecke at Breese, Ill., which at that time was part of the Belleville Diocese on Jan. 7, 1887 when the diocese was created. The orders came from the Rev. J. Janssen, then Vicar General of the Alton Diocese, later bishop.This is all I can give regarding this inmate who you claims as being your father.Would add that you might get additional information by writing to the Pastors of St. Augustine or St. Dominic churches of Breese, Ill., who could probably refer you to someone with whom your father made his home.
Would be glad if you could get additional information, if so let me know as I am working on statistics for our 75 Anniversary.
Chris Freiburg, Secy
Wishing you a joyous Easter time.
From Mrs. Fitzpatrick
May 2, 1927
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Dear Rev. Mother,
I am writing you concerning my little baby, which is yet to be born in a few weeks. Will you take it? I have no home for it, no parents and no husband now. If you take it; let me no if I must pay anything and if I should furnish all its clothes. I wouldn’t want it in for adoption as I hope to be able to take it out some day for myself.
Now another thing, would you take my little boy, who is five years old; just for days, he will have to go to school this fall. I would take him home every evening but he would have to stay with you on Saturdays too. I would buy his clothes of course.How much would you charge for him per weeks? Now please answer me as soon as possible, so I’ll know what to do, as I am getting so worried over it all, as the time is drawing near. If you won’t take the little boy, then perhaps you will take the baby.
Mrs. Agnes Fitzpatrick
To Mr. & Mrs. J. Knufmann
May 19, 1927
Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Knufmann
Received your letter dated the 12th on the day following and in reply will say that I am sorry to learn of the trouble you are having with Irma. Would have written you sooner, but was preparing to go to Springfield on last Monday which I did and returned last night, went by bus and passed through Plainville.Am trying to find a place for Irma which may please her and yourself but such things are not always possible, but will make am honest effort to do so, and as soon as I find something suitable I will inform you. So be a little patient.
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