Priest collecting Belgian orphans for homes in America
By John H. Hearley, United Press Staff Correspondent
The Washington Reporter,
May 12, 1916,
Paris, May 12 -- Wanted 1,500 Belgian war orphans. This is America's latest appeal to battle-scarred Flanders.
Rev. John B. de Ville of Chicago to is heralding it through Albert's tiny kingdom. The Belgian-American alliance commissioned the Illinois clergyman to the task. Reports of his progress have reached the French capital.
Father de Ville personally is rounding up the great throng of youngsters. Boys and girls, ranging from 2 and 3 to 13 years, are his quest.
Belgians and Belgian-Americans, living in the states, have supplied him with the names and probable whereabouts of orphaned nephews, nieces and grand-children. All now are waiting to gather the motherless and fatherless chicks under the peaceful shelter of their own wings.
Not a few "unhyphenated" Americans are also parties to the charitable enterprise.
The clergyman's searches are taking him into city and hamlet. Everywhere he is forced to foot his way into avenue or by road. War denies him the luxury of either horse or automobile. Fifteen, sixteen, even twenty miles he covers in a single day.
Very short and very stout he pulls along with much effort; but with good old Yankee cheerfulness he makes the best of it.
Railroad and ship tickets for the brood already are provided. Father de Ville in person will escort the 1,500 children to America. Afterwards, he will supervise their adoption, for the most part in the south and west.
Wartime works of mercy are not new to Father de Ville. Some months ago he placed 600 Belgian war orphans in childless American homes. Previously he had settled a colony of Belgian farmers and their families in the states.