Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Construction of Main Building on Grounds of The Wartburg Orphans' Farm School Near Pelhamville in 1869

In 1866, the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School opened. Founded by Evangelical Lutherans of New York, it provided orphaned children with a home and an education. The school taught trades such as farming, printing and homemaking. The school acquired about two hundred acres of land near the Pelham border and slowly developed a major complex that has continued to serve the community for the last 140 years -- today as The Wartburg Adult Care Community.

Below is a map published by G. W. Bromley & C0. in 1914 that shows the grounds of the Wartburg Orphans' Farm School.

In 1869, the School began construction of one of the principal buildings on its grounds. A brief article in the July 22, 1869 issue of the New York Times described the construction efforts. The text of the article appears below.

"The Orphan Farm School at East Chester.

The Evangelical Lutherans of New-York, who recently purchased about two hundred acres of land in the town of East Chester, near Pelhamville, and the buildings thereon, for an orphan farm school, are preparing to erect a fine stone building 75 feet long by 50 wide, three stories high, with Mansard roof and basement. The contract for the work has been awarded to Messrs. WM. LE ROY and FREDERICK OPPENDICK. Digging for the foundation has already been commenced."

Source: The Orphan Farm School at East Chester, N.Y. Times, Jul. 22, 1869, p. 8, col. 4.

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At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Orphans Farm School was a horrific place. I was there, I know.

At 8:22 PM, Blogger Iris said...

I was there too, and truely think it wasn't so bad for me. I would like to have comunication with people who lived at The Wartburg. Iris De Leon

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father and his two brother were there from 1924-approx 1929? I believe it is where my father learned to speak german. He was three years old when placed there an apporximately 8-9 when he left. I'm not sure it was a good place either based on the history of my father and his brothers.

Anonymous why do you think it was a terribel place? When were you there? D.Brown

At 3:54 PM, Anonymous Val Forman said...

My Mother Rozelle Draper Barnes,Her oldest brother Warren Henry Barnes,sister Eldora Barnes,and sister Corinne Barnes,were all put in Wartburg Orphan Farm School by their Father Warren Henry Barnes in 1922 when his wife mother of his children Eldora Louisa Fisher Barnes passed away on February 19th,1922.Warren was in the United States Coast Guard and obviously could not raise 4 children by himself.At the time 0f Eldora's passing the family lived on Pleasant Street in Nantucket,Massachusetts.Eldora's Father and Mother had passed away and her Brother and sisters were much younger and also were not available to help raise 4 children my mother being only 2 years and 4 months old at the time of her passing.The siblings do not know the story of why they were put in the orphanage and not placed with relatives,as their Father closed the book on telling them about their mother,their life together or any information revealing their past as a family that once was.As children of these siblings it has been a frustrating story of why didn't you go deeper in demanding answers,things that they would have liked to have of their Mother. Different times,different generation,which brings me to this point of a Legacy Of Love for my Mother and who she was? and where she came from? It has lead me to a legacy of deep roots from Nantucket,Mass on my Mothers Mothers side.A legacy of a woman who was a teacher,a nurse,a wife,a mother and a beloved person of Nantucket that lost her life at a young age and not being able to raise her children and who probably excuse the expression was rolling over in her grave when her beloved children were abandoned to an orphanage.Her death other then death date is unknown and I was hoping you have records that could tell a story of these children and their mother.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Val Forman said...

As I ran out of room my name is Val Forman e-mail valaf13@comcast.net telling you about my Mother Rozelle Draper Barnes,and her siblings Warren,Eldora,& Corrinne Barnes. My address is Val Forman,11947 Cedar Ridge Circle,Sandy,Utah 84094 Phone number husband Dann's Cell who is avalable at all times at this number 801-870-9457 or 801-572-1390 I would so appreciate records that could reveal my Mother and her siblings life up to her 14 years of age when she was taken out by her Father and step-mother long after the others had left Wartburg to live a miserable life at the hands of her step-mother.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pete M

Our family provided a good portion of the original funding for the orphanage. The donation was made after the death of a family member in the civil war.

At 8:51 AM, Anonymous P.Maldonado said...

As in everything in life everyone had a different experience living in the Wartburg. I spent the best years of my childhood there, made life long friends, and still today visit it yearly. I thank the Wartburg for putting food in my mouth and clothes on my back. The Wartburg and the Evangelical Lutheran Church took care of me and my 4 brothers after we were orphaned and abandoned.


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