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December 17, 1909


Master and Faithful Dog May Be
Separated Indefinitely.

"Lawrence Hansen, I am afraid, will have to go to Boonville."

Dr. E. L. Mathias, chief probation officer, made this statement yesterday when asked what would be done with the Kansas City, Kas., youngster who ran away from his home Monday night with $5 of his mother's money.

"We had him once at the McCune farm, but he ran away. The only place for him, now that he has violated his parole, is the reform school."

"Will he be given back his dog, Jack?" was asked.

The doctor laughed.

"I want to tell you I have been in hot water all day. There was a woman down here at 7:30 o'clock this morning demanding that I give the boy his dog. Several persons stopped me on the street to inquire what I intended to do."

But Dr. Mathias would not say whether he would reunite dog and master. If Lawrence is sent to the reform school by the juvenile court, it will be impossible to keep the two together. Lawrence will be kept locked up at the Detention home until Monday, when Judge E. E. Porterfield will decide his fate.

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December 1, 1909


McCune Farm Lacks Sufficient Dor-
mitory Accommodations.

Boys at the McCune farm are compelled to sleep in tents because of lack of accommodations. When the new school building is completed it will have to be used at night as a dormitory. A new addition is being built to the present dormitory and will partially relieve the present crowded conditions.

With the conditions existing, Judge J. M. Patterson thinks some action should be taken at once. A special election has been urged to vote $150,000 in bonds for the erection of five new buildings. At present there are eighty-five boys at the farm, and there are not accommodations for half that number.

"My idea would be for the county court to begin putting up new buildings," said Judge J. M. Patterson yesterday. "An election to vote bond could be held in November to save the expense of a special election. But it is my opinion that the matter should not be put off another day. By another year there will be from 100 to 125 inmates, and the conditions will be worse than ever.

"The county court might erect one building a year for the next five years. But that seems to me to be too slow. We might start the work now and rely upon the money derived from the bond election to complete it.

"The farm became the county's property eighteen months ago. An administration building has been built at the cost of about $1,300. An old frame building is used for a dormitory. These are the only two buildings to accommodate eighty-five boys."

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November 28, 1909



Great Future of Farm for Boys De-
scribed by Speakers -- Large
Crowd Witnesses Ceremonies
and Visits the Home.

"There's de judge, fellers!"

"Hello Judge!" shouted more than eighty happy boys as they rushed to open the gates that admitted William Scarritt's automobile which bore Judge E. E. Porterfield to the McCune Farm for Boys to see him that they grabbed hold of his arms and legs and climbed all over him in enthusiasm.

Judge Porterfield's visit to the farm was for the purpose of conducting the ceremonies for the laying of the cornerstone of the fine new schoolhouse which is now under construction. The occasion was eventful because of the fact that there were more visitors at the farm yesterday afternoon than ever before at any one time.

The ceremonies started at 3 p. m. with a song by the youngsters, who sang it with earnestness. After the invocation by J. M. Taylor, superintendent of the farm, the boys sang another gospel hymn and Judge Porterfield made the opening address.


"April 16, 1908," the judge began, "marked an epoch in the civic life of Jackson county. It was the date of the opening of the McCune Farm for Boys.

"To start with the officials had 100 acres of land and one small farmhouse and it was, and still is, the intention to follow the plan of the Cleveland authorities on their handling of their youngsters who have not adequate chances to build their lives upon a good home training. The Cleveland farm contains 285 acres of land, has seven cottages, a laundry, barns, gymnasium, carpenter shop, water, sewer and electric light systems. The feature of the home is that each cottage comprises facilities for fifteen to twenty boys and has a faculty consisting of a head master and head matron who have absolute charge of the boys.

"In comparison, we have eighty-two boys and three cottages, while Cleveland has 115 boys and seven cottages. The latter home is more complete, of course, but at the same time it is much older and without doubt Jackson county will have an institution just as good in a couple of years. Our condition is such now that I have often been compelled to send boys back to undesirable homes because of lack of room at the farm. Some have been paroled when they should not have been, but their places had to be given up to others who needed the training even worse than they.


"Since the home has been opened 183 boys have been sent here. eighty-two are now in attendance; eighty have been paroled, and not in a single instance, by the way, has any one of them been sent back; fourteen were sent to the reform school because they ran away from the farm, and only three out of this whole 183 have been guilty of other offenses bad enough in their nature to necessitate their being sent to the reformatory.

"Paroled boys are found good homes by Mrs. O'Dell, and she always has a good home ready for every boy who deserves it. These boys have the advantage of a splendid school, are taught useful work and enjoy baseball and other sports of which all boys are fond. In short, it is a character building institution.

"Prior to the advent of the court in 1902 all boys who had committed small offenses were compelled to go to the county jail where they were thrown in with the vilest of criminals and were really hardened by their confinement instead of being benefited as the officials intended they should be. Those boys possessing small criminal tendencies easily learned the worst, and I am glad that we have passed that stage now.


"It is not a misstatement of facts to say that the state was engaged in making criminals. The McCune farm makes citizens. The jail enforced idleness and ignorance, thereby making charges for the state. The McCune farm teaches industry and prepares for good citizenship.

"The only relief I know is to issue $100,000 or $200,000 worth of bonds and diminish the issue on public improvements, for it is easier to make a citizen than build cities. It is a matter of economy to improve this institution. The governor of Colorado said in a speech in 1904 that in eighteen months the juvenile court had saved the state $88,000. Seven hundred and seventeen boys were dealt with and only ten were sent to the reform school. Prior methods sent 75 per cent and in two years the state saved $200,000 in criminal court expenditures.

"As a financial proposition the farm will pay for itself in two years' time, and what is priceless and cannot be measured in money value is the good citizenship that the influences will stimulate.


Judge McCune addressed the audience next and confined most of his remarks to the boys.

"How do you like the this place, boys?"

"Fine! Best ever!" they answered.

"Why were you sen here?" he asked.

"To have a good home," they replied.

"Like your teachers?"

"You bet. Every one of them."

"Of course you do," said Judge McCune. "Why, I even knew some of you fellows after you had run away to come back of your own accord and fall on your teachers' necks and say you were glad to get back home, and you kissed them, too, didn't you?"

Here the boys laughed heartily and ascented to the speaker's last remarks.

"It pleases me very much to see the interest shown at these ceremonies this afternoon by the large representation of public citizens, and I know that with their support this home for boys will be the best that money and effort can make."

Judge J. M. Patterson followed with a few remarks and declared that if the taxpayers would look into this matter and investigate, as their duties as citizens demanded they should do and aid the courts to the best of their ability, this McCune farm for boys would become a very great institution which other large cities would wisely pattern after, for the start now made is so well planned that only the money is all that is needed to perfect the young enterprise.


The ceremony of laying the cornerstone for the new school house was then completed. In the box in the stone were deposited the annual report of the juvenile court, copies of the Kansas City daily papers and a report of the progression of the institution compiled by Judge Porterfield.

The new building is to be a six-room structure sufficiently large to accommodate 225 boys and is to cost $15,200. It is located 600 yards southwest of the main dormitory on a hill overlooking the old Lexington road and is surrounded by many beautiful shade trees.

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July 30, 1909


Lewis Masterson Slashed T. N.
Hughes's Throat With a Knife.

T. N. Hughes, ex-city marshal of Independence, was accosted in that city yesterday morning by Lewis Masterson, who had some words with him about a trial which had taken place in the police court the day previous. Masterson struck Hughes a glancing blow and Hughes knocked him down. Hughes knocked Masterson down a second time and was shoved into a ditch by the push of a woman. Before he could get up Masterson had his knife out, and running over where Hughes was getting up, slashed him across the throat.

It required eleven stitches to sew up the wound. The wound is not necessarily dangerous unless blood poison sets in. Warrants were sworn out for Masterson's arrest, charging him with felonious assault. Mr. Hughes was formerly superintendent of the McCune home.

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June 15, 1909


Former White Ward of Negro
Woman Is Sent to Boonville.

Guy Colby is going to leave Kansas City for four years this time. His ticket reads Boonville, Mo., and he will start today. The sentence is four years.

Yesterday Guy ran away from the McCune home for the second time. He was found and taken to the Detention home before evening. He said he was anxious to see Ernest Crocroft, with whom he ran away from the McCune farm two weeks ago to Jefferson City. Crocroft was sent to Boonville.

At the time his friend was sentenced, Colby also was in court and was told that his next offense would result in a reform school sentence. That was imposed yesterday by Judge E. E. Porterfield of the juvenile court.

It was Guy Colby who was taken by probation officers from Mrs. Sarah E. Carr, a negro woman, who had cared for him for years. His mother lives in Haverhil, Mass. An investigation made by probation officers showed she was not able to care for the boy, so he was sent to the McCune farm.

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May 16, 1909



Authorities Wanted to Send Clar-
ance Anderson to McCune Home,
but Request Failed After
Parent Told Story.

"Rather than give up my boy I'll sell out all I have in Kansas City and leave. The only thing which will separate me from my children is death."

Charles Anderson, an iron worker, said it and brought his big fist down on the table at one end of which sat Judge Porterfield of the juvenile court. Clarence Anderson, the boy, was in court Friday on complaint of the truant officer.

"Wouldn't you like to have the boy sent to the McCune farm?" asked the court.

"No. I have lost two children already," said the man, who swings beams in midair.

"You would not lose the lad if he went to the farm."

"I don't want him to go."

Then Anderson told his story.

"I have had a hard time to raise my family, but I have buckled down to the job, and mean to stay by it till the last rivet is headed. My wife is dead. I have a daughter who works afternoons. In what spare time she has, she looks after this boy and his smaller sister. Just to show you what I think of my family, let me tell you that I threw up a job at $150 with the American Bridge Company. That was because the work took me from home. I couldn't get anything in my line in Kansas City, and I had to follow the work, wherever it was. No I can work here, and I mean to stay by my family. You couldn't get me to give up one."

"Just keep the lad in school, that's all," said the court, with admiration for the ironworker's words and for a man who meant "to stay with the job" until it was finished.

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April 7, 1909


Man and Wife Will Be Employed
At McCune Farm.

The employment of a man and his wife at the McCune farm for boys was authorized yesterday by the county court. The salaries are to be $50 and $30 a month respectively. A cook also is to be employed at $30.

The couple mentioned are to have charge of the tent colony at the farm, to which boys are sent by the juvenile court.

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January 30, 1909


But She Can't Have Him While
Living In Missouri.

Color lines were drawn sharply in the juvenile court yesterday. Mrs. John May, a negro woman, adopted Guy Colby, a white boy, 8 years ago in Lynn, Mass. He is now 11. The adoption was legal in every way, according to the Massachusetts statutes, but Missouri laws do not recognize such a relationship.

Probation officers discovered that Guy, a white boy, was attending the Attucks school for negroes. Judge E. E. Porterfield sent the lad, who looks well cared for, to the McCune farm. He promised Mrs. May that she could have him again if she returned to Massachusetts, which it is her intention to do. She took the lad from a foundling home.

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January 29, 1909


Claims One Boy Is Over 16, and Other
Is at School.

Charged with employing two boys, Angelo Angelopoulos and Theodore Patrakis, both said to be under 16 years old and causing them to work more than nine hours a day in violation of the child labor law, Peter Maniatos was arraigned in Justice Miller's court yesterday. He declared he was not guilty. Maniatos conducts the bootblack stand on West Ninth street near the New York Life building.

Patrakis claimed he was over 16, and a letter from the boy's father in Chicago, exhibited before the court, showed that he was born in the year 1892. Angelo, though under age, has been attending school regularly, and reports from his teacher showed that the boy was making the best of his opportunities. Justice Miller set the case for Friday, and Maniatos was released on bond of $100. The boys are being held at the McCune home.

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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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December 23, 1908


To Help Make Christmas Bright for
the McCune Home Boys.

An unusual donation to the Christmas fund for the boys at the McCune farm came to Judge H. L. McCune yesterday. It was a letter from Wilbur McLaughlin, 8 years old, 3351 Tracy avenue. In the letter the boy said that he had read of the forty boys under the judge' care who might not have a merry Christmas if someone did not help.

"I sold two of my white rabbits and got $1 for them," writes the lad in conclusion, sending the money.

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December 17, 1908


Things Are Gloomy for Forty Boys at
McCune Home.

At the McCune home there are forty boys, and every night there are forty letters or attempts at letters, written to Santa Claus. All of these boys have heard something about Christmas trees and have heard people talk of Christmas and Santa Claus, but few, if any of them, have ever seen the result of the talking. Right now they are all hoping and wishing for a Christmas tree and Santa Claus, but it's mostly hope without expectation. And so far their chances for realization do look far away. No one has yet offered to present the home with a tree or any Christmas adornment to add to the Christmas cheer.

A visitor at the home yesterday was talking to the boys about the day of days for children. He was telling of the mysterious stranger from the North pole, how he made his yearly trips in his huge sleigh drawn by swift reindeer and gave toys and presents to all the good little boys.

"Aw, g'wan," ejaculated one little tot who had been listening with eyes wide open and a look of distrust on his face. "De guy whot youse tell of ain't comin' here." And it looks as if the little boy were correct.

The people in Independence take an interest in the boys of and the home, but since all of the inmates are from Kansas City, the people here are supposed to take care of that part of the institution, and so Independence and Kansas City both pass it by. The little inmates fear that the good fairies who live in Kansas City will overlook them, since they are so far out in the country.

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December 1, 1908



Judge H. L. M'Cune Will Vacate That
Bench in January, and a Suc-
cessor Is to Be Chosen.
Duties of the Place.

On the first Thursday after the first Monday in January the judges of the circuit court will meet and select a presiding officer of the juvenile court form among their number. For the past two years Judge H. L. McCune has held this place, but he goes out of office in January.

So far, no judge has declared himself a candidate for the lace, although several have said they would prefer not to have the place. Judge James E. Goodrich and E. E. Porterfield seem at present to supply the list of candidates from which a judge will be selected. Neither of them is a candidate for the place, in the meaning that he greatly desires to fill it.

There are many arduous duties connected with the office of judge of the juvenile court. Conversant with the work as was Judge McCune when he took the place, it was some months before even he had things systemized. When he steps down next month the task of learning the ropes will not be an easy one for his successor, at least for a time.

What was at first a small matter, has expanded into a large department. Besides the regular trial of cases in court, there is general oversight over the probation officer and the Detention home, not to mention the McCune farm, on which there is now being constructed a home for boys. It is easy to let abuses creep into the juvenile court system. A knowledge of these, and the way to combat them, is the necessary equipment of a good judge.

There are people in Kansas City, and good people, too -- you wouldn't believe it if you saw their names in the paper -- who have tried to look upon the Detention home as a free employment bureau. It seems so easy to take a boy capable of earning $6 a week out of the home, which he wants to leave anyhow, and pay him $3 a week. 'Sides which, as the old proverb remarks, it saves money.

It has taken the greatest care of the probation force to keep these abuses out of the system in the past, and the same vigilance no doubt will be as necessary in the future. The case spoken of is mild and only one sample of the sort of matters which are brought up to juvenile judge and probation officer in almost constant succession.

The judge of the juvenile court appointed in January probably will serve until January, 1911. No specific tenure of office is fixed, but the intent of the law is that there shall be a change ever odd-numbered year. Of course, changes may be made more frequently, should conditions require it.

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June 10, 1908


County Judges Find Things in First
Class Shape There.

Conditions at the McCune home for boys, located a few miles from Independence, were found to be satisfactory by two of the three judges of the county court who visited there yesterday for the purpose of making an inspection. Judges J. M. Patterson and C. E. Moss, accompanied by Frank Ray, the architect, and William Southern of Independence, county examiner for Jackson county, made the trip of inspection.

"We are much pleased with the way Thomas N. Hughes, manager of the home, has conducted its affairs," said Judge Patterson last night. "We found seventeen boys at the home and they seem to be happy and contented. The boys have a garden in which they raise many vegetables and this keeps them busy and out of mischief. Yesterday Mr. Hughes was putting some shingles o n the house and five of the boys seemed to enjoy helping him.

"We are planning to erect a temporary barn or shed in which the boys can play on rainy days and which can be sued as a sleeping room in case the home becomes crowded. We are also planning the erection of a series of cottages, but this work probably will not be taken up before net fall."

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