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ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT
OF THE SOLDIERS' ORPHANS, 1882
of the Inspectors | Reports of Principals | List
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SUPERINTENDENT OF SOLDIERS' ORPHANS,
FOR THE YEAR ENDING MAY 31, A. D. 1882.
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
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
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
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
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.
HARRY WHITE, Post 28.
S. R. BACHTELL, Post 2.
J. BARTON FRENCH, Post 154.
SAMUEL HARPER, Post 155.
We are in receipt also of the following resolutions of kindred import,
forwarded from Post No. 2, Department of Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the
HEADQUARTERS POST NO. 2, DEPARTMENT
GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC,
PHILADELPHIA, February 28, 1882.
Hon E. E. HIGBEE,
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
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,
J. V. WINCHESTER,
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.
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.)
REPORTS OF THE INSPECTORS.
REPORT OF MRS. E. E. HUTTER
To E. E. HIGBEE,
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
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.
ELIZABETH E. HUTTER,
Inspector and Examiner.
Report of John W. Sayers.
To E. E. HIGBEE,
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.
The schools are all provided with
excellent and commodious buildings and, generally, with pleasant and
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.
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.
J. W. SAYERS,
Special Inspector and Examiner.
(The above information was extracted from pages 27-31.)
REPORTS OF PRINCIPALS.
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.
LIST OF "SIXTEENERS."
TRESSLER ORPHAN HOME.
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.