Saturday, August 28, 2010

1860's Disorderly Boys in Mobile, Alabama

MOBILE REGISTER AND ADVERTISER, January 28, 1862, p. 3, c. 1

Disorderly Boys.—A frequenter of the Mayor's Court becomes familiar not only with the fact that there are a great many very ill-behaved children in town, but that they are agglomerated in certain nuclei. There, for instance, is the wharf gang, or rather there used to be, but it is nearly broken up at present, though a rat is occasionally dragged out from under a tarpaulin. The present want of shelter, however, on the wharves has scattered these, and we believe they have associated themselves mostly with the Royal street gang, which latter, we are sorry to say, claim to be in some manner connected with the press, though they are not all Israel who are of Israel.

These, as a general thing, belong nowhere in particular, but there are others, the numbers of which are supposed to have homes and parents. We often meet a set of them crowding the street corners, and frequently quarrelling with negroes of their own age. The police have once had occasion to notice their pranks, perhaps oftener. A house in their neighborhood being recently vacated for a few weeks, they broke some two dozen panes of glass in the upper windows with brick bats and oyster shells before the proprietor could find a new tenant.

We are glad to see that a movement has been made looking towards the establishment of a House of Refuge or of Correction. This might furnish a permanent home for the first two classes, and an occasional retreat for the last, if their parents cannot take care of them. But there is another class whom no such institution is likely to benefit. Their dress is very respectable, but we cannot say that their address is either respectable or respectful to persons who occasionally encounter them at the street corner which they chiefly frequent. A few mornings ago we observed some obscenity which they had chalked in very legible style in front of one of the principal churches of the city. If their parents do not take them in hand, we fear that their prospect of becoming either useful or ornamental members of society is quite dubious.


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