The first Springfield, Illinois King’s Daughters circle was established on June 24, 1888. By 1892 there were twenty-six circles in Springfield with a combined membership of approximately 379. Each circle carried out its own mission.
In 1892 the circles decided to join together behind a single purpose. The purpose chosen was to provide a much needed home for women, especially aged women. To this end, the circles incorporated on June 6, 1893 under the legal name “King’s Daughters’ Home for Women”.
The King’s Daughters Home:
The newly formed corporation purchased the Italianate mansion at 541 Black Avenue for this purpose and the King’s Daughters Home for Women opened on October 8, 1895. Eight residents were admitted during its first seven months of operation.
The link to the Post Family. The home at 541 Black Avenue was owed by Charles Rollin and Carolyn (Carrie) Post from 1872 to 1888. Their oldest son, Charles W. Post, was the creator of Postum and Grape-Nuts cereal and the founder of the Postum Cereal Company (Post Cereal Company). C.W.’s only child, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was born in the house on March 15, 1887. Marjorie became the owner of the Postum Cereal Company upon the death of her father in 1914. Along with her second husband, E.F. Hutton, she expanded the company, which became General Foods Corporation in 1929.
C.W. Post contributed toward rebuilding the King’s Daughters Home after a fire in 1902. He also contributed toward the Home’s endowment fund in memory of his mother, Carrie Post. Marjorie Merriweather Post also contributed to the Home over the years, including a contribution toward the addition to the Home in 1921. In 1953, in recognition of the Post family ties to the Home, the King’s Daughters Home for Women legally changed its name to the “Carrie Post King’s Daughters’ Home for Women”.
Alterations to the Home. After the 1902 fire, a newly rebuilt home was completed with twenty bedrooms. The addition to the building in 1921 increased its capacity to forty.
The most recent major remodeling project was completed in 1988 in response to the changing needs of the residents. Smaller rooms were combined and all rooms were given a private bath. Twenty-six residents could be accommodated.
The method of payment to the “Home” changed greatly throughout the years. Originally a resident had to turn all her assets over to the Home. In return, she was guaranteed lifetime care. This evolved over time to a monthly rental fee with the option for lifetime care. The lifetime care option was dropped in 1994. All lifetime contracts made prior to this time were honored.
Circle membership has also varied over the years, first increasing and then decreasing as interests and opportunities changed. In 1892 there were 26 circles with 379 members and by 1930 there were 30 circles with over 1200 members.
In 1953, when the name was changed to “the Carrie Post King’s Daughters’ Home for Women”, there were 48 circles with 1557 members. At the time of the corporation’s 100th anniversary there were 22 circles and a membership of about 650. Presently there are nine circles.
In 2006 the home was closed and sold to Benedictine University to serve as women’s housing for the college. The King’s Daughters Organization joined with the Community Foundation in 2007 to continue a long legacy of serving the elderly in Sangamon County. The Carrie Post King’s Daughters Home for Women that was established in Springfield, Illinois in 1893, diligently fulfilled its mission to provide for the housing and care of elderly women for over 110 years. The King’s Daughters Organization (KDO), continues to fulfill the original mission of the Home as closely as possible through a donor-advised fund.
Board of Directors
Executive Committee: 2019-20
President: Brenda Staab (Mary H. Blackstock Circle)
First Vice President: Sandy Bellatti (Grateful Daughters)
Second Vice President: Teri Noonan (Progress)
Secretary: Sally Cadagin (Margaret Garfield)
Assistant Secretary: Sue Shevlin(Polly Roesch Circle)
Treasurer: Colleen Stone (Willing)
Assistant Treasurer: Jacqueline Price-Lucas (Progress)
Friendship Circle: Sharon Heflin, Maryann Walker (Alt.)
Grateful Daughters: Karen Little, Sandy Bellatti, Dee Dee Gain, Kathy Park, Mary Ann DeFend (Alt.)
Margaret Garfield: Donna Jean Gibney, Sally Cadagin, Lynda Preckwinkle, Susy Smiley, Janet Plohr (Alt.), Teresa McElwee (Alt.)
Marjorie Post/Nightingale: Cathy Boerke, Karen O’Beirnek (Alt.)
Mary A. Lawrence: Kay Gulley, Cindy Davies, Sue Hoff, Mona Taylor(Alt.), Janet Carey (Alt.)
Mary H. Blackstock: Sarah Bunn, Lisa Coakley, Christie Goleman, Brenda Staab, Misty Buscher, Laura Carmody (Alt.), Cathy Schwarz (Alt.)
Polly Roesch: Barb Killian, Kathy LaCamera, Sue Shevlin, JoAnn Fenton (Alt.), Judy Lucas (Alt.)
Progress: Susan Fulks, Victoria. Clemons-Ringer, Teri Noonan, Jacqueline Price-Lucas, Maria Ferraro (Alt.) Alice Nelle (Alt.)
Willing: Colleen Stone, Judith Barringer, Kim Cochran, Jane Locascio (Alt.) Mary Kay Ewing (Alt.)