Francis Joseph Hill
By guest Delores Jakubek:
My father Francis Xavier was born on or about August 19, 1889. He was left in the basket at the Foundling Hospital in New York City, run by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. No record of his parents is available.
At the age of 3, he was sent by train to Farley, Iowa. There he was taken in by the Irish Catholic James Hill family, who were good to him. Dad was fostered, not adopted, however he changed his name to Francis Joseph Hill. The Hills were farmers and Dad worked the farm also. He continued being a farmer throughout his life.
At that time, being an orphan was a shameful fact, and he was bullied in school for being one. It became so severe that he asked the Hill family to let him stay home at the end of third grade. From then on, Dad was self-taught.
He married my mother, Eda Kern, in 1918. At that time the orphan shame continued with him and he asked my mother not to tell anyone, not even us, their 8 children. After he died, we found out but none of us had heard of Orphan Trains. Thus our research began. How sad that we were never able to talk to Dad about his feelings and experiences through all this.