Bangor Children's Home
The Bangor Children's Home was initially conceived in 1835 by a women's sewing club known as "The Union Female Education Society". The initial purpose was to help reform destitute and needy adult women, and females of questionable character, who were in the city of Bangor and surrounding areas. A home located on 4th street in Bangor was used as the house of refuge; however, after a few months the association felt that the need should be focused on destitute and needy female children rather then a place to reform female adults. In March of 1839, under the direction of Mrs. William Williamson (President of the sewing club), the women decided to form a corporation that would be funded partly by each lady donating $1.00 yearly. In that year the association applied for a request to incorporate, with it being approved and granted by the Senate and House of Representatives. The association had also declared in their petition that the home would be called the Female Orphans Asylum of Bangor. To help support the project and to raise money, the ladies had major subscriber drives, bazaars, fairs, plays, etc. They were also In hopes that benefactors of means would open their hearts and pocketbooks and give sizable donations to the association for the orphans who were so desperately in need. A Constitution of by-laws was adopted by the ladies, with fundamental principles on how the corporation should be managed. One of the first functions was to choose 15 ladies to be Board Managers. The home was managed solely by women, with all Board Managers being female.There were 9 children in the home during the 1st year of operation, with Miss Lawrence (Mrs. Moses Wingate ) being the first matron. The beginning years of the home were extremely difficult with finances being very sparse. It was extremely difficult maintaining and keeping the home in operation partly due to the fact that donations were few and not in sizable amounts. In 1869 a major benefactor donated land at 218 Ohio Street to the the Bangor Female Orphan Asylum. There was however, strings tied to this donation. That being, the all female board would have to agree to men being seated as board members and the men would be allowed to actively partake, plus vote, on the decisions made by the board. The women would also have to agree in allowing admission of boys into the home. The ladies agreeing to the terms set forth, put in motion, of what would soon be called "The Bangor Children's Home" located at 218 Ohio Street in Bangor. It would be granted by State Legislature with a new charter. Construction of the home was to be financed, in part, by another major subscribers drive. A benefactor named Mr. Franklin Pitcher contributed a large some of money (in memory of his wife Sarah), to help defray building costs. The home is a 3 story brick structure of Victorian style, with a mansard roof. At the time it sat majestically on a hill, overlooking the city of Bangor. At a later date another major benefactor donated a parcel of land next to the home, to be used as a playground for the children. The first matron was Miss Lawrence who later married Mr. Moses Wingate. Her successor was a Miss Folsom who was also the first teacher. She remained in her position for 4 1/2 years before marrying Deacon Skinner of Brewer, Maine.
The prerequisite rules were that boys had to be at least 3 years old, and not older than 8. Girls had to be at least 3 years old and not older than 10 in order to reside in the home. All children were given physical examinations and had to be free of any contagious diseases and infection in order to be a resident in the home. In 1914, the staff consisted of one matron, three assistants, and had its own infirmary. The infirmary could be isolated from the rest of the facility if deemed necessary, so that the rest of the children would not contract diseases a sick child may have had. There were two physicians available at all times but they didn't live on the premises. The physicians would make periodic visits to the home and were available whenever needed. The home was clean and well-kept. The rooms were adequate although the sleeping room was crowded and not well ventilated. Being that the building was of three stories, the children systematically had fire drills aiding them in learning how to use the fire escape in case of a fire. Some of the children that were without parents, or had parents that were unable to care for their child, were placed in foster homes. The children that were temporarily placed in foster homes would be visited by field agents from the Maine Children's Committee to make sure they were being properly cared for with a clean house, clothes, nurturing, and proper environment. An interesting aspect to this home was that Mt. Hope Cemetery, the 2nd oldest Garden Cemetery in the United States, had deeded a lot to the Bangor Female Orphan Asylum in September of 1863. Located between Western Avenue and the Civil War Memorial it was called the "Garden Lot". The home utilized this lot to bury 8 bodies from their original burial places, re-interring them at the children's lot at Mt. Hope. This included the first child who had died in the institution in 1850 and also an infant of unknown heritage and name who had been abandoned in the doorway of the home in 1856. The infant's death transpired shortly after the infant was found. Other burials were made after the home had moved to the Ohio Street address. The 1st death occurring in 1872 was of an infant who had become an orphan. In 1883 Lillian Collins (age unknown) became ill passing away from whooping cough. By the time of her death, the Mt.Hope Board saw the need of the home having and needing additional lots that had been requested by the institution. This request was granted to the home with deeds given at no cost. In 1877 Louisa Boston was buried in the children's home lot. She had been in the home since 1856, being a sickly infant who had become an invalid at a very young age. Her death came at the age of 21. In 1878, Myra Murray died of consumption. She had been in the institution since 1865. In 1893, a female child passed away from a case of measles and the croup. In the years of the institutions history, few had died in the home compared to the total amount of children who had been received. In all, there were an additional 17 children who had passed away. All were buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery, having headstones that had been graciously donated by civic organizations and individuals of the city.
Bath Military and Naval Orphan's Asylum
When the War of the Great Rebellion (Civil War) broke out in 1861, many of the Maine men volunteered to join the various service branches for the Maine quota. The men, women, and all of New England had the fire of patriotism burning deep within them. During this time Bath, Maine had furnished two full companies of men in the 3rd Regiment. Shortly thereafter, the State Legislature made a solemn pledge to the men that if they should be lost or fall in battle, get wounded, impoverished, or become unable to adequately provide for their children, the State would provide their offspring with a home and education, thus rendering them from the perils of being homeless or destitute. On December 17, 1861, Mrs. Sarah (Smith) Sampson of Bath, Maine, had followed her husband Lt. Colonel Charles A.L. Sampson to the battlefields in the Southern States of Washington and Virginia, giving service as a army nurse in the 3rd Maine Volunteers. On July 07,1862, due to her husband becoming gravely ill, the Sampsons returned to their home in Bath. For Sarah it was not to be permanent. Still feeling her services were needed, she returned to Washington, D. C. to assist the men (especially those from Maine) who were trying to return back home.
In October of 1865 after serving four years of loyal service, she left Washington, D. C. returning to her home in Bath. However, the desire to help others was still burning deep within her. Because of this innate desire, she focused herself on helping children of the men who did not return or were unable to care for their offspring. Several ladies of Bath became so interested in her work for the orphans they formed an organization called "The Ladies Orphan Home Association of Bath". The first home started on Walker Street as a local institution, with funds being derived mainly through voluntary donations. The house in some reports state that it had been inherited by three children whose father had been killed in battle and of whom Mrs. Sampson had been left in charge of. However, there are conflicting reports stating the house was rented. Because the house was small it could give shelter to but a few orphans and one housekeeper. Word had spread quickly on the service Mrs. Sampson and the ladies were providing for the orphaned children; it wasn't long before they had to relocate to a larger place. The second home was a rental on High Street, just below Centre, that was owned by William J. Rouse and known as the Winslow Home. The matron of the home was Miss Sarah Farnham. Her assistant was Miss Ruth S. Mayhew, who had been a teacher in Rockland and who had also served as a nurse at the front during the war. At some point Mrs. Sampson had piqued the interest of John Patten (ex-mayor of Bath, Maine), and several other prominent individuals of the city in helping the orphans and half-orphans of the gallant war heroes. In June, a fair was held by the ladies' association in an effort to raise money and to gain public awareness of the orphans left homeless. Among the many items that were offered for sale at the fair were prized autographed letters from General Cox of Ohio (Governor of the State), General O.O. Howard, and Major General W.H. Emory who gave testimony as to the bravery of the men who were husbands and fathers giving their lives to the country. His letters also commented on the bravery of all men who took up arms on the battlefields of Louisiana and the Valley of the Shenandoah; men such as Fessendens, Hubbard, Beal, Dyer, Rust, and Bradbury. The fair was very successful with $6,756.83 brought in by the tables in city hall, $8,970.62 from other parts of the building, and an additional amount of $9,685.04 being brought in by other various collections including subscriptions. In all the fair realized $16,441.87 for the orphans. On December 11th through the 13th the ladies' association held another fair in the city hall of Bath. They appealed to ladies throughout the State to donate and solicit items for tables which were set up in Lewiston, Portland, Bangor, Rockland, Augusta, and various other cities. Newspapers throughout the State were urged to print this event to help with raising funds for the orphans. Continuing with the desire to house these poor orphans and because they had simply run out of room once again at the present location, the group went to the State to convince lawmakers a larger, more permanent, and safe place was needed for the children. An application was made and granted by law to the ladies the right to establish a "State Orphan's Home" in Bath. On February 23, 1866 the State granted the act of incorporation to John Patten, Charles Davenport, George F. Patten, Oliver Moses, and J.P.(Parker) Morse all of which the State named as corporate constituted trustees of the Bath Military and Naval Orphan Asylum. With this enactment Maine became only one of seven states to specifically house orphans created by the Civil War. On November 19, 1866 the home officially opened to shelter and educate the orphans and half-orphans of the men who had served in the War of the Rebellion. Many in the city and state were somewhat apprehensive and dubious as to the feasibility of a military orphan institution, but the group continued to press forward, determined to continue their efforts in providing for the children. By the end of 1868 the association had recruited 27 men and women as life time sponsors who had payed $25.00 each, 321 honorary subscribers paying $1.00 each, and 223 enrolled as members who had paid annual dues of .50. The Walker Street home (site of the first home) was also sold.
On July 21, 1869 a home on South Street was conveyed to the State of Maine in trust by William Rogers, for $10.000.00. On March 15, 1870 with fifteen orphans in tow, Mrs. Sampson and the Rev. A. (Augustus) F. Beard, whom she had recruited to the cause, went to the State Legislature petitioning the State to assist them with funds for financial support to the orphans. In the evening of the same day, the children entertained the lawmakers in the Hall of Representatives. The State immediately allocated funds of $15,000.00 for the children. The Ladies Orphan Association obtained the Rogers home from the State; this home was to be the final location of the Asylum until its closure. The home was an elegant mansion of colonial style, built by Samuel Davis in 1800 and located on the corner of High and South Street. At the time the home could accommodate approximately 50 children, but with extensive remodeling it could double in size. The property consisted of the home, 6 acres of land, a two story stable, some out buildings, plus ample yard space for the children's playground. To enlarge the home, a mansard roof was added allowing additional room to accommodate more children. The stable was converted into a playhouse for the older boys and girls to be used during inclement weather. The girls occupied the first floor, with the second floor belonging to the boys. The first matron was Miss Sarah Farnsworth, and the first board of trustees for the asylum was composed of John Patten, J.P. Morse, J.D. Lincoln, and General Thomas W. Hyde, who were all appointed by the Governor. Charles Davenport, Rev. S. (Samuel) F. Dike, and E.S.F. Nealley were all appointed by the corporators. It was also deemed necessary to appoint a board of lady managers for the asylum. This group consisted of Mrs. Israel Putnam, Mrs. A. Fuller, Mrs. J.T. Howland, Mrs. M. F. Gannett, Mrs. S. F. Dike, Mrs. T. G. Stockbridge, Mrs. James Bailey, Mrs. James T. Patten, Mrs. John Shaw, and Mrs.Sarah S. Sampson. The husbands of nearly all of these ladies had served in the war. Each child was provided with three sets of clothing; one for church, one for school, and one for the playground. Generally when a child was admitted into the asylum their only clothing would be what they were wearing. It is noted that the children were not given institutionalized clothing. Their clothes did not distinguish them from any other child of the town. Each child was given a sled, and the boys were additionally given a pair of skates. The efforts of the ladies didn't go unnoticed, and a change of mind was now beginning to appear with the citizens of Maine. They were seeing the importance of the asylum, and the provisions being given to the helpless and destitute children of the military men. Money from various drives, State Funding, and donations, began to come in from all parts of the state to help the ladies and orphans. Miss Farnham stayed as matron until her marriage, at which point Miss Ruth Mayhew became matron. By 1870 there were nearly 2,500 soldiers, 250 orphans of soldiers, and 150 widows of soldiers who had returned. On October 10,1870 it was voted by the Trustees of the Orphan's Home that all orphans and half-orphans of soldiers and sailors, as well as full orphans up to the age of twelve years, were eligible for admission to the institution. They were to be kept until suitable homes could be found, or until they were at an age whereas they were able to care for themselves. Good behavior was an absolute must. If someone desired to take a child for adoption it had to be considered by the Committe on Homes before the child left. The child was taken on a trial basis for three months. If either child or family seemed dissatisfied with the arrangement, the child was to be returned to the institution. This however, would not happen until after the three month trial period had ended. No child was to be solicited for profit. Two deaths occurred in this year, one in January and one in December.
In 1871 there were sixty-four children in the home with one death occurring. In 1873 a fire broke out in the basement of the asylum and although there was a lot of water and smoke damage, the house and orphans were spared from any major tragedy. Miss Mayhew resigned due to ill health and moved back to Rockland. Taking her place was Miss Goodale of Saco, with seventy-three children in the home. Eight returned to their mothers, one to her guardian, three were adopted, three were provided good homes, with five older boys having good homes in the country learning work skills. One child also died during this year. In 1874 another child died. Miss Mayhew died on June 22 of the same year in Rockland. On November 4, 1875, Mrs. Partridge took over the helm from Miss Goodale but stayed for only a short time. There were fifty-seven children in the home at the beginning of the year. An additional eighteen had been added during the year, and twenty had been placed in homes. In 1876 during the year, seventy-three different children had been housed at the institution. At the end of December the number in the Asylum was sixty-two. Six were placed in homes, and six returned to the home. It was reported that one boy had bad behavior, but there were no runaways. There were eight teachers and employees. Following Mrs. Partridge was Miss Hall, who stayed as matron for about two years. In 1877 there were three deaths. In 1878 Miss Helena T. Prescott succeeded Miss Hall. Dr. Roche was the attending physician for the home. Under his supervision, several new regulations were put into place with much success. The number of children in the home was twenty-five. In 1880 Mr. A.P. Simpson had been placed as superintendent by General Chamberland and Mrs. Hanna U. Dyer was the house-keeper. By the middle of May there were fifty-five orphans of soldiers and sailors in the home.
In 1881, an attempt was made to close the asylum. According to a Mr. J.C. Talbot the home was being mismanaged. He had ordered the Hall of Representatives to investigate the the asylum. The order was based on weak and unsubstantiated charges and although there were papers, none had been signed. The charges were apparently against the matron whom Talbot felt was not handling the affairs of the home in a proper manner. Accordingly, he claimed his information was from Col. Porter and William Rogers (Rogers had been a former trustee of the institution and one-time owner of the house). William Rogers was also instrumental with securing the services of Miss E. M. Hight, the present matron at the time. Col. Porter claimed he received the information as to the charges from S.T. Woodard, but Woodard claimed no knowledge of the charges and said he never saw Col. Porter. Woodard also claimed he would not know Col. Porter even if he met him on the street. The charges were proved to be unfounded. The asylum had thirteen children admitted, twenty-three having been placed in suitable homes and thirteen having been returned. Lt. Col. Charles A. L. Sampson, the husband of Sarah, passed away on January 1st from pneumonia. In 1882 Mrs.Allura Stetson was chosen to succeed Miss Hight. Mrs. Stetson was extremely popular with the children and with the management. When Miss Stetson arrived there were twenty-five children in the home. A new board of trustees had been elected, and under their management the number of children increased to eighty within the year. Three more deaths occurred. In 1885 another amendment was made by law that the corporation board consisting of the president, clerk, and treasurer would act as a board of guardians to the orphans having all the powers and authority to bind out, indenture, or give away for adoption (with the parent's consent), any of the children under their custody if in their opinion and judgment, it was for the advantage and benefit of said children. In 1886 there were two deaths. 1887 another death occurred.
On May 13, 1889 Article 1 of the corporation was amended as follows: "It shall be the duty of the Committee on Reception and Disposal of the children to entertain any and all propositions which may be made for receiving such orphans or half-orphans to the asylum as are entitled to its privileges and to admit them to the institution, subject to the approval of the board at its next meeting. This committee shall also receive applications from parties desiring to adopt children who are full orphans, or to furnish homes for half orphans, to investigate the character of the applicants, and if found satisfactory, to so report at the next subsequent meeting of the board, when, if objection is not made by the surviving parent, the board may direct that such half orphans be placed in the proffered homes. No child shall be received to or removed from the asylum, except by approval of this committee or of the board of trustees, nor shall any half orphan be received or removed except upon the approval of its surviving parent". Mrs. Stetson resigned after seven loyal years of service. Miss Eliza F. Brown was selected to replace Mrs.Stetson as matron. Miss Brown's assistant was Miss Nathalie Brown. In 1890 there were eighty-one children in the home. of these, twenty-two have been provided with good homes. In the year of 1892 there were sixty-two children living in the institution. In 1893 the Act of the Corporation was amended on February 17 to include orphans and half-orphans of soldiers and sailors of the veterans living and serving in the quota of Maine, and secondly, the orphans and half-orphans and grandchildren of those veterans residing in Maine but not serving on the quota there. Dr. Charles (Appleton) Packard started his first year as the physician for the home. The new caretaker of the grounds and janitor was Mr. Lloyd Dudley.
In 1898 there was concern as to the future of the home. Admittance had dwindled to fifty-eight children in place of the usual seventy-five to one hundred. Trustees were discussing the subject of having the requirement of admission be open to all destitute homeless children, and orphans making it a general orphanage rather then a home for children of just veterans. President S.T. Snipe and the matron were in agreement that some sort of change needed to be made in the very near future. At the beginning of 1903 there were sixty-nine children in the asylum, an additional eighteen were admitted, and twenty-five were taken in by relatives or other homes. Of these numbers, twenty-nine were boys and thirty-three were girls. Thirty-seven were grandchildren of veterans. Twenty-five were children of soldiers and sailors who had served in the War of the Rebellion. Several children had been farmed to outside homes but were taken back to the asylum for one reason or another. The 1904 report indicated good health of the children. There was however, one case of diphtheria that proved to be fatal to one child after a few days of sickness, even though constant care had been given to her by Dr.Packard, and a hired nurse. The child was Hattie H. King who had been put in the home by her father along with three other sisters due to the death of their mother who had died at the age of twenty-six. The home had also been quarantined for two weeks. In the thirty nine years of the homes existence, a total of fifteen deaths had occurred. Eleven out of the fifteen children are buried in the home lot at Oak Grove Cemetery in Bath, Maine. At the beginning of the year there were sixty-two children who were admitted with twenty-three leaving. At year's end the asylum had a total of sixty-five orphans. Twenty-seven were children, and thirty-eight were grandchildren of soldiers or sailors. In 1905 the board voted to erect a granite monument, (at the cost of $883.00), on the property owned by the home in the Oak Grove Cemetery. The monument memorialized the children of those who had served in the army and navy from 1861 to 1865. These children were cared for by the State after the death of their fathers who had fallen in battle or who had died form the effects of that service. On July 10, 1905 the monument was dedicated by Seth T. Snipe with prayer and a short address. Other short addresses were given by various dignitaries of the area, and a history of the home given. At the beginning of the year there were sixty-five children in the home. During the course of the year, twenty-five had been admitted, with 26 leaving. This year had thirty boys and thirty-four girls. Twenty-five were children of those who served in the Civil War, with thirty-nine being grandchildren.
In 1906 it was noted in the President's report, that over the years trustees had noticed possible harm of admitting feeble minded children into the institution. When it came time for the children to leave it was very hard and sometimes impossible to find an adequate home for them. Many would have to remain in the home as servants making it difficult and unfair to them as well as the home. At the beginning of the year there were sixty-four children with thirty admitted, making a total of ninety-four inmates. Twenty-one being children, and forty-two grandchildren of soldiers or sailors. By the end of the year thirty-one had left the home. The total number of boys was thirty-six, and there were twenty-seven girls. 1907 had sixty-three children living in the asylum. Twenty-four had been admitted making a total of eighty-seven. Nineteen returned to parent or guardian, or homes were found by the trustees, leaving sixty-eight in the home at the end of the year. Twenty-two were children , forty-four grandchildren of the Civil War, and two were great-grand children. One great grandchild was the first in the history of the home to be admitted by a vote of the trustees. Seventeen were the children of veterans of the War of the Rebellion, and fifty-two were grandchildren. One child was that of a Spanish American War sailor. The average age of the children was almost ten. Several children were coming to the Asylum because no other suitable family or home could be found for them due to their feeble mindedness. The State as of yet had not established a school for these unfortunate class of children and people. False allegations were reported and circling around that the asylum was taking in children other than those of veterans. While the home was allowed to do such by the last amendment of the Act of Incorporation, no such action nor opportunity had arisen to do so. The report turned out to be erroneous, having no foundation. Mr. W.H. Watson, chairman of the Children's Committee makes note in his report that there is a very noticeable difference in the type of children coming into the home. He was referring to the fact that the State did not have a school for the feeble-minded (of which the Asylum had a number of them). It was in the hope of the Asylum that the state would soon provide a specific place for this class of people. There was also concern to the increasing number of children whose parents were unstable in their marriage and home life. Many were willing to cast their children out to the State institution because of the pledge made several years ago of saving the offspring from being homeless and destitute. The children are often less than desirable but must be provided for, otherwise they would become inmates of the almshouses. This class of child was difficult to place in a family home leaving the asylum no other choice but to keep them. At the end of the year, the home had an equal balance of thirty-four girls and thirty-four boys. On December 16th the incredible, passionate founder of the home, Mrs. Sarah J. Sampson, past away in Washington, D.C. being buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
In 1908 the State had built the State School for the Feeble-Minded in New Gloucester, Maine opening and housing residents between the ages of 3 and 21. One child was sent to that institution with the possible placement of several others following suit. There were a few children who should have been sent to the Pownal State School, but it was not yet ready to receive inmates. In 1909 three deaths occurred: Annie May "Carrie" Hayden age 11, on February 25th, from heart disease, Edwin M. Adams, age 10, on April 23rd, from tubercular peritonitis, and Susan A. Welch, age 9, on October 18th, from auto intoxication. Services were held in the home with two of the children being buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in lots owned by the asylum. On March 23rd Dr. Packard, who for twenty years had been a loyal physician and father figure to the children, passed away from anterior sclerosis. The replacement physician was Dr. Langton T. Snipe. In this year fifteen children were provided with homes or were taken by their parents. Sixteen children were admitted and re-admitted. In 1910 at the beginning of the year the home had sixty-eight children, thirty-three girls and thirty-five boys. Children of vets were sixteen, one child from the Spanish American War, and fifty-one grand children of veterans. 1911 the Committee on Children Report had sixty-five children in the home at the beginning of the year. Fourteen were children of veterans, and three were children of sailors of the Spanish American War. Six feeble-minded children were placed in the Maine School for the Feeble Minded but several were still in the asylum. There were also several children old enough to be placed in desirable homes when these homes became available. 1912 had sixty-six children in the home. During the year eighteen had been admitted, and fifteen were taken by parents/guardians or were put in proper homes. Fifty-nine were children or grandchildren of soldiers or sailors of the Civil War, and ten of the Spanish-American War. There were thirty-two boys and thirty-seven girls. In December Inza McKeen, a former inmate, who had been taken into the home of Mrs.Eugene R. Brown of West Bath, Maine, passed away from a long term illness. She is buried in the Orphans' Home lot at Oak Grove Cemetery.
In 1913 sixty-nine children were in the home at the beginning of the year. Twenty-two had been admitted during the year. Sixteen were taken by parents or guardians, or other homes were found for them. Sixty-four were children or grandchildren of the Civil War and eight were from the Spanish American War. There were thirty-eight boys and thirty-four girls. Two girls passed away: Alice Wyman on April 04, 1913, at the age of 10 from chronic nephritis, and Helen Hasey on April 29, at the age of 5 from posterior basic meningitis. The admitting authority was now done by the Secretary of the Board of Directors. In the past, endorsement was required from a local grand Army Post. With the new enacted law, other references had to be sought in many cases. Very few children were placed in foster homes during this time. In 1914 as of January 1st there were fifty nine children, twenty-seven girls and thirty-two boys. The average age was almost ten. Children admitted for the first time numbered twelve, five were remitted, making a total of seventy-six. Eleven were grandchildren from the War of Rebellion, one child was from the Spanish-American War, twenty-one were taken by relatives or guardians, and two deaths occurred from hereditary problems. It was becoming noticeable in the institution that the family consisted largely from the descendants of Veterans from the Civil War. The children now coming in were being admitted by the State Agents for the Protection of Destitute Children. The children were coming from parents who had deserted them or failed to give their offspring protection or support; the home was now losing the meaning on which it was founded. Many parents were all too eager to shirk their responsibilities in caring for their children. Thought was now being given as to the feasibility of the Asylum becoming a general orphanage, with the name being changed. In 1915, January 1st, there were fifty-nine children in the home. Children admitted for the first time amounted to twelve. Those re-admitted numbered five. Of those that were admitted, eleven were grandchildren of soldiers of the War of the Rebellion and one was a child of a Spanish-American War veteran. Twenty-one children had been provided with homes or taken by relatives.
In 1916, the were fifty-five children in the home at the first of the year. During the year twenty-three had been admitted or re-admitted, making a total of seventy-eight for some portion of the year. Thirteen were taken by relatives or provided with homes, leaving sixty-four. The total number of boys were thirty-seven and the total number of girls twenty-seven. Flush toilets were installed throughout the home and for the first time the children were able to listen to music on a newly purchased Victrola, which proved invaluable to the orphans for entertainment. No deaths occurred and general health of the children was good other than a few cases of the measles. It was now possible due to amendments to the Act of Incorporation, to admit (when room was available) dependent orphans who were not children of veterans. It appeared the State was making the institution a clearing house for unfortunate children who were not orphans. These children were coming from smaller institutions and being placed in larger asylums because they were victims of poor parenting. In 1917, at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1st) there were sixty-seven children connected with the asylum. Of those at the institution, thirty-one were boys and thirty-two were girls. Those in foster homes were three boys and one girl. Children received during the year had been ten boys and five girls. Twelve boys and six girls had been discharged. There was one death: a girl by the name of Pearl Bridges, died from tuberculosis at 7 years of age at the Fairfield Sanitarium. The personnel of the asylum were Mrs. Louise R. Staples, matron, Mrs. Laura D. Black as housekeeper, Helen M. Jacobson, seamstress, Benjamin W. Maddock, cook, Theresa Curneil, assistant cook, George B. Preble, janitor, Jennie Johnson, waitress, and two laundresses. In 1918 Miss Harriet Watson was asked to start a fine needlework class for the girls. Unfortunately, out of all the girls in the home only four were qualified to take the class. There were a total of eighteen boys and girls in the home. In 1921 Dr. Seth S. Mullins became the house physician.
In 1922 a dog the children named "Jack" enters into the institution after an accident which had broken his shoulder. The children, along with the physician took utmost care of the dog nursing him back to health. Once Jack was back on his feet and well cured, a bill was sent to the State. However, no provision had been made for an "orphaned dog". Consequently the bill was sent back to the institution. A trustee member, Major Kimball, brought the situation up to the attention of the Governor of the State who claimed " What would an orphan home be without an orphan dog? Lets settle for the children's dog." The bill was paid in full. Christmas also brought additional excitement to the home, as the children were treated with toys made by the inmates of the Maine State Prison. The prisoners had used their own money to buy paint, wood, etc. to make trucks, rocking horses, boats, and various other toys. The prisoners also made, whenever possible, toys that the children had requested in "Santa's Mailbox", that was close to the Christmas scene on the front lawn of the institution. Not only did the children from this asylum benefit, the children in the orphanages in Lewiston, and Opportunity Farm in New Gloucester, also received toys. In all more than 700 children were recipients of the prisoners' gesture of goodwill. In 1923 Jack ran into more problems by running in front of an automobile and getting hurt once again. This time he required the attention of a veterinarian. The children were so afraid the State would not pay the bill they performed a little stage play that brought in $10.00 for Jack's vet bill. When the Governor again was informed of the problem, he wrote to the children telling them that Jack was a member of the institution and the State would be more than happy to pay their share of the veterinary bill. Along with the letter was a check for the children to buy a collar for Jack, with the request of having the name of the children's home marked on the collar name plate. In 1929 the name of the asylum was changed to the State Military and Naval Children's Home. At this time, the governance and supervision of the home ceased to be vested in the Trustees of the Bath Military and Naval Orphan Asylum. It is unknown at this time who/what entity the authority for governance of the home was ceded to from 1929 to 1933.
In 1931 a new dog was brought into the home, a beautiful collie given to the children by Proctor Baxton who had been Governor of the State from 1921 to 1925. The ex-Governor's beloved Irish setter was named GarryOwen, therefore the children did not want any other name but Garry for the dog. In 1933 Governance and supervision was under the Department of Health and Welfare. In 1939 the home ceased to be supervised under the Department of Health and Welfare, and were put under the auspice of the Department of Institutional Services. On April 15, 1946 six girls decided they wanted to pick mayflowers for the superintendent of the home, and went into the 5 mile swamp area. Coming back they became lost in the wasteland. When it started to become dark, the girls (clad only in dungarees and sweater) sought shelter between 2 very large boulders. Huddling together between the rocks, they tried to stay warm but without much success as the weather was near freezing. When the morning dawn arose they started walking again. Two State Guard Companies, who had been looking all night for the girls, finally discovered the group who had now been lost for 14 hours. As soon as they arrived back home they were ordered by the home physician to stay in bed for 3 days to help ward off any illness that might occur from their adventure. Jean Marie Gage 10 years of age and a member of the group recounted their traumatic experience to those in the home. She told them that all the girls were extremely frightened and cried most of the night including herself, but they tried to be brave. The other girls were: Celia Johnson, the oldest, age 14, Elizabeth Choate, age 8, and her sister Nancy, Winona Garland age 13, and Nancy Ryder who was 10 years of age. In 1949 Miss Elizabeth Dunton came to the home as a cook. She would eventually work her way up to the position of housemother in the years to come. In 1957 Miss Alice B. Libby was appointed superintendent of the institution with her husband also joining the staff. In 1963 Miss Dunton left the home for two years. Again the home was threatened with closure by cutting off funds. People were outraged at the prospect and again protested the closure, therefore the funds were later restored.
In 1965 Miss Dunton had missed the children so much she felt compelled to return to the institution and to "her kids." 1967 brought in Rev, Robert Mckinny as superintendent who had been the Chaplin at the Maine State Prison. He replaced Dr. Earl Perkins who had retired on July 1st of that year. In 1981, due to State budget cut backs for 1982 - 1983, the State considered closing the home permanently. The home unfortunately was in need of considerable repair even though it had been well maintained throughout the years.. Because of this, Gov. Joseph E. Brennan recommended eliminating the home's $208,000.00 a year budget. Officials of the State Mental Health and Corrections Department also claimed it would cost that amount to bring the facility up to all fire and safety standards. Gov. Brennan however, seemed to be the only one in the administration who supported closure of the home. Due to much protesting the home was once again spared from closure. The home however, would have to be well scrutinized to make sure it was running more efficiently. The asylum at this time had a total of only eighteen boys and girls in the home. In 1988 the home became a place for helping troubled teenagers with family issues who would otherwise be homeless. In 1991 twenty- three girls were in the home. An increasing amount of girls were being referred to the home from psychiatric hospitals, indicating the problems were more serious then the inability to get along with their families. some of the girls had actually attempted to commit suicide. In 1992 closing the home was again discussed as there were now only six girls residing in the house. There was not too much concern in placement of the girls, as five girls would be sixteen by July 1st and eligible for other State programs. In November of 1996 the doors closed on the last remaining State children's institution now having only fifteen homeless teenagers as residents. Of these fourteen were of age to take care of themselves. The other child was taken into a private home. A home that had once been refuge to thousands of destitute orphans and homeless children would now be going into the annals of history carrying forth the inmates, the institution, and all who were a very important part of its history. The Bath Military and Naval Asylum is now a private residence that still has many of its original features.
Female Orphan Asylum of Portland
In the spring of 1827, seven years after the State of Maine became part of the Union, a woman's social group in Portland saw the need of creating and providing a safe sheltering home for children living in an environment of evil vices and poverty. On February 18, 1828 the group was officially incorporated, and according to Article 1 of the constitution they were to be known as the Female Orphan Asylum of Portland. The Asylum was open to all orphan girls who were between the ages of 3 to 10 years and of all Christian Faiths. The location (which had been known as Tolman Place) was on the corner of Free and South Streets, having an annual rent of $120.00. Support and finances of the Asylum was generated by subscribers who paid dues annually in the amount of $2.00. Within the 1st year the association had acquired over 351 subscribers. The official opening of the institution was on April 1, 1828 with 3 children sheltered on the 1st day. In the following month, seven children were admitted, with one additional child entering in August. In the 1st year of operation, 11 girls between the age of 3 to 9 years had entered the home. According to Article 12 of the Asylum's constitution it was required that at a suitable age, the children should be placed with well adjusted and respectable families until they were 18 years of age, had married (within that age), or had other ways of self support which the managers' deemed acceptable. No child would be placed out of the Asylum before she was 11 years old except in special circumstances. Also, no child would be given to a family without at least one months notice with the Board of Managers voting and approving the union at a regular board meeting. Permission was always granted to return any child after a 3 month trial period. The first Governess was Mrs. Abigail Rich, and her daughter Miss Sarah Rich was her associate. Together they received an annual salary of $100.00 with an additional amount of $20.00 for miscellaneous expenses. The Asylum took children who were suffering from poverty, ignorance and evils of society, refining them to become respectable individuals. The subscribers felt these children were subject to being wayward and a menace to society if they were left in an impoverished environment, unstable home, or unsupervised living conditions. An additional concern of the society was the fact the the children were subjected to various diseases, possibly to the degree of death as they were too young to care for themselves. In the later part of 1829 a new Governess was appointed by the name of Miss Sarah Chapman. Although the managers had not had the opportunity to judge her ability to interact with the children, the board did have high expectations of her ability, and felt the Institution would benefit and prosper under her guidance. Her qualifications and character appeared to be most admirable. The assistant matron was her mother. The board members were not disappointed with Miss Chapman, as she took her duties very seriously. By this time there were eighteen children who had been admitted. The children were taught how to sew and knit by the matron's, giving them a trade and a feeling of worthiness.. Their earnings for the year in sewing, totaled $4.30 which was added to the treasury. By June of 1830, the Asylum had outgrown their home on Free Street, and relocated that month to a house on the corner of Main (now Congress) and Oak Streets. There were 21 children in the home with seven children under the age of 6 years. The cost of maintaining one child for the year was $31.85, and the annual rent for the Asylum was $140.00. The stay at the Main Street location was very short, and for unknown reasons they moved back to Tolman Place in an unknown year. Within a few years the Asylum left Tolman Place again, locating to a place on Church Street. 1831 Miss Sara Chadwick was matron and her mother was the assistant matron. There were 24 children living in the home with two of those children being placed out for service. Income received that year by the children's sewing under the matrons guidance, had brought in almost $25.00. For the year of 1834 there were 28 children in the Asylum. In 1835 Elizabeth D. Bailey became the matron and was to remain as such for 22 years. In 1838 the Asylum moved to a house purchased by the committee near the corner of Myrtle and Oxford Streets. In 1840 Three children had been bound out with 16 being in the home. In 1841 the family numbered 19 with three being placed out for service. In 1850 eleven children were received in the past year, 5 placed and adopted by the families, 24 children were in the home, and the largest number at any given time being 27. In 1858 Mrs. E. M. Rush was matron and teacher. In 1863 the Civil War had left many children homeless and without parents, creating an increase of orphans who were desperately in need of shelter. The present home was filled almost to full capacity making it difficult to accept additional children because of overcrowding. Miss Mary A. Toung was now the superintendent. In 1863 a gentleman benefactor proposed an offer of $5,000.00 if an additional sum of $2000.00 could be raised to build a larger home for the orphans'. The Board of Managers immediately set up a building fund, solicited for additional subscribers, increased annual dues, and began fund raising drives in order to obtain the necessary funds. In May of 1864, the Board of Managers petitioned The Committee on Public Instruction for $200.00 to hire a teacher for the Asylum. It had become too difficult for the matron to adequately assume the responsibility of teaching and remain diligent in all the other duties she was responsible for. The Public Committee voted in favor of the request, granting the necessary funds to the Asylum. A young lady was hired, teaching the children 4 hours each weekday morning. The children's sewing chores were done in the afternoon. 1866 brought in children who were left orphans and homeless by the great Portland fire, once again creating a critical situation of over crowding. The fire had also burnt the former Asylum home on Church Street destroying most of the records. With a few exceptions, the orphans' history was left only to the memory of those associated with the Asylum. In 1866, Mr. William Kimball the benefactor, who in 1863 had offered funds for a new home passed away. In his will he left to the Asylum the sums of money he had proposed earlier. Rather than build a new house the committee made the decision to purchase an already existing home at the cost of seventeen thousand dollars.The house selected was a beautiful three story mansion known as The Dunlap Home, located on the corner of State and Danforth Streets. Capt. John Dunlap, who had been owner of ships in Portland, built the home for his family in 1834. During the depression of 1837-38, Capt. Dunlap suffered severe financial losses and was forced to sell his home in 1843. The purchaser was Judge Joseph Howard, who in his own right was well known in Portland. Judge Howard had owned the home for many years prior to the acquisition by the Asylum. In the early part of 1867 Maria Mitchell, having only one arm and having been in the home since she was a child, passed away at the age of 31 from consumption. She was the oldest child to pass away in the Asylum and the 7th death in almost 40 years since the inception of the Asylum. There were 7 children received for the year, 17 gone out to homes, and 24 remaining in the Asylum. In 1870 the board of directors put the Myrtle Street house up for sale, giving possession to the buyer within 60 days upon completion of final papers. By October of that year, 20 children were in their new home on the corner of State And Danforth Streets; they remained at this location until 1922. Mrs. S.W. Haley was matron and Miss McDonald was the assistant matron. In 1872 Miss Julia Sibley took on the position of matron, but soon left in December to be the matron of the Bangor Children's Home. Taking her place was Mrs. Roberts from Auburn, with Mrs. Dresser as her assistant. Mrs. Roberts stayed only for a very short time, leaving in July; her 14 year old daughter had a severe illness associated with the cold weather. Mrs. Roberts replacement as matron was Mrs. Dresser. The sister of Mrs. Dresser, Mrs. Davis, temporarily filled the position of assistant matron and teacher. 15 children were placed out during the year, most of whom had been adopted. In 1874 the board's annual report stated fifteen children had been admitted, with homes found for seven of the 15. Twenty-four remained at the Asylum ranging from 1 year to 14 years of age, 4 had been returned to the home for various reasons, one was adopted, and one was returned due to severe inflammation of the eyes. A baby had also been returned due to her illnesses, and 1 child brought back due to bad behavior. In addition to the orphans for which the asylum was originally established, the board felt their charity could be increased by helping mothers in poverty but unwilling to give up their children. It was determined that aid be given to these individuals if in return they could give a small token of compensation. The children of the mothers were governed by the same rules and regulations as the other children in the Asylum. The matron was Mrs. Dresser and her assistant was a Miss Buxton. In this year the Asylum experienced it's first "runaway" incident that being of a canary bird , who had flown out of an open door. An ad in the newspaper stated a reward would be given to the finder upon the return of the bird to the Asylum. In 1875 a large number of children who had been placed out were adopted. There were 34 children for the year, with eight being under the age of 4 years. Two children were taken in due to their mother having surgery at the Maine General Hospital. Once the mother recovered, she came back for her children. In late November a child of approximately 7 months old had been left on the doorstep of the Asylum. Although adequately and warmly dressed, she suffered from a persistent cough. The child, named Daisy by the matrons, was loved by everybody. In March of the following year, many of the children had been suffering from colds. Baby Daisy also became severely ill, passing away on Easter morning. In 1875, a girl who had been living in the asylum since 1871 was adopted by a farming family. She developed a disease that created large medical bills of which the family could not afford, unfortunately the family had to return her to the Asylum. During the year 22 children had been taken in with 13 children leaving. In 1875 the Board of Managers partitioned the Legislature asking for funds to support children of soldiers and naval men. Although some members voted against the asylum the majority were in favor of granting the greatly needed funds. In 1876 the Asylum placed " wanted" ads in newspapers appealing to families to take into their homes children from the Asylum. One specific ad requested a home for a 7 week old baby who was in the best of health. Thirty-nine girls between the ages of 2 and 15 years old were residing in the asylum, 18 had been admitted during the year, 10 placed out for service or adoption, 5 orphan children had been received from the poor house of Portland, and 4 had been brought back. In September of 1876 Laura Frances, who had been bound out as an apprentice, ran away from the family of John S. Hannaford of Cape Elizabeth. Mr.Hannaford placed an ad in the Portland paper stating he would not be responsible for any bills she may have accumulated during this time. In 1877 the number in the institution numbered 35. Miss Lizzie Johnson was matron and Mrs. M. E. Lawton (Laughton), the assistant matron. Thirteen children had been adopted or were in family homes, and 3 had been returned for various reasons. A change of mind with a placement family caused one girl to be returned. Although the change of mind was not acceptable to the asylum, they had no other choice but to receive the child back. In that year a child by the name of Cora, being the youngest of the children in the home, was adopted by a former resident who had lived in the Asylum as a child, and was now living in another state. One death occurred, that being Florence Colley who was 4 years old at the time, and had been institutionalized for 2 years. Her death was due to consumption. 1878 brought the death of Eckla E. Bonny who passed away with inflammation of the brain. Two of her sisters had also died of the same disease in another state. There had been 2 disabled children living in the asylum, one was a child by the name of Jessie who had an incurable hip disease, and Cora Morse, who was bedridden due to curvature of the spine and an incurable hip disease. By 1879, the home had received from the overseers of the poor 18 girls from the ages of 18 months to 11 years of age, the majority being displaced from the Portland fire of 1866. In 1879 the number of children received had been 13. Sixteen had been placed out with several being returned to the home. Ennice Colley, who was 11 years of age, passed away on December 20, of that year. The matron was Miss Johnson and her assistant was Mrs. Lawton. The Physcian for the home was Dr. Sarah W. Devoll who also substituted as a nurse. In 1880 two girls ran away from the Asylum, escaping through a cellar window. One girl had been in the Asylum for only few days and upon her return she was allowed to stay. The other girl, having been in the Asylum for only a few months, was transferred to the State Industrial School in Hallowell. By October 20th, 1880 sixteen girls had been admitted, 9 finding homes either for services or adoption with 5 being returned. At that time the home had 27 children. In 1881 Miss Sarah Chadwick was the matron. Thirteen children were admitted, of which 3 had been inmates previously, and 9 children were placed in private homes. One assistant who had been with the home for 6 years put in her resignation and left the home. In 1891 boys under the age of 7 years of age were admitted into the home. In 1896 the school that had served the Asylum closed with the children going to the public schools. In 1922 the children moved to a home at 147 Pleasant Street in Deering, which was a part of Portland. In 1925 the name was changed to the Children's Home of Portland. In 1947 Lindwood Brown, a nationally known child welfare leader from New York, became part of the Children's Home of Portland. He brought a vision of treatment in cottages, rather then concentration of a single, institutionalized home. He made a proposal to join the Maine Home for Boys, the Belfast Children's Aid Society, the Sweetser Home for Boy's, and the Children's Home of Portland to become one annuity, piloting a study treatment home. In 1949 the Children's Home of Portland was the first to move to the Sweetser Home for Boys that had been established in 1917 at 50 Moody Street in Saco. Each institution would build cottages on the Saco Campus requiring one director, a team of social workers, psychologist, psychiatrist, and recreational coordinator. In 1950 the merger of the four children's homes was completed creating what was known as The Sweetser Children's Home. The Children's Home of Portland on State and Danforth Streets became the Osteopathic Hospital, and is now a private residence.
Lewiston and Auburn Children's Home
The Lewiston and Auburn Children's Home (one of the very few Protestant institutions) got its start in 1903 by Etta Y. Phenix Mitchell , who in her occupation as a police matron in Lewiston, saw the need in helping children that were homeless. In the beginning the home was considered a rescue home rather then a children's home with the original location on Main Street in Auburn. In 1904 Mrs. Mitchell was replaced by two sisters Catherine and Christine Morrison, who were associated with the Volunteer Children's Home of America (a branch of the Salvation Army). Location of the home was on Bartlett Street and was known as the Catherine Morrison Home, a temporary place for homeless, destitute, and needy children. Catherine and her sister (a trained nurse), had immense compassion for the needy (especially for children), and were well-liked by the community. Although the sisters had a great love for children neither sister married nor had children of their own. In October of 1905, Col. J.J. Kepple of Boston (a prominent person with the Volunteer Children's Home of America), was asked to come to the home in Lewiston to assist the two sisters. Catherine had become ill in health and the sisters were in need of a professional organizer. Soon after Col. Kepple's involvement in the home,Catherine was asked to step down and to turn over her work to him.However, she was given the opportunity to help in the home if she so desired. With this changeover, Col. Kepple enlisted Miss Sarah Good (who later married and became Sarah Doyle), to be the first matron of the home. It was at this time the rescue home was transformed into the Lewiston and Auburn Children's Home, a home caring for the children of need, those that were destitute, and for those who were orphans. In 1906 Col. Kepple had gained full control of the home and in April of that year the home was incorporated. A child by the name of Daniel Webster Meader and his siblings were some of the first children to be admitted into the home. A sister of Daniel's and a brother were adopted soon after their arrival. The same family that had adopted the first boy adopted another brother at a later time. Both boys were to eventually run away from the family going back to their home in Rome, Maine. From 1911 - 1913, the total count of children rescued had been sixty. From its inception by Mrs. Mitchell, the home had received 210 children. In 1913 more than 60 children had been denied admission simply because there was not enough room to house additional children. The home continued at various locations throughout Lewiston until 1926. Prior to that year,the association (with Mrs. I. L. Hammond as president), was finding space in the present home inadequate for the needs of the children. It had been determined a city the size of Lewiston in population required a home where at least 20 children could be placed. The association therefore began searching for a larger home that would accommodate both children in the present home, and children who were still in need of being rescued. Under the direction of a new president, Mrs. Milton Frost, the association actively worked to acquire funds to purchase a larger home for the children. In October of 1926 a large home located at 24 Madison Street in Auburn became available. The association had by this time accumulated enough money to purchase this home for $10,000.00. It was a stately type mansion that had formally been the residence of Homer N. Chase, a person well respected in the city of Lewiston and Auburn. The Chase Home was ideal as it had a minimum of 52 rooms with a substantial amount of land that would make a nice playground for the children. The home had an attached Stable House that was eventually converted and remodeled into a nursery in 1932. The nursery housed newborns and children up to the age of four and was connected by a corridor from the main building. It did not have its own kitchen; consequently food and utensils were passed through by a dumb waiter from the main house. The main home had accommodations for thirty children with an age limit running from 5 to 12 years of age. Small tables were in the dining room, making it possible to give individual attention to the children in need of supervision in table manners at mealtime. The home had its own garden that was well maintained with vegetables that were canned for the use in the home. The home and children were often recipients of "road kill" and food donations that helped the home financially. There were large playrooms, with the sleeping rooms being attractive and appropriate for the children. The first floor was used for an office and reception room while the second floor and third floor were used for the children's sleeping quarters.The matron of the home after Sarah Doyle was Mary Kennison (start date currently unknown) who remained matron until her resignation in 1937. Miss Effie Shearer became the next successor in April 1937 and remained matron until she retired in July 1966. Upon Miss Shearer's arrival at the home there were 24 children. Shortly thereafter, 24 babies were housed in the nursery with a license being obtained to house a total of 80 children. During Miss Shearer's tenure she made many changes and improvements. A second nursery was constructed, with a laundry that equaled those that were in hospitals, and a swimming pool was added as well. In 1967 Robert T. Barber became executive director of the home. Mr. Barber himself had been a resident of the home for many years along with several of his siblings due to the death of their mother. The father (a veteran), who was in very poor health, went to the Children's Home
requesting help and relief in raising his children. He therefore placed them in the home. Robert Barber remained director of the home from 1967 to 1971. In 1971 he resigned from the Children's Home as he had become a candidate for the Auburn Ward 4 municipal board. The Children's Home Board felt if he should be successful in winning a seat on the municipal board, being on both would be considered a conflict of interest. While he was director he refurbished the wing that once housed the babies and infants into a day care center that would accommodate up to 50 children. On the second floor of the main home one of the sun porches became the infirmary. It was a long narrow room that would isolate up to 4 patients at a time, keeping the sick from the rest of the children in the home. The playground area was expanded and enlarged with summer play equipment and a skating rink for the winter. The home at this time housed a total of 37 children with a staff of eleven . During his time as director, he adopted a child who was a resident in the home. The Lewiston and Auburn Children's Home closed as an orphanage in the early 1970's but continued as a day care center until 1987. Records of the orphanage were not well kept, therefore whatever records remained were gone or had been destroyed in the 1960's.In 1989 the home was sold by the orphanage board to the North Atlantic Regional School whose home base is in Seattle, Washington. The school almost exclusively served as a home school for families from all over the United States. In 2004 the name was changed to North Atlantic Regional High School (NARHS). This organization rented part of the home to Central Maine Christian Academy, as the home was too large for NARHS needs. The section that was once the Stable House (also known as the "Carriage House"), became the school administrator's home. The street address was changed from 24 Madison Street through the Auburn Assessor's office and the Auburn Postmaster to 116 Third Avenue; the reason being that Third Avenue would be more easily remembered than Madison Avenue. In 1997 the administrator was met with devastating circumstances concerning out of state property he owned. After 2 years of legal battles with the fore mentioned property, he had no other alternative but to close the school. In 1999 the Children's Home and property were put on the auction block selling for $75,000.00. The street name reverted back to Madison Avenue but the numbers remained the same due to post office numbering, re-zoning, and new homes being built. The home recently sold again in 2012 and is now a private home.
Marcotte Home and St. Joseph Orphanage
The founding of the institution began when three Sisters of Charity (known as the Grey Nuns) from Ste. Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada arrived in Lewiston in 1878. However, it would be 50 years later before it was called the Marcotte Home and St. Joseph Orphanage. The Sister's first location was in a building situated on the corner of Walnut and Pine. This building had been given to the nuns soon after their arrival in Lewiston, to be used as a orphanage and convent. It was the beginning of the Asylum of Our Lady of Lourdes, also known as the Asylum School for Girls. Within a few years the Sisters moved to larger quarters, teaching school in the Dominican Block on the corner of Lincoln and Chestnut Streets . In the late 1880's Lewiston had a population of about 35,000 but did not have a facility to care for the sick, or for children unable to be cared for by their families. Vows of the Sisters of Charity was to help the poorest of the poor, accepting the downtrodden, orphans, and destitute families. By the late 1880's the Sisters had outgrown the Dominican Block location and were looking in other areas to expand their services. In 1888 they purchased for $22,000.00, the Sarah J. (Jane ) Golder Estate to house the infirm, orphans, and to help families in need. The property was located on the corner of Sabbatus and Pine Streets, and consisted of a large Victorian house with 36 acres of land which at the time was on the outskirts of Lewiston overlooking the twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn. It would soon be transformed into an institution containing 30 beds for the infirm. Soon after completion, 40 orphans arrived at the home. The institution would be the first and only facility in the state consisting of a hospital and orphanage combined . It would also be the first Catholic Hospital in the state and was commonly known as the Sisters Hospital, the French Hospital, Saint Hyacinthe Hospital, the Catholic Hospital and Ste. Mary's. The Sisters did not discriminate as to who would utilize the institutions; it was open to all those in need, although the majority were of French Canadian decent. Social background nor religious beliefs interfered with the nun's vows of taking in the very poor, orphans, and children from parents unable to care for them. The hospital provided medical assistance freely and unconditionally to all the sick, with the Sister's belief of healing holistically through herbal medications, spiritual devotion, and divine providence. The orphanage would provide shelter for girls starting at the age of 3 - 18 years old in a atmosphere that would simulate the enviroment of family living as much as possible. Although the Sister's called all the children "orphans ", most were not true orphans in the sense of the word; many of the children had living parents. In 1902 the Sisters had again outgrown their space and once again were in need of a larger facility. Appealing to the local citizens, the nuns, city of Lewiston, and the surrounding towns, the Sisters rallied together to raise money for expansion of the existing facility. Child care was offered at the orphanage by the Nuns, as well as teaching private lessons in French and printing religious and inspirational booklets. Several benevolent organizations raised money and also offered their services. Renovation began that same year on the existing property with final building costs being $100,00.00. The orphanage would become a separate entity from the hospital. Although housed in one building, the orphanage was in a separate wing being built, in part, from the original house. Upon completion of the Sisters' newest institution, the citizens from the community of Lewiston and surrounding towns came together to celebrate the opening of the three story , brick structure, in late Gothic style that would alternately be known as St. Mary's Hospital and Orphanage. The head administrator of the new facility was Superior Sister Mary Incarnation who had been a teacher in the Saint Pierre parochial school in the Dominican Block. In 1908 the name of the hospital and orphanage was formally changed from Our Lady of Lourdes to L'Hospital General Ste. Marie and Ste. Mary's Orphan Home. In 1924 a State report from the Board of Charities and Corrections was critical on overcrowding in the orphanage section. This led to the recommendation from the state to decrease the number of orphans in the institution. The state also noted the need for additional housing for the elderly, however it was not considered as critical as it was for the orphans. In collaboration among themselves the decision was made to build an entirely new institution since decreasing the number of orphans in the present institution was not an option. Again, the nuns appealed to the communities for support with their new endeavor. They noted many children would be without shelter or food including, the children who were in the existing orphanage. Others would be homeless, without parents, or in poor houses subject to be auctioned off and bound out to the highest bidder, or living on the streets not having the opportunity for any shelter or the ability to survive the cold winters. Lewiston and the surrounding communities responded to the Sister's request and by 1928 they had obtained enough funds to build an entirely new institution.The building was designed in Tudor Revival style consisting of 5 stories. There was to be a wing built for the elderly, and a separate wing built for the orphanage which was called the South Wing. The largest benefactor to this cause was F.X . Marcotte (Francois Xavier) a prominent local businessman in Lewiston who donated $120,000.00 as well as his unrelenting time to the project. It was stipulated between F.X. and the home that 16 indigent individuals would be helped free of charge. Upon his death, that number would change to helping 20 poor individuals. The new institution would be known as the Marcotte Home and St. Joseph Orphanage, opening its doors officially on April 24, 1928, at 100 Campus Avenue in Lewiston to 61 elderly people and 120 needy children. On April 25, the first mass was celebrated by Fr. Archambault, o.p. in the new chapel. During the war years the orphanage was filled to capacity as fathers were off to war serving their country.Wives were left home to raise the children by themselves with many unable to do so. Some families were very large with simply too many mouths to feed. A large percent of the wives were forced to work outside the home, mostly in the mills working long and strenuous hours trying to make ends meet. Many were unable to cope with the demands that had been thrust upon them therefore were forced to place their children into orphanages. Since St.Joseph 's was an orphanage only for girls, brothers and sisters were separated from each other. Boys usually went to the Healey Asylum just a very short distance from St. Joseph's since it was also a part of the Sister's of Charity jurisdiction. After the war had ended most of the parents came back for their children, with very few children being adopted or being left as orphans. There began a decline in the need to have orphanages after the war as fathers were back home being part of the work force again, giving family unity once again. The State was developing new programs in aiding the poor such as the Welfare System and Foster Care programs. Welfare allowed families to remain together in the home rather then splitting up families. With the new State Programs it would only be a matter of time before the orphanages would no longer be needed. In 1965 St. Joseph closed its doors going into the annals of history. There remains only a very few Grey Nuns today in Lewiston but their commitment to the cities needs of the poor, orphans, and the elderly, will forever be eternal to those who knew the "Les Soeurs Grises" (The Grey Nuns). In 2008 the Masion Marcotte was renamed Ste.Mary's Residences - an independent living facility for the elderly. The "Marcotte" name that was stamped as part of the building in 1928 will always remain on the facility. On December 26, 1985 the Marcotte Home was added to the National Register of Historic Places . On December 30, 1987, Ste. Mary's was also added.