Volume Three   Issue Two   January 2018
The History Center on Main Street
The History Center on Main Street
83 and 61 North Main Street
Mansfield PA
The Museum of Us
 Director- Joyce M. Tice: President - Deb Talbot Bastian: V.P - Amy Welch
The Soldiers Orphans School
Mansfield's Soldiers Orphans School was founded by Prof. Fordyce 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.The main building was on the corner of N. Main and W. Wellsboro Streets. The attendance the first year was sixty-three pupils.
Orphans Memorial
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, Jane Martin, 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, and J. Miller Clark of Mansfield, appointed superintendent. - From 1897 Tioga County History, page 584.
Have you walked by the monument shown above on the corner of N. Main and W. Wellsboro Streets and not noticed it?
Fordyce Allen and Jane Martin
Fordyce Allen (1820-1880) and his wife Jane Martin (1830-1912) established and operated the Soldiers Orphans School. Fordyce was also principal at Mansfield State Normal School.
Jane Martin Allen
Fordyce Allen
  From the original act: "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. "

After the death of Fordyce Allen, his widow Jane Martin Allen and Vine R. Pratt ran the school.

When the state moved the school to Harford in 1890, Mrs. Allen converted the building to the Hotel Allen.

The building burned in 1904 and was replaced by the Shepard-Bailey building which presently houses Bearly Enough and Bethany's Jewelry.
Vine R. Pratt
Vine R. Pratt
Orphan School Letterhead
Orphans School
The Soldiers Orphans School
Starting in 1920 a tent to serve as headquarters for Orphan School alumni was erected at the Mansfield Fair. This became their reunion center and it was later carried on annually in August. They called themselves The Sixteeners because they aged out of the orphans school at age sixteen.
They erected the monument to the school on the corner where the school stood, and they erected a monument in Prospect Cemetery for the students who died there.
Sixteeners Button
This Sixteeners Reunion button is in the History Center collection.
Orphans memorial
There's lots more about Pennsylvania Orphans Schools on our website.
Sixteeners Reunion
Sarah Davis VanNess
Sarah Davies VanNess (1851- 1944) was the last surviving teacher of the Orphans School.
She and other teachers attended the reunions along with their former students.

The reunion rosters are a good source to us of the names and locations of the former students.
Mansfield High School alum who died in 2017
1937 George Osmer Crippen
1938 Hazel L. Barnes (Sipes)
1942 William Case Bradshaw
1944 Venita Benson (Parker)
1946 Beatrice "Betty" Cleveland (McGraw), Shirley Sours (Beagle)
1947 Josephine Mary Wood
1948 Thomas W. Farrer
1950 Clifton Griffin, William P.Dailey, Essie Aumick (Thomas)  
1951 Fred Collins Davis
1953 Marilyn Bullard (Bailey), Robert Bartlett, Joe Thompson 
1954 Patricia A. McConnell (Mitchell)
1956 Philip H. Wilson, Joan Mathern (Kilmer)  
1957 Gerald J. Andrews
1960 Donald W. Trowbridge, Patricia Palmer (McIntosh), Ronald Phippen 
1961 Thomas Moran
1962 Allen Schanbacher, John McNaney, Jr. (Jan. 2018)
1963 William C. Boyden
1965 Marie Cunningham (Blanchard), Dave Ryland
1972 Gary Jenkins
1976 Brian David Wilcox
1977 Lane Patrick Smith     
1980 Dawn Marie Trout
1981 Joseph Walter Harvey
Check the Class page for obituaries of these and other class members. If there are any missing, please let us know so we can fill them in.
Wherever Life Takes You, You Are Always Welcome Home
Is this your year for a class reunion? One of our favorite activities is to welcome home our local people with a reception during their high school reunion weekend. We have hosted about sixteen reunion classes over the past four years and enjoy meeting or catching up with old friends. It gives us a chance to share what we are doing for Mansfield's people and gives the reunion class members the chance to meet and reacquaint in an informal setting. 
This year we will make our  Mansfield Then and Now  program available to classes who want to see Mansfield as they remember it. Additionally, most of the first floor of our Museum of Us is set up with artifacts and exhibits relating to Mansfield High School.
We will be glad to work with your reunion committees to help schedule a visit to the History Center in your plans.
One way to you can make sure that we can continue to preserve Mansfield area history and ensure that it is available to you now and in the future is to become a member or donor.
Paypal makes it easy to give a one time donation or a smaller one on a monthly basis to spread it out over time..
The History Center on Main Street
83 North Main Street