St. Aloysius Orphanage
1852 - 1945
"Whosoever Shall Receive One of Such Children in My Name Receiveth Me. Mark 9-36"

Home Provides For Hundreds of Orphan Boys and Girls Sustained By a Well Organized Society.

(By James Handly)
     Among the numerous beneficent institutions in the city of Quincy is the St. Aloysius Orphan Home. In the passing years hundreds of orphan and homeless boys and girls have found warm sheltering care within its walls, sufficient supplies for all necessities, the means for development in all educational aspirations and the higher moral and spiritual teachings fitting them to adorn positions found in advancink [sic] years. The idea for rendering such humane and helpful service was conceived by Rev. Father Joseph Kuenster, pastor of St. Boniface Catholic church in 1851. He saw the necessity of a strong organization to take up and carry forward an enterprise which would abound with blessings through an indefinite series of future years. In November, 1851 he commenced agitating the proposition with his parishioners awakening sufficient interest to hold a meeting on January 11, 1852, when the idea of having a well organized working society became a reality.
Birth of the Society
     At this meeting a previously appointed committee consisting of A. J. Lubbe, Leopold Arntzen, Chris Borstadt, Matt Ohnemus, Fred Wellman and August VandenBoom, submitted a carefully written constitution, covering articles of government and the recommendations of the committee were unanimously adopted. The date of this meeting records the actual birth of the society which was christened St Aloysius Orphan Society, those attending the meeting serving as sponsors at the baptism.
     In July 1852 a young girl named Tirichans was the first orphan committed to care of the society. Provision was made for her care until she was finally adopted into a family of the same name of the girl.
     In January 1853 assistance in the work came with a small increasing membership and while advancement was made slowly, everything went ahead surely. On June 21, 1853, the society celebrated the names day of its patron saint. Following appropriate service conducted by Father Kuenster, a public parade with martial music was made in the streets and the fund raised for music left a small balance for other uses. In this year the first boy, Henry Henkhaus was the first boy taken by the society and following the necessary care and training he was adopted into the family of John B. Vonderheide. In this year the society reached an enrollment of thirty-seven members.
     At the annual meeting in 1854 the society reported a gain of forty-four new members and the advancement was duly celebrated by holding religious services. It was then deemed necessary for the society to have a suitable banner and a committee was appointed to solicit funds for such a purpose. The city was then divided into the north, south and middle wards and at the January meeting in 1855 the committee reported a total collection of $153.75 from the three wards for the purpose of procuring the banner.
The Buying of Property.
     At a meeting held in May 1855 it was determined the time had come when it was necessary to buy land and build a home for orphans seeking shelter and protection, and a committee of twelve was appointed to seek a proper location for a permanent home.
     At the meeting held on May 13, 1855, the committee reported in favor of buying three and one-fourth acres of land situated between Oak and Elm and Eighteenth and Twentieth streets. The terms for the land were $657.40 a trifle more than $200 per acre and as the price seemed reasonable for land within corporate lines of the city the report of the committee was received and approved. It will be observed that the orphan home today stands on the described premises. At the same meeting the banner committee reported that a suitable standard had been secured with a saving of $5 from appropriation to be added to the general fund. The city tax on the 31/4 acres of land for 1855 was $2.65, which was considered reasonable for such an extensive holding in Quincy.
Renew Efforts for Funds.
     In June 1855 an all day picnic was held on the newly acquired ground. Addresses were made by Rev. Father Kuenster and others, and picnis [sic] supplies of all kinds were sold to visitors. Receipts for the day were $185.65 and thirty-six new members were added to the enrollment. With membership fees, gifts and other acquirements, on January 1, 1856 the assets of the society were valued at $2,000.
     With the encouragement of a substantial start, the society got busy and picnics, concerts, dinners and various devices for raising money followed each other in quick succession. One picnic given on Alystynes Prairir in 1856 netted the sum of $422.75 and gained 64 new members.
     In 1857 the value of assets was placed at $2,700 and a picnic was given that year netting the society $490. At a meeting on June 28, 1857, it was voted to buy an additional half block of ground in adjoining Moultion addition to the city for which $1,400 was paid. It appears that real estate advanced rapidly in Quincy in those earlier days as ti [sic] will be noted that the society paid more for a malf [sic] block in 1857 than it did for 3 acres in 1855.
Death of Father Kuenster.
     On September 15, 1857, the society was called upon to mourn the death of Father Kuenster, the father and founder of the St. Aloysius organization whose seer like vision had grasped the necessity for the mission of the society and whose faith and confidence had lighted ways to noted achievements. There was an advance of 51 new members in 1857 and a continued increase to the general fund by giving picnics and public entertainments.
Building of Orphan Home
     The affairs of the society ran quietly for two or three years. In 1860 work was commenced on the building now used for the orphan home. It was built at a cost of $4,202. For lack of sufficient funds the society incurred a debt of $2,011. The debt has since been wiped out and the building enlarged and improved in many ways.
     The home was completed, in 1861 and was then equipped and opened for reception of children. The number of children was small at the start, but increased with passing years.
In 1866 the society had an enrollment of 37 members and had 37 orphan girls and boys in the home.
     The year 1869 witnessed an increase of 113 members of the society and met with an encouraging incident by receiving a letter from Henry Henkhaus, the first boy cared for by the society, expressing thanks for favors conferred and inclosing a remittance of $16, of which $10 was to be given to the mother of the home and $6 to the general fund. Early in the sixties the city wanted to open Vine street from Eighteenth to Nineteenth street and the society sold a strip of land sufficient for the purpose for $200 receiving almost as much for the short part of the street as it had paid for an acre of ground. The society also sold other parts of the premises, and such returns with continual membership fees, gifts and legacies furnished means for placing the society on a solid foundation.
Many Years of Service
     As the years have rolled by the work of the society has been made luminous by brightest records. Up to the present time 314 boys and 245 girls have been sheltered and cared for in all necessary ways by the Sisters of the Order of Notre Dame, who have charge of the home and who have blessed 549 children with their tender and loving ministrations.
     For the past 50 years the total expenditures of the home have been $148,216.05, making an annual average expense of a little more than $283 for each child. The present officers of the society are George Fischer, president; Henry Wiskirchen, vice president; Herman Heintz, financial secretary; Henry Freiburg, recording secretary; August C. Stroot, treasurer; Chris Freiburg, Joseph Jacoby, William Weisenhorn, Joseph Lubbe, John Sohm, and August Dierkes, trustees; Rev. H. B. Degenhardt is president of board of trustees and spiritual adviser.
Since the organization of the society there has been a long roll of leading business men of Quincy city and county officials who have filled the required offices with great credit to themselves and advantages to the organization. Most of them, however, have answered the final summons calling to the great beyond.
Past Presidents of Society
     Andreas Stutte, John B. VonderHeide; John Lichtendal, Xavier Flaiz, A. J. Lubbe, Christian Borstadt, G. J. Laage, John Vogelpohl, Bernard Lubbe, Jacob Kiefer, Casper Helhake, Bernard Mescher, Henry Ridder, John H. Mersman, Henry Duker, August Vandenboom, Henry Freiburg, Theodore Brinkhoff, Henry Tushaus, Aloys Hellstern, Henry Ording, B. Venterloh, Henry Moenning, H. H. Middendorf, John Metzger, John Ridder, Henry Fulbier, Henry Durholt, Frank Sonnett, George Vonderhaar, F. W. Heckenkamp, John Sohm and Chris Wand.
Among those serving longest terms as financial secretary are J. H. Brockschmidt; recording secretary, George J. Wewer; treasurer, John H. Tenk, and collector, A. B. Menke. Five trustees are elected annually and scores of leading citizens have filled the offices. The Rev. John Jansen, who was elevated to the bishopric of this diocese, was once president of the board of trustees. Among other priests serving long terms as presidents of the board of trustees were Rev. Fathers Kunenster, Schaefermeyer, Ostrop, Bruener and Weis, Rev. Father Degenhardt is now president of the board of trustees.
A Faithful Service
     The success of the society is probably due more to Henry Freiburg of the Crispen Shoe company than to any other member. He is the present recording secretary and has been a faithful member since 1857. He now stands solitary and alone among those enrolled as active workers at that date. Henry Ridder, a past president and early member is still living, but has retired from active service.
     In January, 1915, the society had 196 members and now has an enrollment of 400. Of this number 140 joined on the personal solicitation of Mr. Freiburg. On the fiftieth anniversary of the society he published an attractive souvenir giving a history of the organization up to that date in 1902.
     In the more than three score years of the society there have been marked changs [sic] in the membership. The records show that in passing years there has been an enrollment of between 1,000 and 2,000 members. The records also show the fatal astrisks has been placed oposite [sic] about an equal number of names of those who have passed the vale and who no doubt are now reaping rewards for their devotion and self sacrificing spirits in efforts to brighten the lives and ameliorate conditions of the unfortunate.
     A long look backward discloses the view of thousands who have worked to exemplify and set forth teachings of the St. Aloysius society who have ceased from their labors. As the tide of time swept over mill-wheels of their useful and busy lives, thousands of others have arose to accept the falling burdens.
     If in 1851 when there was not probably one-fourth of the present population in Quincy, as enumerated at the present time, the necessity for a society to care for orphans was apparent, it should be obvious, the necessity for such service has increased in manifold proportions at the present time.
     Hence the society should be largley [sic] increased by a strong influx of the younger generation, which, always ready to receive benefits and advantages conferred by those passing on before, should be equally ready to assume responsibilities cast aside and burdens laid down. Judging the future by the past there will be an increasing demand for all the care and ministrations that can be bestowed by the orphan home.
May Build New Home
     Despite the cost of erection and the increasing expenses of maintaining the St. Aloysius Home through the more than three score years, the trustees place the value of assets of the home today at $25,000. Considering that the enterprise started without a cent at its disposal the success is somewhat notable.
     As the St. Francis Solanus college on adjoining property needs more room, it has made proposals for purchasing building grounds of the Orphan Home. Naturally trustees of the college think trustees of the home have too high an estimate upon the value of the property. On the other hand, trustees of the home think the overtures of the college are not up in terms that should be expected.
     As trustees of either institution have no personal selfish desires to be gained in the proposed transaction, it is to be hoped, they will agree upon terms. If trustees of the home receive high figures they will be used for a general public benefit. On the other hand, if the college trustees should be favored their advantage, it will be used for the noblest purpose.
Friends of both institutions hope to see the two organizations coalesce in conclusions as the deal would place trustees of the orphan home in condition to build a new and up-to-date building which is greatly needed.
Meeting Today
     It is announced that there will be a meeting today of representatives of both institutions referred to for the purpose of considering propositions of selling and buying.

[Publication: The Quincy Whig; Date: Dec 12, 1915; Section: None; Page 11 - Transcribed by Debbie Gibson]


back to

back to Adams County


Debbie Gibson, Copyright 2006
IL Genealogy Trails and History Group!
All Rights Reserved with Full Rights
Reserved for Original Contributor

Mix-N-Match v1.02, a Perl CGI Script from