The Orphanage

Hello everyone! I have emerged from hiding and am ready to blog again. Oh how I’ve missed it! No, I’m not in the Witness Protection Program, even though it seemed that way. Life in general (well, mostly my job) got really busy and before I knew it, several weeks had passed by, and friends and family were putting out fliers saying “Have you seen this person?” Ha, not that extreme but you get the picture.

I wanted to finish up on my adventures in Gettysburg because in a week, I will be heading to Kentucky to investigate Waverly Hills, the old TB Sanitarium.

While in Gettysburg, PA, I had the chance to investigate the Nation Soldiers Orphan’s Homestead now known as the Soldiers National Museum which houses genuine, authentically restored, and authentically reproduced headgear, medals and weapons.

“During the Battle of Gettysburg, this building served as headquarters for Major General Oliver O. Howard, the commander of the Union 11th Corps and also as a haven for federal sharpshooters firing on Confederates who were hiding on the south side of town.

As a result of the Civil War, there was a need to house, clothe, educate and care for thousands of orphaned children. In the Spring of 1866, a movement was initiated to establish an orphanage and the site selected belonged to J. George Wolf. The two acres contained a large two story brick house with stabling, good water, a garden and a fine orchard.

The orphanage was officially opened on November 20th, with twenty-two children, twelve boys and ten girls. By 1868, there were sixty orphans residing here and by 1869, the existing facility was overcrowded. A new three story frame structure was erected and a weatherboard wing, part of the old barn on the premises was moved to the house and altered into its present shape.

Unfortunately by 1870, monetary support waned for the Homestead. During this time a new teacher and disciplinarian, by the name of Rosa J. Carmichael, accepted a position at the Homestead. She was described as having “few equals and a most assiduous and faithful worker.”

The next several years proved disastrous for the children and the institution as alleged instances of child abuse surfaced. On June 11, 1876, Mrs. Carmichael was arrested on a warrant charging cruelty to one of the orphans and held at $300.00. She was indicted on three counts of aggravated assault and batter. She was found guilty on one of the counts and fined $20.00 plus court costs.

The scandal spread over the next several months and the Waynesboro Village Record reported the story of a sixteen year old boy, missing part of his left arm, made his way to town claiming he had come from the Homestead.

His clothing seemed extremely dirty and he had no shoes. He told the story of his sister Lizzie and Bella Hunter, both ages seventeen, who were forced to wear boy’s clothes for punishment. Bella was made to do the most menial work and when her tasks were done, she was locked in her room.

The cruel practices of Mrs. Carmichael upon the helpless children became so outrageous that the Corporal Skelly Post #9 Grand Army of the Republic had the matron arrested, indicted and convicted, but in consideration of her sex, the court only sentenced her to pay a fine of $20.00 and the cost of prosecution.

This sentence made her only worse. She had a brutal task-master boy about the age of nineteen who would beat and kick the little children to the delight and approval of the matron.

In the bitter cold, she had a boy aged 4 or 5 penned in the outhouse. He was released at midnight by the intercession of two passing men who heard the pious screams of the little boy. Mrs Carmichael also had a little girl stand upon a desk in one position until she had to be lifted down, exhausted and helpless. There were also reports of a make shift five foot by eight foot dungeon in the cellar with shackles being used on the children.

Mrs. Carmichael called her charges “slanderous.” A statement was also made to the townspeople and others who had not contributed to the institution and had no say in its management. This controversy along with charges of mismanagement and the violation of a trust fund caused the tragic closing of the Homestead in December by the County Sheriff. The Homestead property was sold at a Sheriff’s sale during the summer of 1878.”

~Flier from the Soldiers National Museum of the Civil War

There have been reports of hearing children’s voices and a menacing male’s voice as well as being touched and seeing apparitions of children.

It’s very sad to think about what the children had to endure while under the supervision of Mrs. Carmichael. I hope one day, the peace they should have had in life, they will find in death.

Sending you lots of paranormal love,

~Mallie Fox

Michelle, Chris, Susan, Adam and Mallie after investigating The Orphanage

About Mallie Fox
Mallie Fox is co-host of the radio and podcast program She has had a lifetime interest in all things paranormal.

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