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Sisters of Charity

In 1817 the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum was founded by the Sisters of Charity. They were established and organized by Elizabeth Ann Seton, the co-founder of the Society for the Reilfe of Poor Widows. New York City's first Catholic orphanage was a small wooden building on Prince street. In 1826 a brick building was built to house the 150 orphans now living with the Sisters. In 1830 another building was erected to house the half-orphans (children with one surviving parent) in the care of the Sisters.

The Sisters of Charity were well known for their efforts during New York's cholera epidemic of 1832. By the late 1840s children under 15 made up almost 1/3 of New York City's population. Swarms of children lived on the streets. In 1853 a Truancy Law was passed which allowed police to arrest vagrant children between the ages of 5 and 14. Many of these children were made wards of the state and put into orphan asylums.

Orphans in the Sisters of Charity Orphan Asylum, New York City, 14-WD, 13 ED, New York in the 1860 Census taken on 25 June

This list of orphan names is now found at http://www.rootsweb.com/~ote/orphans/sistersofcharityp1.htm

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