Cousin Here, However, Anxious to Help Benson Children.
Stranded Pair Now Detained at Ellis Island Will Find Home in Providence. If Boy Supporting Invalid Mother and Family Can Find Way

"Carl Benson of Providence," the uncle upon whom Bertha and John Benson, two child stowaways now detained by the immigration authorities at Ellis Island, are relying to get them back into the America they love, died last June.

He left a widow, who is an invalid, and four children, only one of whom is old enough to work. This one Ernest A., who is 19, would like to help his cousins, and provide a home for them. "But what can I do." He asked last night. "The load is heavy enough, as it is."

The stowaways have other relatives in Providence, however. An uncle, Aaron Calin, lives at 241 Ohio avenue. He did not want to discuss the future of his nephew and niece last night. Mrs. Calin did, however.

"Nothing doing," she said, when asked if she was going to take the children into her home. "I can't be bothered with them."

Mrs. Calin explained that she wasn't responsible for their plight, and said that her husband was only a half-uncle to the children, any way, having been a half-brother of their father.

Ernest, however, is determined that his cousins shall be cared for here, if any possible means can be found. He will not be able to help them himself, he says, as he is the sole support of his sister, two brothers and invalid mother, but he will urge Mr. Calin to take the children into his home. "I shall talk the matter over to-morrow with my uncle, and if he isn't willing to help them, I'll try to find somebody who is."

Carl Benson had been a painter here many years, and was a member of the Swedish Workingmen's Association. He died June 18. Ernest, who supports the family at 86 Corinth street, is clerk in a broker's office here.

The two children now being held by the immigration authorities at Ellis Island arrived in New York last Friday on the France and Canada Line freight steamer Shortsville, from Gothenburg, Sweden. The declared they wanted to return to their old home in Worcester, and insisted that their uncle, Carl Benson of Providence, would help them. They did not know that he had died, as they left this country with their mother early last spring.

From a newspaper December 30, 1919

Stowaway Children Will Enter New Homes in a Few Days
Boy and Girl Happy Over Prospect of Coming to Rhode Island, After Being Detained During Christmas Season at Ellis Island Immigration Station.

Bertha and John Benson, child stowaways, who landed in New York Dec. 18 from the freight steamer Shortsville, which they boarded at Gothenburg, Sweden, will arrive in Providence, where they will make their home, before the end of the week.

This was announced definitely last night by Ernest A. Benson of this city, a cousin of the children, upon his return from New York, where he talked with the boy and girl and completed arrangements for their release and transfer here.

Both youngsters are delighted, Mr. Benson said, that their troubles are at an end and are pleased at the prospect of making their home in Providence.

The time of their arrival here depends upon the quickness with which a severe cold, from which Bertha is suffering, clears up. Two or three days, however, should see the children in Providence, Mr Benson was told.

Mr. Benson was accompanied to New York by Hjalmar Janson, with whom Bertha is to make her home here. They looked up Rev. A. C. Helander, in charge of the Swedish Immigrant Home, 5 Water street, New York, and Mr Helander cooperated with them in finding the children and arranging for their release.

John was taken by Mr. Heiander to the Immigrant Home. He said he did not want to come to Providence until his sister was well enough to accompany him, and consequently he will stay at the home until she is able to travel.

The American citizenship of the children, Mr. Benson said, has been established by the birth records from Worcester, and everything is now in readiness for them to come here. Mr. Helander will notify Mr. Benson when they are ready to start and they will be met here and taken to their new homes.

Byron H. Uhle, Deputy Immigration Commissioner at Ellis Island, telegraphed Emil Benson of this city yesterday in response to an inquiry that the children would be released shortly.

The message reads: "John Benson released to Rev. A. C. Helander and now at Immigrant Home, 5 Water street, New York city. Bertha Benson now in hospital. Will be released as soon as able to travel."


Swedish People to Act to Provide Home Here for Stowaway Children
Way May be Found at Mass Meeting Monday Night to Bring Bertha and John Benson to Rhode Island, - Public Interest Aroused
Interest among the Swedish residents of Providence in the matter of finding a home for Bertha and John Benson, 15 and 13 years old, respectively, now detained by the immigration authorities at Ellis Island, has resulted in the calling of a big mass meeting Monday evening at the Swedish Methodist Church on Friendship street.

Representatives from every Swedish church and society in the city will attend the meeting and discuss plans for immediate action. Persons other than those of Swedish nationality are invited to attend this meeting, in the interests of the two little stowaways who are anxious to make Providence their home.

The children reached New York several days ago as stowaways on the France and Canada freight steamer Shortsville, from Sweden. They said their father, Peter Benson, died at Worcester about a year ago and that they accompanied their mother to Sweden to find relatives. Failing in this, the mother was placed in an asylum but the children determined to return to America, where they claim to have been born.

They said that an uncle, Carl Benson, lived in Rhode Island, but could not give his address. It was later learned that he died last June. Emil Benson of 39 Harvard avenue, President of the John Ericsson Auxiliary, although of the same name but no relation to the children, has become personally interested in providing for the youngsters, and has taken the matter up with Swedish residents and expects in a few days to have definite plans that will secure the admission of the children into the country and provide for their future support. Mr. Benson is desirous of receiving any information or assistance in the matter that he can.