was written to the U.S. Children’s
Bureau. Bureau officials responded by enlisting a Boston investigator
to gather whatever information existed about the man’s adoption.
Further details can be found in
Elizabeth A. Lee to Katharine F. Lenroot, August 6, 1931.
My dear Miss Abbott:—
I can not remember just what year I was born but I am told two
dates one is the 15th of June 1899 and the other is the 8th 1894
but I think I can remember far back enough to feel that it must
have been 1894. A Mr. and Mrs. Fred L. Beckwith, of Boston, Mass.
was all the Mother and Father I knew of untill I returned from France
where I won the HONORS of an American soldier.
I have never been told anything only that they were my Father and
Mother. He left us in about April 1902 when my baby sister was three
or four months old. then she, Mother, was very mean to me. She beat
me, made me steal and never allowed me to go to school. I have had
only three months school in all my life. At the age of about 13
she swore that I was older and put me in a factory to work then
I went into Cramps Ship Building Works in Philadelphia, Pa., where
we then lived and worked until about 18 years of age. then would
have to work all week and then come home on Saturday at noon and
wash and then spend my Sunday at the Iron ironing the wash for the
week, and clean up the house. I dare not go out not even to Church.
I can truthfully say that my Mother never Kissed me or put her arms
about my neck as I have seen other boys Mothers do. She has blacked
my eyes and beat me until I did not know anything and then put me
in a dark room. she passed out about ten years ago I burried her
and now I still say that up to that time she never kissed me or
loved me a time in my life.
Now, Miss Abbott, I am human and maybe to much that way for I am
still at 36 longing for MY REAL MOTHER TO JUST ONE TIME PUT HER
ARMS ABOUT MY NECK AND KISS ME. She is still living and Mr. Beckwith
in Boston, the man that made me think he was my Father will not
tell me who or where SHE IS. NOW I ASK YOU WHAT HAVE I DID AS A
CHILD TO BRING this on myself. I had nothing to do with my coming
into the world but yet afor 36 long years I have lived all ALONE
without a MOTHERS LOVE FOR HER SON, and GOD KNOWS I LOVE HER WHOEVER
SHE AND WHATEVER SHE MAY CHANCE TO BE. SHE BROUGHT ME INTO THIS
WORLD and I am an Ex-Salvation Army Officer and a male Nurse and
I have been called out at nights to bring babies into the world
and I think I know just a little bit of what a woman goes through
to bring a son or daughter into the world.
Can you not see Miss Abbott, I am not trying to be unkind to you
but GOD KNOWS MY HEART IN BEING EAT OUT WITH LONESOMENESS FOR A
MOTHER LOVE. . . .
E. L. Beckwith, Capt.