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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Inmates at the Lucy Orme Morgan Home


Two young women were identified as living in the Lucy Orme Morgan Home in 1930, but a week earlier when the census was enumerated in Springfield, they had been identified as living with their parents in Springfield. Eleanor and Margaret Frantz had a somewhat distinctive last name and a very distinctive birthplace -- China. Their father had been a worker for the YMCA in China for about five years. In 1937 both girls were attending Springfield High School. One explanation for their presence at the home was that their mother was very ill and the father needed a place where the girls could be cared for. In 1930 there were no nursery schools or day cares where a child could be left during the work day. Regardless, fathers would be appalled to think that they should cook and clean up after their children after picking them up from a day care. So children would be left at the Baby Fold or a local orphanage until their mother was medically fit to look after them.

Mary and Myra Joesting became inmates of the Industrial Home in 1930. Their parents were Edward and Laura Baylor Joesting. Their father had been a farm laborer, but when they moved to Bloomington around 1920, he became a railroad worker. The marriage broke down and the family was broken apart. Edward Joesting lived in a rooming house, and Laura became the live in housekeeper for Lee and Eura Harding at 1306 E. Oakland. Her son, William, was sent to a boys industrial home and was living in Ohio, working there in the shoe shop. Her two daughters were closer and lived in the Girls Industrial Home. Laura remarried September 23, 1931 to Thurman Oliver, a stock manager. They lived on various farms around McLean County, but no indication could be found that her daughters lived with her or visited her. Mary and Myra both graduated from Bloomington High. When their mother died June 24, 1944 after an extended illness, Mary was married and living in Chicago and Myra was married and living in Indianapolis.

Roy and Sarah Buck Longbrake had three daughters and one son, but Sarah died in 1926 of heart trouble. In 1930, those three daughters were living in the Industrial Home, the son was living at ISSCS and Roy was living in DeWitt County in a boarding house. Roy was an employee of the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1935 Roy married Pansy Gobleman in Indiana. An announcement on the Pantagraph Junior page in 1932 indicated the Longbrake girls were moving to Clinton -- most likely to be with their father. In 1940 the entire family (except for the brother) was living in Decatur.

Georgia (1919 - 1973) (right) was the oldest and graduated from ISNU. She

married Robert Liehr, another school teacher from ISNU. She died in 1978 in Morrison, Illinois.

Helen Longbrake (1922 - 2003) (left) attended school in Decatur and also attended ISNU. She married Paul Irwin in Missouri in 1944. At the time of her stepmothers death in 1983 she was living in Rockford, IL. Her photo from the ISNU yearbook is to the left. Helen died in New York State in 2003.

Marjorie Longbrake (1921 - 2010) attended high school in Decatur and at the time of her step mother's death she was living in Colorado Springs. She was married to a man named Quinn. She died there in 2010.

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