By Jennings Michael Burch

By Jennings Michael Burch
Jennings Michael Burch of Brewster, New
York, was born on April 27, 1941.
He died January 15, 2013.
He was the son of the late Francis and Rita
(Hogan) Burch.
He lived in Chappaqua, New York, for 20 years
before moving to Brewster, New York, in
Mr. Burch married Susan Elmer on August 24,
He has a son Jeremy Walter Michael Burch, a
daughter Kelly Burch Pickow (Ward), and two
grandchildren Matthew and Ashley.
He was predeceased by his parents and his
siblings Joseph, James, John, Jerome, Gene,
and Maryanne.
Mr. Burch worked as a theater manager for a
number of years.
He was a New York City Officer for 10 years.
He took a leave of absence from the force to
join Bob Dylan’s “Rolling Thunder Revue” in
In 1984 he wrote his autobiography, “They
Cage the Animals at Night.”
He was a devoted Yankee fan and cared
deeply for animals.
He was especially proud to be an American
and expressed a deep love of country.
Burch had been working on a sequel titled “It
Goes On”. It is unknown if he ever finished
the book.
Burch was often invited to visit schools and
talk about his book, his life, and what he
hoped that students would learn through
reading about his life experience.
Earn 10 points extra credit!!!
Watch the video interview at the following
web site:
Write a brief paragraph (5 – 7 sentences)
summarizing what you learned about the
This extra credit opportunity is available for
one week only – due date_____.
In 1900 there were close to 1,000 orphanages
throughout the country, housing perhaps
100,000 kids.
They sprang up in the early 1800’s as part of
an American Institutional building boom.
Orphanages were actually misnamed – at any
give time, no more than 10 to 20% of the
children in orphanages were actual orphans.
The institution created the clientele by its
admission decisions – kids with tubercular
parents, kids with poor parents, kids with
dead parents.
Conditions varied, but tended not to be good.
Many were highly regimented—children
marched to meals, which they ate in silence.
They wore uniforms and sometimes had their
heads shaved.
Corporal punishment was common, with
inmates routinely beaten across the hands
with leather straps.
The diet tended to be poor—they were
hungry all the time.
Orphanages often were dangerous.
The mortality rate was not much better than
on the streets.
Older, bigger, tougher kids preyed
mercilessly on younger, smaller inmates.
Some orphanages tried to teach children a
trade—boys worked in factories, or were
trained in plumbing, masonry, bricklaying,
steam fitting, and sign painting.
Girls worked in sewing rooms.
Some children were shipped to the midwest
on “orphan trains” to work as indentured
slaves (forced labor) on farms in exchange for
food and shelter.
By the early 1900’s, advocates of abolishing
orphanages began to push for keeping
children with their parents when possible,
and giving the parents aid – child welfare.
Children who had to be removed from their
families should be cared for by foster families
with provisions being made to pay those
foster families.
By 1920, 40 of the 48 states in the U.S. had
enacted child welfare programs.
Several historical events fueled the need for
assistance with child care, and many
orphanages remained open.
Orphanages also served as a place for
children who were waiting for a foster family.
1929 – 1939 – With The Great Depression, few
families were able to care for their own
children let alone others who were found
1939 – 1945 – During WWII many women
widowed or husbands disabled and unable to
work and care for children.
1948-1949 – Jennings enters an orphanage
for the first time.