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Annual Report of the Superintendent of the
Soldiers' Orphans, 1879



TRESSLER ORPHAN HOME-P. Willard, Superintendent.

In making this our annual report, it becomes us to be very grateful to the author of all good, for the care with which he has watched over us during the year just closed.

"The health of the children, as in former years, has been remarkably good.  Indeed we have no sickness more than an occasional cold during the spring, which in every case yielded to treatment in one or two days.

"Our educational department has arisen from a primary to a No. 1 school, and the course of study has become as extensive and thorough as that of any other soldiers' orphan school in the State. This has been evinced in the visible improvement and attainment of the pupils at our last examination.  The younger children are not only progressing rapidly in their studies, but also in mental development, and are learning how to think.  We have had three regular teachers during the year, beside a young lady who gave lessons in instrumental music to such children as desired it, and were far enough advanced to attend such lessons without interfering with their recitations in the respective classes to which they belonged.  Considerable attention has also been given to vocal music during the year.

"We have held several concerts during the winter in the neighboring villages, at which the orphans acquitted themselves well, and gave general satisfaction to the people.  From the proceeds of these concerts, we were enabled to replenish our reading-room with papers and periodicals for the year.

"We have, in connection with the reading-room, a library of about two hundred volumes, principally standard works, and amongst them Abbott's series of history and biography.  We have also a Sabbath school library of about seven hundred volumes, to all of which the orphans have access whenever they have leisure hours from their regular studies, if they desire to avail themselves of the opportunity. We look forward with bright anticipations for a full development not only of their mental, but also of their moral and religious training, as they advance in years.  Our constant aim is to make the school a christian home, where each child can feel, individually, that he has our respect and our sympathy.

"We have been carrying out the detail system for the last nine years, which gives to each child two hours per day for manual labor, which we think not only conducive to health and physical development, but also calculated to fit them for a successful contact with the world and furnish them with the means of making an independent livelihood in the future.

"Our children have all been neatly and comfortably clad during the year, the boys have being supplied with navy cloth uniforms, which were used for Sunday wear and drill, beside winter and summer suits for every day wear; and the girls were also supplied with winter and summer dresses suitable to the season, in addition to their every day wear.

"Religious exercises have as usual been regular during the year.  The orphans being required to attend preaching every Sabbath morning at one or other of the village churches.  Sabbath school on Sabbath afternoon, in the school-room, and prayer meeting, connected with reading and expounding the word of God, in the evening.

"The morals of the children, upon the whole, are better than we have reason to expect, when we take into consideration the early home influences of many under our care. We still cling to the belief that moral suasion will accomplish more than coercion; that love begets love, and whenever we can succeed in winning the affections of a child, we have hold of a lever that will turn the child into whatever path we may desire him to go; there may be exceptions, but we think they are few." 


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