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Boston Female Asylum - 1886

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Partial transcript of Boston Female Asylum, Board of Managers: Proceedings and Annual Reports [1] - 1886


January 26, 1886

The meeting was not held at the Asylum on account of an epidemic there which seemed like tonsillitis except that it was contagious.

A place which offered for Grace Rhodes was refused because she was thought to be too young to leave the Asylum.

Two open fire-places had been put into the play room and one of a larger size than the present one into Miss Wilson's school room.

Annie Grant had been returned but had now been taken by her sister Mrs. Emerton.

Miss Brown had a very good account of Annie Dennis, now eighteen and also of Lizzy Broad. Mrs. Sears had also an excellent report of Bertha Johnson.

Ida Brenton had been returned apparently for no fault but because the lady did not care to keep a girl any longer. Voted That Miss Ellis be authorized to put Ida into any place which seems like a fitting one.

February 23, 1886

Anastasia McFarland a child six years old was presented for admission. Her mother had left her husband finding that he had another wife living; afterward she married again, but her husband disliked and ill-treated this child, whose case therefore seemed a piteous one. It was Voted That this little girl be admitted.

Mary Anderson had been returned and was now with Mrs. Guething. Serious complaints were made of her as stubborn and unmanageable. It was left to Mrs. Clarke Mary's guardian with full powers to arrange another place for her.

An aunt of Lizzy Goldthwaite's who did not till lately know where she was would like to take her on trial for three months in the hope that her husband would allow her to keep her permanently. This plan was approved by the Board.

March 30, 1886

The mother of Genevieve and Ellen Allen had died and her sister had promised to take care of the little girls. She was willing to take the oldest now but would prefer to have the younger stay for a time longer in the Asylum. The older brothers of the children would pay her something towards their board. A request on the Aunt's behalf to make this arrangement was made by Miss Taber. Voted That the request be granted.

Elsie Sylvester had run away from her aunt and was now with Mrs. Guething. An application had been received from Conn. from a Mr. Mitchell for a girl and it was hoped that place might prove a suitable one for Elsie.

It was Voted To offer Mary Leach a home in the Asylum for two years longer, if she wishes to prepare herself for teaching by taking her final year at the High School & a year's course at the Normal School.

Two children of Mrs. Labree living in Charlestown nine & ten years old were reported as being under bad influences from an older sister and both the Children's Mission and one of the City Missionaries were desirous that they should be put into the Asylum. The mother however hesitated about signing the books and it was Voted To refuse the application as unsuitable but to suggest that the Dorchester School would be a very appropriate and desirable place for them.

Ruth Graves was reported as better and still at Miss Robbins's Hospital. The Dr. thought that Country air would by and by be good for her and it was Voted That her board be paid at Mrs. Folsom's for the summer.

Clare Colon was found to have left the Marcella St. Home to go to her mother and it was feared she was leading a bad life. When she was put into the Marcella St. Home it was understood that she would be kept from her mother. Voted That when the facts of the case are more perfectly learned a statement of the case be made to the Directors of Public Institutions.

Jessie [Lessie?] Harmon had gone to her mother.

Anastatia [sic] McFarland had not come to the Asylum, her mother not being willing to sign the books.

April 27, 1886

The Committee reported that Elsie Sylvester had gone to the place in Mystic Conn having been taken down by Miss Landers.

Mary Day's grandmother had appeared with a writ demanding Mary; it did not yet appear however that the grandmother had any legal right to the child; her claim would only be valid in case the father who had given her to the Asylum should be proved not to have married the child's mother.

The mother of Mary Anderson wished to take her saying, that she could give her a good home. As she was not deemed a suitable person the application was refused.

Dr. Dunne of Athol applied for a girl and would like to take Grace Rhodes. The matter was left to the Committee with full powers to left Grace go if the recommendations should prove satisfactory.

Mrs. Price wished to take her daughter Elizabeth Ann Ewer; as she brought good references, it was Voted That her request be granted.

Mary Leach had decided to accept the offer made by the Asylum.

An invitation from Mrs. Hathorne, with whom Margaret Curran had formerly lived, for Margaret to pass the summer with her was declined.

The statements in regard to Clara Colon had been verified and information had been given to the Directors of Public Institutions. From the reply received it was evident that they did not propose to concern themselves in the matter.

Application had been made by a very respectable old woman Mrs. Burnside on behalf of her grandchildren, now in the Marcelle St. Home. As it was doubtful whether the children could be removed from the Home the matter was referred to the Committee for the next month.

Marcena Aitken had run away from her place in Middleboro and for some little time had been lost sight of. She had then appeared at her grandfather's, who at Mrs. Coolidge's request was ready to keep her and preferred to hold her by Indenture on account of her mother.

Voted That a donation of $50 be sent to Miss Robbins's Hosp. as compensation for the care bestowed on Ruth Greves.

Mary 25, 1886

Grace Rhodes had gone to Dr. Dunne, of whom a recommendation had been received & good account of had been received. The grandmother of the Burnsides had obtained letters of legal guardianship and made application for the admission of the children, now in Marcella St. Home. Voted That Julie & Fanny Burnside be admitted.

Mrs. Perkins a missionary in East Boston applied for the admission of two children named Corkham, whose father had died & whose mother had during his last illness run away with another man. There were respectable relations but none able to take the children. Voted That Minnie and Maud Corkham be admitted.

Two children named Sonk were prepared for admission, whose father was death & the mother a hard-working, industrious woman, unable to support these children as she had the board of a baby to pay. Voted That these children be admitted, if the mother is willing to give them into the care of the Asylum till they are eighteen.

The Committee thought that the House Girls were too much in School and were learning too little housework. Voted That new arrangements in this respect be made by the Com[mit]tee for the month with the understanding that the House Girls are to be taken from School in the morning.

Voted That Ruth Graves be boarded at Mrs. Folsom's at $4 a week.

Good reports were read from Mary Griffith's and Mary Anderson.

June 29, 1886

The Burnside & Corkham children had been received; the Sonks had been put at board on account of the state of their eyes.

The teacher of Mary Leach made her a very favorable offer; she would take her to Little Deer Island for three weeks; Mary would not be paid wages but would have some care of children as equivalent for her board. Voted That this offer be accepted.

Miss Hersey made application for the admission of a forlorn child named Margaret Riley. The mother was unworthy and the father dead. A blind aunt of the child's, an excellent woman who taught in the Blind Asylum, was very anxious that her niece should be put into the Asylum. Voted That Margaret Riley be admitted if the mother will sign the books.

Ruth Graves had died and the funeral would be from the Asylum today.

Voted That a letter be sent to the aunt of Lavina Crockett, telling her that in the autumn Lavina will be sent to a place in case she is not then willing to take her herself.

Cynthia Hadley had been removed from her place as it was found she had not been well treated. She was now with her sister, who had taken her from Mrs. Guething. The sister proposed keeping her and as Cynthia only wanted a few weeks of being eighteen it was thought better to let the matter rest.

Voted That an invitation to Ella Dodge to spent a fortnight with her aunt be refused.

Vote At Mrs. Robbins's request that she be authorized to transfer Florence Macomber to some other place if she deems it desirable.

July 27, 1886

Mrs. Keith, to whom Eunice Leach is apprenticed had invited Bessie Leach to spend her vacation with her sister. Voted That the invitation be accepted.

Miss Dean, the aunt of Lavina Crockett had been at the asylum, to say that she could not possibly take her niece, but that she had heard of a place with a Mr. Keith of Scotland (Bridgewater) who afterwards wrote to make inquiries and who sent references. Mrs. Lyman had written to Mr. Keith, and received no answer, but the answers to the references were favorable. It was therefore Voted That Lavinia Crocket go to Mr. Edward E. Keith on a visit of a fortnight, to see if they are suited with her.

Bad reports had been received of Ida Brenton, Annie Kirby, and Annie Cameron. They were all to be returned to the Asylum.

Elmina Bowden was ill, and had been taken to Miss Robbins' hospital.

Letters had been received by Miss Paine from the father of Mary Day, stating that he was legally married, but could not now (being on board U.S. ship Omaha at Sokoham) obtain the certificate, but he would write to witnesses, and endeavor to get their statement.

August 31, 1886

Application for the admission of her child was made by Mrs. Byrne, a woman of good character, who was in poor health and unable to support both herself and the child. She had worked in a store but was obliged to give up her place on account of her health and now hoped to go to service if the little girl could be admitted. Mrs. Byrne's husband had deserted her four years ago. Voted That Mary Byrne be admitted.

Good places had been found for Annie Cameron, Annie Kirby and Ida Brenton.

Lavinia Crockett had gone to the place spoken of at the last meeting.

No record of Mr. Day's marriage had been found in St. John.

Application was made by the Children's Mission for the admission of Elizabeth Briggs whose mother, a former inmate of Sherborn Prison and Dedham Home, deserted her in 1882. Voted That Elizabeth Briggs be admitted.

Mrs. Labrie had made once or twice applications for the admission of her two little girls who were not under good influences. Voted That her request be granted in case she is willing to give up the children.

A good account of Mattie Palmer was received.

September 28, 1886

The Committee reported that the four children voted in at the last meeting had been brought to the Asylum. There had been some sickness in the course of the month and Ella Dodge was still ill with slow typhoid fever.

Emma Pierce's aunt, Mrs. Cahill, living in West Warren, had applied to take Emma. She already had her two sisters. Good recommendations had been received of Mrs. Cahill and it was Voted That Emma Pierce go to her aunt.

Lizzie Goldthwait's aunt who had taken her for three months could not keep her any longer, and she would accordingly be returned to the Asylum.

Lillie Beck's mother had wished to pay her board for the time that she had been in the Asylum, and to take her, but a letter had been written telling her she could not do this.

A hearing had been appointed by the Judge of Probate in the matter of Mary Day, but had been postponed on account of the absence of witnesses.

Ida Brenton had gone to Mrs. Darling's.

It was suggested that Ruth Graves' prize money be give to her sister in the Dorchester School. Voted That it be given to her.

Mrs. Coolidge reported that Grace Rhodes had a very good place.

October 26, 1886

Two children were christened, Mary and Anna LaBrie.

Voted That whereas John Day brought his daughter to the Boston Female Asylum and duly executed a written surrender and relinquishment of her to the Cooperation on March 25 1884 and laid an earnest injunction upon the Managers that under no circumstances should his daughter be allowed to go back to his[sic] mother Mary Ann Day, and whereas John Day enlisted in the Navy of the United States and left the country and is now serving according to the last advices in the neighborhood of Japan, and whereas after John Day had left the Country, his mother obtained in the Probate Court for Suffolk County an appointment as guardian of Mary Day, but gave no notice to the Asylum or its Managers and alleged that the father was neglecting to provide for his daughter, which was not true since she was under the care and protection of the Managers of the Asylum and was well cared for, and whereas John Day had lately written to have the guardianship of his Mother revoked and cancelled and had requested Robert Treat Paine to be appointed guardian of his daughter and whereas Robert Treat Paine is willing to be appointed, now the Board of Managers hereby express the judgement that the appointment of Mary Ann Day should be revoked and cancelled and that Robert Treat Paine should be appointed guardian of Mary Day, and respectfully prays the Probate Court for Suffolk County to revoke and cancel the appointment of Mary Ann Day as guardian and to appoint Robert Treat Paine guardian of Mary Day.

The Committee reported that Emma Pierce had gone to her aunt. That Margaret Riley had been admitted though her mother having been sent to the Island count not sign the book. Miss Hersey would see that this was done when Mrs. Riley should return. Voted That the act of the Com[mit]tee in admitting Margaret A. Riley be sanctioned by the Board.

Elizabeth Goldthwait was again in the Asylum and on Miss Wales's motion it was Voted That the visiting Committees for the next few months should make special inquiries as to the mental and physical condition of this child so that if these be such as to preclude the possibility of sending her to a place by & by some other home more suitable than this may be found for her.

Voted That an application for Ada Black be left to the Com[mit]tee.

Mrs. Touse made application to take one or both of her children. She was a worthy woman able to do some work but liable to insanity. She had however been sane for a year & was living in the same house with relatives, who seemed like respectable working people. Voted That the elder girl Julia May go to her mother.

The case of Melinda Agnes O'Shea was presented by Mrs. Redfern. The child had no mother & her father was advanced in years & not able to earn very much money. He lived with a widowed daughter who had several children of her own & could not very conveniently keep this one in addition. Though there were other grown up brothers and sisters they none of them seemed able to keep this child, who was meantime roaming Boston streets too much for her food. Voted That Melinda Agnes O'Shea be admitted.

Annie Cameron being discontented with her place her guardian Mrs. Coolidge agreed to look into the matter and see whether any better arrangement could be made.

November 30, 1886

The Assistant Nurse had left after a week's stay, not living the work. At Mrs. Rich's suggestion the work had been entrusted to Ella Dodge who was thus far doing it very well.

A place apparently desirable offered for Alice Hanson at Amesbury and as she was reported somewhat discontented at the Asylum it was Voted That if on investigation the place seem a suitable one to the Committee they allow Annie to go to it.

Annie Cameron's guardian reported that she had left her place, but that another had been found for her by Mrs. Coolidge in Pomfret, Conn.

Good reports were received from Bertha Johnson and from Lillie Beck.

In regard to Mary Day the Judge of Probate had refused to grant the petition of the Asylum for a change of guardianship.

Almina Bowdoin was again at the Refuge and had improved very much. Voted That twenty five dollars be sent to the House of the Good Samaritan in acknowledgement of the kind care bestowed upon Almina during her three month's stay in the Summer.

December 28, 1886

Miss Paine stated that the trial in regard to Mary Day would come before the Supreme Court on Wednesday and as she & Miss Brown would only be able to attend in the morning she proposed that two other Managers should volunteer for the Asylum. Mrs. Sears and Mrs. Tracy agreed to do this.

The Committee reported that Alice Hanson had been abducted by her mother as she was walking in the street. By Mr. Paine's advice Miss Brown had sent a Police Officer to Mr. Masury's house to demand the girl but with no result. It was therefore Voted That application be made to the Supreme Court for a writ of Habeas Corpus for the recovery of Alice Hanson.

It was also Voted That no girl be allowed to go out on an errand in school hours or during the short days after the afternoon school.

Application was made for the admission of a child now in the Temporary Home, Mary Eunice Rich. Both parents were living but the father had deserted his family, only returning occasionally, and the mother was not satisfactory. A grandmother seemed fond of the child and did not wish her to be adopted, though she could do nothing for her support at present. It was Voted That Mary Eunice Rich be admitted whenever her father shall sign the books.

Application was made for Adelaide Anderson by Dr. & Mrs. Burrows of Saccarappa Maine. Addie was a good, obedient girl though not very bright and as the place seemed a very promising one it was Voted That she go on trial for three months with the privilege of returning to the Asylum at the end of that time, in case of her not proving satisfactory.

Caroline Warren was reported to be doing well teaching at the South. Good reports were received from Annie Cameron, Ida Brenton and Alice Broad and a better one from Elsie Sylvester.

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