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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Springfield in Greene County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

Civil War Orphans' Home

 
 
Civil War Orphans' Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
1. Civil War Orphans' Home Marker
front
Inscription.  
(front:)

The ravages of the American Civil War (1861-1865) left a large population of orphaned and half-orphaned children roaming the countryside in need of homes. Springfield was fortunate to have a civic-minded citizen named Mary Whitney Phelps, wife of the future governor of Missouri, John S. Phelps. Mary, also an orphan, championed these children - who were housed in several locations in the county, including the Phelps residence and later the home of Louisa Campbell, the widow of Springfield's founder, John Polk Campbell. A locally-formed Orphans' Home Association actively sought donations of food, clothing and financial support.

The United States Congress recognized Mrs. Phelps' advocacy for these orphans on July 28, 1866, with the adoption of the following resolution: "That there be paid to Mrs. Mary Phelps, of Missouri…the sum of twenty-thousand dollars to reimburse her for expenditures made in behalf of the soldiers of the Union wounded in battle, and of the orphan children of soldiers of the Union." This money would hep fund a new orphans' home.

(back:)

By 1868, a two-story
Civil War Orphans' Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
2. Civil War Orphans' Home Marker
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frame building was completed on 27 acres. The site was part of a tract of land formerly owned by Leonidas Campbell (son of Springfield's founder). This tract was bounded by present-day Kimbrough Ave. on the east; Sunshine St., in the south; and Campbell Ave. on the west.

The Mary Phelps Institute for Young Ladies was located 1 1/2 miles south of the city of Springfield and served orphans, half-orphans, and indigent girls. The school was not to make money but to provide a service. As much as possible, matrons filled the role of a mother.

The facility functioned until there was no longer a need.
 
Erected 2011 by Mary Whitney Phelps Tent No. 22, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkWar, US CivilWomen. A significant historical date for this entry is July 28, 1866.
 
Location. 37° 10.943′ N, 93° 17.42′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Missouri, in Greene County. Marker is at the intersection of East Sunshine Street and South Jefferson Avenue, on the right when traveling west on East Sunshine Street. Marker is on the southwest corner of Sunshine Elementary School. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 321 E Sunshine St, Springfield MO 65807, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies
Civil War Orphans' Home Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, April 5, 2021
3. Civil War Orphans' Home Marker
Sunshine Elementary School is in the background
. John Smith Phelps / Phelps Homesite (approx. 0.6 miles away); Mary Whitney Phelps (approx. 0.6 miles away); Maple Park Gazebo (approx. 0.9 miles away); Battle of Springfield (approx. 1.1 miles away); Kickapoo Indian Village (approx. 1.2 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Springfield (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Springfield (approx. 1.4 miles away); The Day House (approx. 1˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 20, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 53 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 20, 2021, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Jun. 12, 2021