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61 North Main Street, Mansfield, Pennsylvania 16933

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Mansfield's Soldiers' Orphans' School

Soldiers' Orphans' School
THIS Institution was founded by Prof. F. A. Allen, who opened it October 1, 1867, having previously made application to the superintendent of Soldiers' Orphans for twenty-five boys and twenty-five girls. The school was first kept in an old store building, but later larger and better buildings were secured, one of them being the present Allen House. The attendance the first year was sixty-three pupils. Each year witnessed an increase, until there were over 200 pupils in the school. In 1872 a farm of 150 acres near the borough was purchased, in order to give employment and instruction to the boys. After Professor Allen's death in 1880, his widow carried on the school, assisted by Vine R. Pratt, who had been connected with it almost from the beginning. In 1890 the school was moved to Hartford (Susquehanna County - link no longer valid ), and J. Miller Clark of Mansfield, appointed superintendent. - From 1897 Tioga County History, page 584.

A monument is now located at the place where the Orphan School stood. This is on the north west corner of Main and Wellsboro Streets in Mansfield.

The following lists were extracted from the 1870 and 1880 Federal Census of Tioga County, Richmond Township by Lowell Warters. Parentage and additional information about the orphans was added by Joyce M Tice from the Sullivan-Rutland Genealogy Project files. If you have equivalent information about any of the orphans please submit to Joyce M. Tice with heading ORPHANS in the subject line. 
Following the Civil War where so many young men of parenting age died, schools were set up for their children. One was located in Mansfield, Pennsylvania.
1870 Residents at Census 1880 Residents at Census Corrections and Additions from Page Users
Student Listings Page 484, 485, 486 Student Listings Page 487, 488, 489 Student Listings Page 490, 491, 492
1878 Superintendent's Report 1880 Superintendent's Report 1881 Superintendent's Report
1911 Students from Tioga and Bradford 1926-27 Alumni Listing 1879 Leave Permission Slip
1877 Pennsylvania Soldiers Orphans Schools

Most of these Off-Site pages have been moved or discontinued since I included them here. If you have current URLs for these sites/pages pleae notify me. Be sure to reference this page so I can respond to your help. Thanks, JMT
  Pennsylvania Orphan Schools Susquehanna County
  Juniata County The Orphans' Home Website

Prospect Cemetery, Mansfield PA.

Large Monument dedicated to the memory of children who died while attending Soldiers Oprhan School, Mansfiel, 1867-1889. Set up by the state of PA to educate children of Soldiers and Sailors who served in Civil War. Minnie Beeman, Sarah Etx, Ida M. Ingham, Delos Forrest, Willie McGrath, Cleveland A. Matthews, Willie H. Moon, Lydia L. Olen, Marie Huff , John Ream, Nellie Rowland, Cora Weeks, Lucy Weeks 


Samuel Henderson BARTLETT was at the Orphan School from about 1870 to 1878 but missed both censuses. : A Genealogy of the Lineal Descendants of William Wood who settled in Concord Mass in 1638. by Clay W Holmes Elmira NY. 1901 1659 ELIZABETH ELLEN WOOD (Charles 560, Samuel 599, do 219, Nathan 116, Abraham 29, do 9, Michael 2) born Smithfield Apr 16 1864 married Aug 20 1890 Samuel Henderson Bartlett, son Samuel Henderson Bartlet, born East Canton Pa Dec 6 1862. He entered Soldier's Orphan School at Mansfield Pa when 8 years old; spent 8 years there. Graduated State Norman School at Mansfield in 1885. Taught school three years and entered Hiram College at Hiram O., in 1888. Graduated in classical course in 1893. Was pastor of Christian Church at Elyria O., for three years and at Painesville O., for two years. At present is cor. secretary of Ohio Christian Missionary Society with headquarters at "The Beckwith" Franklin Circle Cleveland O. 2528 Faith Louise Bartlet (adopted) born Dec 6 1895 2529 Lawrence Wood Bartlett born Painesville O. Sept 9 1898 (contributed by Fay TILLER Morgan) 

You will find an Adeline Newton in the 1870 census for the school at Mansfield. She was Catherine Adelia Newton. Her sister Harriet Amelia Newton wrote the following about the school:

"Four years elapsed and the orphan school at Mansfield was instituted and financed by the state of Pa. for the purpose of educating the children of the Pennsylvania soldiers who gave their lives in the civil war. Application was made and the three oldest were 9 (Harriet Amelia Newton), 11 (Elisha Tracy Newton), and 13 (Catherine Adelia Newton - misidentified on the census as Adeline) were admitted into this school which kept them in teaching and training until they were 16 years of age. The school was of the very best. Good thorough Christian teachers were hired. Prof. Vine Pratt the acting principal with Prof. T. Fordyce Allen as the real head of the institution. It certainly was an ideal school. The boys were all dressed alike in a blue uniform. The girls had their clothes all alike. Everything was carried on in perfect order. They were gotten in line in their sitting room, boys in theirs and the girls in theirs. The tallest at one end so on down the line and marched into chapel and also into the dining room, keeping step. The food was plain but nourishing. Every Sunday dressed all alike each pupil was expected to attend church and Sabbath school unless sick. They were expected to work 2 hr. a day. Time passed away and at the age of eleven Addie (Adelaide Cornelia Newton) was admitted and two years after Emma (Emma Jane Newton) was admitted. There at this time Adelia and Elisha had had their 16 birthday and go home. It is said there are no days so happy and carefree as our school days and oh! 'tis true."

This personal description may be of interest to people whose ancestors attended the school. Thank you for all you put on this wonderful site! Virginia Newton

Compiled by Chester P. Bailey

This institution was founded in 1867 by Fordyce A. Allen, principal of the Mansfield Normal School, and very prominent in education circles in the State.  He asked for 25 girls and 25 boys to start the school, 63 students were received the first year.

The school was opened in a large building, which stood at the corner of Elmira and N. Main streets, where now stands the Carnegie Public library.  Later on Professor Allen purchased a wreck of a building on the corner of N. Main and Wellsboro streets.  The building had been damaged by a heavy windstorm, which had torn away the upper story of the building before it had been completed.  Professor Allen had it rebuilt into a fine structure which became the main part of the school.  The school was expanded and 28 W. Wellsboro was built.  This was the dining and kitchen area for the school, a third story was added to the Allen block, (across Main Street).  The student enrollment increased to over 200 students.

The school had baseball teams; two bands and the students were active in community affairs.  In 1872, a farm of 150 acres, just west of the town (Dorset farm) was purchased by Professor Allen, in order to give employment and useful instruction to the boys, while the girls were taught to do all kinds of housework, plain sewing, etc.

Several items in the Mansfield Advertiser noted the community activities of the pupils of the Orphan school.

From the December 26, 1877, Advertiser – “All the pupils of the Orphan School but ninety have gone to their homes to spend the Holidays.”

In 1879, Dr. Smythe gave the Island to the Borough for a park.  The Smythe Park Association was formed and planned an official opening.  “The Island was cleaned of dead branches and the lawns made ready for the first fair.  The boys from the Orphan School helped along with the people from town and the subscribers of the Association.”  That summer the park was officially opened to the public in July 1879.

Following the flood of 1889 – Charles Redfield of the Advertiser told of the damage to Smythe Park.  “The Railroad Company gravel trains drew gravel for days to fill in between the railroad and the Main building, with ninety teams, together with students from both the Normal and the Orphan School and half of the citizens around Mansfield all working like beavers, accomplished wonders”.

No child was considered properly supplied with clothing that did not have a change of underwear, a work, a school and a dress suit.  Pictured are two of the Mount Joy pupils in 1875.  The boy’s pants are of blue Kersey, his jacket and cap are made of blue cloth, trimmed with military buttons.  The girl’s dress is Scotch plaid, her hat is becoming and her shoes are shapely and neat.  They do not pinch her feet.

After Mr. Allen died in 1880 the school was carried on by Mrs. Allen and Vine H. Pratt, until it was closed by the State in 1889.  Mansfield students were transferred to the Harford School in Susquehanna County.

Mrs. Allen converted the school building into Hotel Allen.  In 1892 Mark French took it over.  He sold to T. H. Bailey in 1896 who owned it until 1904 when it burned.

The kitchen and dining building seen on the left did not burn and was turned side ways along Sassafras Alley.  This building became the Owens Music Store on W. Wellsboro Street, later the North Penn Electric Co. and the Bell telephone exchange.  The Bates – Terry Drug store is on the right.

REUNIONS – The annual reunions of the graduates for a number of years brought back many men and women to attest to the fine training they received at the school.

This monument to Mr. Allen erected by funds raised by his former students, is at the northwest corner of N. Main and W. Wellsboro Streets, next to the site of the school.  “IN MEMORY OF PROFESSOR F. A. ALLEN ERECTED BY FORMER PUPILS OF THE MANSFIELD SOLDIERS ORPHAN SCHOOL – HIS WORDS OF WISDOM AND TENDER ADMONITION HAVE PROVED A GUIDE AND INSPIRATION – THIS TABLET MARKS THE SITE OF THE SCHOOL 1867 – 1889

The following students died while they were at the Mansfield Soldiers’ Orphan School – between 1867 – 1887.  The grave marker is in the Mansfield Prospect cemetery and was placed by their classmates – 1954.

Flora Wilcox – Linda L. Olen – Willie H. Moon – Minnie Beeman – Cora Weeks – Mary Huff – Nellie Bowland – Sara H. Etz – Ida M. Ingham – Delos Forrest – Cleveland A. Mathews – Lucy Weeks – John Ream – Willie McGrath.

Pennsylvania’s Soldiers’ Orphan Schools – James L. Paul – 1877
Mansfield Advertiser, Mansfield, Pa.

Tioga Agitator
August 23, 1865
Education of Soldiers’ Orphans
Some months ago we published an act of the Legislature, approved in 1864, relative to the Education and maintenance of Soldiers’ Orphans.  The Pennsylvania Railroad Company donated $50,000 to Governor Curtin in trust for this object; and the Governor appointed Hon. Thos. H. Burroughs, of Lancaster, Superintendent for the disbursement of this fund, and he appoints a Superintending Committee in each county, approved by the Governor
We make a digest of the plan for the disbursement of this fund:  Children of either sex under 16 years, dependent on public or private charity, or upon the labor of a mother or other destitute person, whose father died of wounds received, or of disease contracted in the line of duty in the army or navy of the United States – being actual residents of Pennsylvania when they entered the service – are entitled to the benefits of the act.
The application must be made by the mother, if living; if dead, then by guardian or next friend, in form and manner prescribed by the State Superintendent, and which may be had as hereinafter stated.
The scholars over 6 years will be educated at the State Normal Schools, receiving a full course in ordinary English branches, and habituated to the various agricultural, mechanical, and domestic employment, suited to the respective sexes.  The control of the orphans will be?? The Superintendent – the orphan actually becoming a ward of the Commonwealth for the term of his or her education.
The Superintending Committee for Tioga County to whom all applications ?????? be ?????? consists of the following named ladies and gentlemen:
THOMAS ALLEN, Esq., Chairman, Wellsboro
J.B. NILES, Esq., ????Valley
This is a very excellent Committee.  All communications should be addressed to the Committee.

Tioga Agitator
September  27, 1865
Soldiers Orphans’ Committee – We are requested to give notice that Hon. Thomas H. Burrows, State Supt. of Soldiers’ Orphans, has appointed Chas. F. Swan, Esq., on the Committee for Tioga county, vice  Mrs. H. Sherwood, resigned.

Tioga Agitator
July 15, 1868
The Orphan’s School. – We hear that the next term of the Soldier’s Orphans’ School at Mansfield will open with one hundred scholars.  This will crowd the school building now in use somewhat, we should guess, and may necessitate building larger.  Col. Mac Farland, State Superintendent of these Schools, is now on his tour of inspection, and was at Mansfield last week.

Tioga Agitator
July 15, 1868
Annual Vacation
Harrisburg, July 3, 1868 – The regular annual vacation at the institutions receiving soldiers’ orphans at the expense of the State, will commence on Friday, July 24th, and terminate on Monday, August 31st, school duties being resumed on Tuesday, September 1st.
The principals, superintendents and managers of these institutions will please observe the following regulations:
1.  No child will be permitted to leave the institution to which it belongs without a written furlough or leave of absence signed by the Superintendent of Soldiers’ Orphans, and countersigned by the principal superintendent or managers of the institution, specifying the cause of absence, and its length.—This leave of absence, for which blanks have been furnished, to be carried by the child while absent, and shown whenever requested.
2. No leave of absence will be granted to any child, unless pronounced by the attending physician, after special examination had for the purpose, free from sore eyes and other contagious diseases.  Upon their return, after vacation, children must be re-examined, and all doubtful cases isolated until known to be entirely cured.  The presence of vexations and annoying diseases in any institution is regarded as an evidence of inexcusable neglect and mismanagement on the part of the attending physician and the authorities of such institution, and will not be tolerated.
3. No child will be sent home except at the written request of the mother, guardian or friends. All others must be furnished with proper care and attention, and permitted to enjoy vacation at the institution, free from study and labor, except such as may be necessary for the comfort of those remaining.  The labor required must not exceed the regular detail period of two hours per day.  The library and reading rooms and the play grounds must be open to them, under proper supervision, the remaining portion of the day.
Children should be conveyed to and from the proper railroad station free of charge.  All other expenses of travel and at home must be borne by their mothers or friends
4. No child will be deprived of vacation as a punishment, no matter what the nature of the offense may have been.  To do so would be cruel.  If in any case, as for instance where it is known that vacation would be spent amid bad associations and demoralizing influences if children were permitted to go home, principals, superintendents or managers think best to deny them the privilege; they must be able to produce the clearest proof of the existence of facts upon which the denial is based.
5. Each girl will take with her, clean and in good condition, and legibly marked with her name, a change of underclothes and stockings, two dresses, hat, sack and shoes; and each boy, in like condition, a change of underclothes and stockings, two pairs of pants, one jacket, cap and shoes.  All other clothing will remain at the institution; except in the case of transfers.  Girls will not take their blue winter dresses.
The articles of clothing taken, with their condition, must be entered on the check to the furlough, and re-examined and checked off, with appropriate remarks as to care and condition when returned.
6. Those ordered by transfer to other schools will take all their clothes, and will be instructed to go direct from their homes to the schools to which they are ordered, when their furloughs expire – Every article of clothing taken with them, with its condition, will be entered on the check as a record, and on the back of the furlough for the information of the principal of the school to which they are transferred.
7. The objects of vacation should be explained to the children, and the duty and necessity of good conduct and care of clothing while absent, prompt return, &c., carefully and repeatedly impressed upon them.
It is hoped and believed that, with few exceptions, attention to study and industrial instruction, and to the cultivation of good manners and habits, has been attended with so much success that this visit home will be gratifying to mothers and friends, and creditable is the institutions to which these words of the Stare belong.  It is also hoped that after enjoying the cessation from study, and the visits to home and friends, which vacation allows, children will be promptly returned in good condition, gratified and refreshed, and encouraged to pursue, with renewed energy and zeal, the exercises of their respective schools and homes during the ensuing year.  And if, notwithstanding past discouragements, these hopes are even partially realized, the fact will be regarded by the undersigned and his co-laborers as compensation, in some measure at least, for the severe labor, weighty responsibilities and the constant anxieties of the past year, and as an encouragement to work with increased energy and hope to achieve still greater resuts in future.
Geo. F. M’Farland,
Superintendent Soldiers’ Orphans

Wellsboro Agitator [Wellsboro, PA], 6 August 1889
The Soldiers' Orphans' Schools
The Mansfield School among the Number to be discontinued
    Last week Monday the Soldiers' Orphans' School Commission met at Harrisburg. Several gentlemen mad arguments for the continuance of certain schools, Hon. J.B. Niles making a strong plea for the Mansfield school.
    The Commission decided to close the Mount Joy, McAllisterville, Mercer, Chester Springs and Mansfield schools. All but Mansfield are those that have been known as the "syndicate schools." Among the schools remaining the orphans will be distributed as follows: Butler, 123, an increase of 76; Poysville, 150, increase, 85; Northern Home of Philadelphia, 350, increase, 150; Uniontown 342, increase, 132; Harford, 270, increase, 133; White Hall, 265, increase, 65; in church and other homes, 100. Total, 1,600.
    It is thought from the apportionment to the other schools that nearly all the scholars at Mansfield will be sent to Harford, Susquehanna county, that being the only remaining school in the northern part of the State.
    The Commission seemed bent on carrying out the evident purpose of the Legislature in discontinuing the syndicate schools. The sentiment against them was very strong. They were not entitled to special consideration, and it may be said that the interests of humanity demanded that they be swept away. The children were not treated decently, but were "farmed" to make money for the owners of the institutions. One gentleman in this borough, who is well acquainted with the inside workings of one of the syndicate schools, assures us that he feeds his calf more wholesome food every day than the children got in the institution named.
    The Philadelphia Inquirer, in commenting on the action of the Commission, says that the whole system of farming out the helpless orphans was a vicious one. It afforded an opportunity for selfish persons to make money at the expense of the comfort and health and even lives of the children, and it is notorious that too much of the money appropriated by the State for the maintenance of soldiers' orphans has gone to help swell private fortunes. It was a scandal which the State should have vigorously dealt with many years ago, but those whose duty it was to do it did not see fit to move in the matter until an irresistible public sentiment forced action.
    So far as we have heard, no complaints have ever been made against the management of the Mansfield school. The children have been well clothed, well fed, and treated to the satisfaction of the inspectors and the State authorities, and the school has been highly commended by those who have had intimate knowledge of it. We understand that the main objection, and perhaps the only one, urged against the school was the public location of the building. It being upon a street corner in the business part of town.
    The attendance at the Mansfield school has averaged 175 to 200 children, and the State has paid $150 for the clothing, maintenance and tuition of each child. Last year the State paid that institution, $26,658.55.
    There are some people who reason in this way: If any of the soldiers' orphans' schools are to be discontinued, why not close them all while we are about it? A child made an orphan during the war is certainly beyond school age now - being at lease twenty-four years of age. While it was a noble charity in the beginning, certain of the schools have been nothing but jobs at the expense of the State in more recent years.
    Some people could not see why it was not our duty to educate, clothe and feed the grandchildren and great grandchildren of our dead soldiers, if we were bound to extend the orphan schools beyond a reasonable period after the close of the war.

    It is said that the Orphan School building at Mansfield is to be converted into a hotel.

GILLESPIE - Cora Gillespie Kane, [SRGP 84073] formerly of Mansfield, passed away Oct. 18, 1959 at Leesburg, FL. She attended the Soldiers Orphan School in Mansfield. Survived by sister, Mrs. Wesley Clark of Mansfield; several nieces and nephews of Mansfield. Services were Oct. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at Chapel, Beyers Funeral Home, Leesburg, FL, with Rev. Leo D. Baines, Central Baptist Church, officiating. Also services were held at Biglow Funeral Home, Altoona, PA on Oct. 23. Interment in Alto-Rest Cemetery, Altoona, PA. Survived also by husband, John T. Kane; daughter, Mrs. Darrell States of Woodbury, PA and a son, Rev. John E. Kane of Fayette, PA. - Mansfield Advertiser, Oct. 1959
---Daggett's Mills, September 24, 1884 - I wish to correct a statement made in the Agitator of the 23rd instant regarding Mr. Hitchcock, a recent teacher in the Soldiers' Orphan School at Mansfield. Mr. Hitchcock is an honorable, upright gentleman, amiable in disposition and has many warm friends. He was engaged to teach at the Orphan School and to oversee a large number of boys. Some of these, in spite of the moral training they receive there, are vicious, to say the least. they have before misused teachers placed over them. Were Mr. Hitchcock a man to be dictated to by a lot of pupils as to his methods, doubtless he would have gone on teaching, compromising with the bad ones and losing the respect of all. Instead of this he insisted upon order, and some of the larger boys rebelled and were very aggressive. The disorder was quelled, and Mr. Hitchcock continued his recitations until the close the day. He did not "beat a retreat," neither was he "dismissed from the institution." His resignation was tendered of his own free will, he having too much self-respect to be but nominally a teacher. At the same time, running a school by muscle is not in accordance with the ideas of a true teacher.

Added to site on May 10, 1998 - Relocated 04 OCT 2008.

site created and maintained by Joyce M. Tice

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