St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Friends of Friends Friday: Flocking to Feed the Poor in 1897 at Marshalsea in Pittsburgh

Reading old newspapers can be quite entertaining.  Today, I ran across a great article from December 24, 1897.  The article tells us of the spirit of giving to the poor in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 24, 1897, page 2


An Enjoyable Time that is Promised the Unfortunates.

The 710 inmates of the city farm at Marshalsea will not be forgotten by Director George Booth and Supt. George Linderman.  Everything will be done to give them a good time.  Confined in the building are about 43 children.  These little ones on Christmas eve will hang up their stockings to see what Santa Claus will bring them.  The usual Christmas exercises will be held at the home on Christmas eve and the several hundred inmates with two or three hundred others will be ushered into the large chapel in the evening. 

An excellent program has been arranged for with Supt. Linderman as director and Dr. Charles Owens as manager, Miss Agnes M. Wenzel will be pianist of the occasion.  The performance will consist of vocal and instrumental music, with a few recitations.  Following is the program:  Anthem, "O, Little Town of Bethlehem:, chorus: recitation, "Orthodox Team,: Miss Lillian Shade, vocal solo, selected, Miss Louise Loomis; tableau, "Angels' Watch,: Misses Whan, Phillips and Symers; vocal solo, "Queen of the Earth,: Alex. Chas. Owens, M.D.; tableau, "Ten Virgins," Misses McNulty, Sowers, Whan, McDermott, Flanagan, Campbell, Harvey, Trimble, Horner Phillips, vocal duet, "Lover's Quarrel," Miss Emma Fox and Mr. Frank Bell; dialogue, "Mr. and Mrs. Thompson," Misses Lillian and Florence Shade, duet, violin and piano, selected, Howard Arbogast and Miss Wenzel; tableau, "Peak Sisters," Misses Whan, Phillips, Sowers, Symers, Harvey, Horner, McNulty, Flanagan, McDermott, Campbell, Trimble, Patterson and Mrs. S. E. Shade; vocal solo, selected, Miss Louise Loomis; tableau, "A Young Man's Dread," Miss Minnie Sowers, piano solo, selected, Miss Agnes M. Wenzel, duet, "La Chatelain," Misses Lillian and Florence Shade; Christmas carol, chorus.

A real Christmas dinner will be served to the inmates on Christmas day.  It will consist of 1,000 pounds or roast turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, celery and pickles, bread, butter, tea, coffee, apples, oranges and candy.  Of the 710 inmates of the home and hospitals 380 are insane.  These will be entertained just as well as the more fortunate inmates during the day.  The insane inmates will not be allowed to leave their wards, but they will receive their candy and presents as well as their share of turkey.  The director said that the people living around Marshalsea enjoyed the feast as well as the inmates.  The young women and men flock to the home of Christmas day and act as waiters.

 Seven more articles on the Poor House from old Pittsburgh newspapers have been uploaded for your researching pleasure.  Check it out.

Ahh, genealogy.  Kind of gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling as we Americans continue to assist those in need.  Merry Christmas.

Update: Marshalsea was built in 1893 in Southern Allegheny Co on the old George Neal Farm in/near S. Fayette Twp. It was renamed Pittsburgh City Home and Hospital at Mayview in 1916.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: The Pauper's Secret

Secrets are a part of our lives.  With our ancestors, some secrets certainly include what happened to them.  If our searches of today are successful, evidence can sometimes be found to reveal some of those secrets.

Enjoy the newest addition to our Pittsburgh Past--  the Poor House Articles.  Perhaps a clue to one of your beloved will leave you speechless.

Seven new articles have been uploaded to our Pittsburgh Past, One Page a a Time site.  We have many more waiting in the wings. 

Here is one excerpt from March 1, 1872-
.....The deaths were Hugh McHard, age 60; Mary Dougherty, 68, Cathering Mulholland, 75; Laura Beggs, 5 months; Rachel Johnson, 5 months; Charles Armstrong, 27; Phoebe Franks, 45; Conrad Miller, 40, The causes of death were: apoplexy, 1; old age, 1; whooping cough, 1; consumption, 2; pneumonia, 1; inflammation of the lungs, 1; asthma, 1.....

And another from May 8, 1882-
...Years ago Thomas Mulaney had a happy home, and managed to support his family in a comfortable way. Many pictures in memory of the domestic happiness of those days now cheer the old man in his declining years. Death finally broke up the family circle, taking his wife first and all but two of his children afterward. Then darker days came upon him. Losing his corporal vigor, and the increasing infirmities of old age settling down upon him, he was no longer able to work. One daughter and a son had drifted away to distant points, and he had no knowledge of their whereabouts. At last, when he was on the verge of starvation he was taken charge of by the authorities and sent to the Allegheny Home.
This was about three years since, and he was then about eighty years of age. About a year ago he learned in some manner that his son ....

Check it out.  You'll love finding the secrets of the paupers.

Ahh, genealogy.  The desire to uncover the past keeps on going even as I prepare my heart and home for the holidays. 

©2012 AS Eldredge

Friday, December 14, 2012

Friends of Friends Friday- Allegheny Co, PA Poor House

While this census information is not from the stereotype definition of slave, it does reflect the poor, the insane, the sick, and workhouses from Allegheny County, PA. 

Just today, we have updated our Pittsburgh Past, One Page at a Time to include the 1860-1940 census for Woodville Hospital.  Alternate names used over the years also include:

Allegheny County Almshouse
Allegheny Hospital for the Insane
Allegheny County Home for the Poor

The location for this institution is noted as S. Fayette and Collier Twp in Allegheny Co, PA.

In looking at the names on the list, I wonder about the men, women and children. Times were tough and I suspect, there was not much hope to be found within the walls of the institution.  As many of the names on the lists were paupers, there is not much to be found on their deaths or final resting spots.  Rest gently and know you are not forgotten.

While looking at our Pittsburgh Past, be sure to check out Morganza, which was first incorporated by the commonwealth as the House of Refuge in 1850.  One reader recently commented on the information we have posted on Morganza with the following words:

I don't recall seeing any other genealogy site with as many articles and documents about Morganza as the Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project webpages, and I appreciate being able to get some sense of what life, as difficult as it was, was like there for my gg-uncle at that time.  I am grateful for all of the hours of hard work everyone has put into the Pittsburgh Old Newspaper Project webpages and look forward to the next time new information has been posted. -MM

Ahh, genealogy.  Small prayers go up from around the world today for those frightened, innocent youth in Connecticut and remind us that lost innocence of children due to tragedy remains a part of our society.  Rest sweetly.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: A Grave Decision

Ever wondered where some of your beloved ancestors could be?  Ever know someone was in a graveyard, but since they had no stone or it has weathered, you have no rock solid proof?

Just like all cities across the land, there are forgotten and destroyed cemeteries in Allegheny Co, PA.  Take, for instance, the Allegheny City Home which was established in 1844.  Its first site was in Shaler Twp.  The home moved to O'Hara Twp in 1871 according to the Carnegie Library.  The cemetery which was mainly used for the home was destroyed during the construction of Rte 28. 

So, what's a family genealogy buff to do?  One suggestion is to look at the census records for the poor house, workhouse and insane asylums of the area to see if any familiar names were there.  There is always the chance the graves, which were most likely unmarked, no longer exist. 

One of my genealogy buddies (or buddette?) was gracious enough to transcribe the names from the Allegheny Co Poor House and Workhouse censusus from 1850-1910.  These names are now on our old Pittsburgh Newspaper Project and can easily be found.

Go here to see the list.

Ahh, genealogy.  While we can't always find absolute evidence for all of our blood, the past can be just a grave decision based on circumstantial evidence.

©2012 AS Eldredge

Monday, December 03, 2012

Hot Diggity, It's a Novel!

Who knew that I could write a novel in 30 days?  Not me. 

It's a novel, folks.  Ok, so it needs some serious editing and some finishing, in one way or another, of some characters, but it tis a novel of over 50,000 words so far!

I took the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month and won!  Note my new badge on the sidebar.

Bear with me as I add the finishing touches to my creation and then, I shall be ready for some praise and critiques from some of my faithful readers. 

I hope to be back writing more snippets on the family and genealogy soon.  There are also a couple of completed genealogy projects or those with ties in Pittsburgh that I have to add to Exploring Our Pittsburgh Past, One Page at a Time.

 In the meantime, enjoy the holidays! 

Ahh, genealogy.  No rest for the weary fingers or telling the tales of our genealogy.

©2012 AS Eldredge