Dedication and unveiling of the "Home for the Friendless" historical marker at the Family Service Center, April 30, 2015, in Springfield. The Home for the Friendless, founded in 1863, was a home for indigent women and children in Springfield at a time when the city offered no services to the poor and destitute. Established on land donated by city founder Elijah Iles, the home was operated by a board of directors including some of Springfield's most prominent citizens. In January 1865, Rev. Francis Springer, a citizen of Springfield and U.S. Army Chaplain at Fort Smith, Arkansas, arranged for passage of more than 40 refugees from warn-torn Arkansas and Missouri to come to Springfield and the shelter offered by the Home for the Friendless. Descendants of some of those original families are still in Springfield.
The Home for the Friendless continued to provide services to the needy in 1920 under the name of the Children's Service Bureau, and in the 1960s, the facility, still at its original location, became the Family Service Center, providing adoption services, educational programs, and services to families in need.
Attending the ceremony in Springfield were a dozen descendants of Rev. Francis Springer, as well as the great-great grandchildren of Mary Jane Tully, one of the original orphan children from Arkansas. The marker was sponsored by the Family Service Center, the Illinois State Historical Society, and descendants of Mary Jane "Jennie" Tully.