In my mind, there is nothing worse than child abuse. We are here to protect those weaker than us, not prey on them. According to an article in the New York Times, each day in the Unites States at least three children die from parental mistreatment. I was interested to learn about the first documented case of child abuse, Mary Ellen Wilson. Please stay with me even though this is a long blog. This is important information!
|Apartment in which Mary Ellen lived before rescue|
After finding the local authorities reluctant to act, Wheeler turned to a local advocate for the animal humane movement and the founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Henry Bergh. He made it clear that his work was as an individual and not part of his office of the ASPCA. However, he had powerful ties in the community which made people take the case seriously. Once he was involved, Mary Ellen was rescued from her home within forty-eight hours.
|Mary Ellen when rescued|
Mary Ellen was ten but malnutrition made her only the size of a five or six year old. Her face was blemished because the previous day Mrs. Connolly had slashed her with scissors. The child was carried into the courtroom wrapped in a blanket and screaming. She feared Mary Connolly would punish her for leaving the apartment. A policeman gave her a peppermint stick to calm her. Once she settled down, she revealed a horrific life.
|Mary Ellen after rescue|
Mary Ellen married at age twenty-four to Francis Schutt. He was a widower with three children. Together, they had two daughters, the first named Etta after Etta Angell Wheeler. They also adopted a daughter.
After her first ten years, Mary Ellen deserved all the happiness she found. She died in 1956 at age 92.
|Mary Ellen circa 1906|
Photos, Google commons except my cover, which was designed by Skhye Moncrief