Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, August 28, 2016

History or gossip ?

 I was going through the family tree and stumbled upon an interesting little article of news. It seems a Miss Marion Bennett, daughter of Selden Bennett and Melissa Hulse was sentenced to the Alms house. Naturally I was interested to find out more. Then I found the record of her admission. It seems she was thirteen years old at the time and had bad habits ! That's right, that is what the record says. She was sentenced by the Justice of the Peace to four months. No explanation of what those habits may have been but they were obviously seriously bad. She was admitted to this institution on August the 20th, 1918. On August 22, 1918 the record shows she absconded. Yup, absconded.
 Selden Bennett, the father of this child, is the father in law of my 1st cousin , 1 one time removed. He had many children but I can find little more about Marion. I have found her on a census from 1940 and it says she is single. I have other sources saying she may have married a Dellapolo. That name is familiar to the local folks were I grew up. I can't verify that information just yet. She may have had a son named Virgil Quentin. I have only done a cursory search of records. It is something I will look into further.
 What struck me most about this was learning that you could be sentenced to the Alms house, also known as the poor house. I had always thought they were only for the ill or homeless folks. My own great grandfather, Christian Reichart, spent his last few years in the same alms house as Marion ! He was suffering from stomach cancer. He passed away in that place. This poorhouse would have been located in Yapank, on Long Island. I have read several articles about these poorhouses and none mentioned them being used for disciplinary purposes. Remember that this girl is only thirteen years old. I wonder what her parents thought of all this. Did they support this decision, by a Justice of the Peace ?  I wonder if they had any other choice ? I suspect sensibilities were quite a bit different back in those days. I wonder what she did after absconding ? It is a good fifty miles from Yapank to East Hampton where her home was. I wouldn't think she would go back there because she was sentenced to four months. There is no hiding out in East Hampton, everyone knows everyone else. All interesting questions I hope to find an answer for at some point.
 Sometimes doing the family tree is like gossiping. I get that impression at times anyway. I want to know more about this girl with " bad habits. " What could that mean ? Was she a petty thief or a cheat of some kind ? Perhaps it was her morality that being called into question. Sure this is all history now, water under the bridge you might say. The records I have uncovered so far have her still single in 1940. There is unsupported documentation that she had at least one child. Also unsupported is the notion that she married a man with the last name of Delapolo. Yes, I want to know the " skinny. " That is the expression used in the Navy when wanting to have the inside scoop. So, I will embark on a digital search of discovery. What records can I uncover ? I'll have to start by checking the newspapers, surely this was news. I guess it wasn't acceptable to have " bad habits " in 1918. That would get you sentenced back then. To the poorhouse with you ! I do know that everyone at the poorhouse was required to work if they were able. My great grandfather had to as long as he could stand up ! He also left once but returned shortly thereafter. All accounts say it wasn't a very nice place to be. Marion was there two days that I know about so far. Did she ever have to finish that sentence ? A mystery to be solved.