“We are not of those who believe that on account of a difference of political views competent and trustworthy men should be discharged from appointive offices upon the election of opposition officers. The ability to discharge the duties of an office, the willingness to do so, and the integrity of the man, should outweigh all political considerations. These are the qualifications that are necessary for minor appointive officers, but for those who have the care of eleemosynary institutions, in addition to these traits of character, the man should be patient and forbearing, and kind and humane to those under his charge. Last spring out visit to the Infirmary revealed a carelessness which an exposure remedied. We are informed that the present Superintendent, Mr. Jeffords, desires to have a re-appointment at the hands of the new Board of Infirmary Directors. Waiving the fact that his re-appointment would be construed as an endorsement of his statement in contradiction to the facts which we published last spring, and which we can substantiate by testimony, there is a greater objection. While visiting the Children’s Home recently, we met an intelligent little orphan, who tearfully told us what follows:
“The little girl, Mary Jane Ramsey, aged nine years, said, with tears in her eyes, ‘My father died when I was five years of age, and my mother died at the poor house about a month ago.’ ‘Where did you live before going to the poor house?’ ‘We lived between Sciotoville and Wheelersburg.’ ‘Did you like to stay in the Infirmary?’ ‘No, mam, I did not like to stay in the Infirmary. I was out of the Infirmary part of the time. I helped Mrs. Dement, on Pond Creek for awhile. The old lady had the rheumatism. I staid at Lotell’s awhile.’ ‘Why did you not like the Infirmary?’ ‘I did not like to stay with crazy folks. I had clean beds and plenty to eat, and Mr. Jeffords treated me well when my mother lived, but after she died he did not treat me near so well.’ ‘What was his treatment of you after she died?’ ‘He just abused me more than he did before. He was naturally cross to me. He was not only cross to me, but to all the children.’ ‘What is your treatment now?’ ‘First rate. The matron tells me to behave, be a good girl, and do right, and all will be right.'”
“‘He whipped Ellen Pool, a while before my mother died, and she showed us the welts on her back. Mrs. Pool has a two year old infant1 at the Home now, and that was the little boy you saw in the nursery. I saw the welts on Ellen’s back the next day afterwards, and they never left her for a week. I was in the room, and saw them every night.’ Here little Mary Jane wiped away the tears that were chasing each other down her cheeks. ‘I don’t want to go back there any more but once, and that is to see little Katie.’ Little Katie2 is the infant babe of one of the inmates of the poor house. Mary Jane is an intelligent little girl, and can read in the fourth reader.”
“We have given her story just as she told it, with two little boys about years of age sitting by and confirming it. She told it in tears; tears that were brightened with a happy look when she would speak of her treatment at the Home. If the story she tells is true, that the present Superintendent whipped a female inmate of the Infirmary with his buggy whip, he should not only never be reappointed, but he deserves to be discharged at once. We know Mr. Smith and Mr. Vaughters, the present Infirmary Directors, to be kind hearted gentlemen, and we believe that they should inquire into this matter, and if it proves true, Mr. Jeffords should be given an endless leave of absence.”3
- The Record of Inmates notes that the child was born July 8, 1872.
- In the Record of Inmates is noted an infant, Katie Steagall being born in the Infirmary to a Rachel Steagall in April of 1874. Scioto County records of birth indicates that a Catherine was born in 1874 to Rachel Stegall and Joseph Abshire of Washington Township, Scioto County, Ohio.
- Not the man for the position. (1874, November 14). Portsmouth Times, p. 3.