Soldiers' Orphans' Home
Waterloo, Black Hawk co. Iowa
Clayton co. orphans appearing on the list of
Home Organized 1888
Iowa's Children's Home
Davenport, Scott co. Iowa
Des Moines, Polk co. Iowa
The Iowa Children's Home Society has
dedicated with appropriate services it's new State home
in Des Moines. the structure is a fine three-story brick
with all modern appointments, erected at a cost of
$15,000. It was dedicated practically free from debt.
The society was organized in 1888 at Davenport, where the
home remained until 1895, when headquarters were removed
to Des Moines. It grew rapidly and larger quarters became
necessary. The work of the society is in many ways
remarkable. It has never received a dollar from Iowa. Its
work of recruiting homeless children is carried on by
district superintendents. The support comes from private
While the society works very quietly, the report of
Superintendent Burnette demonstrated it is doing a great
work. Since organized in Iowa the society has cared for
1,442 children, of whom 1,169 have been placed in good
homes; 61 died; 14 were placed in State institutions,
while but 46 became dissatisfied with their homes of
The ages of inmates vary from 2 to 14 years, but no child
is kept longer than necessary to find for him a good
~Elkader Register, Friday, February 4, 1898
Finding Association aka Orphan's Home at Ottumwa
The Orphan's Home was incorporated in
1899 and carries a permit of the Secretary of State to do
business in Iowa. They have bought and equipped a modern
building of thirty-three rooms and conduct a private
school with their own teacher in charge. They have the
endorsement of the Board of Control of State institutions
and have received and placed in families over 3000
~extracted from a longer article in the Elkader
Register, October 25, 1923
1895 Census, St. Francis Convent, Dubuque City, Ward
5, Dubuque County, Iowa - Children in St. Mary's Orphan
Mary Kossuth, age 12, single, b. Clayton
co. IA, parents foreign born, Student
In the matter of Fred Spoers,
Mamie Spoers, Charles Brown and Andy
Brown, children abandoned by their parents and
in the custody of the county, at the poor house. It is
ordered that they be committed to the Iowa Children's
Home Society. The Spoer children are aged respectively 7
and 5 years and have been in the county poor house 3 and
1/2 years. The Brown children are aged 5 and 4 years and
have been in the county poor house for over two years. It
is said that these children are from Elk township.
(District Court column)
Fred Spoers, aged 7 years; Minnie Spoers, aged 5 years;
Charles Brown, aged 5 years; Andy Brown, aged 4 years;
Clarence Parker, aged 5 years and Agusta Parker, aged 3
years, were taken to the headquarters of the Iowa
Children's Home Society at Des Moines, on Tuesday last by
Miss Clare Lunbeck, District Superintendent of the Home.
~Elkader Argus, Thursday, April 8, 1897
Miss Clara Lumbeck, Supt. Of the Iowa Home for children,
was in town over Sunday and addressed meetings at the M.
E. and Congregational churches. Monday Miss Lumbeck
visited the county farm and made arrangements with the
Board of Supervisors whereby she took four children from
the farm and two of the Parker children
from Highland. These she will provide with suitable
homes. This is much better for the county and a great
deal better for the poor deserted ones, who may now have
an opportunity to better their condition. They looked
like bright children.
~Elkader Register, Friday, April 9, 1897; Our
Local Scrap-Bag section, page 5, column 3
[contritubed by Ken Johnson]
On verbal petition of Miss Clara Lunbeck, the Board
concented that the Iowa Children's Home Society take
Clarence Parker to the Home for Feeble-Minded children at
~Elkader Register, September 17, 1897
Ordered, that Fred Spores, an inmate of the Iowa
Children's Home Society, at Des Moines, be sent to the
Institute for Feeble Minded Children, at Glenwood, Iowa,
expenses of transportation to be borne by Iowa Children's
~Elkader Argus, April 14, 1898 (Board of
Willie Merritt, a child
adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Genz a few years ago, was
returned Tuesday to the Home Finding Association at
Chicago. The boy had found a good home with the Genz
family, but his conduct of late has been anything but
agreeable, so it was decided upon to return him to the
Association. It was supposed and he partly admitted to
having started the fire which consumed the barn belonging
to Mr. Genz about two weeks ago. - Guttenberg Press.
~Elkader Register, Thur., 08 May 1902. Local
News columns ~contributed by Reid R. Johnson
Miss Lumbeck representative of the Iowa
Childrens' Home Society of Des Moines, was in the city
last Wednesday, taking with her Wesley Bass.
~McGregor News, Wednesday, October 15, 1902
J.G. Hempel, County Auditor, be and is hereby authorized
to draw warrant for Fifty Dollars in favor of Miss Clara
Lunbeck, District Supt. of Iowa Children's Home Society,
for care and keeping of boy, Wesley Bass.
~McGregor News, Wednesday, November 26, 1902
(Board of Supervisors columns)
Research Notes for
Wesley Bass: He is shown to be in the 5th Grade,
McGregor public school as of August 1900. The 1900
U.S. census enumerates him as 10 y/o s/o Charles
& Altie Bass, living in Mendon twp. He drowned
From the Malvern Leader, Malvern, Mills co.
IA, August 25, 1904:
"Wesley Bass, a 14 year old boy who made his
home with Dr. S.C. Hatton at Riverton, was drowned in
the Nishnabotna river Saturday of last week. The body
was not recovered until Monday, following. He had
gone in swimming with about 35 other boys and was not
missed until the others dressed after the plunge and
a suit of clothes was found on the bank."
WPA records for Fremont county, show burial of Wesley
Bass, an orphan, buried in Riverside cemetery on the
lot of Dr. D.C. Hatton (correct initials are S.C.,
ie: Sebastian C. Hatton, M.D.). Dr. & Mrs. Hatton
were in the process of adopting Wesley at the time of
See also: Wesley Bass obituary
Yesterday Miss Clara Lunbeck, division superintendent
for the Iowa Childrens' Home Society, came to take to the
Home at Des Moines, the little daughter of Lillian Ellsworth,
the county paying the customary charge of $50 to the
society for taking the child. At the same time, Miss
Ellsworth left for Nebraska where she has found a home
with an aunt.
~Elkader Argus, Wednesday, April 29, 1903
Related story, same source:
Sheriff Dittmer and wife last week conveyed to the Girl's
Industrial School at Mitchellville, Emily
Ellsworth, of McGregor. The girl is but 15 years
old but is the mother of a child whose father is unknown.
She is a sister of Lillian Ellsworth who was tried for
the murder of Henry Wilson and the child is said to bear
on its head marks identical with the wounds that caused
the death of Wilson.
See also: Lillian Ellsworth Murder Trial
Etta Brown, of Ottumwa, representing the
American Home Finding association, was in town last week
and took two destitute children to homes where they will
be cared for.
~Elkader Register, February 11, 1904 (McGregor column)
Note: the children weren't named in the article
Through the instrumentality of Mrs. Mary Schrock, agent
for the Equitable Life Insurance Co., of Des Moines, Mrs.
Hugh McIver and her three little girls were sent
to the American Home Finding Association of Ottumwa. The
history of McIver's cruelty to his family and his final
windup at the state penitentiary at Anamosa is well known
to the people of Clayton Co., Etta Brown representative
of the Home Association of this district assisted in
having this woman and her children admitted at the home.
~Garnavillo Press, Friday, February 26, 1904; pg
Research Notes - Enumerated on the
1900 U.S. census, Millville twp. are: Hugh McIver (b.
12/1841, Scotland); his wife Mary (b. 4/1855, Iowa),
they'd been married 27years & she was the mother
of 11 (all living at that time). Their children
living with them (all born in IA): William (b.
5/1882), Robert (b. 3/1885), Maggie (b. 1/1887),
Joseph (b. 1/1889), Gordon (b. 9/1891), Glenn (b.
6/1894) & Archie (b. 7/1898).
Enumerated on the 1905 IA State
census, Turkey River are: Hugh McIver, Mary A.,
Willy, Gordon, Glen & Archy. There are no
daughters in the 1905 household, and Mary has
returned to the household.
Possible children of Hugh & Mary, are 10
y/o Helen McIver, 8 y/o Dennis McIver, 6 y/o [Lu or
Liv] McIver & 2 y/o Margaret McIver who are
living in Des Moines at the Iowa Childrens Home per
the 1915 IA State census. NO confirmation is given
that Hugh & Mary are parents of these children
Miss Lunbeck, of Charles City, solicitor
for the Iowa Childrens' Home Society, of Des Moines, gave
an interesting address on the work of the society at the
Congregational church Sunday morning. Miss Lunbeck has in
the past taken a number of children from this county to
provide homes for them. During the past week she has
taken four Tompkins children from North
McGregor, two Ellsworth children from
McGregor, and a Cooper baby from
Edgewood. The society is engaged in a good work and has
an able representative in Miss Lunbeck.
~Elkader Argus, Wednesday, April 13, 1904
Miss Lumbeck, representative of the Iowa Childrens' Home
secured the custody of the two little Adams girls,
they will be taken shortly to the Home in Des Moines.
~McGregor News, Wednesday, April 20, 1904
Miss Mabel C. Stewart of Ottumwa, Iowa, representing the
American Home Finding Association, left at 2:35 p.m.
Friday, having in charge Albert Henry,
who is to be placed in a home.
~McGregor News, Wednesday, May 18 1904; pg 5
W. W. Davidson was at Edgewood Monday and made
arrangements to consign Rose Trouslee,
an orphan, to the care of the American Home Finding
Association of Ottumwa.
~Guttenberg Press, Friday, July 8, 1904, pg 1
Mrs. Meyers, agent for the Iowa Childrens' Home Society,
last week took to that institution two children of Henry Cooper,
of Lodomillo township.
~Elkader Argus, Wednesday, November 2, 1904
The family of Jas. T. Hyde has received from the Iowa
Childrens' Home Society, a girl eleven years of age, who
will make her home with them. The little lady made the
journey from Muscatine alone last Friday. - Argus
~Elkader Register, Thursday, December 8, 1904
(Local news column)
Research Notes - The 11 y/o girl
could possibly be Veronica
Short, age 17, born Iowa, father born N. Jersey &
mother born Ohio. She is enumerated on the 1910, U.S.
census Boardman twp. as a servant in the James Hyde
family. James, a widower; two teenage sons; his
mother; and a brother. I could not find Veronica in
census records before or after 1910.
George Peterson, son of
the late J.A. Peterson, left for Cedar Rapids yesterday,
to enter a home secured for him by the American Home
~North Iowa Times, Thursday, January 26, 1905,
pg 3 (Local Mention column)
Research Notes - John A. Peterson was
a Civil War veteran who died in December 1904 at the
Soldiers' Home in Marshalltown, IA. His wife also
died in 1904. Their son George was adopted. See J.A. Peterson's obituary.
-The family was enumerated on the 1900 U.S. census in
Mendon twp.: John A. (b. 01/1851, IL), his wife Irene
J. (b. 06/1853, PA), their son George E. (b.. 8/1888
WI) and John's mother-in-law Mary M. Sharrow (b.
-The 1911 Return of Marriage: George Edward Peterson,
age 24, b. Chippewa Falls, WI, farmer, Mendon twp.,
1st marriage, parents John A. & Getha (Sharow)
Peterson AND Anna May Baylis, age 19, b. Mendon twp.,
1st marriage, parents Covil & Louisa (Davidson)
Baylis; date: 09/20/1911
-The WWI Draft Registration (6/5/1917) of George E.
Peterson, age 28y gives the following information:
Born 08/26/1888 in Chippewa Falls, WI; occupation -
Switchman, C.M. & St. Paul RR, No. McGregor, IA;
married with wife & child; military service -
Coxwain, U.S. Navy, 4 yrs
-Mrs. Mary H. Casper, of Ottumwa, was in town the
latter part of last week soliciting funds for the
American Home Finding Association of that city which
has done and is still doing splendid work in caring
or and finding homes for needy children. It is a
charity worthy of the support of everyone. Mrs.
Casper reports that George Peterson
of McGregor, who was cared for by this association,
is now in the navy doing good work for Uncle Sam and
that he has won a medal for saving the life of an
officer.~Elkader Register, Thursday, October
-1925 IA State census, McGregor, Mendon twp., Clayton
co. IA enumerated George Peterson, age 36, b. 1889 WI
& his daughter Louise, 12y born Iowa. George
gives his parents as John A. Peterson and Agatha
Sharrow (both deceased). Louise's parents as George
Peterson & May Bayless. George's wife is not in
-Anna May (Baylis) Peterson died in 1937, and is
buried in Bateman cemetery, Chippewa co., WI
-George E. Peterson died Feb 3, 1980 in Missouri. Obituary & Gravestone (indicates WWI service)
The Clayton County Supervisors authorized
payments to the Iowa Soldiers Orphan home for the care of
children in August 1905 (no names given); and to St.
Mary's Orphan Home for the care of the Regel
children to Sept. 1, 1905.
~North Iowa Times, September 14, 1905
Monday Mrs. E.R. Meyers, of the Iowa
Childrens' Home Society, of Des Moines, came here and on
her return, took with her Frank Peck aged
4 and Orin Dudley Peck age 3. They were
taken to the Home until they can be placed in good,
~North Iowa Times, Thursday, November 30, 1905
Research Notes: The young boys were
sons of Minnie Peck, who died 11/14/1905. They, and
their 2 older brothers (Herbert & Charley), lived
with their mother and grandmother Emily (Chase) Peck.
It is most likely that the 2 youngest were placed
because grandmother Emily could not care for so many
Herbert & Charley Peck - the two oldest boys
remained in North McGregor (Marquette) when their
young brothers were placed for adoption. Herbert made
the honor roll in school several times, married,
removed to Michigan and then Florida. He died May 31,
1974. Charley married in 1918, was a mayor of
Marquette & active in political and social
happenings in the town. He died in Marquette in 1983
and is buried in Pleasant Grove cemetery. Both
Herbert & Charley give differing names for their
father, depending on the record. Herbert: Joseph Peck
(marriage record). Charley: Joseph or Henry Peck
(1925 IA State census, WWI draft registration). Charles H. Peck obituary
Orin Dudley Peck -
1910 U.S. Census, Granville twp., Putnam co.,
Elmer Leighton, HOH, age 35, b. Iowa, proprietor Dry
Belle Leighton, wife, age 34, b. Eng, immigrated 1881
Orin D. Leighton, son - adopted, age 7, b. Iowa,
parents birthplace unknown
1920 U.S. Census, Granville twp., Putnam co.,
Age 17, continues to live with Elmer & Belle
1923 Knox College, IL - Dudley is listed as a student
in the school directory
1930 U.S. Census, Chicago, Cook co., Illinois
Dudley C. Leighton, HOH, renting, age 27, married,
Ernesta B. Leighton, wife, age 27, married, b. N.H.,
1930 U.S Census, Chicago, Cook co., Illinois
Dudley & Ernesta have a 5 y/odaughter, Iona Belle
Leighton. Census also indicates he completed 4 yrs of
Delayed Birth Certificate - 1942
Orin Dudley Peck Leighton
Born North McGregor, Clayton county, Iowa on Dec. 29,
Mother: Minnie Peck.
Basis of knowledge for the answers on the form:
Information from certified copy of Adoption Decree.
Signed Martha McCord (relationship - none), Sept. 9,
1942, Polk co., Iowa
Additional records indicate he went by Dudley Orin
Leighton as an adult.
Texas Death certificate (ancestry)
Dudley Orin Leighton died July 17, 1975 in Houston,
Harris co., Texas. Usual residence: Palm Harbor,
Pinellas co., FL. DOB: 12/29/1902 in Iowa. Father:
Elmer A. Leighton. Mother: Isabell (Oysten) Leighton.
Occupation: Salesman. Married. Cremated.
Among the indictments brought by the
Grand Jury at its recent session was one against Fred Roeben,
who lived near Motor. He was indicted on the charge of
raping his own daughter. His wife died last Spring,
leaving a family of ten children. The county authorities
have taken charge of the children.
Mrs. Hettie R. Gage, assistant superintendent of the
American Home Finding Association, has been in town this
week, making arrangements to take the Raben
[sic] children to the home.
~Elkader Register, Thursday, January 18, 1906. More about the Roeben children
About ten o'clock last Tuesday night, Roy
Haywood, a boy of about 15 years, ran away from
the home of Wm. Roach, who lives about three miles west
of Elkader, and made his way to Elkader, where he hunted
up Sheriff Dittmer and asked for protection from those
who had promised to make a home for him. For about two
years the boy has made his home with the Roach family
having been placed with them by an Orphans' Home Finding
Society of Ottumwa. The boy is a pitiable looking object.
He wore only a shirt and overalls and shoes no underwear
or stockings. His overalls are so badly torn as to
scarcely cover him. On his body are marks which bear out
his story of cruelty inflicted upon him. His right eye is
still bruised, caused, so he says, by a blow inflicted by
a club in the hands of Roach over six weeks ago and which
the boy says deprived hi of his sight for several days.
On his leg are to be seen now the marks of pitchfork
tines inflicted over a year ago and neighbors tell this
morning of knowing when they were made upon him. His lip
is scarred and swollen by having been thrown against a
manger for not watering the horses according to the
orders of his master. The boy is polite and fairly
bright, although he says he has been to school but a
little time since bound out. Of lack of food he does not
complain seriously although he says that last winter he
sucked eggs because he did not get enough to eat and was
badly punished when caught at it.
Sheriff Dittmer kept the boy over night and this morning
took hi down town and provided him with a new outfit of
clothes and will take care of him until his future is
determined. County Attorney Geske will investigate the
boy's story and communicate with the society which has
him in charge. This is not the first case of this nature
to occur in this county and it is time that a stop be
made to this system of peonage. The Societies which
provide these hoes for the children seem to think that
their full duty is performed when they placed them and
make no further effort to look after or keep in touch
with them. The boy says he never has been visited by a
representative of the society and that so far as he knows
they have no further interest in him. Brutality and
inhuman treatment such as the frail body of this boy is
evidence of, and should not be tolerated in a civilized
community and it is surprising that neighbors who must
have known of it have not reported it.
~Elkader Argus, Wednesday, August 14, 1907; pg 5
Miss Amelia Pickering, of Cedar Rapids, agent for the
Ottumwa Orphans' Home Finding Society, was in town
yesterday, looking after the affairs of Ray
Greenwood [sic], the boy who ran away from the
Roach home. We understand that she made a satisfactory
settlement of the boy's interests with Mr. Roach, who
declares he has been misrepresented in the matter.
~Elkader Register, Thusday, August 22, 1907
Mrs. Pickering, of Marshalltown, agent for the Orphans'
Home Finding Society, of Ottumwa, who was called here to
look after the case Roy Haywood, the boy
who ran away from the Roach home, has found a new home
for the boy and placed him with the family of Wm.
Weymouth, of Wagner township. Mr. Roach paid the lady's
expenses in coming here to look up the master.
Mrs. Pickering was rather indignant about the condition
of affairs regarding the waife, as she found them, and as
a result of her trip she expects that hereafter the
society will take better care of the children and keep in
close touch with them. She departed Saturday, taking with
her two other children who had been placed in this
vicinity and will find new homes for them.
~Elkader Argus, Wednesday, August 28, 1907
(Note: the other 2 children were not named)
Research Notes for Roy Haywood - The
1910 U.S. census, Jackson, Lucas co. IA enumerates 19
y/o Roy Haywood, single, born Iowa, living in the
household of Claude & Catharine Fierce working as
a hired hand / laborer.
Mrs. Pickering, representative of the
Children's Home at Ottumwa, was in the city Friday,
taking the three children of Len Adams,
ranging in age, three, six and eight years old, to the
institution. - from the McGregor News
~Elkader Register and Argus, Thursday, March 26,
Mrs. Amelia Pickering, a representative of the Home
Finding Association, came here last week on request of
Lensford Adams, and took his three
children to the Home at Ottumwa.
~North Iowa Times, Thursday, March 26, 1908, pg
5 (Local News column)
Sheriff Bergemeyer, County Attorney
Davidson and Clerk M.G. Hagensick went to McGregor Friday
to attend court before Judge Springer of New Hampton, who
sent Irene Gertrude Tiffany, 6 years
old, Bernice Tiffany 4 years old, and Alice
Tiffany 2 years old, the children of Joe
Tiffany, who is an inmate of the county home, to the Iowa
Childrens' Home Society in Des Moines.
~Elkader Register, Thursday, July 11, 1918
Genevieve Rose Tiffany (born May 7,
1918) was ordered by the court to be given into the
custody of the American Home Finding Ass'n at Ottumwa,
~Elkader Register, November 7, 1918 (court
records column, juvenile hearings)
- Joseph Tiffany, age 48, a butcher, and Ellen
(Attwood) Tiffany were married for the 2nd time in
Elkader May 18, 1902. Ella died 3/11/1907. According
to her obit she 1st was married to W.H. Bowers &
they had a son and 2 daughters (Merrill Bowers, Mrs.
Orpha Rogers & Mrs. Ora Longfield). She married
Joe Tiffany for the 1st time in 1888 and they must
have divorced some time after then remarried: Elkader
Argus 5/21/1902 "Joseph Tiffany and his
former wife, Ella Tiffany, were re-united in marriage
Monday by Justice Hofer."
- Joseph Tiffany, a widower, and Nettie Stone, age
24, were married in Guttenberg May 4, 1911. Nettie
most likely was the mother of the 3 daughters taken
to the orphan home in Des Moines. Joe & Nettie
also had another daughter, Geneveve Rose, b.
5/7/1918, reported in the Elkader Register
- Joseph Tiffany, age 57, was enumerated on the 1920
U.S. census living in Oelwein, Fayette co., IA. He is
shown to be a widower, b. NY, occupation 'fish
monger' & owning a fish shop. He is living in a
lodging home with several others.
-The 1920 U.S. Census, Le Roy, Mower co., MN
enumerated a Nettie Tiffany, age 32, divorced, b. IA
living with her brother Fred Curtin, a widower, and
his 2 young daughters. Unknown if this is the same
Nettie who married Joe Tiffany.
- Genevieve Rose Tiffany Wald Taylor, b. 5/7/1918,
was adopted by Clarence R. & Caroline Wald.
(1925, 1930 & 1940 U.S. census) SSDI = d.
11/24/2001, Ft. Worth, TX
A baby boy was brought to the Harry
Wiethorn home last Wednesday, from the American
Home Finding Association at Ottumwa. The baby is seven
months old and has already won the hearts of its new
parents. He is a bright little fellow that has fallen
into a good home. May he be a blessing to them.
~Monona Leader, Thursday, January 14, 1932; pg 5
Notes - Baptism Records of St. Paul
Lutheran, Monona (ancestry.com database)
record the baptism of Ronald
William Wiethorn, born
06/15/1931, adopted at Ottumwa, IA,
baptised 2/12/1932; adoptive parents
Harry Wiethorn & Ella Kaiser;
sponsors William Wiethorn & Mathilda
-Wartburg College, Waverly, IA, Fortress
Yearbook, 1950: photo of Ronald Wiethorn
-Ronald died 08/29/2007 & is buried
in All Saints of the Desert Church
cemetery, Sun City, AZ; Gravestone
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ewing and Ira Moore
motored to Davenport Saturday. Mr. and Mrs. Ewing brought
back a three months old baby girl from the Soldiers
Orphan Home which they have adopted. They have named the
little miss Betty Lou.
~Volga City News, September 14, 1932
The five sons of George and Marguerite Frye
of Clayton, who had been deserted by their parents, were
placed in the custody of the Lutheran Home Finding
society in Fort Dodge. ~Clayton County Register,
October 25, 1939
- George & Marguerite V. (McGill) Frye
- 1930 U.S. Census, Clayton co. IA: Frye, George -
HOH, age 29, 1st marriage at age 28, born WI,
occupation: fisherman & Frye, Margurite - wife,
age 14, 1st marriage at age 13, born Iowa. There are
no children in the household. Next door neighbors are
Ray & Nellie McGill and children. Margurite's
- Found on an Ancestry tree. Names, dates &
adopted surname's of the sons should be independently
Theodore D. (1932) - adopted name Grell; Robert
(1934) - adopted name Tietz; James M. (1935) -
adopted name Grell; Paul L. (1936) - no further
information & un-named sibling (possibly deceased
or still living)