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ACT OF 1867


"To provide for the continuance of the education and maintenance of the destitute orphans of the deceased soldiers and sailors, and the destitute children of permanently disabled soldiers and sailors of the State.
WHEREAS, Several considerable appropriations have been expended, for the proper education and maintenance of the destitute children of the men of Pennsylvania, who did in defense of the Union during the late rebellion;
And whereas, It is incumbent upon the State to continue this provision for those children who are now hers;
And whereas, The experience thus far acquired, in the performance of this duty, now enables the Legislature to regulate, by statute, the large discretionary powers heretofore exercised in the premises; therefore,

"SECTION 1.  Be it enacted, &c., That the Governor of this Commonwealth is hereby authorized and required to appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a State Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans, for three years, from and after the date of said appointment, to be subject to removal, for cause, as other officers, appointed in like manner, are now, whose office shall be at Harrisburg, whose salary shall be the same as that of the State Superintendent of Common Schools, and necessary traveling expenses, and who shall give bonds, with three sureties, to be approved by the Auditor General, and filed in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, in the sum of twenty thousand dollars, for the faithful performance of his duties; the Superintendent shall have power to appoint one clerk, and the Governor one male inspector and examiner, and one female assistant, each at a salary not exceeding one hundred dollars per month, and necessary traveling expenses, to inspect and examine the Soldiers' Orphans Schools hereinafter provided for:  Provided, That said Superintendent shall not, during the period of his superintendency , have any pecuniary interest in any of the said orphan schools.

"SECTION 2.  That the State Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans is hereby authorized and empowered to contract with the trustees, proprietors, or principals of institutions now employed as soldiers' orphan homes and schools, possessing such good and sufficient accommodations as said Superintendent may approve, and of such other like institutions as may be necessary for the proper care, and maintenance, and education, at the expense of the State, and until the age of sixteen years, of the destitute orphan children of all such deceased soldiers and sailors, citizens of Pennsylvania and soldiers who have served in Pennsylvania regiments, as have died in the service of the United States, in the late war to suppress the rebellion Provided, That the Superintendent may require that institutions receiving soldiers' orphans over ten years of age shall have not less than twenty acres of tillable land, and accommodations for not less than one hundred and fifty soldiers' orphans, except the Lincoln Institution, in the city of Philadelphia:  And provided further, That said Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans shall establish at least one such institution, for the reception of soldiers' orphans over the age of ten years, within one year after the passage of this act, in each of the twelve Normal school districts, now provided for by law, if, in the opinion of said Superintendent, the Governor concurring, the same shall be required and practicable; And provided further, That in no case shall the State become liable, in any manner, for the cost of erecting, repairing, or furnishing any of the institutions employed as Soldiers' Orphan Schools.

"SECTION 3.  That the State Superintendent of soldiers' orphans is hereby authorized to receive conveyances and transfer of the custody, care, and control, for all the purposes of education and maintenance, till their arrival at the age of sixteen years, of said destitute soldiers' orphans, from their respective mothers, guardians, or next friends; and all such conveyances and transfers heretofore made, or that may hereafter be made, to the State Superintendent of soldiers' orphans, shall be valid and binding upon said mothers, guardians, and next friends, and also upon said orphans till their arrival at the age of sixteen years; and if said orphans abscond, or be withdrawn without his consent from the custody of the Superintendent, or from the institutions in which he shall thereupon become liable to the provisions of the acts of Assembly relating to absconding apprentices.

"SECTION 4.  That the superintendents of soldiers' orphans shall by and with the advice and approval of the Governor, prescribe rules and regulations for the government of institutions becoming Soldiers' Orphan Schools, designate the minimum number and grade of employes necessary, specify the character and quality of food and clothing that shall be furnished, and which shall be similar for all institutions of the same grade in the State, and decide upon a course of study to be pursued, which course shall embrace, at least, the usual branches of a good common school education, together with instruction in vocal music, military tactics, and calisthenics, and the greatest variety possible of household and domestic pursuits, and mechanical and agricultural employments, consistent with the respective sexes and ages of said orphan children and their school room studies; he shall visit each Soldiers' Orphan School at least once each quarter, either in person or by deputy, remaining at least twenty-four hours in each.

"SECTION 5.  Application for the admission of soldiers' orphans, entitled to the benefit of this act into the institutions established for their education and maintenance, shall be made by conveyance and transfers to the Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans, in accordance with provisions of section third of this act, executed, under oath, by the mother, if living, and by the guardian or next friend, if the mother be dead, or has abandoned said orphans; but all applications must be approved the the board of school directors, controllers, or superintending committee of the district, ward, or city in which the mother resides, if she makes the application, or in which the orphans reside, in other cases, and the superintendent may require such other certificate, from a superintending committee, which committee shall be appointed and hold office at the discretion of the superintendent, and by and with the consent of the Governor, or from such other source as he may deem necessary.

"SECTION 6.  That the said superintendent be and is hereby authorized and directed to procure a school or schools, or home or homes for the children of the colored soldiers and sailors who fell in the recent rebellion, subject to the same regulations and restrictions provided in relation to the education and maintenance of the orphans of white soldiers and sailors; Provided, That when he may deem it expedient to do so, the said superintendent may waive the restriction in regard to number of acres and extent of accommodation in the case of schools or homes for colored orphans.

"SECTION 7.  That all contracts made by said Superintendent shall be characterized alike by a wise economy and a just regard for services rendered, and that no contract shall be made for a longer period that one year, unless with the sanction of the Governor, and in cases in which it is clearly the interest of the State to contract for a longer period, such period in no case, however, to exceed five years:  Provided, That all the contracts made under this act may be annulled at any time for failure to fulfill the conditions of such contracts on the part of any contractor, of which failure the Governor and Superintendent shall be the judges; and that every such contract shall be made upon the condition of the continuance of said Soldiers' Orphan Schools by the Legislature of the State.

"SECTION 8.  That the said Superintendent may, with the consent of the Governor, afford partial relief, in kind, not exceeding thirty dollars per annum for each orphan, in cases where, in his judgment, it is proper to suffer the orphans to remain with their surviving parents, or relatives, or guardians, and to receive instruction in the public schools of the Commonwealth.

"SECTION 9.  That all bills for the maintenance and education of the soldiers' orphans shall be paid quarterly, by warrant drawn directly upon the State Treasurer, signed by the Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans, who shall file a receipted bill for the same in the Auditor General's office, before issuing the next quarterly warrant, which the State Treasurer is hereby forbidden to pay until such receipted bill is thus filed:  Provided, That all amounts appropriated for the purchase of clothing, and the payment of partial relief, salaries, and incidental expenses, may be drawn, by the State Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans, upon the warrants of the Governor, and the bills for the same settled semi-annually, at the Auditor General's office, in the usual manner.

"SECTION 10.  That the Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans shall require monthly, quarterly, and annual reports, according to such form as he shall prescribe, from each institution receiving soldiers' orphans, at the expense of the State; and that said Superintendent shall, not later than the first day of December, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, and annually thereafter, make a detailed report to the Governor of this Commonwealth, of all the soldiers' orphans under his charge, their condition and progress, the numbers of each respective age, from four to sixteen years, and such other information as he may deem expedient, together with the statement of receipts and disbursements by item, and estimates for ensuing year.


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This page was last updated on:   03/14/2009

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