Potpourri Article: Children's Home of the City of Wheeling
-from "Potpourri," by Blanche Steenrod, Wheeling News-Register, April 10, 1938, Part III, Page 11. © Ogden Newspapers; reprinted with permission.
WOODSDALE CHILDREN'S HOME
The Children's Home at Woodsdale
The Children's Home for the City of Wheeling is located in one of Wheeling's most beautiful suburban sections, Hamilton avenue, Woodsdale. It has been occupied since April 28, 1902. Into that home have gone many little children, who were orphaned and always needy. From it have gone young boys who have been adopted and are now filling positions in all walks of life. Some are ministers, some mechanics, electricians, merchants and farmers. From it there will continue to go fine, healthy children who will become good citizens. All of the girls who have married are fine mothers and housekeepers. They return with their children to visit every now and then. Giving help to needy children and placing them in pleasing surroundings and under good influences is very far reaching. If the hand of mercy is withheld it is hard to know from just what debasing and neglectful conditions they might go. Caring for their growing bodies with good training and primary education inspires higher ambition. When neglected and exposed to vicious influences they sometimes become a dangerous element in society.
"Who helps a child, helps humanity."
The Children's Home was functioning since May of 1870. Those who were the first supporters have long since gone to their reward.
The general public has been looking at this house one sees in the picture for thirty-one years, but few who are familiar with the exterior know about the interior. Long ago, when I began to ask for information, Mrs, Julian G. Hearne, president of the woman's board of managers, invited me to go with her for a visit to the home. She selected a school day, that I might see them so assembled. I drove to the rear of the house, as it is the custom of Mrs. Hearne to make her visits through the kitchen door at all hours and one finds better parking there. Before entering, my attention was attracted to the playgrounds. I know of none so well located or with better equipment. There are the swings, bars, slides and a large sand box. All of these are placed on a terrace where green grass grows. That is a comfort not many children have and when they do they are the children of the well-to-do. My attention was also called to the large garden which extends the full length of the grounds and I was informed that all of the vegetables needed during the summer are supplied from this garden. Besides there are many hundreds of quarts of vegetables put away for the winter. All of this I learned before entering. Then we walked in. Miss Ida Petit, Who has been assistant matron and cook for twenty-five years, greeted us. She was busy preparing the noon meal for the children.
Miss Compton, superintendent, soon appeared and was our escort about the large commodious building. We found everything scrupulously clean and sanitary. The children were in the play room supervised by Miss Sailor. She had them assemble in a group and sing for us. Dear, childish voices, tuneful and happy. The children were in their play room and wanted me to see their toys. each child has a box of uniform size in which to place individual belongings. These are put under the benches which border the room. Naturally I was most attracted to the dolls. Each little girl had a doll bed and a carriage. They were in rows looking much alike to any but the owner. An invaluable lesson had been learned by these children--ORDER. In some homes where there is time to pick up and put away, the lesson is not so urgent. Where there are so many it is indeed most necessary and that lesson alone will be one of the greatest blessings of their lives. In the school room I found the blackboards conveniently placed for small arms to reach. Some of the lessons were on the boards. Next we came to the dormitories, one for the girls and one for the boys. Each child has its single bed all made up in snowy white. The little heads which sleep upon those pillows little realize how they are being prepared as they grow for the places which they will fill in the world.
Some boys and girls came in from Woodsdale school. After the fourth grade they go to Woodsdale. They attend the Vance church school on Sundays. When the children reach the age of twelve years they are adopted or "bound out" to responsible people.
Attending a meeting of the board of managers once upon a time was a middle-aged woman who wished to get a little girl. She said:
"Pap and me have raised a family, but they have all married and gone to homes of their own, which is all right, but we are so lonesome without some young people about the house that I just thought I would come here and see if I could get a little girl to take home and raise." As her references were satisfactory and the general kindness of her face was a sufficient guarantee of her goodness of heart, her application was granted and she made her own choice of the little girl. While she was waiting for the child to be prepared she was found in the hall with tears in her eyes, She said:
"Oh, Mrs.-----, I can't stand this: that little girl's brother is crying fit to break his heart because his sister is going away, so if you ladies will let me I will take the little boy too, and if Pap won't keep him I know a good man who does not live far from us who has been wanting to get a boy to raise--it will be a good home for him and the poor little dears won't be far apart and they will go to the same school and can see each other every day." The board could not resist this plea and she was permitted to take the boy also. "Pap did keep him and he wrote sometime afterward: :They are both good children; if there was any difference I think the boy is a little mite the nicest and I never saw children happier or better satisfied."
Hundreds of such instances could be related.
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN
The Parish Record published the following?
Dr. Louis Steenrod graduated this June from the Homeopathic college at Cincinnati, has decided to locate at New Martinsville. We wish him great success in his profession.
The congregation hears with regret of Mr. Myers' resignation as choirmaster and organist of St. Matthew's and wish him success wherever he may decide to make his home in the future.
We are very glad to welcome Mrs. B.B. Dovener home after a continental trip of some length the greater part of the time however, being spent in Paris, where her son is studying art.
Miss Dorothy McMechen, Miss Eleanor Holloway and Miss Virginia Brown form a trio of very happy little girls who are spending a month together at Mountain Lake Park.
Mrs. Virginia Hoge Kendall and daughter, Elizabeth are back from their year abroad. We hope that Mrs.Kendall will decide to make her home in Wheeling.
Miss Sarita Oglebay has been entertaining a house party of merry young people at Waddington, her father's summer home.Among them was Miss Emma Powell, of Cleveland who has become pleasantly known to Wheeling people through previous visits and who will remain with Miss Oglebay during August.
Rev. Mr. Young and wife are visiting the household of Mr. HenryHornbrook at Elm Grove. At one time Mr. Young had charge of St. Paul's as most of our readers will remember, but for several years has been rector of a western parish. The change of climate has proved very beneficial to his health. Both he and his good wife are looking remarkably well.
Mr. N.E. Whitaker and wife, accompanied by their granddaughters, the Misses Margaret and Eleanor Glass are enjoying a tour of the St. Lawrence region returning by way of Lake George and the Hudson river.
The selection of Senator N.B. Scott to serve on the executive committee of the Republican party in the coming presidential campaign is and appointment that is very gratifying to our state pride, and we are very sure that the duties entrusted to his care will be faithfully and ably performed.
Mrs. Rose Dunning loaned the old "Record."
YOU CAN'T CREATE GENIUS BUT YOU CAN ENCOURAGE IT
"Parents cannot create talent or genius" declares Doctor Cox. "but they can greatly discourage or even suppress it." Also, they can encourage and develop it a fact I should like every present-day parent tomorrow. Liebig, the great German chemist, was taken by his fall to see all sorts of manufacturing, operations. Benjamin Franklin's father took him to see what could be seen of the world's work. This intelligent interest on the part of the parents gave these two boys a chance to become familiar with numerous activities and occupations.
This sort of thing was true with many other boys who later famous. It is a great mistake to exclude children from interests. We should bring them in contact with conditions are going to meet in real life.
PETALS FOR THE ROSE JAR
"I want to be a girl tonight,
With roses in my hair.
A slender girl with shining eyes -
A dancing down the stair.
O Time roll back - erase the lines
Make smooth my cheek and fair
I want to be a girl tonight
With roses in my hair."