Thursday, March 26, 2015

Newspaper Tidbit: Cared for at Almshouse (Edith Davis)

Evening Star (Washington, DC)
7 March 1898


Mrs. Edith Davis, the elderly woman from Brentsville, Prince William county, Va., who came here looking for a home and landed in the Police Court Thursday, as published in The Star at the time, is being cared for at the almshouse.  Judge Kimball has received an anonymous letter concerning the woman, a ticket to her home and $1 being inclosed.  A letter from a resident of Brentsville, also received by Judge Kimball, gave the information that the writer did not remember the woman.  It is the court's desire to send her to some place in Virginia where there is a charitable institution, as she belongs in that state, but he has not determined what action would be proper.  The day she surrendered to the police she declared she would not return home.

Evening Star
3 March 1898


A little old woman got off an Alexandria ferry boat yesterday afternoon and inquired for the  nearest police station.  She was directed to the fourth precinct, on E street, southwest, where she afterward appeared and made known the object of her visit to this city.  To Sergeant Smith she gave her name as Edith Davis, and said she had come here for the purpose of getting a home.  The sergeant found that she could  not get in the almshouse, as she is a non-resident.

"The only thing I can do," he explained to her, "is to take you to court, and you may have to go to the workhouse."

"Anywhere," she said.  "All that I want is a home."

Although her appearance indicated that she is not far from seventy years old, she declares she will not be forty-eight until the 29th of next July.  This morning she was in the Police Court on a charge of vagrancy.  She said she had walked from Brentsville, Prince William county, Va., to Alexandria, and had paid 10 cents to come over on a ferry boat.  She starred from Brentsville last Friday, she said, and people in the county were kind enough to feed her and give her lodgings.

For several years, she says, she has lived from house to house.  She refuses to return home, and the court committed her to give time to communicate with the woman's friends in Virginia.

[If Edith Davis had, indeed, been 48 years of age at the time of this incident, she would have been born 29 July 1851. ~cgl]

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