From Ohio History Central
In 1869, the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization of Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, established the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home in Xenia, Ohio. This institution was the predecessor of the Ohio Veterans' Children's Home. In 1870, the State of Ohio assumed control of the home. The Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home was originally located in a rented building in Xenia, Ohio. In 1869, Xenia residents provided the GAR with 150 acres of land to build a permanent facility.
Originally, the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home provided Ohio children who lost their father in the American Civil War with a place to live. Eventually, the State of Ohio opened this institution to orphans of all military conflicts and the children of all veterans, including ones who had not died on the battlefield. In some cases, the children had not lost their parents. Due to financial difficulties, a veteran and/or his spouse might leave their children at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home in the care of the State of Ohio. By 1870, seventy-five students lived at the home. Between 1870 and 1901, the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home could not accept all of the children seeking assistance. In 1901, nine hundred children resided at the institution.
Children at the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home received a traditional education, as well as training in various occupations. The boys also received some military training and several of them later joined the armed forces. In 1901, the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home was the largest institution of its kind in the world. The children lived in cottages, with between forty to fifty children in each building. In later years the home housed only fifteen children in each cottage.
In 1978, the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home became known as the Ohio Veterans' Children's Home. In 1997, the Ohio Veterans' Children's Home ceased operation.
In 1998, the State of Ohio sold the Ohio Veterans' Children's Home's buildings to Legacy Ministries International, which leases the site to different businesses and organizations. The site now contains a retirement community, a Christian school, and the international headquarters of Athletes-in-Action, among other businesses. Every year, the Association of Ex-Pupils, an organization consisting of former pupils of the Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphans' Home or of the Ohio Veterans' Children's Home, holds a reunion at the home's former grounds.
- Dee, Christine, ed. Ohio's War: The Civil War in Documents. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2007.
- Gilkey, Elliot Howard. The
<state> <place>Ohio</place></state> Hundred Year Book: A Hand-Book of the Public Men and Public Institutions of <state> <place>Ohio</place></state> from the Formation of the <place> <placename>North-West</placename> <placetype>Territory</placetype></place> (1787) to <date month="7" day="1" year="1901">July 1, 1901</date>. <place> <city>Columbus</city>, <state>OH</state></place>: Fred J. Heer, State Printer, 1901.
- Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1866. Akron, OH: The Werner Company, 1893.
- Reid, Whitelaw. Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Generals and Soldiers. Cincinnati, OH: Clarke, 1895.
- Roseboom, Eugene H. The Civil War Era: 1850-1873. Columbus: Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 1944.