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No Progress in 120 Years

June 30, 2009 permalink

A Los Angeles Times blog posts a photocopy of a newspaper column dated June 30, 1889 with two child protection stories, both glorifying the work of Humane Officer Wright. Baby snatchers then tugged on the same heart-strings as today, but at least they used real names.




A Little Fellow Whose Lot is Not a Happy One.

A day or two ago it was reported at the East Side station that Mrs. Noles, who lives at No. 128 South Workman street, had an adopted boy about 3 years old that she was in the habit of abusing, beating him cruelly with a buggy-whip and otherwise mistreating him. The person who made the report would not give his name, but said that all the neighbors knew about the case and would give any desired information about it.

The case was referred to Humane Officer Wright for investigation, who found that the child is the little son of old George Westfall, how in San Queutin, who attempted to murder the little fellow in the old tunnel above the Buena Vista-street bridge about a year ago. The case caused a great deal of excitement at the time, but this finally subsided, and nothing more was thought of it. The Noles adopted the child, taking it from the Orphans' Home, where it had been placed by the Humane Society, and he has since lived with them. Officer Wright examined the child carefully, and found a number of bruises on his body, but the Noles denied that they had been made by beating. Noles said that they had corrected the child, as any parents would, but said that be had never used a buggy-whip to chastise it; in fact, did not own such a thing. Several of the neighbors, however, insist that Mrs. Noles has been seen to beat the child, and to keep the chastisement up for hours at a time. The officer will look into the case further before determining what course to pursue.

Rescued from Her Mother.

Several days ago Humane Officer Wright, on the complaint of several people in the neighborhood, took the younger Huff girl away front her mother and placed her in the Orphans' Home. The child is a bright little thing about 5 years of age, and it was thought to be a pity to have her go the way of her elder sister, now serving a term in the reformatory at San Francisco, after having been frequently locked up in the City Prison and County Jail in this city. Besides, the child's mother is still living in the same house with the man Miller, who was the cause of all the trouble between the woman and her husband, and for these reasons it was believed best to take the child from under her control. Yesterday Mrs. Huff called on Mr. Wright and demanded her child again, saying that she intended to leave the city and locate in another State. Mr. Wright declined to give up the child, and will fight the case, if it is necessary, to keep her from falling into the mother's hands.

Source: Los Angeles Times June 30, 2009
citing unnamed newspaper dated June 30, 1889