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To His Excellency HENRY M. HOYT,
Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

SIR:  As required by law, the Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans respectfully submits the following report for the year ending May 31, A.D. 1882.  Although the Legislature held no session in 1881, yet the usual report of the Superintendent was made, placed in your hands, and printed, and therefore is not included in the present report:

Number of Schools and Children.

The same schools have been in successful operation as during the preceding year.  The number of children on the departmental records, May 31, A.D. 1882, is two thousand nine hundred and sixty-three, being an increase over the preceding year of three hundred and sixty-one.  The reason of this increase is, that there were on file at the beginning of the year some three hundred applications, already examined and approved, and the applicants had been long and anxiously awaiting the time when they might receive the benefits of the schools.  There being on hand a large unexpended balance of appropriations from preceding years, the Department deemed it both desirable and just to order the immediate admission of these applicants that they might be no longer deprived of the aid to which they were entitled.

Cost of the System.

The cost of the system for the school year ending May 31, A.D. 1882, has been $381,764. 15, an excess of $21,764.15 over the annual appropriation.  This excess has been met by using a portion of the unexpended balance on hand, so that there is no deficit.

General Condition of the Schools.

From the reports of the inspectors, and from personal visitation, we feel no hesitation in assuring you that the children in the schools are well cared for, and also very thoroughly trained in all the studies ordinarily embraced in the common school system of the Commonwealth.  In addition, considerable attention has been given to industrial pursuits, yet not so much as, in our judgment, is desirable.  The report of last year briefly alluded to this subject, and the convictions then expressed still remain.  That the children might not be endangered, through any neglect in providing permanent, safe, external means of escape in case of fire, an official circular (No. 4) was forwarded to each school, and we are glad to report that prompt attention was given to it; also, as soon as small-pox had been declared epidemic by the National Board of Health, the schools severally were officially notified, (see Official Circular, No. 7) and urged to use every precaution in their power against the disease and we are gratified to be able to say that every school escaped the scourge.  We believe that the schools are in every way fitted to give, and do give, to the children entrusted to them that careful physical, intellectual, and moral training which the provisions of the law contemplate.

Inspection and Examinations.

In the matter of inspection everything has been done which the means at hand would allow.  Mrs. E. E. Hutter has continued her visits to the schools and rendered most valuable aid, and should be continued in her responsible office.  Seeing the necessity of a male inspector, we were fortunately able to secure again the gratuitous services of Reverend John W. Sayers, paying a portion of his necessary traveling expenses out of the contingent fund of the Department.  His visitations, together with those of Mrs. E. E. Hutter, have been very thorough and satisfactory.  The reports of both are appended.
The Department takes this opportunity to thank the Grand Army of the Republic for their warm sympathy with and hearty cooperation in the work of the schools, and especially for their zeal in securing befitting positions for those who are called from year to year to leave the schools on account of age.
A moment's reflection will show that the next two years will most urgently require the services of a male inspector.  For, from this time forth, the number of children must rapidly diminish, demanding on this account the most judicious and resolute management in the whole matter of consolidating the various schools with all the conflicting elements of choice involved therein.  We, therefore, earnestly ask the Legislature to authorize the appointment of a prudent male inspector, for two years at least, upon a salary of $1,000 per annum, not including necessary traveling expenses, said salary and necessary traveling expenses to be paid out of the gross annual appropriation.  This amount is so trifling, and the service to be rendered so necessary, and the annual appropriations becoming so much less than heretofore, that what is asked savors more of parsimony than of extravagance.
Examinations have been held during the year according to the requirements of the law.  The county superintendents, within the immediate sphere of the schools, and also members from the adjacent Posts of the Grand Army of the Republic, were present and participated.  These examinations have shown that most faithful and thorough work has been done in most of the schools; and we are glad to add that several of the Principals of our State normal schools have written us, giving most flattering testimony to the good character and remarkable proficiency of the soldiers' orphans received under their care.  We have also a more public testimony to a like proficiency in the sphere of industrial arts in the decorations which now adorn one of the legislative halls of the capitol, these decorations having been wrought by a young man, who, as a soldier's orphan, graduated from one of these schools.

Future of the Schools.

The Legislature of 1878 provided that no more children should be admitted into the schools after the 1st day of June, A.D. 1882, and that the schools should be finally closed on June 1, A.D. 1885.  This legislation doubtless was based upon the judgment that the number of applicants would be exhausted by 1882, and that the number of children in the schools in 1885 would be so small as to demand no further aid upon the part of the Commonwealth.  But the Department is now confronted with this difficulty.  Applications still continue to press upon us, although less frequently than heretofore, and, as may be seen by tabular statement on page 17, there were seven hundred and thirty-seven applications remaining on file June 1, A.D. 1882, only seventy of which, however, were approved, the remaining six hundred and sixty-seven being incomplete for want of sufficient testimony to meet the requirements of law.  In addition to this, there will be in the schools on roll June 1, A. D. 1885, without any further admissions and not counting discharges on order, seventeen hundred and seventy children (see tabulated statement, page 23, for the careful preparation of which I am indebted to Joseph Pomeroy, one of the clerks of the Department.)  This question naturally arises:  Will the Legislature, in view of these facts, still maintain the legislation of 1878, or will they allow the original law, which has already accomplished so much, to continue in force until, by the course of Providence, the number of children entitled to the benefits of its provisions shall become exhausted?  In reference to this mater we have received, without solicitation, the following resolutions from the State Department of the Grand Army of the Republic, while encamped at Williamsport, January 25 and 26, 1882:
WHEREAS, After a careful inquiry, it is ascertained that all the children of our comrades, who are entitled under existing laws to the benefits of the soldiers' orphan school system of Pennsylvania, cannot be admitted to receive the benefits of such schools within the time now fixed for their termination; therefore,
Resolved, That the Grand Army of Pennsylvania most earnestly request the Legislature, at its next session, to so change and amend the law which designates the 31st day of May, A.D. 1882, as the period after which soldiers' orphans shall not be admitted and the 31st of May, 1885, for the termination and closing of such schools, so that they shall be continued and supported until all the soldiers' orphans entitled to admission under existing laws, and applying, shall have received the full benefits of the orphan school system, so wisely and generously established by our great Commonwealth.
Resolved, That the Assistant Adjutant General shall forward a copy of this resolution to the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Pennsylvania, with the request that he shall communicate the same to the Legislature in such manner as shall receive the proper attention to its subject.
Resolved, That the Assistant Adjutant General communicate the action of this encampment to the various posts within the Department.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
JOS. G. VALE, Post. 201.
S. R. BACHTELL, Post 2.

We are in receipt also of the following resolutions of kindred import, forwarded from Post No. 2, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic:


PHILADELPHIA, February 28, 1882.
Superintendent Soldiers' Orphan Schools, Harrisburg, Pa.:
DEAR SIR:  I have the honor to transmit the following copy of a resolution offered by Commander Bachtell and unanimously adopted by the Post at its muster, on the 23d instant:
WHEREAS, By the present law the soldiers' orphan schools of this State are to be closed on the 31st day of May, 1885, at which date there will be in these schools more than twelve hundred children under the age of sixteen years, many of them without parents or homes;
And whereas, We believe it would be unwise and unjust to arbitrarily limit the date at which these schools shall be closed or admission refused, while many applications are already on file and many more will have been received; therefore,
Resolved, That Post No. 2, Grand Army of the Republic, Department of Pennsylvania, most earnestly requests the Legislature of this State that the law, which designates the 31st day of May, 1882, as the date after which soldiers' orphans shall not be admitted to the schools, and the 31st day of May, 1885, as that for the final closing of the same, be so amended that these schools shall be continued by the State until all soldier's orphans entitled to admission under existing laws, shall have received the full benefits of the soldiers' orphan school system, so wisely established and so generously sustained by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Resolved, That the adjutant be directed to forward a copy of these resolutions to the Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphan Schools of this State, with the request that he present the same to the Legislature at its next session in such manner as he may deem proper, to secure prompt and effective attention to the subject.
With regard, I am, sir,
Very respectfully yours,

It is not our wish or purpose to dictate to the Legislature any special policy.  We only place before you the facts just as they are, and the above resolutions, which express the deep-seated convictions of a large body of intelligent men, feeling assured that the same sympathy with helpless distress, which, at the start, prompted the formation of the soldiers' orphan schools, will not now allow these schools to close so abruptly as to throw upon the capricious charity of the mass, some thousand and more children under the age of sixteen, a large percentage of whom would be without homes or help; and there seems to be, at least, an apparent injustice in refusing, after a certain date, those applicants, whose papers of applications are as valid in sufficiency of legal testimony, as those of thousand who have been accepted and ordered into the schools for the past five years.  The whole subject requires calm consideration upon the part of the Legislature, and some suitable action which shall do justice to those feelings of humanity which characterize the spirit and legislation of the nineteenth century.

Appropriations Needed.

The appropriation needed for 1883 will be $325,000, and for the year 1884, $300,900, which is $75,000 less than the appropriation for the preceding two years.

Reports and Statistics.

Special attention is called to the appended reports, official circulars, and statistical tables which will give all the details necessary to a full understanding of the working of the system and its results. ...

(The above information was extracted from pages 1-5.)



Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphan Schools:
DEAR SIR:  I herewith respectfully submit the following report of the condition of the soldiers' orphan schools for the past year:
The health in the schools has been remarkably good this year.  In not a single school has any epidemic appeared in violent form to cut down the young gathered together.  This is the more remarkable as there has been so much sickness prevailing in the State at large.
The buildings are in good condition, and are kept neatly and clean.  Cleanliness is the first condition of good health in places where large numbers of human beings are congregated, and the second condition to secure the sanitary well-being of these children is good food.  The food is plain, but wholesome and substantial, and in most cases properly served.  We dwell upon the proper manner of serving food as being an important consideration.  The conduct at table is a distinguishing mark between the gentle bred and the otherwise.  We wish these children to grow up with refined manners.  The children, as a rule, are well clothed, neatly, tastefully, and comfortably.  The girls are taught to fit and make the clothing, and all are taught how to care for their apparel, and to keep it in good order.  We insist that the girls do not "run bare foot" even in the country schools; mean raiment has a tendency to degrade; proper attire to elevate.  Of course we do not wish to instill pride or vanity into these children, but a proper self-respect.  We want every boy and girl to feel uncomfortable unless he is neat and clean, even at work.  In all of the schools the boys and girls work two hours each day, either on the farm or about the buildings.  In some of the schools a shoe-shop and a bake-house is in successful operation in which some of the boys learn the trade, and when leaving the school frequently obtain good situations.
The examinations this year were a grand round of success, or rather only the crowning day of many successes won by teachers and pupils over ignorance and difficulty.  It affords me very great satisfaction to state that the educational improvement in all the schools is very marked.
The good seed sown by our faithful teachers for so many years is bringing forth fruit, and much good fruit.  The day of experiment in these schools is passed, and as some of the best teaching talent in the State is employed in these schools, the results are what might be expected.  The schools are well organized, well graded, well taught.
Again would I reiterate what I have so often repeated, that I am opposed to the use of the rod in these schools.  The child is no longer considered a piece of wood or stone to be battered and bruised or kicked at as the whim of the teacher or parent may see fit, but the little one is considered a reasonable being, to be trained for God and a useful life.
Noble work did that old German, Frederick Froebel, when he established his children's garden, and emancipated the babe from the thralldom of the tyrant.  There was a time when brute force was above par value in the market of the world.  There was a time when he was called the hero, who could slay most with his own right arm and the heavy blow of his huge battle ax.  But a better, brighter day has dawned, and the gospel of peace proclaimed by the once despised Nazarene is being understood, and teachers and parents and the great world are beginning to "suffer the little children and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven."
We are proud of our boys in blue who drill morning and night to the strains of martial music.  Not that we love war, for we prefer the acts of peace; but in this nation, where the defenses of the country are so much forgotten and neglected, it is important then, that every soldiers' orphan school drill the boys who will so soon become men.  Let these sons of the sires who so bravely fought and bled, be well trained in the military drill.  Should an enemy invade our land, these boys would be ready to take their father's place.
"The Grand Army of the Republic" have never faltered in their interest in these soldiers' orphan schools.  The past year they have been more efficient than ever before in their visitation and care of these children of comrades in arms.  The various members of the "Grand Army of the Republic" are truly the friends of these children.  They seek to manifest this love and friendship in a substantial manner.  It is enough for a grand army man to know that the boy or girl appealing to him for aid is the son or daughter of a comrade.  The members of the various posts are ever ready to redress the wrongs or any injustice done to these wards of the State, as well as to comfort in sickness, to bury the dead, and to seek employment for the living.
The sixteeners, soldiers' orphans discharged from the schools, have formed themselves into a permanent organization, and propose to perpetuate the many sweet ties that have bound them together in the past, as well as to aid each other in the future in making an honorable record for honesty, industry, and patriotism in the land that gave them birth and succored them in their days of need.
The boys and girls in these schools are trained to habits of industry.  The soldiers' orphan girls leave these institutions not only possessing a fair English education, but having a practical knowledge of house wifery.  Some of them also have had the advantage of a musical training, and are now supporting themselves by teaching music.
I cannot close this report without thanking you for your consideration and kindness extended to me during my very severe illness.  I am glad that I am now able to again resume the work of visiting the schools, a work in which I have been so long and so deeply interested.
Very respectfully,
Inspector and Examiner.

Report of John W. Sayers.

Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphan Schools:
SIR:  I have the honor to report to you the following results of my inspection of the soldiers' orphan schools during the present year:
I have visited, in succession, all the schools established by the Commonwealth, and am, personally, much gratified with the favorable condition in which I found the entire organization.

Sanitary Condition.

The schools are all provided with excellent and commodious buildings and, generally, with pleasant and well-kept surroundings.
Measures looking to the physical health of the pupils seem to have received every required attention.  Pure water, in abundance, and proper drainage are carefully provided.  The instruction-rooms and dormitories are well ventilated and sufficiently heated and lighted.  Good, wholesome food, of excellent quality, is amply provided, and the general health of the pupils attest the efficiency of the measures instituted to secure that end.


The children are neatly and well clothed.  The regulation style is generally observed, giving them a uniform appearance.  Health and comfort, however, being the primary object in the make up of the dresses.


In their mental and physical development the scholars are favored with able and experienced teachers, and are making the most satisfactory progress.
The principal aim is to impart a thorough English education, with some insight into the higher branches; everything tending to the practical object, of equipping them for usefulness and self-reliance, when they go out to care for themselves.
The physical training consists of the military drill (to which I would suggest closer attention for the sake of discipline) and various gymnastic exercises and juvenile sports.  The boys are also trained in mechanical branches, while the girls find abundant diversion in general housework and other features of domestic usefulness.
The moral and religious interests of the pupils receive a due share of attention.  Divine services are held upon the Sabbath, and special religious instruction is given in regularly organized Sunday schools.  Scripture readings, singing and prayer form part of the daily opening and closing exercises of the schools.


In all the history of the schools better results have never been obtained than at present.  The years of experience, upon the part of the instructors, in the peculiarities of this sort of tuition are, just now, having their grandest developments and are an earnest for future usefulness if these schools can be continued beyond the period of their present statutory limits.

Grand Army.

The organization of the Grand Army of the Republic, and its present flourishing and enthusiastic condition, are evidences of intelligent, patriotic devotion, never before approached by any other nation.  One of the greatest objects of their solicitude is these schools for soldiers' orphans, under the fostering care of the Commonwealth.  Although the war has long ceased and the garments dyed in blood have passed away, yet the wounds of the battle and the diseases of the campaign are still at work among our comrades.  Many of the fatherless children of soldiers who have died since the war, are claiming, and are entitled to support and education from the State.  While the Grand Army watches with deep interest and ever increasing enthusiasm over the progress of these schools, they earnestly plead for the helpless ones who are claiming admission, but who, through the act of limitation, are denied that right.
Though the Grand Army occupies no official position in the management of the schools they, nevertheless, appoint efficient committees, which secure full statistical reports for their annual encampments; an thus, otherwise, attest their interest, by affording every possible aid in their power to the success of the work.


Under the act of Assembly of 1878, admissions to the schools ceased on the 31st day of May of the present year, leaving several hundred applicants unprovided for.  Unless further extension is had, the schools will permanently close on the 1st day of June, 1885.  At that time there will be, over one thousand pupils who will not have reached the age of sixteen years; and whose education will be incomplete.  It becomes a question of serious importance as to what shall become of them.  Many of them have known no other homes.  The association of their childhood have been only those of the schools; and they are, as yet, but feebly prepared to enter upon their single-handed struggle for bread.  I can conceive of no greater misfortune than to throw these helpless ones upon the world unprovided for; nor a greater injustice than to turn the waiting ones empty away.  Pennsylvania has done too noble a work to close it with an unfinished page to her record.  She has won, for herself, golden honors by the support and education of the orphans of her fallen defenders.  Let not a shade of tarnish sully those honors by the neglect of a single child entitled to her care.  Those in the schools, as well as those who are waiting are all worthy claimants of her bounty.  They are her soldiers' children, they are her legacies from the field of her protection.  Surely, some provision will be made by the next Legislature by which the existence of a sufficient number of these schools will be continued to give to all an equal chance of preparation for life's contest.

A Last Word.

I cannot too highly compliment you upon the success of your efforts, in behalf of the trust committed to your charge; and, particularly, in securing to it, the unexpended balance of $55,000 which, at one time, seemed lost to the work.
Respectfully yours,
Special Inspector and Examiner.

(The above information was extracted from pages 27-31.)


TRESSLER ORPHAN HOME--P. Willard, A.M., Superintendent.

It affords me much pleasure to state in the present report that the health of the orphans has been extraordinary during the years just passed.
We have had no sickness, more than an occasional cold during the early part of spring, so that, in the language of the Apostle Paul, we have reason "to thank God and take courage."
The morals of the children have been quite as good, if not better, during the year than we had any reason to expect, when we take into consideration the early home influences, by which a number of them have been surrounded.
The industrial department has been well conducted during the year, and many of the boys and girls have taken especial interest in their different spheres, not only to make themselves proficient in the different departments of labor and household duties, but have been especially useful to the Home.
The educational department has been under the care of an experienced corps of teachers, whose whole object has been not only to develop the mind but the children on to intelligence and virtue, and prepare them to act their part well, as they grow up to maturity, in the great drama of life.  And the progress of the children has been a greater success in the various branches of learning than that of any former year.
We have made a number of improvements to the property during the past year.  The wood-work of the buildings has been repainted.  A fire-escape of brick has been built, three stories high, at the gable end of the main building, which, in case of fire, is very easy of egress, and is pronounced, by competent judges, to be among the most safe and reliable in the State; and, whilst we are now painting the brick-work of the whole structure one color, we contemplate putting up an addition of brick 50x30 feet, three stories, as soon as we can procure the necessary material.  The lower story of this building will be used for recitation-rooms, library, and reading-rooms, together with laboratory and music-rooms, whenever they are needed, the second and third stories of which will be used for dormitories, and will enable us to afford room for between ninety and one hundred additional orphans.
We have erected, also, two large play-sheds, one for the use of the boys and the other for the benefit of the girls in inclement weather.  These are so far distant that they cannot interfere with each other in their favorite plays and pastimes.  So that whilst the boys follow the bent of their own minds, and delight in their gymnastics, the girls take pleasure in fixing up their parlors, and dressing their dolls, and decorating their walls with pictures and drawing, and setting up their tea-sets.  They take great pleasure in inviting visitors of the Home to see their place of amusement and admire their skill and taste in the management of household affairs.
The services of the Sabbath, as in former years, have been regular, and attended to with interest, both on the part of the teachers and children.  As usual the children have been attending the village church every Sabbath morning, under the direction of the superintendent or principal and one or more of the teachers.  Every Sabbath afternoon we have Bible-class and Sabbath school, and prayer meeting in the evening, in connection with reading and expounding the Holy Scriptures.
The discipline of the school is parental, and the whole aim of superintendent, principal, teachers, and employes, is to improve the mind and heart of the orphans, to make them feel they have a home where they can make themselves contented and happy.



Below will be found the names of the children, with their present residence and occupation, as far as could be ascertained, who, having arrived at the age of sixteen, were discharged from the several schools during the year ending May, 31, 1882:

W. D. S. Smith; with his mother; Duncannon, Pa.


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