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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

The Mann Family and the Lucy Orme Morgan Home

Updated: Jul 2, 2023

John George Mann was a native Bloomingtonian and Sarah Radley Mann was English. They established a large family in Bloomington. John was a machinist and Sarah a homemaker. They moved within Bloomington on a frequent basis but in 1920 the family was living all together -- Patrick, Alma (3 years old), Richard and William. During the 1920s the family grew with the birth of two children, Kenneth and Bessie. By 1929 Bessie and Alma were living at the Lucy Orme Morgan Home (and appeared in the photo below) and in the 1930 census only Patrick was living with John and Sarah. Alma (age 13) and Bessie (age 9) were living at the Girls' Industrial Home on State Street.

This photo of a group of girls in the Industrial Home is the first I have seen that included names of the children. A photo story in 1945 named several girls who were photographed, but no other large group photos were located.

Bessie (1921 - 2009) is the first girl in the first row and Alma is the light haired girl in the back row. How long the girls lived in the Home is unknown, but Bessie married Furman Harsha Dec. 3, 1939. Neither sister received an education beyond eighth grade. (No girls from the Lucy Orme Morgan Home have been identified as students at Bloomington High School during the 1920s.) Alma graduated from Washington Grade School in 1932, which is an indicator that she was living at the GIH that year. In 1935 she was working at Beich's Candy Company and living with her parents. In subsequent years she was living alone and working at Beich. Bessie graduated from Raymond Grade School in 1936 and was president of her class, which would indicate she was living with her parents again at that time (Raymond School was too distant from the GIH). Her mother was one of the parents attending the graduation celebration. Bessie and Alma would have received training in house work in the Home and received their grade school education at Washington or Emerson School while living there.

In 1940, the remainder of the family, Richard, Alma, Kenneth and William, all lived with their mother on Lumber Street. The marriage had apparently ended in separation or divorce. (John Mann died in 1957 and Sarah Radley Mann in 1949.) In 1940, each of the siblings worked to support the family, along with their uncle, Harold Radley. Brothers William and Kenneth both served in World War II. Alma married Eldred Tieman sometime after 1940. Bessie and Alma worked as candy wrappers at Beich Candy for many years.

Alma died August 10, 1965, of a long illness in East Moline, IL at the age of 47. She left her husband and a daughter, Patricia, and son, Donald. Bessie Harsha died August 31, 2009. Bessie lived in Lexington during her marriage. She had three sons and two daughters. Her husband died in 1989.

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