Father is Missing – July 21, 1912

100 years ago today, life could be harsh for poorer Milwaukeeans. The husband was the only one supporting the family and when he failed in his responsibilities, the rest of the family were in dire circumstances. This case

Milwaukee Sentinel July 21, 1912


Loaf of Stale Bread Is Food of Family of Six for Two Days With Mother Ill.


Police Now Searching for August Grabowski for Second Time on Abandonment Charge.

“The Milwaukee police department got me once, but they will never again. I was foolish enough to let them nab me, but I am too wise for them now,” said August Grabowski, 675 Sixth avenue, as he left his wife and five children destitute for the second time and started for his present hiding place.

The Grabowski case came again to the attention of Supt. Spindler of the county poor department on Friday and is one of the most pitiable that the department has ever found in Milwaukee. Poverty stricken and nearly starved, Mrs. Julia Grabowski, who is in poor health, was found trying to comfort her children in the little, damp basement rooms that they occupied.

Live on Stale Loaf.

For several days the mother and her five children, Mary, 9 years old; Frances, 7 years old; Anna, 5 years old; Amelia, 3 years old, and Stacy, 2 years old, had lived on one loaf of stale bread.

When the landlord went to the place to collect $5 due for rent he found the entire family in bed and only a single crust of bread in the house. Not knowing where to go for assistance, the woman had lived in her destitute condition and when the landlord came he had to force open the door. Mr. Spindler was called at once and he is now taking care of the family.

This is the second time that Grabowski has left his family. On April 15, last year, he took with him the savings of the family and left without a word to his wife. He went to Columbus, O., where he enlisted in the United States army. His company was sent to Fort Bliss, El Paso, Tex., where he was arrested by Detective Hammes for abandonment.

Draws Two Weeks’ Pay.

He was brought back to Milwaukee on Nov. 8, in full army regalia, and was sent to the house of correction for five months. When released he went to work and supported his family for three months.

Drawing two weeks’ pay, all that he had coming, on July 10 Grabowski went to his home and put on his best clothing. He then told his wife that he was going away and that the Milwaukee police would not be wise enough to find him. A warrant charging the man with abandonment was sworn out on Saturday.

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