Monday, June 14, 2010

The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls







The Berachah Industrial Home for the Redemption of Erring Girls sounds ugly, but the cemetery that is connected with this home is in a pretty park, plush green grass and shady trees. The history of the place is a sample of what life could be at the turn of the century.

The cemetery is located on the campus of UTA (University of Texas at Arlington), but is hidden at the north edge of Doug Russell Park. The names that are on the stones are Infant No, 1, Infant No. 2 and so on. There are some stones that list only the first names of the child, George, Emma or Mary. You see, the babies are mostly the result of unwed mothers living at the home. Some graves are of mothers that died in childbirth.

Rev. James Tony Upchurch founded this home to save these wild girls (how about the boys?). He believed that mother and child should not be separated so he saw to it that the girls learned a trade such as sewing or nursing. After they acquired a trade they could leave and start their lives. They could also stay if they wanted as there was plenty to do at the home. The school had 67 acres, 10 buildings, its own hospital, barn and chapel.

According to some documents the girls were happy. They found meaningful work and everyone there understood their circumstances.
After all Berachah is Hebrew for blessing.

6 comments:

Dorene from Ohio said...

Such an interesting post!

Cindy Bergeron Scherwinski said...

Terrific post - it was not what I expected! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post and always nice to have a happy ending.

Cindy

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catherineD said...

Histories of places like this, or Chino's Junior Republic really interest me - in fact, I did my dissertation on one of the schools in the Junior Republic Movement. There is so much that is important in history that we leave out, always imagining that every part of what we have today is superior to every part of yesterday...

John I. Blair said...

This site is in my neighborhood, not half a mile from here. When my son (now 42) was young, he and I explored it more than once, back when it was still buried deep in brush and weeds and unprotected by a fence. Like finding something completely unknown. The tiny chapel was still standing then, since torn down as an "attractive nuisance" that drew drunks and drug users. This blog is a wonderful way to remember it and let others know more about it.

Linda said...

These girls were happy, indeed! The Reverend JT Upchurch made certain of this. I have been to Special Collections at UTA and observed the journal entries. Most of these young ladies were raped or: " Wrecked" as the entries state...By a family member, then shipped off when deemed pregnant. James Tony Upchurch was a savior to many young women for years that span close to 50.

A Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits