About 100 years ago orphans were bound out; that is their services were indentured to such persons as might make a bid for them. Thus a condition of in-oluntary (sic) servitude was created.
Today orphans are housed, fed and schooled in a thoroughly modern home; a home equipped with all the conveniences possible to make these children happy.
Thus has Delaware County within - - 100 years progressed in its manner of providing for children, the proper care of whom has been called "the most sacred charge of any community."
When the "poor farm" was established, as has been noted in another article in this issue, it became the custom to place dependent children , as were not voluntarily provided for by kindly neighbors or kinsfolk, in the "poor house" alongside the adult inmates, a procedure that carried with it many inevitable bad consequences. In the record of the board of county commissioners for the March session, 1864, a new lease on the county "poor farm" was granted and Enoch Albright thus took charge for a term of three years. The lease agreed to take children at the rate of $1 a week.
Group Formed In 90's
Many years, however, passed before a more humane system for the care of orphans was worked out. The Delaware County Children's (sic)Home Association was organized in the early 90's for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a home or asylum for the care, support, discipline and education of orphan children, aged females and crippled persons or either of them.
The original directors of the association were P.F. King, B.C. Bowman, William R. Windsor, Dr. H.A. Cowing, Mrs. Julia Richey, Mrs. Margaret March, Mrs. Alice S. Vandercook, Mrs. R. M. Patterson, Mrs. Mary Goddard, Mrs. Martha M. James, James T. Broyles, James H. Pierce, Mrs. John Paulin, R.A. Andes, Henry Younts, Mrs. Thomas Clark, Turner H. Johnson, Daniel Peterson, Dr. John V. Baird, Dr. A.M. Good, and Mrs. Sophia Jump.
A home for orphans was opened and maintained by this association on the north side of Muncie and carried on with different public assistance until more than 20 years ago. At that time it became apparent that the care of children under public charge had become necessary and the county commissioners by formal resolution made entry that it had become "necessary to purchase suitable ground and building for the purpose of locating thereon a home and asylum for the care, support and protection of the orphan dependent children of Delaware County."
The county council in 1906 approved the plan and June 8, 1906 the commissioners ordered the purchase for $7,800 the property owned by Nehemiah B. Powers. The tract contained 40 acres and was located between the Muncie and Yorktown pike and White River in the south half of section 18, Center Township. This home was constructed within a short time after.
68 Now Sheltered
To insure proper maintenance of the institution the county commissioners February 14, 1907 entered into an agreement with the Delaware County Children's (sic) Home Association. The association agreed "to furnish a matron and all necessary help for doing work in and about said house or home, to receive all children in accrodance (sic) with the laws of the state of Indiana governing the reception of said children in said home; to provide care, food and clothing for the children and to place them in permanent homes as soon as suitable homes can be found for them, etc."
The Delaware County Children's Home now cares for 31 girls and 37 boys and Mrs. Nannie Sutton is matron.
The care and treatment is much different from that received by the children in similar circumstances 100 years ago. Muncie Aerie, No. 231, Fraternal Order of Eagles, among its other work, has taken a particular interest in the home and each year "plays Santa Claus" for each youngster. Every Christmas morning for several years Muncie Eagles have visited the home and have supplied each child with whatever gifts, including both clothing and candy and toys (sic), he might ask.