CHESTER COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
Part of the
AMERICAN LOCAL HISTORY NETWORK


SOLDIERS' ORPHANS' SCHOOL
AT CHESTER SPRINGS

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE 
PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSION
OF SOLDIERS' ORPHAN SCHOOLS
FOR THE YEAR-ENDING MAY 31, 1904

HOME | BACK


Faculty & EmployesRoster of Children | Report of the Inspectress | Inspector's Report | Report of Superintendents |

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

Gentlemen:  Herewith, as required by the act of Assembly, is presented the Report of the Soldiers' Orphan Schools Commission having charge of the proper conduct of the schools authorized by the law of the State.  This report will show the condition of the schools for the year ending May 31, 1904.
On May 31, 1903, there were 1,032 pupils enrolled, and on May 31, 1904, there were 950, showing a decrease in that period of 82.  This concludes the fortieth year of the existence of these schools and the fifteenth year under the management of a commission.
During the past school year there has been no epidemic of disease.  Of course there is always more or less sickness, and always will be, among children congregated as we have them in the schools, and that we have been enabled to escape the different epidemics disease which have swept over the State from time to time can be credited to the watchfulness and care shown by the employes of the different schools.
The action of the State in continuing these schools for al the years since the close of the war has been, in the judgment of this commission, a wise and commendable one.  When we stop to consider that there have been nearly 20,000 boys and girls educated and cared for in these schools, many of whom now fill honorable and responsible positions, we cannot help but declare that this grand old Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is true to her sons who offered their lives to protect her honor and integrity.
The children coming into the schools now are very young and as we have before stated, it must necessarily be some years before they can be finally discharged.  That means the ultimate concentration of all the children at the Industrial School at Scotland, Franklin county, Pa.  At this school they can be taught some things which will aid them in the battle of this life.  The boys and girls work in the printing office, the tailoring department and in the laundry.  Boys are also employed in the wood-working department, machine shop, engine room and learning the intricacies of electricity and farming.  The girls are instructed in housework and dressmaking; and boys and girls are taught telegraphy, typewriting and stenography.  Many of the pupils who have graduated from the schools are employed in the different railway offices, telegraph offices, and in business offices throughout the State.
In each of the three schools military training is given the boys and they are then taught the value of discipline and obedience which, in the struggle of life, is of paramount importance.
Farms are also attached to each school, upon which is raised a large portion of the vegetables used, such as potatoes, corn, onions, etc.
The following is the population of the schools for the year ending May 31, 1904:

Chester Springs............ 194 (boys)     134 (girls)     328 (total)
Uniontown.................... 219 (boys)     104 (girls)     323 (total)
Industrial...................... 180 (boys)     119 (girls)     299 (total)

Total .......................... 593               357              950

The members of the commission, all of whom are members of the Grand Army of the Republic, desire, at this time, to express to the Legislature, and through them to the people of the State, their appreciation of the patriotic spirit that has kept alive this wise and beneficent system.  It is an authoritive declaration to all who may follow that Pennsylvania never tires in performing a patriotic duty.  While it has cost money to continue this system, yet to the minds of the members of this commission, the State could expend no money which will bring back a greater reward in the future than that of caring for the children who may be unfortunate enough not to have the care or protection of parents and friends.  If left to wander and grow up without some discipline being enforced, in after yeas it would bring about such a state of affairs in society that it would cost the State more money in providing reformatory and correctional institutions than it has done to provide these homes.  We do not mean to say by this that this class of children is confined exclusively to those of the soldiers of the War of the Rebellion, but they belong to all classes of society.
In conclusion, gentlemen, the commission makes an earnest request of the members of the Legislature, the Grand Army of the Republic, the clergy, members of the press, and in fact citizens in all the walks of life to visit these institutions and see for themselves what this commission is endeavoring to do for those committed to their charge.  Attached hereto you will find the tabulated statements of all matter connected with the schools, which will give, in detail, all the information as to the conduct of the schools that may be desired. 
Every members of the present commission is a comrade of the Grand Army of the Republic, as follows:

Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker, ex-officio.

On the Part of the Senate of Pennsylvania:
Jacob C. Stineman.   Andrew G. Williams.

On the Part of the House of Representatives:
Thomas V. Cooper.     John H. Riebel.     Ira F. Mansfield.

On the Part of the Grand Army of the Republic:
Thomas G. Sample.     Levi G. McCauley.     James F. Morrison.     Thad M. Mahon.     Richard H. Holgate.

Respectfully submitted,
SAML. W. PENNYPACKER, President

RICHARD H. HOLGATE, Secretary.


SCHOOL FACULTY AND EMPLOYES.

For the Year Ending May 31, 1904

CHESTER SPRINGS SCHOOL.

OFFICERS.

Dr. M. B. Hughes, superintendent
Miss M. E. White, matron
Mrs. S. J. Brown, assistant matron
John A. Barrett, military instructor
John R. Wells, physician.

EDUCATIONAL DEPARTMENT

PRINCIPAL

Ira D. McCord.

TEACHERS.

Miss Bertha M. Holgate.
Miss Helen E. Buohl.
Miss Katharine Quinlan.
Miss Margaret A. Harbaugh.
Miss Annie J. Wharton.
Miss Margaret Brisbin.
Miss M. Elsie Dalbey.
Miss Junia M. Wall.

OTHER EMPLOYES.

Miss Leah Shellenberger, sewing room.
Miss Margaret Irwin, assistant sewing room.
Mary Scott Sloan, assistant sewing room.
Mrs. Marie P. Hartweg, boys' mending.
Miss Elizabeth E. Koons, girls' mending.
Mrs. M. E. Root, dining room.
Miss Minnie Rumberger, assistant dining room.
Mrs. S. E. Garis, dormitories.
Mrs. E. L. Jefferis, dormitories.
Mrs. L. H. Richards, nurse.
C. A. Broome laundryman.
Ella R. Sloyer, assistant laundress.
Edith Shaffner, assistant laundress.
Thomas O. K. Robarts, baker.
Mrs. Lovena Hunter, cook.
Viola G. Campbell, cook.
F. H. Hartwig, engineer.
F. P. Barrett, cobbler
Samuel E. Rankin, stenographer.
George M. Hazlett, teamster.
Lloyd R. Ammerman, fireman.
Olive Holderman, general utility.
George H. Jefferis, carpenter
Cortland M. Fell, watchman.
Lawrence Reagan, fireman.


ROSTER OF CHILDREN
IN THE
Soldiers' Orphan Schools
of
PENNSYLVANIA.

JUNE 1, 1904

KEY= Name of Pupil; Date of Birth; Date of Order for Admission; School; Father, dead or living; Mother dead or living.; Name of Father; Rank; Co.; Regt.; State; Application by; PO Address of Applicant

Carbon Co.
Britton, Charles A., Aug. 28, 1891; Mar.16,1899; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Israel Britton; Pvt; G; 104th; Pa.; Senia Britton; Mauch Chunk
Smith, Charles H.; July 14, 1888; Oct. 25, 1897; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Francis Smith; Pvt.; A; 66th; Pa.; Catherine F. Smith; Parryville
Smith, Annie E.; Nov. 23, 1890; Sept. 5, 1898; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Francis Smith; Pvt; F; 9th; Pa.; Catherine F. Smith; Bowmanstown.
Smith, Jennie C., Apr 5, 1892; Sept. 5, 1898; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Francis Smith; Pvt; F; 9th; Pa.; Catherine F. Smith; Bowmanstown.

Centre Co.
Bradley, James I.; Jul 30, 1890; Dec. 12, 1898; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Philip Bradley; Pvt; H; 4th; Pa.; Elizabeth E. Bradley; Axeman.
Garis, Louise; Dec. 30, 1892; Mar. 26, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Charles H. Garis; Sergt.; B; 5th; Pa.; S. Emma Garis; Axeman.
Swab, Joseph E., May 8, 1890; Mar. 25, 1898; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Edward Swab; Pvt; F; 148th; Pa; J. Kennedy Johnston; Bellefonte
Walker, Mina; May 10, 1896; Mar. 26, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Ellis I. Walker; Pvt; K; 82d; Pa; John S. Longwell; Milesburg
Walker, Max P. P.; Jan 7, 1898; Dec. 27, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Ellis I Walker; Pvt; K; 82d; Pa; John S. Longwell; Milesburg.

Chester Co.
Cole, Okie P.; Sep 16, 1888; June 1, 1895; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Philip Cole; Pvt; D; 6th; USCT; Margaret W. Cole; West Chester
Cole, Rufus J.; Apr 3, 1891; Mar. 16, 1899; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Philip Cole; Pvt; D; 6th; USCT; Margaret Butcher; West Chester
Cole, Elijah; Jan 23, 1890; June 8, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Josiah Cole; Pvt; B; 54th; Mass; Harriet I. Cole; West Chester
Cole, Elisha C.; July 3, 1894; June 8, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Josiah Cole; Pvt.; B; 54th; Mass; Harriet I Cole; West Chester.
Cole, Charles A.; Oct 16, 1892; July 20, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Philip Cole; Pvt; D; 6th; USCT; Margaret Butcher; West Chester.
Dunlap, Albert; Sep 20, 1891; Mar. 23, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Evan D. Dunlap; Sergt.; Marines; USN; Lillian A. D. Gilbert; West Chester
Fulmen, Milton F.; Oct. 29, 1892; Feb. 10, 1904; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; William F. Fulmer; Lieut.; C; Lt. Bat., Pa; Annie L. Fulmer; Phoenixville.
Fulmer, Merion F.; Jan 23, 1899; Apr 21, 1904; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; William F. Fulmer; Lieut; C; Lt. Bat, Pa; Annie L. Fulmer; Phoenixville.
Groff, Theodore; Jun 29, 1890; Mar. 7, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Isaac Groff; Pvt; A; 1st; Pa; William McElroy; Saint Peters.
Love, Henry; Mar. 28, 1893; Sep. 16, 1897; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; James Love; Pvt.; D; 58th; Pa; John L. Smith; Chester Spr'gs.
Maples, John J.; Oct. 24, 1896; Nov. 17, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Joseph R. Maples; Pvt; F; 8th; US Cav.; Plummer E. Jefferis; West Chester.
Stringfellow, Sarah J.; Dec. 8, 1892; Sep 11, 1899; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Joseph G. Stringfellow; Pvt.; Pvt.; H; 120th; Pa; Nathan Wilson; Downingtown.

Clearfield Co.
Calhoun, Ernest L.; Apr 15, 1893; Aug. 1, 1900; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Robert Calhoun; Pvt; C; 7th; Pa. Cav; Robert Calhoun; Allport.
Hopkins, Esther L.; Apr 15, 1893; Jan. 17, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Lionel A. Hopkins; Pvt.; Pvt; G; 77th; Pa; J. M. Beers; Coalport.
Mattingly, Ignatius S.; Oct. 7, 1894; Aug. 14, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Wm. H. H. Mattingly; Sgt; D; 9th; Ind.; M S. Bookwalter; Clearfield.
Mattingly, Ann M.,; Sep 28, 1896; Aug. 12, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Wm. H. H. Mattingly; Sgt; D; 9th; Ind.; M. S. Bookwalter; Clearfield.
Mattingly, Wm. E.; Sep 17, 1897; Aug. 14, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Wm. H. H. Mattingly; Sgt; D; 9th; Ind.; M. S. Bookwalter; Clearfield.
Myers, Frederick T.,; Jun 29, 1892; Jun 10, 1899; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Henry Myers; Pvt.; E; 52d; Pa.; Henry Myers; Osceola Mills.
Myers, Nora C.; Jul 11, 1895; Aug. 1, 1900; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Henry Myers; Pvt.; E; 52d; Pa.; Henry Myers; Osceola Mills.
Stare, Cyrus M.; Mar. 14, 1895; Nov. 7, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; John Stare; Corp.; H; 56th; Pa.; Nora E. Kephart; Kephart.
Stare, Reynolds; May 3, 1897; Nov. 7, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; John Stare; Corp.; H; 56th; Pa.; Nora E. Kephart; Kephart.

Clinton Co.
Kriger, Annie; Feb. 14, 1893; July 24, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Henrich Kriger; Pvt.; Pvt.; G; 45th; Wis.; R. N. Martin; Renovo.
Kriger, Laura; July 20, 1895; July 24, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Henrich Kriger; Pvt.; G; 45th; Wis.; R. N. Martin; Renovo.
Kriger, Thomas E.; Sep 26, 1896; July 24, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Henrich Kriger; Pvt; G; 45th; Wis.; R. N. Martin; Renovo.

Northumberland Co.
Moyer, Susannah H.; Aug. 22, 1893; Apr 6, 1901; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; John B. Moyer; Corp.; G; 6th; Pa. Ca.; Ages Moyer; Shamokin.
Moyer, Elmer H.; Feb. 4, 1895; Apr 6, 1901; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; John B. Moyer; Corp.;G; 6th; Pa. Ca.; Ages Moyer; Shamokin.
Penman, Stuart; Apr 2, 1892; Mar 31, 1903; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Mungo Penman; Pvt.; E; 48th; Pa.; Mungo Penman; Mt. Carmel.
Reed, Howard B.; July 31, 1891; July 31, 1897; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; David A. Reed; Pvt.; D; 93d; Pa.; Emmeline Reed; Shamokin.
Stevenson, Lovena L.; Dec. 31, 1892; Mar. 26, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Living; William Stevenson; Pvt.; E; 12th; Pa.; William Stevenson; Northumb'd
Stevenson, Raymon; July 6, 1894; Mar. 26, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Living; William Stevenson; Pvt.; E; 12th; Pa.; William Stevenson; Northumb'd
Stevenson, George; July 8, 1896; Mar. 26, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Living; William Stevenson; Pvt.; E; 12th; Pa.; William Stevenson; Northumb'd
Stevenson, William; Sep 15, 1889; Aug 12, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Living; William Stevenson; Pvt.; E; 12th; Pa.; William Stevenson; Northumb'd
Weimer, William R.; July 4, 1893; Jan. 9, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; George Y. Weimer; Pvt.; C; 131st; Pa.; Kate S. Weimer; Sunbury.

Perry Co.
Currie, Maggie M.; Apr 15, 1891; June 13, 1896; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Robert C. Currie; Pvt.; G; 11th; Pa. Cav.; Directors of Poor; Loysville.

Philadelphia County.
Burke, Josephine S.; May 26, 1891; Apr 21, 1904; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Edward D. Burks; Pvt.; D; 23d; Pa.; Catharine J. Snowden; Philadelphia.
Burke, Gertrude T.; Feb. 6, 1893; Apr. 21, 1904; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Edward D. Burks; Pvt.; D; 23d; Pa.; Catharine J. Snowden; Philadelphia.
Burke, John N. S.; Jan 30, 1896; Apr. 21, 1904; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; Edward D. Burks; Pvt.; D; 23d; Pa.; Catharine J. Snowden; Philadelphia.
Callender, Henry; Feb. 19. 1891; Mar. 20, 1901; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Judson Callender; Pvt.; F; 51st; Pa.; Anie Callender; Philadelphia.
Denning, Harry H. B.; Dec. 14, 1889; Mar. 16, 1899; Chester Springs; Living; Living; Albert S. Denning; Corp.; H; 114th; Pa.; Albert S. Denning; Sold'rs' Home, Va.
Durr, Thomas M., Jr.; Apr 15, 1893; Jan. 13, 1904; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Thomas M. Durr; Pvt.; H; 4th; Pa. Cav.; Thomas M. Durr; Philadelphia.
Durr, Frank M.; Feb. 12, 1895; Jan. 13, 1904; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Thomas M. Durr; Pvt.; H; 4th; Pa. Cav.; Thomas M. Durr; Philadelphia.
Durr, Harry McK.; Oct. 28, 1896; Jan. 13, 1904; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; Thomas M. Durr; Pvt.; H; 4th; Pa. Cav.; Thomas M. Durr; Philadelphia.
Elliott, Isabella; Mar. 9, 1891; Jan. 9, 1902; Chester Springs; Dead; Dead; John Elliott; Pvt.; I; 127th; USCI; M. Luther Nicholas; Philadelphia.
Fleisher, Maximillion; Mar. 11, 1888; Mar. 24, 1900; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Max Fleisher; Pvt.; F; 3d; US Cav.; Leidy Fleisher; Philadelphia.
Johnston, Hillery W.; Jun 19, 1890; Jun 10, 1899; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; James A. Johnston; Pvt.; G; 5th; Mass. Cav.; Mary M. Stansberry; Germantown.
Jones, Florence O.; Oct 13, 1890; Sep 28, 1903; Chester Springs; Dead; Living; Samuel Jones; Sgt.; C; 29th Conn.; Mary A. Jones; Philadelphia.
Lynch, Charles L.; Feb. 8, 1895; Jul 29, 1902; Chester Springs; Living; Living; John R. Lynch; Pvt.; B; 6th; Pa. Cav.; John R. Lynch; Philadelphia.
McFadden, Albert O.; Mar. 28, 1891; Jul. 23, 1903; Chester Springs; Living; Dead; John McFadden; Lieut.; E; 81st; Pa.; John McFadden; Philadelphia.
McFadden, Howard J.; Jul 11, 1893; Jul 23, 1903; Chester Springs Living; Dead; John McFadden; Lieut.; E; 81st; Pa.; John McFadden; Philadelphia.
Peak, James C.; Oct 16, 1894; Apr 27, 1903; Chester Springs; Living; Living; Thomas R. Peak; Pvt.; F; 67th; Pa.; Thomas R. Peak; Nat. Mil. Home, Va.
Peak, Clara C.; Aug 24, 1899; Apr 27, 1903; Chester Springs; Living; Living; Thomas R. Peak; Pvt.; F; 67th; Pa.; Thomas R. Peak; Nat. Mil. Home, Va.


ANNUAL REPORT OF THE INSPECTRESS.

To the Honorable Commission of Soldiers' Orphan Schools:

The duties of your inspectress during the year ending June 30, 1904, were mainly confined to those of ordinary routine.  There was no unusual episode that transpired which called for extra exertions or imperiled the health or safety of the scholars.  To this statement, however, one exception may be noted, viz.:  the outbreak of measles which took place at  Jumonville School during the winter of 1903 and 1904.  Fortunately, there were no deaths nor permanent disabilities, a result which certainly can be attributed in a large degree to the medical care and supervision exercised at the time of the outbreak.  It is to be noted in connection with the subject of health that the object of the Commission has been to ascertain the individual physical needs of each pupil, and, whenever necessary, to transfer them to the care of a specialist, or to hospitals where the best possible treatment can be accorded.  A reference to the reports of the several physicians attached to the schools will no doubt illustrate the number and character of such cases.
Apart from the general good health of the pupils at the various schools, it should be noted that during the last year much progress has been made in the condition affecting their comfort, and in promoting their general welfare.  These may be summed up in the form of alterations and repairs to the various buildings, and in regulations governing their conditions.  
These alterations, which it is unnecessary to specify in detail, embrace the means of better ventilation and drainage, and more spacious accommodation of the pupils.
Notwithstanding these various improvements, your inspectress feels that she would be deficient in her duty if she did not again call attention to the advisability of concentrating the pupils at the Scotland institution.  This was the original design, and as time goes by, it would seem to be the part of wisdom to carry out the original plan.  However healthy and suitable the establishments at other points in the interior of the State may appear, yet there are undoubted and unquestionable advantages in concentrating the schools at one central point.  Without wishing to infringe upon the province of the Commission, it is to be hoped that the lawmaking powers of the State will see fit to grant such means and facilities to the Commission as will enable it to build cottages, or to enlarge the present accommodations at Scotland, at an early date.
A reference to the detailed reports of those entrusted with the technical education of the children will show a number of varied industries, all of them useful and none of which should be abandoned.  It has been a subject of serious thought, however, to your inspectress, whether in the female department there should not be established a new branch of industry and tuition.  It is difficult to explain the exact requirements of this new plan, except to say that it should embrace instruction in such matters of domestic science, economy, and management as will enable the girl pupils upon their entry into domestic life to manage and control their households.  While a knowledge of the various trades is essential to enable the male pupils to earn their subsistence, it is certainly of equal importance that the future wives should also learn the trade of housekeeping.  It is needless to enlarge upon this subject, but it is to be hoped that the Commission will see its way toward the establishment of a department of domestic science.
Your inspectress has intentionally refrained from entering into details of the different institutions, knowing that all such information will be embraced in the reports of the heads of the different departments, but it is worth noting as a general summary that the operations of all the schools during the past year have been conducted with vigor and success.  Not a single critic has appeared to make complaint of any action of the Commission or any of its officials, nor is there any reason to believe that any interest affecting the health, education or comfort of these wards of the State has been forgotten or neglected.
Very respectfully,
LAURA P. SWENTZEL,
Inspectress.
Philadelphia, August 30, 1904.


INSPECTOR'S REPORT.

West Chester, Pa., September 30, 1904.

To the Commission of Soldiers' Orphan Schools, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania:

Gentlemen:  I have the honor to present my sixth annual report as inspector of the Soldiers' Orphan Schools.
In doing so it gives me pleasure to be able to refer to the past year as a well-balanced one, in which no department of the work has so predominated as to be a detriment to the others, but one in which all have been given due interest and consideration.
Nor has the physical and moral well-being of the boys and girls been neglected, and it is our particular pride that the general health, appearance and happiness of the children is beyond questions, and that they generally regret leaving school.
While walking along the street in New York recently, I was most agreeably surprised at being greeted by a young colored girl who was a recent pupil of the schools.  She wished to know all about the boys and girls from the school from which she came and spoke of the happy days she had spent there.  We are proud to feel that the State has been able to develop the schools so that this kind of a report may be made.
My monthly visits to the schools during the year included a thorough inspection of the grounds, buildings, outbuildings, a careful observation of everything connected with the kitchen, dining rooms, hospitals, lavatories, etc., etc.; a careful examination of the food furnished and the preparation of it; a close scrutiny of the appearance of the children; and a careful inspection of the "boys' line;" the clothing and shoes worn by them, etc., etc.; visits to the class rooms, observing the ventilation and methods of instruction and discipline of the children.
In September, 1903, there were 991 pupils in all.  In June, 1904, (at the end of the year) there were 946; a loss of 45, taking into consideration of the admissions and discharges during the year.  On the above computation about 90 will not return on account of the age limit.  
As the Commission keeps in touch with the many details of the schools, I have purposely avoided mentioning the many things which have been covered in my monthly and special reports.
No serious epidemic has occurred, and the children have been well.  The fire-drill is still practiced at all the schools, so that in case of fire the boys could be depended upon to take their places in certain positions in the buildings and use their best efforts to prevent excitement and confusion while the children are getting out of the building; the fire-drill interests them to such an extent that it is thought they would not think of danger, but quietly pass out of the building in an orderly manner.  In case of fire in the girls' department, the boys, in charge of the military instructor, are taught to go to the assistance of the girls.  At the bugle call for fire, the dormitories can be emptied in about two and a half minutes.
I wish there could be devised some systems whereby things taught at the schools could be carried on more fully in some of our technical schools or colleges.  Would it not be possible, in view of the many State appropriations, to get scholarships established at such places, open to those students of the orphan schools who show the greatest ability of being able to profit by them?  Are there not openings at great concerns likes Cramps, Westinghouse, etc., etc., where our boys from the Industrial School might find entrance and opportunity?  With the perfectly organized influence of the members of the Commission and other friends of the schools, such openings might be provided each year. 
Our libraries are sadly in need of replenishing.  Their condition has been very unsatisfactory for several years, and as there seems to be great demand for the few worn out books, new ones would certainly be very welcome to the children.
The following is an extract from the Harrisburg Telegraph:  "This was commencement day at the State Industrial School at Scotland and the interesting exercises were creditable to the faculty, the students and the institution.  Each year demonstrates anew the wisdom of the Commonwealth in establishing this school and each year further demonstrates the necessity for enlarging its scope and preparing for the great work which is at hand in the industrial training of the orphans of soldiers and of those who may follow them.
"A large assemblage witnessed the first day's exercises yesterday (June 20, 1904), including many distinguished visitors from all parts of the State.  Among those who were present and made addresses were General Thomas J. Stewart, Colonel Thos. G. Sample, Senator Williams, of Butler; Representative Mansfield, of Beaver county, and other members of the Commission.  The exercises in the gymnasium were of a high order of excellence, the singing, recitations and the orations being equal to the best that might be expected of any first-class college or academy.
"The site of the school is one of the most delightful to be found anywhere, and the health of the boys and girls shows the wisdom of the location.  There were many visitors of the G.A.R. among the throng, including Captain John C. Gerbig, of Chambersburg; John Eckel, commander of the Post at Chambersburg; Senator Alexander Stewart, Captain Miller, of Carlisle and others.
"An incident of the exercises yesterday was the suggestion of one of the speakers that the Legislature be asked for an appropriation to build an assembly hall, which is needed.  The suggestion was received with tremendous enthusiasm by the visitors and students, and it is believed that some steps will be taken to secure such a hall."
There is much more that might be said, but I think I have given a general idea of the condition of the schools.  Of course, there have been little matters requiring adjustment and criticism during the year, but these have been attended to promptly, and I feel that it is not necessary to call further attention to them.
It remains for me to congratulate the members of the Commission on the generally commendable condition of the schools and to thank them for their assistance and personal interest in this work.
Very respectfully submitted,
S. G. WILLAUER,
Inspector.


REPORTS OF SUPERINTENDENTS.

SOLDIERS' ORPHAN SCHOOL, CHESTER SPRINGS.

Chester Springs, Pa., June 30, 1904.
Commission Soldiers' Orphan Schools, Harrisburg, Pa.:

Gentlemen:  I beg leave to submit the fourteenth annual report of the Chester Springs Soldiers' Orphan School.
Upon assuming the superintendency of the school, I found upon its roll, June 30, 1903, 379 pupils.   There were admitted during the year just closed, June 30, 1904, 81 pupils on order, making a total on the roll for the year 460.  During the same period there were discharged on age, 32; on order, 12; and by transfer to the Industrial School at Scotland, Pa., 85; making a total of 129 pupils discharged.  To this number must be added the loss of three by death, making the number taken from our roll 132, leaving on the roll at the close of the year 328.
During the year we had a number of cases of illness of a very serious character, notably two of typhoid fever, one of scarlet fever, three of pneumonia, two of diphtheria, and two of membraneous croup, besides more than a hundred cases of measles; yet, owing to the skill of our physician, blessed by a Divine Providence, no death occurred from any acute disease, while the care with which those whose illness was of a contagious nature were isolated, together with the free use of antiseptics, prevented the spread of contagion.
Of the three deaths reported above, two of them, Mary Coil, eight years old, of Susquehanna county, and Walter Cuff (colored), ten years old, of Fulton county, died of marasmus (wasting disease) and Margaret Buckalew, of Luzerne county, of heart disease, dying very suddenly after having recovered from a light attack of measles.
While it is with deep regret that we have to report the loss of three pupils by death, yet in view of the facts above stated the mortality has been exceedingly small.  Too much praise, cannot be given to our physician, Dr. John R. Wells, for his untiring care and skilful and successful treatment of the many cases under his charge during the year.
Although it proved utterly impossible to find the friends of either Mary Coil or Walter Cuff, during their illness or after their death, yet gentle hands administered to their comfort, beautiful flowers were placed on their caskets, appropriate services held in the chapel and they were given proper burial in the plot belonging to the school in East Vincent Cemetery.  The remains of Margaret Buckalew were taken to her home for burial.
Our loss by death was not confined to the pupils referred to, for during the year two of our respected employes were called away by the "Grim Reaper."  Mrs. Mary Bowers, of Harrisburg, of the sewing department, after struggling with an almost indomitable will against the ravages of disease, and working long after one with les energy would have succumbed, was at last forced to yield and in the latter part of October was called to her rest.
Major James P. Holt, known to and respected by all who have in any way been connected with or interested in the Soldiers' Orphan Schools, by reason of his long service extending over a period of fourteen years in the schools, at Harford, Uniontown, and Chester Springs, like a brave soldier that he was, stayed at his post long after the infirmities of disease had rendered the discharge of duty not only wearisome, but well nigh impossible, was forced finally to surrender, and after the first day of January, 1904, never left his room but once until the twelfth day of April, having answered the room but once until the twelfth day of April, having answered the last roll-call, he was carried to the home of his sister in Philadelphia, from whence he was buried.  His unfailing cheerfulness and courtesy, his high appreciation and exemplification of, in his own life, all that was noble and manly, endeared him to all who were in any way associated with him.  By his death the soldiers' orphan schools lost a valuable and valued employe.  May his last bivouac be an eternal rest.
During the year some improvements have been made, chief among which was the remodeling of what was known as the "temporary" building into a dormitory and play-room for the little boys, with a cosy room for their matron.  The basement was furnished with a large cedar tank selected by Major McCauley, which has proved a great boon to the little fellows.  The separating of the little boys into a dormitory of their own was a very wise thing to do, as it has added greatly to the welfare and comfort of the little fellows, for which the Commission deserves great praise.
The teachers' building was greatly improved by having a room furnished for use as a parlor, and the rooms most needing it newly papered, painted and carpeted.
The several holidays and holiday seasons were duly observed.  The first one, the glorious Fourth, was fittingly celebrated by the assembling of the pupils and employes in the chapel where patriotic songs were sung by the children, the Declaration of Independence read by the Superintendent, and an appropriate address, suited to the understanding of the pupils, made by Major Holt.  On Christmas the Commission made everybody happy by a most generous supply of candies, fruits and nuts and directing the Superintendent to provide a bountiful Christmas dinner.  The day was one of unalloyed pleasure to all and was fittingly closed by appropriate services in the chapel.
During the holidays, Mr. John O. K. Robarts, editor of the Phoenixville Messenger, a true friend of the soldiers' orphans, accompanied by Miss Goodwin, of Cranberry, N.J., a pianist, and Miss Widdecombe, of Phoenixville, elocutionist, came up and gave the children, both big and little, a most charming musical and literary treat; and at a later date, accompanied by the blind pianist, Professor Wallace, Miss Widdecombe, elocutionist and Misses Evans and Renard, singers, entertained us all equally as charmingly.  The holiday season closed with a phonograph entertainment given by Comrade Wm. A. Stewart, assisted by his son, Wm. A. Stewart, Jr.  To Mr. Robarts, Comrade Stewart, and all who accompanied them, the thanks of the management of the school are due, and are hereby tendered for the kindly thoughtfulness in thus contributing to the enjoyment of the children.
On Memorial Day the entire school, led by the band, marched to East Vincent Cemetery and, after the usual services were held strewed with flowers not only the graves of their fellow pupils, but also the graves of all the soldiers who lie buried there.  In the afternoon the officers, teachers and other employes, with the children and a goodly number of the citizens of the community, assembled in the chapel and after the school had sung "My Country 'Tis of Thee," listened to an able and to the pupils, (for it was intended particularly for them) a most interesting address, delivered by the Hon. B. F. Hughes, of Philadelphia, who kindly and cheerfully had responded to the invitation to deliver the address.
Religious services, either Sunday-school or preaching by one of the neighboring pastors on Sabbath, and chapel services on each week night, have been observed during the year.  Revs. Schnering and Miller have kindly responded to invitations to address us.
I must not forget to mention the name of a former pupil of the school who did much to enhance the pleasure of the children who were kept at the school during vacation.  Mr. George Benkhart, of Philadelphia, remembering no doubt his vacation days, with his jacks and croquet sets for the girls, and marbles and baseball outfits for the boys, especially directing that they be given to those who had to spend their vacations at school.
That the work done in the school-room was well done, and that the pupils had profited by the instruction received, was evidenced not only by the manner in which they acquitted themselves in their examination, and at the "annual" exercises, but by the words of commendation from those who were here to witness their work.  Whatever measure of success has been accomplished has been due to the unanimity of effort, and the harmony existing among all those whose duty it is to care for an train the children in preparing themselves for lives of usefulness.  I would like to refer in words of commendation to each teacher and employe individually, and thus express my appreciation of the manner in which each has performed his or her part in making this year a profitable one to the school, and a most pleasant one to its Superintendent.  I must, however, on account of lack of space deny myself the pleasure and content myself with a brief reference to a few heads of departments.  The farm, under the efficient management of Mr. George M. Hazlett, furnished us with an abundance of fresh vegetables in their season.  The engine-room, kept bright and clean, with its machinery in perfect order, furnishes abundant evidence that our engineer, Mr. F. H. Hartweg, is the "right man in the right place"; our laundry, under the charge of Mr. C. A. Broome, is second to none, while of the man who bakes our bread, pies and cakes, I need only to say he has been doing the baking for the soldiers' orphans for thirty years.
The girls' departments, under the tactful management of its most efficient matron, Miss M. E. White, assisted by Mrs. S. J. Brown, is entitled to and received the praise of all whose privilege it was to visit and inspect the department.  Perfect cleanliness and strict yet kindly discipline are manifest everywhere.
Owing to the long illness and death of the military instructor, Major Holt, the boys' department was for a part of the year practically without a head, yet it received much praise from those who witnessed the deportment of the boys, and the manner in which they acquitted themselves in the military drill at "annual."
To the inspector, Major Willauer, and his most worthy and efficient coadjutator, the inspectress, Mrs. Laura P. Swentzel, I am indebted for many courtesies and helpful suggestions, for which I hereby tender my most sincere thanks.
To the members of the Commission of Soldiers' Orphan Schools, I cannot find words in which to adequately express my appreciation of the many kindnesses received at their hands.  The selection of such men to have charge of the institutions established for the care and education of the children of their late comrades has proven to have been a wise one.  Nothing that will advance the interests or conduce to the welfare or comfort of the children, if asked for, is ever refused it if is in their power to grant it.
Thanking you, gentlemen, for your uniform courtesy,
I am most respectfully yours,
DR. M. B. HUGHES,
Superintendent.


     

This site is maintained by Cathy Wentz-Eisenstadt
Copyright 2003-2010.   All Rights Reserved.

 This page was last updated on:02/19/2009  

This free web space has been provided by RootsWeb.

People for better PA Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access)
Learn about the grassroots effort to make older PA state death certificates available on-line!!  Please consider helping.