Brittany Porter Porter 1 English 1010
July 9 12
Mary Ellen’s story as depicted on pages 133-136 is the true story of Mary Ellen mc Cormack a little girl Who’s trial prompted the child abuse laws we have today. Her case also led to the creation of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Mary Ellen suffered physical abuse for years at the hands of her abusive adopted mother. “In 1874 there were no laws protecting children from physical abuse from their parents”. It was an era of “spare the rod and spoil the child” as quoted from Markel’s essay. (Markel)
Mary Ellen Wilson was born to Francis and Thomas Wilson in New York City. Her father was a union solider and was killed during battle in Virginia and was never able to meet his daughter. Due to her father’s death her mother was forced to work double shifts as a laundress in a New York hotel. Mary Ellen was sent to a woman who would care for her for a weekly fee. However shortly before her 2nd birthday she was sent to the New York department of charities after her mother was fired and unable to pay for her daughters’ board. The department of charities placed Mary Ellen with Mary and Thomas McCormack, though the proper paperwork was never filed. Thomas McCormack died suddenly after the Adoption leaving his widow to immediately remarry Francis Connolly.
It is unclear exactly when the abuse started but it was first reported by neighbors shortly after Mary and her new husband moved into an apartment on west 41 street. A church missionary named Etta Wheeler approached Mrs. Connolly about helping to care for an ailing neighbor to have a look in the...
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