Orange Home for Orphans
The Orange Home, near Hatboro, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, is unique and peculiarly interesting in view of the fact it is the only institution of its class in the United States. Its establishment and maintenance has been entirely through the effort and influence of the Loyal Orangemen of the United States, whose membership is restricted to Protestants, but without respect to church affiliations, and who are for the greater number descendants of those Protestants in Ireland, England, Germany and at that time the American dependency in Virginia, who, in the day of Prince William of Orange (from whom their name is derived), maintained the Protestant ascendency against the fierce assaults of Catholicism. The institution has become Americanized, and is independent of like bodies in other lands today. The present supreme grand master of the United States is Dr. Henry Hull, of Boston, Massachusetts, who is president of a sanitarium there.
Desirous of establishing a broadly useful educational institution for their children and for the infirm and aged of their own numbers, the Loyal Orangemen in the year 1900 appointed a committee to secure funds and erect a school and home. The means were entirely obtained through voluntary donations and in small sums. The smallest contribution was twenty-five cents, and the largest sum received from any one person was only five hundred dollars. The Rev. George Worrell was appointed chairman of the building committee, and he devoted himself to his task with remarkable enthusiasm and industry. On September 26, 1901, purchased a sixty-eight acre farm tract, a portion of the Ritchie and Rhoades estate, adjoining the borough of Hatboro, and two miles from Willow Grove. On November 28, 1901, Thanksgiving Day, the cornerstone of the main building was laid, and on September 1, 1902, the Home was dedicated. May 30, 1903, it was opened and received as its first occupants ten children and one adult.
The Orange Home building is of granite, four stories in height, and contains forty-two rooms. On the first floor are two spacious dining rooms, a store room and a swimming room. The second, or principal floor, contains the reception room, the chapel and the superintendent's office and apartments. The third floor accommodates the girls and aged women's dormitories; and the fourth, those for the boys and aged men. The rooms are all connected by telephone, are lighted by electricity generated by a power plant on the premises, and heated by steam. Water of unsurpassable purity is drawn from an artesian well on the grounds, and is distributed throughout the building by electrical pumps. Additional buildings to be erected as soon as the necessary funds can be procured are the Old Folks Home, an Industrial Hall, a school house and a church, together with two wing extensions to the present building, cottages for girls, and a hospital at the extreme corner of the farm.
The Home, which is a national institution, is managed by a board of directors chosen from the fifteen states whence aid has been procured. From this board is chosen a local executive board of seven members, which has immediate oversight of the Home and keeps in close touch with the classes which it seeks to aid, in all parts of the United States. Only children of purely Protestant parentage are received, but denominational ideas are totally disregarded. Children as young as three years are admitted, some of them under guardianship. The course of instruction includes Bible training in addition to the English branches, by duly accredited public school teachers, and on the industrial side are taught to the boys farming and the use of tools, and to the girls ribbon weaving, knitting, sewing and cooking. Provision is shortly to be made for printing a newspaper upon the premises and teaching the art of printing. Besides thus providing for the youth, the Home is open to the aged, both men and women, who are cared for with tender solicitude. The means for the support of this splendid charity are altogether derived from voluntary subscriptions, and its supporters are found in all parts of the United States, many of whom, the majority, indeed, have never seen the property which their benefactions have created.
The Rev. George Worrell, president of the Home Association, and also the superintendent, came to his laudable work with an intelligence and zeal befitting his cause. A native of Ireland, he was born in Lisbellaw, near Enniskillen, the shire town of County Fermanagh, in the Province of Ulster, which was the seat of the Protestant movement under William, Prince of Orange, and his ancestors doubtless fought at the battle of the Boyne. He came to America as a youth of fourteen, thoroughly imbued with the religious and political principles of his forbears, yet young enough to enter into sympathy with American spirit, and well fitted to realize and act upon the opportunities here for beneficent effort. He received his theological training in the Reformed Episcopal Seminary at Forty-third and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, and was ordained to the ministry in St. Paul's church in the same city, by the Right Rev. Bishop Sabin, D.D. He subsequently built a church at Collingdale, of which he has been pastor for the past nine years, and in which he has labored most usefully, notwithstanding the attention he has given to the Orange Home, neither suffering for lack of his attention because of the other.
Mr. Worrell was married, April 1, 1899, to Miss Eliza Jane Hoffman, a niece of Bishop H.S. Hoffman, of Broad Street, Philadelphia, and of this union has been born one child, Herman Hoffman, May 1, 1901. Mrs. Worrell is the matron of the Orange Home, a position to which she brings every necessary qualification, and the duties of which she performs with conscientious interest and exactness.
Information obtained from the "Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania", published in 1904 by T.S. Benhan & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.