In the 1905 NY Census viewed at the Westchester, NY Archives, I found five of my grandfather’s (Harry Nunn) siblings at St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, NY – Emma Nunn, Emilie Nunn, Joseph Nunn, Katie Nunn and George Nunn. There, also, I found a 1946 doctoral dissertation by Sister M. Jane Thomas Gorman, FMSC on St. Joseph’s Home. I learned from that dissertation that this home began in 1879 when the New York Department of Public Welfare requested the Franciscan Missionary Sisters accept orphans at their property in Peekskill, NY. During the mid-1800s many children lacked family support. By 1899 St. Joseph’s was similar to a small city housing 1,100 residents. The nuns at St. Joseph’s offered traditional education, becoming one of the first institutions to be placed under the New York State Regents, as well as technical training, carpentry, sewing, shoemaking, etc. According to the “Notice of Discharge, Transfer, Home, or Death,” document, Harry had been placed on a farm in Middletown, N.J. on May 12, 1904.
In 1979 an arson fire destroyed the buildings, and the school was taken down in 1980. However, the Franciscan Missionary Sisters continue to have a small office in Peekskill, and therein are where the records of the Department of Public Charities Out-Door Poor children are kept. I am forever thankful that the Sisters keep these archives safe and shared the documents with me.
Harry Nunn - 1950s