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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, February 13, 1913, Image 6

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-02-13/ed-1/seq-6/

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One of the most painful stories
ever told in Chicago can be found
in the official reports of the
United Charities on the case of
Mrs. Margaret Ustech and her
five children.
December 13 last, two of Mrs.
Ustech's children and the infant
of a Mrs. Mastidies were asphyx
iated in a ramshackle building in
the rear at 828 Ewing street in
'the rear of the Firman house and
the Ewing street congregational
Both Mrs. Ustech and Mrs.
Ewing at that time were in the
hands of organized charity, and
this is the story of how that came
about and how the children came
to their death.
Two years ago, Mrs. Ustech's
husband, Elfin Ustech, became in
sane. He was put in Dunning
asylum. Mrs. Ustech was left
alone with four children.
One of her neighbors told the
United Charities that she and her
children were starving, June 1,
1911. The northwestern office of
the organization sent an expert
to report on the "case" that day.
The expert of the United Char
ities reported that it was true that
Mrs. Ustech and her children
were starving. Four other ex
perts, several volunteers and two
physicians made investigations of
the case. All reported the family
The experts began their inves
tigation the first week in June.
Thousands of words were writ
ten oi "the case." And the ex
perts and stenographers drew
their salaries.
June 27, four weeks after the
first report, Mrs. Ustech was
given one dollar. The expert
who gave her the dollar, also gave
her a lecture on "frugality, care
fulness and honesty." This lec
ture is recorded in the official re
ports of the United Charities.
Mrs. Ustech was boarded with
other poverty stricken families
and moved around the city until
her fifth chijd was about to be
born. She was put to work in
restaurants, sent to wash for the
United Charities own institution,
the Mary Crane nursery at $f a
day, scolded and knocked about
the city for eighteen months.
All this time the Mothers' Pen
sion law was in force. But Mrs.
Ustech was not informed of this
benificient act through which she
had a right to relief.
When Supt. Lies of the United
Charities was asked about this,
he said that he decided she was
not entitled to a pension. The
law says the juvenile court shall
decide who is entitled to pensions.
Thus it came about that Mrs.
Ustech, on December 13, 1912,
was forced to lock up four of her
children and the child of Mrs.
Mastiedes, who boarded with her,
in the shack at 828 Ewing, while
she herself went to the basement
of the Mary Crane . nursery to
wash the curtains of no less a per
son that Mrs. Firman, widow of a
Marshall Field & Co. department
For the United Charities made
no provision for the care of Mrs.

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