Originally it was called the Franklin Academy but during the Civil War it became a place for homeless and orphans of the War. The Harford Soldiers Orphans School was placed on the campus of the Franklin Academy *1. On November 7, 1865 The Harford Soldiers Orphans School began its first term. It later went on to be known as Harford University.
Children from ages four to sixteen were eligible to attend if their father had been killed or physically unable to support his family because of the war. This School was one of Twelve in the State of Pennsylvania. The last being in Scotland, Pennsylvania.
In the 1880 Census of Harford, Pennsylvania*2, the children are all listed if they actually lived there. It was also a school for the area children who lived at home. The children who had homes were not listed under the School on the census.
I met with Mrs. Charlotte Squier, who researched for her book on the SOS (Soldiers Orphan School) and told me the history. The Harford Historical Society is situated in one of the last remaining buildings of the small community built for the schools and the orphans. Each child was given certain chores and all recieve schooling. It has a wonderful history and I am glad someone has taken the time to research and preserve it. Thankyou Mrs. Squier. In the future I hope to place more on this page concerning the Orphans School.
Be sure to visit the HIGHLIGHT of the displays--a 4' by 8' scale model of the Orphan School complete with synchronized voice and lighting. Also see the boys wash room, and the large bookcase containing family, local histories, etc in the library. There are also many class pictures taken at the schools.
*1 per information from Mrs. Squier and "Soldiers Orphan School" by Charoltte Rhodes Squier
*2 Census records were courtesy of the Susquehanna Historical Society in Montrose
**New Photos courtesy of Tam & John Lamb