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St. John's Orphanage in Belleville, ILL

St. John's Orphanage in Belleville, ILL

Posted: 15 Aug 2011 12:04PM GMT
Classification: Query
Looking for stories of life at orphanage 1910-1920.

Re: St. John's Orphanage in Belleville, ILL

Posted: 23 Apr 2013 8:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
I see that your inquiry about St. John's hasn't brought in much information. My Mother and her 3 siblings lived there probably after the 1920s to 1930 range. It was quite a hard life as they recalled. The children had work duties before school, such as scrubbing floors, cleaning the stoves etc. The boys worked in the field...they may have had milk cows. They would harvest corn, climb ladders to the metal roof tops and lay the corn out to dry in the sun, to be used during the winter for food. They had Lentil soup everyday and only had a meat if the benefactors were paying a visit. It was a stict environment. Once a month the priest came for "whipping day", all the offenses during the month were listed and names were called to come forward for the punishment. My Uncle kept running away and hopping freight trains until he was found and returned. He was a regular for whipping day! They finally tied him to a tree outside for recess. My grandfather died and my grandmother couldn't feed them so she had to send them there. She did pay a small monthly fee for their keep.
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