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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. 1884:
There seems to be a prevalent misunderstanding of the law governing the admission of children into the soldiers' orphan schools of the State.  Frequently we are asked, "How can there be soldiers' orphans now under the age of sixteen, when the war ended nearly twenty years ago:"  Of course this is impossible.  But the original law, confining admission to children whose fathers were killed, or died from wounds received while in the army or navy, was subsequently enlarged in its provisions by the act of Assembly, approved March 18, A.D. 1875.  Under this act, "All children of deceased, destitute, or permanently disabled soldiers or sailors, whether born after or before January 1, 1866, shall be admitted into the soldiers' orphan schools on the same conditions as the orphans of deceased soldiers and sailors are now admitted."
Many soldiers, during the war, entered the service at a very youthful age, who, by wounds received or diseases contracted therein, subsequently came to be so disabled and destitute as to make it impossible for them properly to maintain and educate their children born after the close of the war.  The Legislature, therefore, very wisely enlarged the provisions of the law so as to allow such children to receive the benefits of these schools which had been so humanely established.
We are convinced, however, from the many sad cases which have come to our notice, that even this enlarging act was not enough.  It is extremely difficult in most cases to trace the present disability and destitution of a deceased soldiers' family, by any adequate or specific proof, to wounds received or disease contracted while in the army.  In such cases it ought to be enough to have full proof of present destitution in order to admit children whose fathers, in the great crisis of the Republic, went forth at the call of their country to the field of strife and carnage, and have since died from any cause whatsoever, leaving their young children in penury.  How many there are who, in swamps and dangerous night-marches, in terrible prisons and exposure to pestilence, in perils by land and in perils by sea, wasted the strength of their youth and manhood, but whose personal pride kept them from giving up until the very last moment,--how many such there are whose remaining families, desolate and destitute, can gain no definite affidavits from comrades long ago in soldiers' graves, or from army physicians who have either died or removed to parts unknown?  Shall the helpless young children of such suffering families, where the fact of destitution is clearly made out by such suffering families, where the fact of destitution is clearly made out by the testimony of neighbors and school-boards, be left to the cold charity of the world, and unheeded by a great State, grow up into vagrancy and crime?  Such neglect certainly contradicts the very spirit which originated the soldiers' orphan schools of this Commonwealth.  Far better is it that such destitute children should be made to suffer from the inadequate means offered by the directors of the poor in our various counties, or to endure the miseries of a vagrant and unguided youth, opening into a criminal manhood, and ending almost of necessity in the prison or on the gallows.  Under the law, as it now is, we cannot admit such children without clear and full proof that the death and destitution were occasioned by some army wound or disease.  In our judgment, the well-established destitution of the family should of itself be sufficient to admit the helpless children of a deceased soldier into schools so generously organized for their good.  Such modification of the present law we recommend.  Not only does charity demand it, but the obligation of the State to seek the highest safety and welfare of its citizens shows it to be a duty.
Not only is there a prevalent misunderstanding of the law governing admissions into the schools, but also the system of management under which the schools have been conducted.  How frequently we are asked such questions as these:  "Are not the teachers overpaid?  Are not too many of them engaged, so that the Department is expending State funds for the salaries of sinecures?  Are not the contracts for food, fuel, clothing, textbooks, &c., so mismanaged as to cause great loss to the State, and a corresponding gain to others?"  It is quite clear from questions of this character, no doubt honestly made, that there is a wide spread ignorance of the whole method of management.
The Department, in fact, engages no teachers, and since 1871 has furnished no supplies whatever--indeed, has nothing to do with the finances of the schools.  The schools are private corporations, to whom the Department transfers the children that they may be taken care of at a fixed per capita price, specified by act of Assembly making the appropriation.  These schools, however, obligate themselves to feed, clothe, and educate the children, giving them proper medical treatment, and furnishing them with all the necessary text-books and stationery and other school apparatus; and the Department, by frequent inspections, and regulative orders, and careful examinations, satisfies itself that all this is faithfully done.  In case full satisfaction is not given, the Department has authority, after proper notice, to transfer the children to other schools where the work may be rightly done.  The education, while elementary an including, just as far as possible, useful industrial pursuits, must be through, and such as characterizes our best regulated public schools.  The food must be, in quantity and quality, such as is supplied at the table of a well-regulated family in the Commonwealth.  The clothing must be substantial, and enough must be furnished to each child to amount to one sixth of the sum appropriated.  The buildings must be commodious, in proper sanitary condition, and properly furnished.  All this is regulated by careful inspection, and orders issued upon the base of such inspection-reports.  Recently, one of these schools failed to satisfy the inspection of the Department, and came under the severe criticism of yourself and the superintendent.  Repairing and refurnishing were promptly demanded by order of the Department, and as promptly undertaken and completed.
The contract price in all the regular schools for food, fuel, clothing, tuition, text-books, medical treatment, and all, is one hundred and fifty dollars per annum for each child over the age of ten, and one hundred and fifteen dollars for each child under ten.  One sixth of this must, without fail, be expended for clothing for the use of each child.  It can be seen from this that the questions above referred to grow out of an entire ignorance of the system of management.
Perhaps, had the Legislature at the beginning realized the full magnitude and significance of the work before it, it would have erected its own buildings and carried on the whole interest much in the same manner as it has done in its other philanthropic institutions.  But at the start this was impossible.  It was en entirely new undertaking, and occasioned great caution, and in the midst of much controversy was timidly entered upon.  Indeed, after the drafting of an admirable bill by Doctor Wickersham, in 1864, which was read in place April 8, of the same year, the Legislature, having passed through a severe struggle, settled upon a very simple act, authorizing the Governor to accept the generous gift of $50,000 made by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and to appropriate the same for the education and maintenance of destitute orphans of deceased soldiers and sailors in such manner as he may deem best calculated to accomplish the object designed by said donation.  Such and so small were the beginnings.
The promoters of the good cause were necessitated at once to seek for schools already organized that the work might go on.  It was impossible to think of erecting buildings or of prosecuting the work on such a scale as in reality it justly merited.  We question very much, however, whether any other method, as the work increased, would have shown itself so economical, or could have called out, to so large an extent, the warm sympathy of the whole Commonwealth; for these schools have become very dear to the hearts of those who have taken the trouble to acquaint themselves with their management and work.  In almost every hamlet of this vast State, the good results of these widely scattered schools can be seen.  No nobler band of well-trained, independent, and honorable young men and women can anywhere be found than among the so-called "Sixteeners" who have graduated from these various schools.
The thoughtful Superintendent, Doctor Burrows, did not make a mistake in following out and completing the valuable suggestions of Doctor Wickersham's first bill, although the struggle was long and severe before he saw the coming victory.
We are fully convinced, however, that, could the Department at this time secure from the Legislature any large and well constructed buildings, such, for example, as the Marine Hospital at Erie, recently offered to the general Government, and transfer the children of some of the schools nearest the same, keeping them under the same general management as now, far more satisfactory work might be accomplished.  This would open the way at once for organizing them into thorough industrial schools, which could continue as benefits for all destitute and homeless children when the soldiers' orphans are no more.  It is quite impossible to graft on to our soldiers' orphan  system industrial schools of proper character.  Our buildings are inadequate, and no body of managers will be satisfied to enter upon such a work, knowing that the orphan schools will close in 1890.  Yet such industrial pursuits are more and more demanded for these schools.  With a building, however, such as referred to above, and an appropriation sufficient to secure the necessary machinery and tools, the soldiers' orphans could at once be placed in the same from schools near at hand, and the system could be enlarged so as to include all destitute children now either in poor-houses or farmed out by the directors of the poor.  Counties within a given district could be required by law to send all such children to the school,  where they could come under the same instruction and charge, under some proper obligation to pay for each a reasonable sum, such as they must now pay when voluntarily placing such wards in any of our charitable institutions.  Something of this kind, in our judgment, is now a pressing necessity; should the Legislature, by your recommendation, open the way for a firm beginning.  Our poor-houses, scattered through our various counties, are no places for training of children, and the matter will be but little more satisfactory if these destitute and homeless ones are farmed out over the State.  In neither case can there be any proper organization or concentration of effort to make such children, by education and industry, proper citizens of an enlightened Commonwealth.  The whole experience of history has been that nothing is more costly and demoralizing to any community than idle ignorance and vagrancy.  Indeed, could we, under prudent regulation, gather all the homeless and helpless children of the State into well-organized schools of industry, and keep them there, free from contamination and all temptations to vagrancy, what a blessing and profit it would be to this Commonwealth!
The cost of the system has been very great.  How could it be otherwise?  The war was on a scale of magnitude unthought of and never before experienced in history.  We can hardly estimate the thousands who hurried from our mountains and valleys to fight under the flag of their country.  Much less can we call into painful vision the thousand helpless little ones of families shattered and ruined in its bloody progress.  Nearly four hundred thousand Pennsylvanians entered the army, and nearly fifty thousand of these never returned unless cold in their flag-draped coffins.  The whole State was filled with suffering orphans.  Pensions, exhausting millions, have served to make the ruin and wreck less sad.  But no State except ours tried the noble experiment of taking the orphans of the war under its guidance and guardianship, and we have every reason to believe that the cost has been a thousand fold repaid by the good accomplished--a good which we are now reaping, and will reap for years to come.  Yet, without counting the cost, the State has the priceless consciousness of having done its duty, and of having shown to the world that our modern civilization, if it cannot avert the dread necessity of war and make "the hoarse, dull drum to sleep and men be happy," can, at least, lessen the miseries which always attend it, and which, as Burke has well said, "are even more dreadful than the monstrous carnage itself, which shocks our humanity and almost staggers our belief."
All admissions to the schools after June 1, 1882, having been forbidden by law, in preparing our report for the Legislature of 1883 we endeavored to make as close an estimate as possible of the necessary annual expense for the maintenance only of the children then in school, discounting for the number to be discharged on arriving at the age of sixteen, and for the probable number which would be ordered out for various other reasons.  Having no authority to anticipate any change of the then existing law forbidding further admissions, although urging the change, we reduced, in our estimate of funds needed, the amount of the two preceding years, asking an appropriation of only $625,000, which was $75,000 less than before.  The Legislature, however, revived the law authorizing admissions to be made, but, probably by oversight forgetting that the estimate had been made upon the basis of no further admissions, failed to add, to the appropriation asked for, the $75,000 which was the reduction made in view of the fact that no more children were to be admitted.  This left us in a very difficult position.  As soon as the law granting admissions was approved, a formidable pressure was upon us to admit children, especially those who had been waiting already for a year or more in circumstances of great suffering and distress. Believing that there would be margin enough in our estimate to warrant some admissions, we ordered in a few, selecting those most destitute and helpless.  We soon found, however, that our estimate had been too low even to maintain those already in, and that a deficit was unavoidable.  Discovering this, we refused at once to admit any more upon any condition whatever, except to fill a few vacancies, up to March, 1883.  Such as been our policy since December, 1883.
Applications have been made, and strong appeals have reached us almost daily, and the sad condition of the destitute children pleaded more strongly than aught else, but we have been forced to refuse all that he deficit might not in any way be increased.  Added to this, we have made every effort to decrease it by discharges wherever possible, and have gone so far as to require the schools to discharge six per cent of their number on roll and in good standing September 1, 1884, to bring the management within the amount appropriated.  Such, though severe, must be our policy in the future unless the Legislature comes to our relief.
We, therefore, most respectfully and urgently ask the Legislature to restore at least $30,000 of the $75,000 of reduction made in our last estimate, appropriating it to meet the deficit which is unavoidable for the years ending respectively May 31, 1884, and May 31, 1885, and to appropriate for the two years beginning June 1, 1885, $350,000 for each year.  This amount will be needed, in our judgment, to carry forward the work in accordance with the law.
The present condition of the schools, so far as can be shown by statistics, may be seen in the appended tabular statement.  The health of the children has been remarkable, showing that great care has been taken in this matter.  No epidemics have prevailed, and failures in attention to school duties caused by sickness have been very rare.  Most of our recommendations in reference to sanitary improvements have been promptly attended to, and we feel no hesitation in saying that the schools have had a very successful year's work, and are now in as good, if not better, condition than ever before.
The educational and disciplinary work has been most satisfactory.  The examinations, which were very thorough, have been regarded by all who attended them as showing a degree of attainment and drill which our best public schools even might well be proud of.  Our inspectors, Mrs. E. E. Hutter and Rev. John W. Sayers, have given most faithful and valuable service.  Their zeal in the work is only equaled by their thorough knowledge of all its details.  It would be impossible to prosecute the work without their aid, and they should be all means be continued in office.  Their reports are appended.  To make the inspection, upon which so much depends, more definite and effective, we have carefully re-organized the work, and in such manner as to make it almost impossible for any deception to be practiced upon us, even should there be any disposition to do so.  These new regulations are embodied in this present report. (See folio 59)
We are much gratified to notice the deep interest which these schools are more and more eliciting.  One of our respected Representatives, Hon. W. J. Hulings, of Venango county, has generously placed in our trust funds paid him by the State for his official services which he was unwilling to use for himself, that the same might be devoted to the good of the soldiers' orphans.  Appended (see folio 18) is a full account of the fund, and all the details of its disbursement.  Others also have shown in various ways their warm sympathy.  As always heretofore, so during the time covered by this report, the Grand Army of the Republic have given us their most hearty and effective cooperation.  We feel gratified that the recognize so fully the value of the schools and also show such confidence in their present management.  Should we be able, as we hope to be, to enlarge the work as already suggested, so as to organize, in conjunction with our present system, thorough industrial schools, holding the children for at least two more years, so that from the ages of fourteen to eighteen they may gain mastery of useful trades and mechanical employments, then the Grand Army of the Republic can give us most valuable and effective aid in securing for our graduates places of profitable trust where their acquired skill may be of the most service to the various industries of this great Commonwealth.
Thanking you for your kind interest manifested in every way during the past year in this as well as the other philanthropic interests of the State, and always asking God, who is the Father of the fatherless, to guard the whole work, and to crown it with His benediction,
I remain,
Yours to serve,
Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans.
(The following information was extracted from pages v-xi.)


Report of Mrs. E. E. Hutter.

Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphan Schools:
DEAR SIR:  In presenting to you this report of my last year's official labors in the work of visiting and inspecting the soldiers' orphan schools, a high sense of gratitude constrains me, first, to acknowledge the goodness of God in having continued to our institutions His paternal guardianship during another year, not having been visited by fires, flood, or any epidemical diseases.  In addition to these blessings, our institutions rejoice in the continued good-will of the people of the State and of their representatives.  This is evidenced by the appropriation annually made by the General Assembly to their support.  Institutions such as ours, under God, rest exclusively for their continuance and efficiency on the confidence and favor of the people and their representatives.  Much reason for thankfulness have we, therefore, in the fact that ours continue so largely to commend themselves to the popular approval.  May we not say that they are enthroned in the very hearts of the people in whose behalf the fathers of these children sacrificed their health and lives?  So long as this high trust is faithfully administered, we may feel assured that the necessary support will be cheerfully granted, for all of which we owe the Lord thanks, since every good and perfect gift comes from Him, and we have nothing of which he is not the Giver.


The schools this year have been running very smoothly.  I have visited all the schools and homes where soldiers' children are congregated regularly during the year.  They are in good condition.  They have a corps of well-selected, well-educated teachers who are aiming at a high standard of proficiency in their pupils, and the results, as a whole, are satisfactory, not all, however, reaching the same degree.  In addition to the common branches, physiology, natural philosophy, algebra, geometry and bookkeeping are taught in all the schools, also vocal music and instrumental, limited.  In one of the schools the past year stenography has been introduced.  I deem this a very valuable addition, as a knowledge of shorthand will be of great assistance to either boys or girls in securing a good situation.
The Kindergarten system should be more widely diffused.  Wherever it has been, it has proved a great blessing in many ways.  The little ones are so happy in the "Tinder darten," wishing for a morning and also an afternoon session.  The instincts of the child are heeded and the perceptions quickened, not blunted.  The hand, heart, and head are trained in sweet unison, and a beautiful symmetry of character is developed.  This leads me, as by a pleasant path, to my next head.

Industrial Training.

I am glad to see that there is a general rousing up in Pennsylvania with reference to industrial training.  Skilled labor ever commands a fair price, and is in constant demand.  How few American boys and girls, comparatively speaking, learn a trade.  We are obliged to send to Europe for our trained workmen in the various crafts, while native-born citizens have been compelled to occupy lower positions and consequently, to receive smaller wages, for lack of this trained skill.  I believe in training conjointly the brain and hand; let the two be considered of equal importance; let the one kind of teaching be done, and the other not be left undone.  In these orphan schools, through the detail system of work, our girls do become good housekeepers; many of the girls are very skillful in making button-holes, some learn dressmaking and tailoring before leaving the schools, sewing neatly both by hand and on the machine, and some have learned the trade of making artificial flowers.  The boys in the country schools learn something of farming.  In one school a class of boys has been instructed in working in wood, brass, iron, and mechanical drawing.  I am proud to say that one quite small boy drew the medal for working in steel at the Spring Garden Industrial Institute, Philadelphia.  All this is as it should be, only we want more systematic industrial training in all the schools.  Labor is honorable.

Moral and Religious Culture.

In all the schools regular religious services are held on the Sabbath day.  The International sabbath-school lessons are taught.  Also, there are daily morning and evening prayers.  This is not all.  Children learn as much by example as by precept, and all who associate with them, in whatsoever capacity, must feel the importance of so deporting themselves as to be worthy of imitation.
I recommend a kindly woman, a head nurse, in fact, to care for the many little boys and girls now congregated in all the schools.  A woman knows how to meet the wants of tender childhood, and a good motherly woman of gentle manners, of pure language in the nursery and on the play-grounds, is a great means of benefit to the young children.  To her they can tell their childish griefs, and be comforted with a few words of sympathy and cheer.  The little boys should not be left in charge of the male attendant, but separated from the larger boys.

Military Drill.

The larger boys are all exercised in the military tactics.  It is a manly exercise, conducive alike to health and manliness.  I am glad to report that in most of the schools more attention is given to the drill; not as much neglected as heretofore.


One sixth of what the State pays for each child is allotted for clothing.  In some instances the proprietors have appropriated more than this sum for this purpose.  The children, as a rule, are plainly and substantially clad.  The military suit of the boys is ever pleasing and also comfortable.  The girls are tastefully attired, their clothing being made in the modern style.  These remarks are true of all the schools, and much more might be said in praise of some.

The Food.

The food is plain and sufficient.  Butter is given more liberally than formerly.  In the country schools less variety appears on the table than in the schools of the cities and larger towns, where good marketing is available.  The table generally presents a pleasing appearance, which, in my mind, is very necessary to cultivate refinement.


The health of the children has been remarkable; so few cases of sickness and death, when the large number of children is considered.


The examinations this year have been exceedingly well attended by men and women of influence and culture.  I refer with pleasure to these days when so many from the outside come to witness the success of the schools, and take great pride in saying that our Governor, Robert E. Pattison, who is taking great interest in the welfare of our soldiers' orphans, industrially, physically, morally, and educationally, attended some of the examinations, and expressed himself highly pleased.  The children greeted him with a kindly welcome, as they recognized in him their true friend.


Many of the buildings now occupied by the orphan schools are old, having been in use for other purposes.  Previous to the opening of the schools nearly twenty (20) years ago, some of the buildings had been used as academies, others as water cures and summer resorts and, being frame, they have necessarily become old and dilapidated.  I cannot but continue to recommend that these buildings should undergo thorough repair--in some cases the repair needed is, that the old buildings should be pulled down and new ones erected in their place.  
These edifices do not belong to the State, but are the property of private individuals or corporations, and as the soldiers' orphan schools are yet to continue quite a period of years, I do insist upon a thorough renovation of all the buildings occupied by these schools which have not already been thus renovated.  Some of the buildings, I am glad to say, have been put into excellent repair.  Several of the principals and proprietors during the last year have, by the expenditure of quite a large sum of money, placed the buildings and grounds in a very good condition, every desired convenience having been supplied, such as improved facilities in the laundries and the bathing arrangements for the children, all of which is so essential to health and cleanliness.

Corporal Punishment.

I regret I must again refer to the horrible practice of corporal punishment in our schools.  I am fully persuaded that the application of the rod, especially to delicate and defenseless girls, is exceedingly injurious.  To my mind few spectacles, if any, are more revolting than to see a robust, able-bodied, full-grown man, whip in hand, inflicting lashes on children.  The girls it never fails, aside from the physical pain, to degrade and disgust and the rebellious boys it only serves to render more rebellious still.  I hope the day is not far distant when I can report it entirely abolished in all the schools.

Grand Army of the Republic.

The Grand Army of the Republic have been true to their pledges to dying and disabled comrades, and have proved themselves fathers to the fatherless and needy.  Quite a friendship exists between the men who once were the "boys in blue" and the young recruits who are growing up so strong and manly to fill the ranks now becoming sadly empty of the brave heroes of twenty years ago.
Let me, in conclusion, congratulate you upon the success of your administration.  All acknowledge that the present prosperous condition of our common schools and soldiers' orphan schools is owing to your untiring efforts.
Respectfully submitted.
Inspector and Examiner.

Report of John W. Sayers.

Superintendent of Soldiers' Orphan Schools:
SIR:  I have the honor to submit to you the following report of my inspection of the soldiers' orphan schools during the past year:

General Condition.

All the schools have been visited, some four and others five times, and in the whole round of duty I have found but little cause for complaint of the general management, but much to commend and encourage.  The satisfactory sanitary measures of the previous year, as to pure water, fresh air, proper ventilation of dormitories, and excellence and abundance of food, are still continued.  The best evidence of the observance of these important measures is found in the healthful condition of the children.
Clothing of the same style, material, and quality is furnished as of last year.

Instruction and Training.

Instruction in the various branches of education has steadily improved, as experience has suggested better methods, until the schools are not excelled by any other institution of similar curriculum.  In the examinations the pupils acquitted themselves with great credit, showing diligence upon their part and skill and industry upon the part of the teacher.  Indeed, that which heretofore seemed so excellent has been largely improved upon.  In physical and manual training much progress has been made; this is fully attested by the admirable discipline maintained and the manly bearing of the boys.  In the girls' department similar advancement has been made where the useful science of housekeeping and matronly branches have been skillfully imparted.  Sound moral and religious instruction, looking strictly to the spiritual welfare of the scholars, is among the important features of the teacher's work and we have reason to rejoice over the good already accomplished and the grand results which are sure to follow.

The Governor's Visits.

The visits of Governor Pattison through the year were productive of much good.  His high position, the deep interest he personally manifested in the work, and the enthusiasm which his addresses imparted to the scholars, will have an abiding effect upon their minds.  While the children will never forget the Governor, they will long be remembered by him.


Many of the school-buildings are growing old, but are now receiving the much needed repairs.  The Mercer buildings, of which complaint has been made, have been thoroughly repaired during vacation.  That our foresight is not always equal to the demands which emergencies may make upon us is clearly shown from the selection and location of these school-buildings.  It would have been wise if the State had, at the outset, erected four or six good suitable buildings properly located for the use of these schools, as they would have saved much expense and served many useful purposes after the object of their construction had been consummated.
The thought of educating the orphans of the State's fallen defenders was a new experience and was looked upon as only a temporary enterprise, but as time moved on it developed into one of the noblest and most patriotic conceptions of any nation or age.

The Grand Army.

If the education of our soldiers' orphans upon the part of the State was great and noble, the interest which the Grand Army has always manifested in the schools, and the jealous solicitude with which it has guarded every interest of these children of fallen comrades, is patriotically sublime.  No nation in the world's history can boast of such an organization.  The men who, in the hours of peril, faced death for home and country, and who stood like a barrier of fire against the enemies of human liberty when fierce rebellion sought the nation's life, no sooner laid down their arms upon the return of peace than all their differences and hardships were forgotten, and they were again the quiet citizens of a noble republic; but they could not forget each other, and thus they joined in fraternal union, forgetting personal strifes, banishing social distinction, and laying aside political differences.  As they stood should to shoulder in war, so in peace they have marched side by side, pledged to each other's welfare and interests.  The living are remembered and the dead are not forgotten.  Thus, with the truest philanthropy and the most praiseworthy loyalty, actuated by the holiest purposes, have they, with the utmost tenderness and love, watched over and cared for their comrades' orphans.

Termination of the Schools.

Five years for education, under the law, still remain before the valedictory will be written.  There are waiting ones still unadmitted, and it is a question of serious moment as to who shall be first entitled.  Why not give the most destitute priority?  These little ones, without father or mother, too young to speak for themselves and too helpless to command influence, should first be gathered into the warmth and comfort of the schools, by the helping hand of the State.  Let the most needy thus secure the benefit of the full five years' course still unexpired.  I have given much thought to this wonderful work of our Commonwealth, and yet the more I think the more I am unable to comprehend the important results which must follow this great educational and protective scheme.  These feeble ones of to-day will grow into the might y powers of the future, and, as from a peaceful citizenship there came, in the hour of the Nation's peril, a vast army of heroic and intelligent warriors, so from among these children educated under the patronage of the State there shall come a powerful host of intelligent and loyal citizens, which shall stand a tower of strength and power against opposing elements, and,

"When to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side.!"

they will more than cancel the debt they owe the country by patriotic devotion to its best interests.

In Conclusion.

Permit me to compliment you upon the successful discharge of the trust committed to your care.  None, with the same means, could have performed the duties better.  The present commends you for it, and the future will hold you in grateful remembrance.
Respectfully submitted.
Inspector and Examiner.

(The above information was extracted from pages 19-24.)


TRESSLER ORPHAN HOME--P. Willard, Superintendent.

In making our annual report to the Department of Soldiers' Orphans, it becomes us to be very grateful to the Author of all good for the care with which He has watched over and prospered us in the past.
On the first of June last, it was fifteen years since we took charge of the Home.  Since that period, independent of the charity orphans, we have had under our care two hundred and fifty-six children of deceased and disabled soldiers; of this number, we have been called to record but two deaths.
The general health of the children during the year has been remarkably good.  With the exception measles, we have had nothing more than an occasional cold during the whole year.  In the month of February last, the whole neighborhood was infected with the epidemic.
After being all around us amongst the neighbors, it broke out in the Home, and we had upward of seventy cases in the space of about three weeks.  I am happy to state that they all got over it in a short time, and that without leaving any evil results.  The attending physician attributes it all to the good nursing and the healthy condition of the children and school at the time it made its appearance.
The progress of the children in their various branches of study during the year has been all that we could reasonably expect.  
Religious services have not only been kept up in the Home as in former years and the children brought together in the Sabbath-school every Sunday afternoon, but they attend preaching regularly every Sabbath morning in the village church, where divine service is held alternately by the Lutheran and Reformed ministers in charge, except when the weather is too inclement; in which case, services are held by the superintendent in the school-room.  On Sabbath evening we have prayer-meeting, together with reading and expounding the Holy Scriptures.  In these meetings some of the older boys generally take part and seem to do so with much interest.
Under the tutelage of a corps of competent, experienced, and efficient teachers to cooperate with the superintendent, every effort is made not only to develop the intellect, but establish in each child a good moral character, and prepare it for usefulness in life, and enable it to be an ornament to society wherever it may go.
We have been renovating the buildings during the spring and summer.  We have rolled back the old dining-room, and torn down the kitchen, bake-room, bath-house, and laundry, and put up in their stead a much more commodious building of brick.
The main building is 75x40 feet, three stories high, in addition to the basement.  On the first floor of this edifice we will hereafter have the school and recitation-rooms, with a ceiling thirteen feet high and fine ventilation, so as to give a sufficiency of pure atmosphere both for teachers and scholars.  The second story will contain a private room for the principal teacher, together with a reading-room and clothing-room for the boys, and also a large dormitory for the smaller-sized boys; and the third story will contain a room for each of the male assistant teachers and a dormitory, 60x40, for the larger-sized boys.  A part of the basement story will be partitioned off into separate apartments by brick walls so as to afford play-rooms, one for the boys and one for the girls, during the extreme cold weather of winter or when the weather is too inclement for them to enjoy their childish sports on the campus or in their outdoor play-houses.  These apartments will have their entrance on different sides of the house.  The boys will enter their play-room on the west, and the girls on the east side of the house.  The remainder of this basement will be sub-divided, and a portion will contain a pool fitted for a plunge or shower-bath, as they may prefer, and the balance for a laundry, if in the course of time it should be needed.
The intermediate building, connecting the old and new building, 42-1/2x28 feet, is also three stories high.  The cellar of this building is also divided into two apartments, the one for vegetables and the other for groceries.  The first floor will be used for the culinary department, having an entrance into the old school-room, which is now converted into a dining room.  There is also in this building an ironing-room and side room, with an entrance from the foot of the stairs coming down from the boys' dormitory.  In this room the boys will wash and comb, before entering the school-room in the morning.  There is also a large hall in this buildings, leading from the school-room to the dining-room.  Through this the children will pass to and from their meals, without being exposed to the weather.  The second story of this building contains a sewing room, a patch-room and a wash and bathroom for the girls, and the third story will contain the girls' clothing-room and several sleeping-rooms for the female employes.
The old reading-room in the old building will have an additional apartment, and will be used as a reading-room for the girls and a music-room conjointly.  The two upper stories of the bold building will be converted into dormitories for the girls, matrons, and the superintendent, together with a couple of rooms for the sick, if there should be any, one for the boys and one for the girls, and a few for the entertainment of visitors.
The bake-room and laundry are now on the first floor of the old dining-room, which ahs been rolled back to the rear of the present building, and the dormitory on the second floor of that building will be appropriated to the laundress, to be used as a drying-room when the weather is unpleasant.
The play-sheds, built two years ago on different parts of the campus, will be used, as heretofore, by the children, more particularly for summer recreations, together with their amusements under the shade of the trees which now surround the house.  We have terraced the yard in front of the buildings during the spring and summer.  The consequence was the yard has not been decorated with the various kinds of flowers as it has been for the several past years, but by another year we will be enabled to make it more beautiful than it has ever been.
We are now in a position to accommodate all the deserving charity children whom the Lord may send to knock at our door, and still have abundance of room to receive and make comfortable any other of soldiers' children the Department of Harrisburg may see fit to admit to the 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, 1884.


Baker, Clara E., doing housework, Cumberland county, Pa.

Beighler, William, at school, Blain, Pa

Graham, Clara E., at home, York, Pa

Hart, Margaret A., Richland county, Ohio

Hoover, William D., with his parents.

Kauffman, Luella K., with her father, Juniata county.

Mort, George A., with his parents, Andersonburg, Pa

Reeder, Tyson, G. W., with his parents, Mainville, Pa

Ressler, Plato Alva, with his parents, Dalmatia, Pa

Saylor, Luther J., in Somerset county, Pa.

Symmerman, Rhuana V., with her parents, Doylesburg, Pa

Symmerman, Mary A., died July 3, 1884.


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