TRESSLER ORPHANS' HOME
According to the book,
Pennsylvania's Soldiers' Orphan Schools, Giving a Brief Account of the
Origin...; J. L. Paul; 1877
"THIS Home is located in Sherman's
Valley, about midway between Newport and Germantown, on an eminence
sloping north, south, east, and west, about four hundred yards north of
the village of Loysville, and one and one-half miles from Sherman's Creek.
"For health, purity of atmosphere, and variety, as well as beauty, of
scenery it rivals many, and is surpassed by but few in the State. It
is easy of access, a stage-coach running to and from the railroad depot at
In the year 1865 a primary soldiers' orphan school was established at
Loysville by Superintendent Burrowes, under the principalship of Captain
D. L., but at present Rev. D. L. Tressler, now President of Carthage
College, Illinois, but then in the profession of law at New Bloomfield.
"The school was for the first eighteen months superintended by Mr. Wm.
Minich, and afterwards by G. V. Tressler. In the spring of 1867 it
became necessary for that part of the Lutheran Church adhering to the
General Synod in the United States of America, to have a home for orphans
under its own supervision and control. After consultation with his
brethren in the ministry and with the State Superintendent of Soldiers'
Orphans, and obtaining from him a promise that orphans under his
supervision would be sent to the institution, the building and five acres
of land adjoining were purchased by Rev. P. Willard for the General Synod,
and leased for two years to Mr. Philip Bosserman, who took charge of the
State orphans and also of the charity children, the church paying a
stipulated sum for the keeping of the latter. In the meantime a charter
was procured in the name of the Trustees appointed by the Synods, who
obligated themselves for an equal amount of purchase-money and other
necessary funds for the proper management of the Home under the rules and
regulations of said Trustees. Subsequently, twenty seven and a half
additional acres of land were purchased by the Trustees, contiguous to the
Home, making now a total of thirty-two and a half acres Mr.
Bosserman, who lived at Newport, did not take personal charge of the
children but employed others to discharge that duty.
"On the 1st of June, 1869, by action of the Board of Trustees, the
institution was put under the charge of the present Superintendent, Rev.
P. Willard. Through his efforts entirely new beds and bedding, and
much other furniture, were procured from churches and
Sunday-schools. Eighty soldiers' orphans and eighteen charity
children were in the institution at the beginning of his administration;
at the present time sixty-two of the former and forty-six of the latter
"The original building is of brick, sixty by forty feet, three stories
high, on the first floor of which are a school-room, forty by thirty five
feet, and two recitation-rooms and an office. Immediately on taking
charge, Mr. Willard erected a new frame building, the first floor
containing a dining-room, forty-eighty by twenty feet, and the second
story is used as a dormitory.
During the summer of 1875, the old cooking establishment was torn down and
a new one erected of brick, two stories high, fifty by thirty feet,
containing separate apartments for coking, baking, and washing, together
with a bath-house, suited for washing or bathing either in warm or cold
water, and conveniences for either plunge or shower baths. The
second story of the building affords five additional sleeping-rooms for
employees or orphans.
"The play-grounds, containing five acres, which are rolling and always dry,
are studded with fruit and shade trees of different varieties, together
with grape-vines of the choicest kind of trellis-work, and evergreens and
flowers in season in great number and variety. These grounds are
hedged on three sides with arbor-vite, all calculated to charm the eye,
cultivate the taste, and gratify the wants of the passing moment.
There has also been erected an ice-house, with an apartment for the
preservation of fresh meat, which can be kept at the freezing-point in
midsummer; also a separate apartment for milk and butter, a corn-crib,
chickery, and, lastly, a barn, fifty-four by forty-five feet, giving ample
room in the lower story for stabling stock, and in the second story for
the storage of grain and provender. This barn is pronounced by all
who see it the most substantial, well planed, and convenient in the
neighborhood. There is also a fruit garden, consisting of nearly a
half acre of ground filled with strawberries, raspberries, plums, &c.,
which yield in abundance those fruits which are so palatable to the tastes
of children in the early part of summer.
"The farm of twenty-seven acres has become very fertile. There is
likewise a young orchard, containing two hundred apple-trees of choice
fruit and a little over two hundred peach-trees, with some forty
pear-trees, all beginning to bear, and will, in a few years, yield an
abundance for the wants of all the children.
"The discipline of the school is parental; moral suasion is the motto,
coercion never being resorted to until every other means have failed.
The moral and religious training of the children, as well as the
intellectual, is no overlooked. They are regular in their attendance
at church, either in one of the village churches, at least once every
Sabbath, or, if the weather is too inclement, in the school-room, where
services are conducted by the Superintendent. Sabbath-school is held
regularly every Sabbath afternoon, followed in the evening by Bible class
and prayer meeting, connected with reading and expounding the word of
God. The religious instruction is all from the Bible, which is the
only text-book, without any reference to creed or confession of any kind
except the Apostle's Creed. During the six years that Mr. Willard
has had charge of the Home, some sixty-five of the orphans have, after
obtaining permission from their mothers, united with one or another branch
of the church.
"The scholastic instruction has been thorough, the best of teachers having
been employed. The progress of the children has been such that, in
point of scholarship, they compare favorably with those of the advanced
soldiers' orphan schools of the State.
"The following persons have been employed at this institution since June 1,
Mr. George Sanderson, Mr. George W.
Weaver, Mr. Ira Wentzel, Mr. Herman F. Willard, Mr. S. S. Willard, A.B.,
Mr. L. A. Haffley, Miss Nettie Willard, Miss Elsie Berg, Mr. G. M.
Willard, Mr. A. M. Paff, Miss Hattie Anstadt, Miss M. L. Willard.
B. P. Hook, M.D."
The above information was
extracted from the book:
Paul, James Laughery: "Pennsylvania's SOLDIERS' ORPHAN SCHOOLS,
Giving A Brief Account of the Origin of the Late Civil War, The Rise and
Progress of the Orphan System, and Legislative Enactments Relating
Thereto; With Brief Sketches and Engravings of the Several Institutions,
with Names of Pupils Subjoined. "Tressler Orphans'
Home". Harrisburg: Hart, 1877. p. 451-453.