During the Civil War, Chaplain Sends Homeless Children to His Hometown

Chaplain's hometown opens hearts and doors to 300 homeless children during the Civil War.

| Good Old Days

The older folks in our church like to re-tell the Civil War story told them by their grandparents. On a cold winter's morning in 1862, Reverend Albert Hale had just finished his sermon when he was handed a note. He read it, then banged shut his hymnal. "Women," he said, "go home, start the fires in your cookstoves and start cooking for 300 homeless children who arrived in our city this morning. Men, get ready to deliver food and clothing as soon as it is ready."

A Chaplain Springer of the 10th Cavalry, whose hometown was Springfield, Illinois, had rounded up 50 children near the warfare border in Arkansas, put them on the train and sent them to the folks back home for safekeeping. But at every stop, the train took on more children.

That Sunday afternoon the menfolk and their pastor were busy driving up and down the village streets with rigs and wagons, delivering the hot food, warm clothing and loaned bedding. From door to door they went. By night every one of those 300 children was lovingly sheltered in the chaplain's hometown.

Matilda McLaren
Springfield, Illinois

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then CAPPER’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from CAPPER’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community. 

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