« AnteriorContinuar »
the black-board, and some of them have made tolerable progress in the art. Only a few, however, are independent enough to write their own letters.
The Sunday school lesson has been recited each day morning and evening throughout the week, and Saturday has been given to miscellaneous exercises, such as reading, writing, singing, &c.
Aside from the duties of the school-room, one hundred and ninety-four hats have been braided, employing eleven of the smallest boys, during the space of three months. Most of them were for ladies, and found a ready market. This employment has, however, been abolished, and a chair shop now furnishes labor for those who have previously been thus employed.
With the hope that both the moral and intellectual condition of the pupils has been improved, I respectfully submit this report.
To the Board of Control of the State Reform School:
GENTLEMEN—During the past year only about the usual amount of sickness has prevailed in the school, and the general sanitary condition of the Institution is good. In some respects, however, I think it might and ought to be improved. The clothing of the boys is not sufficient for our winter weather and the amount of exposure to which they are subjected by their occupation, and their out-door sports. Cotton is not an economical material for winter clothing, in any respect. It is neither as warm nor as durable as woolen. The number of cases of acute inflamation, in the school, is altogether too great, and out of the ordinary proportion. Woolen clothing is one of the best preventives of this class of diseases, as well as those of a malarious origin from which the boys also suffer much.
I am aware that the Board have clothed the boys as well as the amount of money at their disposal would permit, but an
effort, ought to be made to obtain money enough to clothe them more warmly than at present.
The dormitories all over the Institution are too crowded, and especially the one devoted to the small boys. In this room, through which you have to pass to get to the Hospital, and into which it opens, sleep fifty-six boys. It is not large enough for more than half that number, and there ought not to be a bed in the room, it is so closely connected with the Hospital. The noise made by so many boys entering the room at night, and leaving it in the morning, the vitiated air engendered by their excretions, together with the dust from the beds, render the hospital altogether unfit for use.
During the year there have been three deaths in the school.
Archibald Byce died March 28, of chronic valvular disease of the heart.
Charles Almy died April 5, suddenly—disease unknown.
William McLaughlin died July 21, of Cerebro Spinal meningitis. The school at present is quite healthy.
EXTRAOTS FROM LETTERS RECEIVED FORM BOYS DURING THE YEAR.
JANUARY 16, 1866. Mr. R--Dear Sir:--It is nearly six months since I left the Reform School. Well do I remember one year ago to day, and just about this hour. Ding dong, went the old school bell, which told every boy that the hour of prayer and thanks to our Father in heaven had come, and I with many others met for that purpose. But what a change has come. Little did I think that in one short year the small spark of Christian light in my bosom would so soon be extinguished and its place filled with evil thoughts, and those thoughts put into execution. But little do we know what the world contains till we have been through it to see with our own eyes. Boys, take the advice of an old school mate, not that I want you to remain as a prisoner, but if you are attentive to your studies and obey the rules, it is no more than a boarding school, for never but once while I was there did I ask to go to town or any other place, but I went, and then it was not convenient.
But to the point; unless you have a good home and good parents, that will look after you, which I hope you all have, and have a disposition to stay at home and obey those parents and look after your own welfare, you had better stay where you are. It is true you cannot have every little luxury you would have if you were at work and getting wages, but what good will the money do after it is earned? I have had over one hundred and fifty dollars since I left home, but where is it? I know too well that not one cent has gone for any good, but I can say it has not gone for whiskey, for it is with joy I can say I am not a drinking boy, though that is about the only good quality that I can find after picking my character all to pieces.
But I must close. Please give my regards to all and write as soon as you can.
J. G. N.
DETROIT, Jan. 26, 1866. MR. R.--Sir:
I would have written to you before this time, but I wanted to wait till I got a place to work. But as I have not much hopes of getting one, I thought I would write to you any how.
When I came here I did not find the city as I thought I would when I left the school. I found it a dull, barren, fruitless place, as you may say. It is an old saying "that old heads know best," and I believe it. I am almost discouraged, Mr. R., walking through the city and can't get a place, but I will hope on, hope ever, and after a while perhaps I may succeed. I had a very nice time coming on the cars. If any of the boys are in a hurry to be discharged and want to come here to get work till spring, tell them it is all sham.
Give my respects to all the men and ladies, and especially
M. W. the boys.
DETROIT, Feb. 3, 1866. Mr. R--Dear Sir: -I arrived in Detroit on the same night. I found my folks all well and glad to see me. The next morning I went down town to look for work, and went into a printing office. They said they wanted a boy, so I went to work and I am still working for them. I am going to learn my trade. I think it is a good trade. I thought I would not be looked at when I came to Detroit, but they think just as much of me as though I had been to a college. If the boys know what is for their interest, they will be good boys and get out Wh— is working for a lady on J. Ave. I give my love to you and all the boys. From your friend,
R. J. .
FEBRUARY 18, 1866. Mr. R.--Sir:--I remember what you said to me the Sunday night, that I was going away the next morning. As I was walking away I thought of the boys, especially the sick boys, because in the army so many suffered. (This boy was in the army.) I would like to stay with you and work, but I could not. I intended to ask a favor of you when I was with you, but I forgot. Will you make out my discharge papers ? My mother wishes me to ask for them. Please to tell me where Mr. C. is. I have bought some books, a part of the History of the Great Rebellion, Life of Kit Carson, a little pocket Bible and the History of the United States, a small history, not a great big one.
Please give my respects to Mrs. R. and Mrs. H. Tell Mr. B. that I will write to him soon.
MARCH 17, 1866. MR. C. B. R.--Please excuse me for not writing, for this winter I have been so busy, and at night I have been so tired out that I could not write. Since I left the School I have felt as if I had no home to go to. I left there at 2 o'clock in the morning and got home at five o'clock in the afternoon. I thought best to leave the city and go into the country as soon as I could, and now I have a good place. My brother is home, and all the colored boys that enlisted out of the School. Please commend me to the boys, for I would like to see my old playmates. I see what I would do if I was there again. I would apply myself to study and make up the time I lost in school by playing, for now I see my error. Please give my respects to all the ladies and officers of the School. Please send me one of the last year's reports. Yours, &c,
MARCH 25, 1866. Mr. R.--Dear Sir:--I write to you as I would to a friend, requesting you to see if there is any chance for me to get into .
business there in any way, to get money honestly. I would be • willing to work anywhere and do anything except tend bar in
a grog shop. I have been an inmate of your school and you know me well, that is the reason I write to you.
my boldness in writing to you. I have not tasted a drop of anything stronger than sweet cider since I left the school. I have joined the temperance lodge and take the pledge, and I do not chew tobacco either. I have been to school this winter. Yesterday was the last day of school, so now I am ready to go to work. I have been to Sunday School and meeting. Please write so that I may know what to do. From your purpil,
J. C. M.