From the March 3, 1895 edition of the Omaha Daily Bee:
Redeeming Street Waifs
Work Accomplished by the Children’s Aid Society of New York.
The Story of Patsy and Mickey
Street Arabs Taken from the City and Placed in Good Homes and Encouraged to Become Good Citizens.
Every six weeks a party of twenty boys is drafted from the ranks of the Newsboys’ lodging houses in New York City, are put in charge of an agent of the Children’s Aid society, and distributed through all parts of the west and south, from the prairie farms of Dakota to the orange groves of Florida.
The man who conducts a company of these sharp-witted, mercurial individuals over 1,000 miles of territory, necessarily leads a life untinged with monotony. Some of the experiences of Mr. B. W. Tice, one of these agents, for many years identified with the emigration department of the society, are better told in his own words.
“Several years ago,” said he, in conversation with the writer, “I started out for the far west with as lively a crowd of boys as it would be possible to find. Most of them were Irish and Canadian, the ones who are always getting into trouble, and who also make best use of their opportunities. Anyone of them would fight at the drop of a hat, and I assure you that it was a difficult undertaking to keep them from annihilating each other on the journey.
Patsy the Biffer.
“The star member of our troupe was an Irish boy, about 16 years old, known as Patsy Biffer, or simply ‘Biffer.’ In addition to this, he had several other names, finding them necessary to use in protecting them against the police, his practice being to give different pseudonyms upon his different contacts with these functionaries, with whom he had extensive acquaintance. Through much practice h had become a very clever boxer, was an Alexandre in his way, and only waited for more worlds to conquer.
“One cold day we arrived at a small town in southern Nebraska, where there was in session, as I remember, a teachers’ county institute. The town had assumed a gala appearance, and the boys, as was the custom, left the hotel in the afternoon, to meander about and see the sights.
“A long time that night we waited supper on the ‘Biffer’ and several of his friends, and fiinally, and about half through the meal, they entered. Patsy presented a sorry sight. His one eye was nearly closed, his hat was rimless and his clothes and tatters. Though unable to conceal his old defiant Bowery swagger, he, nevertheless, looked somewhat askance at me, so I turned to Mickey Morrell, his right-hand man, for the story. Mickey, who was glowing with suppressed excitement, related the events more graphically than lucid.