January 9, 1910
WORK AND WAGES FOR
Mayor Formulates Plan to Provide
Living During Present Cold
Weather for All Worthy Needy.
"Kansas City intends to be kind to the needy and unfortunate temporarily out of work," observed Gus Pearson, city comptroller, yesterday, "but we first are going to find out who is worthy of our time and kindness.
"This wail about the starving and homeless unemployed has been magnified. Investigation shows that on many of the coldest nights of the winter there were a whole lot of vacant beds in the Helping Hand institute, and I have it from the management that they had twenty-four more calls for work for men than could be filled.
"The trouble is that a great many well meaning people are imposed upon and their sympathies wrought up by classes of individuals who are continually preying on the purse strings of the charitable, but will not work unless the work meets with their particular tastes."
Mr. Pearson had a conference yesterday with William Volker, chairman of the pardons and parole board. They discussed the plan proposed by Mayor Crittenden of making an additional appropriation of funds to temporarily tide over the unemployed by giving them work at the municipal stone quarries in Penn Valley park and the municipal farm at Leeds. This will be done as quickly as possible after Messrs. Pearson and Volker have conferred with the heads of charitable institutions and the police in reference to the character of men considered really deserving.
"Bums and loafers who stray into Kansas City just to spend the winter and live off the charitable must move on or go to the workhouse," said Mr. Pearson. "We feel that we have a citizenship of our own who should receive our little acts of kindness in times of distress, and so far as the present city administration is concerned, there will be no deserving man or boy without a place of shelter or a meal."
Labels: charity, employment, Helping Hand, Leeds, Mayor Crittenden, parole board, Penn Valley park, workhouse
December 25, 1909
AN OLD TIME CELEBRATION.
Prisoners at the Municipal Farm
Experienced Real Joy.
Two oranges, two bananas, half a pound of assorted nuts, one dozen cream cakes, a bunch of grapes, and one-half pound box of candy, all inclosed in a neatly decorated basket, is what the Christmas season brought each prisoner at the municipal farm, a mile and a half southeast of Leeds, last night.
A large Christmas tree, decorated in tinsel and Christmas bells, just like the Sunday school trees, was fitted up in the big farm house last night. A real live Santa Claus, with his customary tonsorial makeup, dressed in a red and white suit, presided over the tree and distributed the Christmas baskets.
Tonight for entertainment will be proved for the prisoners. Among the numbers on the programme will be "Semi Dempsy," a one-act comedy with three characters; "Pills of Merriment," a two-act farce introducing six characters; "The Oklahoma Traveler," a burlesque by Dowd McDonald, Dood and Jones, a negro team, and songs and dancing. A stage with elaborate settings, spot lights, hand-painted scenery, and all necessary adjuncts was constructed by the prisoners.
Labels: food, holidays, Leeds, theater
December 20, 1909
METHODS FOLLOWED AT INSTI-
TUTION SETS EXAMPLE.
Improvements Make All Cells Sani-
tary -- Shower Baths Provided
and Fumigator to De-
The interior of the workhouse has taken on quite a different aspect in the last few days, important improvements having been completed. The ceilings and walls are painted white, the latter having a heavy coat of red about six feet up from the floor. All of the cells have a new coat of shiny black enamel.
Until the recent improvements, each cell was unsanitary, being equipped with nothing but an old bucket. Now every cell is provided with a sanitary plumbing outfit. It took one month to dig a sewer inside the cell block and make the necessary connections. Outside the work could have been done in a week or ten days, but there the dirt had to be carried out in small boxes. The sewer is from five to seven feet deep and before dirt was reached it was necessary to dig through four inches of solid concrete, chisel through a steel plate one-eighth of an inch thick and then pick the way through eighteen inches more of solid concrete. This is laid beneath the floor to prevent any escapes by tunneling. As it took fully three weeks to reach terra firma it is not likely that anyone would succeed in completing a tunnel before being captured.
There also is a new system regarding mattresses and bedding. When a new prisoner arrives he gets a fresh, clean mattress, stuffed with clean straw. When the prisoner leaves the straw is burned and the bed tick washed. The cleaning method continues with regard to blankets. When a prisoner leaves his blanket goes direct to the laundry. If he is a long term man his blanket is washed and he gets a clean one two or three times a month. He also gets a fresh bed tick with new straw frequently.
SHOWER BATHS FOR ALL.
At the east end of the cell block is a new washroom with a dozen bowls. Across the corridor are shower baths. Both have hot and cold water and plenty of soap. A prisoner is required to bathe on entering the workhouse, all of his discarded clothing going to the fumigator. He also is examined by the workhouse physician, Dr. F. H. Berry. His physical condition also is looked after. For the first time since it was built the workhouse now is absolutely free of any kind of vermin, and Superintendent Cornelius Murphy says he intends to keep it that way.
When a prisoner's clothes go to the fumigator they are not afterwards packed away in a bag and given to him all full of wrinkles when he leaves the place. In the workhouse now is a tailor who understands cleaning, pressing and mending. After leaving the fumigator the underclothing and linen go to the laundry where they are washed and ironed. The outer clothing goes to the tailor who repairs, cleans and presses it. When a prisoner leaves the institution now he often finds his "makeup" in far better condition than when he entered.
"The scheme of putting a prisoner's clothing in good condition," said C. A. Beatty, assistant superintendent, "has proven a good one and the men greatly appreciate it. It does not send a poor man away looking like a trap, but he has a good 'front' and is fit to apply to any man for work. The prison clothes worn by the men are washed frequently and the men are required to take baths often. It is new to many but they are getting used to it."
SOME LEARN TRADES.
In the sewing room, established at the personal expense of William Volker, president of the board of pardons and paroles, all of the bed ticks as well as the clothing worn by both men and women prisoners, are made by women prisoners. One young woman who had been a frequent inmate of the institution now is earning $2.25 a day at a local mattress factory. Others are earning an honest living at overall factories. They learned to sew under the instruction of Mrs. Burnett, who has charge of the sewing room. Some never had done any stitching.
Another adjunct to the workhouse, which has proved a success, is the shoemaking department. A practical shoemaker, hired at the expense of Mr. Volker, is instructing the long term men how to be shoe cobblers and some are learning how to make shoes throughout. The shoes of all prisoners are overhauled and mended in this department. The shoeshop and sewing rooms are located over the barn and are heated by steam.
There are thirty-five men now out at the industrial farm at Leeds. They are now engaged at present in making a new roadway, but in the summer they are going to learn practical farming and gardening. This, too, has proven a success.
Labels: clothing, employment, health, Leeds, parole board, workhouse
September 3, 1909
THEY KICK ON THIS MENU.
Ham, Potatoes, Peas, Biscuits, But-
ter, Milk, Coffee, etc. for Prisoners.
Men who are confined in charity institutions, jails and workhouses are prone to complain of their treatment, and it is proverbial that they always object to the food. Kansas City is no exception in this regard, the latest kick being from men brought back from the municipal farm at Leeds and confined in the workhouse or released. One kicks on the quality, another on the quantity, or rather lack of quantity and various other protests, mild and vociferous, have been registered.
Yesterday Edward Kipple, Daniel Mahoney, Harry Fry, Lee Garrett and Albert Buell, guards at the workhouse, took eighteen prisoners to the Leeds farm. That makes forty-seven men now sojourning there.
Evidently while a the farm the five guards dined. They did not have a special spread but "the staff" ate with the forty-seven prisoners.
"To begin with," said Kipple, "I will give you the bill of fare for supper last night. Fried country ham, good ham, too; fine fried potatoes, cooked peas, hot biscuits, hot corn bread, old fashioned home made bread, the kind 'mother used to make,' apple sauce, as good as any human ever tasted, fresh country butter, made on the ground; coffee and sweet milk, also secured on the farm.
"We were all at one table and I was a little leery that the boss was putting up a spread just for our benefit. I asked a prisoner at another table, 'Hey, fellow, what are you eating over there?' 'Just the same as you are,' he replied. Still not satisfied, I got up and went over to take a look for myself. Sure enough, they had everything we had all the way down the line."
Labels: food, Leeds, workhouse
June 26, 1909
PRISONERS SWELTER IN
On Men's Side Capacity is 112, and
Number of Inmates Is 131.
While the sun's rays sizzled down upon the roof of the Kansas City workhouse yesterday afternoon 131 men lay in cells, panting and sweltering. The cells on the men's side have equal space for fifty-six white men and the same number of negroes, the total capacity being 112. If there are more than that number there are no more bunks for them.
Instead of the men being divided equally, yesterday there were eighty-three white men and forty-eight negroes, making it necessary to place one-third of the white men with the negroes. The municipal farm at Leeds relieves the situation some. There are twenty men there, and if these were in the workhouse it would make living intolerable.
At this season of the year the workhouse is generally running "short-handed." The police, however, in the last month have been extraordinarily vigilant. Many commissions have expired, and more soon will expire, and the new board has announced that recommissioning the men will depend entirely on their records.
The women's department at the workhouse has accommodations for sixteen white and thirty-two negro women. This department, however, is not so crowded. Yesterday there were fifteen white and nineteen negro women prisoners.
The board of pardons and paroles relieved the situation some yesterday by paroling eleven men and two women, all but one of whom will be released today. One of the men will not be released until July 1, when certain conditions have been complied with.
Labels: Leeds, parole board, race, weather, workhouse
May 30, 1907
THIS WIFE HOLDS THE CASH.
Leeds Bride Exchanges Husband's
$10 for a Modest $3.
Mary Jane Davis, of Leeds, Mo., who was married in Independence yesterday to B. F. Wellford, of Columbus, O., does not believe in the old adage that "the wife should attend to the religion for the family and the husband handle the money."
"I have nothing smaller than a ten spot," the bridegroom said to Deputy Recorder Meinich, after the ceremony was performed.
Meinich found he had no change and started to go out and change the bill, when the bride spoke up:
"I have a little change," and handed Meinich the $3.
Then she took the bridegroom's $10 from Meinich and put it into her own pocketbook.
Labels: Independence, Leeds, romance
|Get the Book|
Kansas City Stories
Early Kansas City, Missouri
The Trial of Jesse James,
As an Amazon Associate this site may earn commissions from qualifying