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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Burdette Family Scandal and Redemption

Updated: Jul 2

The residency of the Burdette sisters at the Lucy Orme Morgan Home began with a scandal in September 1930. Charles Judson Burdette was a farmer/trucker living near Carlock with his 8 children, the oldest being 21 years old. He had lost his wife, Bertha Henrietta in 1925, just one month after she gave birth to their daughter Wilma. In September 1930 a small article in the Pantagraph announced that Judson Burdette of Carlock had married his daughter, Ruth Virginia, in Peoria. He was jailed shortly after that event and was finally charged and sentenced in February of 1931. (Photo at right is one attached to the Find a Grave record of Ruth Virginia Burdette, the daughter that Judson tried to marry. ) Virginia died in 1967 in Woodford County and was buried in Carlock. No further facts could be developed about her life.

Although no announcements were made at the time in the Pantagraph, the minor children were put into care. The three youngest girls, Madeline (12), Evelyn (8) and Wilma (4) began appearing in various announcements regarding activities of the girls at the Industrial Home. Wilma was adopted by Clifford and Marion Lott of Elmwood, IL, along with her brother Robert. Mr. Lott was an assistant cashier at the State Bank in Elmwood. Their names were changed to Phoebe Webster Lott and Robert Webster Lott. Phoebe attended high school in Elmwood and attended Bradley University in Peoria. She became a school teacher and never married. (Photo at left is from her junior year at Bradley.)

Madeline Burdette had some deformity of her foot and underwent an experimental surgery courtesy of the Kiwanis in 1934 while living at the Industrial Home. In 1940 she was working as the receptionist and living in a boarding house. She married Kenneth Berglund in 1941. During WWII Berglund was an aerial photographer for the U.S. Navy in the Atlantic. Kenneth Burglund entered into the photography business with his brother, Robert, and called their studio "Ken-Way." Madeline worked for the business.

In 1940 Evelyn Burdette was living with William and Blanche McConn in Bloomington and was listed as their daughter in the census. She later married Rudolph Malik and lived in Cook County.

#GirlsIndustrialHome #Childabuse #Carlock

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