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February 24, 1909


Wanted More "Dope," His Defense
for Stealing.

After a cocaine debauch which he said cost nearly $400, Richard L. Hayes, a carpenter, who broke into the harness shop of Pearl Martin, 1720 Troost avenue, last Saturday night and stole a blanket, a shovel and a halter, confessed his guilt before Justice Shoemaker yesterday and was sentenced to serve twenty days in the workhouse.

"It was not I that stole the stuff, judge," said Hayes, "it was the 'coke.' I had spent all my money and wanted more of the drug. I am a carpenter and until last week was employed at the county farm. I had not touched a drop of liquor nor used cocaine for more than three months until I came to town last week.

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December 27, 1908


Presents and Musical Cheer for Coun-
ty Farm Inmates.

The inmates of the county farm were given a Christmas tree yesterday afternoon by the Kansas City chapter of the International Sunshine Society, and 200 men and women were made happy by small gifts. Each one was given a box of candy, and the men received an additional present of a bandana handkerchief, while each woman was given an embroidered handkerchief and a bottle of perfume. The members of the Old Men's Quartet sang several of the old songs, and Miss Sarah Morrison gave recitations which pleased her hearers. Miss Nina Cushing also sang some of the old songs.

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December 26, 1908


Received Many Gifts and Had a Big
Dinner Yesterday.

Gifts were distributed at the McCune home, seven miles northeast of Independence, yesterday. Candy and boxes from kansas City and Independence went to the farm, the gifts including a graphophone, a present from the county court and Judge McCune. The matron served turkey to the boys.

There was a dinner at the county farm, under the direction of Superintendent Jackson.

In Independence wagons were sent over the city conveying substantial Christmas gifts to those who did not expect it and were worthy of it.

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October 31, 1908





Flame of Gasoline Stove Catches Mrs.
Martha Hughes's Garments
While She Labors at
Ironing Board.

After striving for five years to lift her family of three children from a position of dependence, fighting against fate with all the strength of her crippled body, Mrs. Martha Hughes, 36 years old, a widow, was burned to death yesterday afternoon in her home at 1415 Spruce avenue.

Five years ago Mrs. Hughes's husband died and she was thrown upon the world to earn a living for herself and her three children, a boy of 12 years, a girl of 9 and a baby boy of 2 years. Her fight was an uphill one, and she collapsed under her heavy handicap, and was forced to go to the poor farm of the Missouri county where she lived. She did what work her health permitted around the place, but she was never content to remain there.

"I want my children to be able to hold up their heads in the world when I am gone," she said.

As soon as she was able she left the institution, and went into another county, where she made another fight to bring up her children away from the almshouse atmosphere. Again she was unsuccessful, and went to another poor farm.

After a year of wandering from one poor farm to another she landed in Kansas City, having just been released from the almshouse at Butler, Mo. Her case was brought to the attention of the Provident Association. It was just at t his time that the agitation against the housing of children in poor houses was sweeping the state, and the association determined that Mrs. Hughes should be given a chance to bring up her children away from any charitable institution.

She was put in a little house with her children and provided with washing to do. Her work was very hard, for she had a leg which was so crippled that she had to use crutches when she walked upon the street. After a short time the older boy found a place with a farmer in Jackson county and the mother was left alone with her little girl and baby. Six months ago he returned to his mother and since then has been working in a bag factory earning $4 a week, which he contributed to the support of the family.

The daughter called for the clothes and delivered them and the mother washed and ironed them. When she ironed she set the little gasoline stove which she used to heat her irons close to the ironing board so that she would not have to take many steps in her work.

It was while engaged thus yesterday afternoon about 4 o'clock that her skirts caught fire. She was alone and unable to help herself and was literally burned all over her body. The ambulance from the Walnut street police station was called and made a record run. Mrs. Hughes was taken to the general hospital, where she died at 8 o'clock.

Before she passed away she clasped the hands of Mrs. Kate Pearson of the Provident Association in her own burnt ones, and said:

"You won't let them separate my children, will you, Mrs. Pearson?"

Mrs. Pearson said that she would not.

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August 13, 1908


Carpenters Complain Company Food
Is Not Sanitary.

Complaint was made yesterday to the pure food board by carpenters in the employ of Taylor & Winn, contractors having in charge work of erecting new buildings at the Jackson county poor farm, because, so they declared, they were compelled to partake of unsanitary food served in a boarding house conducted by their employers. An investigation will be made.

When complaint was made to the contractors, the men were told, so they allege, that they would either have to board at the house or "get off the work," whereupon all laid down their tools and a committee was appointed to take their grievance before the proper authorities.

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July 15, 1908


Judge J. Patterson to Cement Cor-
nerstone of Poor Farm Buildings

Final arrangements for the laying of the cornerstone at the new county poor farm building will be made Friday afternoon,when the committee which has the matter in charge will hold a meeting. J. D. Jackson, superintendent the farm, is chairman.

It has already been decided to observe the day, July 29, with a picnic, which will be in the nature of a county holiday, for all the county offices will be closed. Noel Jackson will be master of ceremonies and J. M. Patterson, presiding judge of the county court, will handle the silver trowel which is to be presented to him. Choice of mementos to be placed in the stone will be made by the Rev. C. W. Moore. The following have been invited to speak at the cornerstone laying:

Senator William Warner, Attorney General H. S. Hadley, Governor Joseph Wingate Folk, Champ Clark, H. M. Beardsley, Judge John F. Phillips, Mayor Thomas T. Crittenden, Jr., Judge H. L. McCune, the Rev C. W. Moore, the Rev. S. M. Neel, the Rev. George Reynolds, the Rev. William J. Dalton, Rabbi H. H. Mayer and Llewellyn Jones, mayor of Independence.

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July 9, 1908



Mrs. W. T. Mead, Bride of the 66-77-
Year-Old Couple, Applies to
County Court for Permis-
sion to Return.

A bride of a month, with wrinkles of age and care marking her face, tottered towards the bench of the county court yesterday at Independence. It was Mrs. W. T. Mead, who married W. T. Mead, librarian at the county farm, June 6. He was 66 and she 77, and, although the marriage had been forbidden by the county court, both thought they were old enough to know and both left the farm to carry out the twilight dream of their lives.

The county court does not allow inmates of the home to wed, and when the application came for a permit to marry the county court calmly refused the request, and the two old people, not to be thwarted, went to Kansas City and married. Each had saved a little money. He as librarian, and she sewing at the farm. Both had been at the farm a number of years and frequently she would go to the library to get a book and talk with William.

Yesterday the bride tottered towards the county judges and in a faltering voice made a plea for herself and husband that they be allowed to go back to the farm together. They had applied to the superintendent of the farm, but he had refused to allow them to come without the sanction of the court. Judge J. M. Patterson raised his eyes to the ceiling as the application was being made and the story told. Judge George J. Dodd assumed a thoughtful mood and Judge C. E. Moss whittled a pencil.

They would be taken back to the farm, but not as man and wife. They must be separated, not judicially, but constructively. The court could not tolerate a union of inmates at the farm, for it might become epidemic. The rule could not be broken if they married and then wanted to return to the shelter provided by the county.

Mrs. Mead told in faltering tones how she and her husband had purchased a small restaurant, as they had planned before leaving the farm. They paid all of their money over and signed the papers. When they returned to take possession the next day two wagon loads of goods had been hauled away and, in the pitiful helplessness of old age, they realized that they had been swindled.

"I won't live long, judge," she said. "I am destitute now, so is my husband. Please let us go back, won't you? Please let us finish our lives there. Both of us love the farm and we will not be a bother."

The county court was obdurate. "You may go back, but not as man and wife," said the presiding judge. "It's against the rules."

It was decided to allow them to go back, but as individuals and not as married people, and this order was placed on the book which gave Cupid a double jolt.

The order of the court changed the wrinkles on the face of Mrs. Mead to smiles, and she went away joyously to her home, 306 West Fifth street, Kansas City, to tell her husband about the order of the court, and last night they returned to the scene where they learned to love each other, these two old people, happy, but separated, to live the last chapter.

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June 2, 1908



He is 66 and the Bride, Formerly
Mrs. Eliza Anderson, Is 76.
They'll Live in a
Candy Store.

Neither age nor circumstance can stand before the will of Dan Cupid. Among the twenty-one women in Kansas City who became brides yesterday, the earliest June bride of them allow as Mrs. William Thomas Meads, 76 years old, who, as Mrs. Eliza Anderson, eloped from the county poor farm with the groom in the early morning and was married at the court house at 10 o'clock by Justice Mike Ross. And among the twenty-one none is more happy or more thrilled with dreams of the future.

"The county court wouldn't let us marry at the farm," she explained last evening in the room at 727 Harrison street, which she and the groom rented for a week. "There is absolutely no sense in them not allowing us to get married, but since they wouldn't , we up and ran away. We were up at 5 o'clock, for it takes William a long time to get over the two miles to the station. The other women there bade me goodby last night.

"Now that we are here and married, we are ready to face the world again. We fled from it once. But William has saved his salary as librarian, and I have many friends in Kansas City. We are going to open a little confectionery store and live in a room in the back. We are certain that we can make a living and are never going back to the poor farm.

"They never treated William right out at the farm. He had charge of the library and had to be on his feet day and night to answer two telephones. And they only gave him $5 a month. He can make lots more than that in Kansas City."

The bride, who had been standing back of Meads's chair, here stopped her flow of talk to push her spectacles back on her forehead, stoop, put an arm around Meads's neck and kiss him on the brow. The old man petted her with his one able hand.

"She's a mighty good little woman," he put in. "Don't you dare to poke fun of her in your paper."

"No," interrupted the bride, straightening suddenly. "It is an outrage the way we have been treated. People seem to think our running away is a joke. I've just as much right to get married as I had fifty years ago. I'm an old settler in Kansas City. I have been here forty years. My husband died twenty years ago and I went to work for Bullene, Moore, Emery & Company. I was with them a long time until I got the asthma so that I couldn't work nor live in the city. So I went out to the farm where the air is pure. I know some of the finest people in Kansas City. Two members of the grand jury, who visited the home, recognized me and were astonished. I told them it is no disgrace to be on the poor farm. It's no crime to be poor, after one has worked hard for years and years, as I did. It's just inconvenient.

"William and I are going to start life all over again, aren't we, William?"

The groom gave a "yes" pat with his hand.

That is about all -- Oh, yes, there is the groom. William Meads is 66 years old and paralyzed on one side. He fought during the entire civil war under General Joseph Shelby. After the rebellion he was employed for fifteen years on a Kansas City evening newspaper During the latter part of the period he was foreman of the composing room. When he was stricken with paralysis he went to the poor farm. He has better use of his right arm and leg now than he had ten years ago, but his general health has been worn down by the passing of years. he did not attempt to rise from his chair either to greet or bid farewell to his visitor.

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July 30, 1907


Union Will Give Free Weekly
Concerts There in August.

The county court has made arrangements with the musicians' union of Kansas City to give one concert at the poor farm each week during the month of August. The only renumeration the musicians are to receive is the carfare. One concert has already been given at the farm which was such a successful and pleasing affair that the inmates appealed for another, and the court acquisced.

The old songs and tunes which many of them remembered in better days are rendered by the orchestra. The members of the orchestra enjoy the visits to the poor farm probably as much as the inmates, for if there ever ewas an appreciative audience the musicians found it at the farm.

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