Ohio Soldiers & Sailors Orphans Home
The information in this database was abstracted from the "Application for Admission" forms of the OSSO Home. Although it is not a complete registry, the database contains information from more than 3500 applications from 1877 – 1919.
Ohio Department of Education
When the home closed in 1997, the original records were transferred to the Department of Education, Columbus, Ohio. Information about these records can be obtained by contacting:
Records Retention Manager, OVCH
Ohio Department of Education
25 South Front Street, MS 309
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: - 1-877-644-6338
Legacy Ministries InternationalIn 1997, State of Ohio, 122nd General Assembly, passed SB7, conveying the State owned land of the OSSO/OVCH to the Board of Commissioners of Greene County. In August 1999, Legacy Ministries International bought the land, in order to expand the campuses of the Xenia Christian Schools. Since then, this historic site has undergone extensive renovation.
Association of Ex-PupilsChildren who once lived at the OSSO/OVCH have formed an Association of Ex-Pupils (AXP), hold an annual reunion and established a museum.
Associate of Ex Pupils Museum
Ohio Soldiers & Sailors Orphanage Home
650 Elliot Drive
Xenia, Ohio 45385
History of the OSSO/OVCH
The BeginningMoney was collected from taxes levied during the Civil War to care for the dependents of soldiers, but the government mishandled the money. By the war's end, several families were living in county infirmities under deplorable conditions. Seeing this, soldiers still living began contacting government officials, requesting that something be done to help the families of the fallen soldiers. Eventually, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a federation the veterans formed after the close of the Civil War to foster comradeship, financed the purchase of a home for veteran's orphans in the city of Xenia. Xenia was chosen because people from Greene County had long been interested in the plight of the veterans' families, and Reverend P.C. Prugh had been raising funds for the project for some time. Rev. Prugh is thus referred to as the "Father" of the movement to establish a home. Additionally, Chaplain George W. Collier is credited with being the first to suggest the idea of a home to the GAR.
A temporary location was established in town, and 100 acres of farmland south/southeast of town were purchased for the permanent location. Children began arriving at the home in December 1869, and in August of 1870, they moved to the farm. Responsibility eventually passed from the GAR to the State of Ohio, and the state officially adopted the children.
Dates to Remember1869 - Began on E. Main St. in Xenia as the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Orphans
Home, Dec. 16, 1869, with 2 children.
1870 - Taken over by State of Ohio on Apr. 21, 1870, and about 120 children
moved to the farm on "Poverty Knoll", which was originally owned by
William Pelham, on Aug. 25, 1870.
1883 - The first high school graduating class. There were three graduates.
1884 - Part of the grounds was destroyed by a tornado Apr. 27, 1884.
1873 - Administration building was completed.
1904 - The armory building was built.
1978 - The name was changed in 1978 to the "Ohio Veterans Children’s Home",
because studies showed that the home served very few orphans.
Structure of "Home Life"
The home conducted church services, established a regular school curriculum as well as education in several trades, started a library, and supplied on-site medical attention. The list of trades is impressive, including tin smithing; wood carving; knitting; dress making; tailoring; farm, florist, and garden work; butchering and slaughtering; telegraphy, and blacksmithing. The children also enjoyed such extra-curricular activities as choir, orchestra, concert band, military band, drum corps, and athletics. Beginning in April of 1876, the home put out their own paper, titled the Home Weekly. Children were discharged from the home at the age of 16.
Closing of the HomeOVCH officially closed its doors to incoming students in 1995. The home completely closed in 1997 because the number of students living at OVCH had dropped significantly, as had support for the continuation of the school.
SourcesHughes, Edward Wakefield, and William Clyde McCracken. Pride of Ohio: The History of the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home at Xenia, Ohio, 1868-1963. Ohio Association of Ex-Pupils: Xenia, Ohio, 1963.
Ohio Soldiers' & Sailors' Orphans' Home, Ohio Veterans' Children's Home, Student Records 1869 – 1995. Compiled by John Davis, et al. Ohio Veterans' Children's Home Records Department: Xenia, Ohio: 1997.