Wilkinson family


Half of the Wilkinson Family Ill.  One Cripple, One Blind

Two small, illy covered beds for the accommodation of a family of nine people, seven sick children, a father and a blind, feeble mother, is the picture which greets the visitor at the Wilkinson home, a little house at the corner of Eighth street and Norfolk avenue. Surrounded by the most sickening destitution, their breath freezing up inside the home because of the cold, no carpets to take away the chill of the cold, damp floors, and but one tiny stove to heat the building that is the situation mildly told.

Young Wilkinson, a youth of eighteen and a cripple, who had been employed in a livery stable, was yesterday taken sick along with the other children of the family and is today flat on his back. A little 15-year-old girl does, or tries to do, all of the housework, while the blind, helpless mother is ill on one of the beds. Some of the children sleep on the floor. The family is in sore need of bedding. Blankets, quilts or comforters would find a warm welcome these cold nights, as would also an old rug or so, for the floors. “I have worked every day that I could get work,” said the father, Wilkinson, today.                               Source: The Norfolk Weekly News.Journal, Fri. Feb. 10, 1905, page 2.


Wilkinson Family Intend to Remain a Charge Upon the Public

An effort has been made on the part of Mayor Hazen and others to induce members of the Wilkinson family, corner Eighth street and Norfolk avenue, to become inmates of the county poor farm at Battle Creek. And the Wilkinsons, despite their admitted destitution, have refused to go over the hills to the poor house for a single minute. Not they. The family has been a charge upon the public for some time. During the cold snap, when the children were suffering through no fault of their own, the inability of the father to provide for them was overlooked in the one aim to prevent their suffering. But this does not end their poverty, there is no charitable society in Norfolk and there is a poor farm where they might go and be taken care of. They refuse to either take care of themselves or to take advantage of the latter alternative.                                                                                 Source: The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Fri. Feb. 10, 1905, page 3.


Mother Blind and Little Children Suffering From the Cold

A pitiable condition of poverty and suffering was reported yesterday to the police from the Wilkinson home, corner Eighth street and Norfolk avenue, and in response coal and food were ordered sent to the place. The reports came from neighbors and others who had noted the exceedingly destitute condition of the place. Upon investigation it was found that the mother, Mrs. Wilkinson, was blind and was suffering from the cold. A large number of small children, with scarcely enough to keep them warm, huddled near a little stove in an attempt to keep warm. This case has been repeatedly reported to societies, charitably inclined and on a number of occasions assistance has been granted. The father lives in the city and one son is employed in a livery stable.       Source: The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Fri. Feb. 10, 1905, page 3.

Editors notes: In the same issue of the paper as the above items an article about the family was found that carried no headlines. The item was found within all the other items in that column of news.

The Wilkinson family, housed at the corner of Eighth street and Norfolk avenue, have for the past three days been “at home” to an unusual number of visitors. In fact a regular reception, somewhat informal in its nature and to which those came who had not received engraved invitations, has been held. The Wilkinson family is the household whose destitution attracted attention last week and as a result of that attention dozens of kind hearted and charitably inclined Norfolk people have seen to it that the suffering in that home was relieved. Beds, and bedspreads, quilts and comforters, rugs and clothing, flour and bread have been among the list of articles ordered sent to the place, and great joy has been brought into the home as a result.       Source: The Norfolk Weekly News-Journal, Fri. Feb. 10, 1905, page 7