Foreign Pupils at Shields School - 1903

Below I transcribe a news story that provides a brief bio of 7 primary school students who were born in foreign countries. Their pictures also appeared.  

The St. Louis Republic
27 Feb 1903, Page 7


By a Republic Photographer.


In the upper row, reading from left to right, are: Frank Sierawski, Bessie Soltz and William Bascino. Lower row: Rosie Capes, Tillie Buchman, Maggie Pillotzero and Fannie Laveritz.

Though born in countries where conditions are cramped for those who tread the humbler walks of life, little sons of Russia, Poland, etc., are quickly expanding intellectually amid the broad possibilities of their new American home. This is entertainingly demonstrated among the many alien pupils at St. Louis public schools and particularly at the Shields School.

Their bright faces tell the progress these little ones have made in acquiring the first essential to real American citizenship, namely, a sound English education.

The principal of tho Shields School, Doctor Joseph H. Foy, and the teachers praise the orderly conduct which the foreign children as a general rule observe in the classroom and also for the intelligence they display in their daily recitations.

The number of alien children In attendance at the school is large and constantly increasing. Those of Russian, Italian and Polish birth predominate. It is not uncommon for one teacher to have as many as ten nationalities represented in her class.

Frank Sierawski was born in Plocki, Russia, twelve years ago, and came to this country last year with his father and mother. To-day Frank can speak the language of his new country quite fluently; he also displays a talent for colored drawings and sketches.

Bessie Soltz was born in Russia In 1890. She has lived in the United States two and a half years, and during that time has learned to speak and write English very well. Bessie is also bright in arithmetic. Every two weeks this little girl writes a letter In English to her father, who Is working In Texas.

William Dascino is a child of sunny Italy. He came to this country eighteen months ago, being then 7 years old. He speaks and writes English quite well, but his parents do not speak the language of this country at all.

Rosie Capes Is 10 years old and was born In Poland. She has been in America four years and speaks the language of this country like a native. Bessie's father and mother speak English in a limited way.

Little Tillie Buchman is a Russian by birth, but has lived in this country three years. She is a bright child and her teacher praises her very highly.

Bright-eyed Maggie Pillotzero was born in Italy in 1891 and has been in the United States three years. Maggie leads her class in arithmetic and English.

Fannie Lascrovitz is 12 years old and has been in this country two years. She is a native of Poland, but when asked if she preferred to live in America rather than in Poland, she answered with a quick toss of her head that she did, most decidedly.

I tried to conduct some research on the children to see what happened to them.
  • Frank Sierawski in the 1940 census was a motor winder at an electrical manufacturing company, married, with four children.
  • There is a Bessie Soltz in the 1900 census, but she was born in 1883, and too old to be the student in this article.
  • I'm unable to find the Dascino family.
  • There is a Rosie Capes in the 1900 census at 1213 North 7th. If this is her, while the newspaper says Rosie Capes was from Poland, the census suggests she was born in England, and her parents Russia. 
  • Tillie Buchman was residing at 1122 North Eighth Street in 1900. I have not yet found any descendants, though I have traced the descendants of several of her siblings.
  • I'm unable to find the Pillotzero family. The spelling of the surname is likely incorrect in the article.
  • I'm unable to find either the Laveritz or Lascrovitz family. Fannie's surname is spelled both ways in the article, which suggests other possible typographical errors for the other families I can't find.


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