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Mishap led mother to abandon baby at courthouse

120 years ago, 1902

Taken directly from the Youngstown Vindicator.

“Peculiar mishap caused the mother of the courthouse baby to desert her child. Thought it was the order of the court — mother and child reunited.

“In a mental condition bordering distraction, Miss Szuzsana Nagy, the unfortunate mother of the babe which was left in the courthouse Friday and supposed to have been deserted, called at the office of attorney Mike Livingstone late yesterday.

“Between hysterical sobs, she told the attorney that the babe had been taken from her by the cruel law and applied to him for assistance in recovering it.

“Like everyone else interested in the trial of the case in which Miss Nagy figured as the complaining witness, attorney Livingstone was under the impression that the girl had inhumanely deserted the child in a moment of angry disappointment when she was informed that her betrayer, the child’s father, refused to comply with the order of the court and pay her the money necessary to provide for it.

“Such was not the case, however. Miss Nagy left the little one at the courthouse because she supposed it was the order of the court that she do so. She explained to Livingstone that it was her understanding of the matter if Molens paid her $250 in compliance with the order of the court, she was to take the child and care for it.

“But, in the event that he did not pay the money, then he (Molens) must take and provide for the little one. When she was informed yesterday morning that Molens refused to pay over the money and instead had decided to go to jail for 90 days, she took the statement to mean that she must leave her babe with him.

“(When he explained) her mistake to her, the little woman, scarcely over 18 years of age, fairly screamed with joy. She was so overjoyed at the thought of recovering possession of the little one that she could not express herself. Livingstone communicated with the matron of the Children’s Home, explained matters to her, and was told that if the young woman came after it, she might have the child. It is needless to say that she lost no time in starting.

“Friends of the young woman told the attorney that she went from the courthouse to the home of friends in Brier Hill yesterday morning. She was in a hysterical state when she reached them.

“It was several hours before she regained self-composure sufficiently to tell these friends what became of her child. As soon as she did so, she was directed to go to the attorney, which she did with the result stated.”

• Compiled from the archives of The Vindicator by Traci Manning, Mahoning Valley Historical Society curator of education

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