Old soldiers' home

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Many of the original old soldiers' homes were constructed in high Victorian style, like the New Hampshire Soldiers' Home in Tilton, New Hampshire.

An old soldiers' home is a military veteran's retirement home, nursing home, or hospital, or sometimes even an institution for the care of the widows and orphans of a nation's soldiers, sailors, and marines, etc.

United States

Federal homes

The first national veterans' home in the United States was the United States Naval Home approved in 1811, but not opened until 1834 in the Philadelphia Naval Yard. The Naval Home was moved to Gulfport, Mississippi in 1976.[1] It was subsequently opened to veterans of other services and is now the Gulfport Campus of the Armed Forces Retirement Home.[2]

The first Army national old soldiers' home in the U.S. was established in Washington, D.C. in 1851.[3] General Winfield Scott founded the Soldier's Home in Washington DC and another (since fallen into disuse) in Harrodsburgh, Kentucky with about $118,000 in leftover proceeds of assessments on occupied Mexican towns and the sale of captured tobacco in the Mexican–American War (1846–48).[4] The Old Soldier's Home (Washington), now known as the Armed Forces Retirement Home, was the site of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home, which served as Abraham Lincoln's summer home during the Civil War and is adjacent to National Cemetery, the first federal military cemetery in the U.S. President Lincoln's Cottage has been designated a National Monument, and recently underwent renovation. It reopened to the public on President's Day, 18 February 2008. The Home has remained in continuous use since its establishment in 1851. It is located on a beautiful 250-acre (1.0 km2) wooded campus overlooking the U.S. Capitol in the heart of D.C. and continues to serve as a retirement home for U.S. enlisted men and women. Both the Washington D.C. and Gulfport soldiers' and sailors' homes are funded through a small monthly contribution from the pay of members of the U.S. Armed Services.

Following the American Civil War the federal government increased the number of National Military Homes, and took over a few formerly state-run old soldiers' homes. By 1933 there were 17 federally managed veterans homes. All except the first two of these homes were eventually combined with other federal government agencies to become part of what is now called the Veterans Administration, or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs established in 1930.

State homes

Caring for the disabled and elderly, and the widows and orphans of men who died in the war became a concern even before the Civil War ended. For example, in 1864 Fitch's Home for Soldiers and Their Orphans was opened with private donations in Connecticut. Various female benevolent societies pushed for the creation of a long-term care federal or state soldier home system at the end of the war.[5] Large veterans organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic and United Confederate Veterans eventually also worked for the creation of federal and state homes to care for disabled or elderly veterans. In a few cases veterans organizations on their own raised the money to buy property and build veterans homes. Most of these were quickly turned over to the state government to fund and manage. The majority of state legislatures established veterans homes paid for by state monies from the start. 43 states managed 55 functioning state veterans homes before 1933. Fourteen of those states also had a federal veterans home open at the same time as their state veterans home.

Eleven states had two or more state veterans homes in operation at the same time (two of which also had a federal home). Some states simply had several homes at once. A few states admitted veterans' widows, and a few other states established separate homes for the widows and orphans. A few states had separate Union and Confederate old soldiers' homes. The first of 16 Confederate homes was opened in 1881 in Georgetown, Kentucky.[6] Confederate soldiers' homes were supported entirely by subscribers, or by their state with no funds from the federal government against which the Confederates had fought.

A few state-run old soldiers' homes were eventually folded into the federal veterans home system. As their last few Civil War veterans were dying in the 1930s, some states chose to close their old soldiers' homes, and other states began admission of veterans from more recent wars. Several of these state old soldiers' homes have been modernized and serve veterans to this day.

City homes

Soldier homes in major cities were among the earliest, usually starting more as hotels for men passing through town, but increasingly taking on disabled servicemen. These were usually operated as paying businesses rather than being fully funded by the government.[5] Philadelphia had two soldiers' homes which were associated with nearby saloons and got their start as a part of the refreshment and lodging business.[7] Women activists also helped establish disabled soldiers' homes in Boston, Chicago, and Milwaukee, or in conjunction with the U.S. Sanitary Commission in 25 other cities. The Boston home closed in 1869, the Philadelphia homes closed in 1872, the Chicago Soldiers' Home lasted until 1877, and Milwaukee turned into a federal home.

U.S. Sanitary Commission homes, lodges, and rest

During the Civil War the U.S. Sanitary Commission provided Union servicemen "Temporary aid and protection,—food, lodging, care, etc.,—for soldiers in transitn[sic], chiefly the discharged, disabled, and furloughed." By 1865 the Commission operated 18 "soldiers' homes," 11 "lodges," and one "rest" in 15 states north and south (for a list see Commission bulletin, 3:1279). Most of their homes were war-time facilities and were closed at war's end. They are not included in the following list.

List of historic old soldiers' and sailors' homes within the United States

(by state)[8]

Modern veterans homes

Soldiers home in Dayton, Ohio

For information about modern veterans homes, nursing homes, and domiciliary facilities see

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "US History Encyclopedia: Soldiers' Home" in Answers.com at http://www.answers.com/topic/old-soldiers-home (Retrieved 4 January 2010), and Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), "Views of the U.S. Naval Asylum and Hospital, Philadelphia" in Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries at http://archives.pacscl.org/shows/navalhome/index.html (Retrieved 4 January 2010).
  2. https://www.afrh.gov/afrh/gulf/gulfcampus.htm
  3. Ellis, Angela; Carl S. McCarthy. "Soldiers' Home." Dictionary of American History. The Gale Group Inc. 2003. Encyclopedia.com. (29 December 2009). http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3401803936.html
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  5. 5.0 5.1 Trevor K. Plante, "Genealogy Notes: The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers" in Prologue Magazine [Online] Spring 2004, Vol. 36, No. 1 at http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/spring/soldiers-home.html (Retrieved 17 December 2009).
  6. R. B. Rosenburg, Living Monuments: Confederate Soldier's Homes in the New South (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1993), 28–29, citing Georgetown Weekly Times, 13 July; 30 November 1881; 14 November 1883; "Confederate Soldiers' Home," "Subscribers to Confederate Soldiers' Home and Widows' and Orphans' Asylum," Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort; Southern Historical Society Papers, 11 (1883): 432.
  7. Library Company of Philadelphia, "McA 5778.F Civil War Volunteer Saloons and Hospitals Ephemera Collection 1861‐1868" ([Philadelphia, Pa.: LCP, 2006), 5. Digitized at http://www.librarycompany.org/mcallister/pdf/saloons.pdf (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  8. This list does not include soldiers' orphans' homes separate from the old soldiers' home, nor U.S. Sanitary Commission soldiers' homes.
  9. R. B. Rosenburg, Living Monuments: Confederate Soldier's Homes in the New South (Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1993), 215, says the Alabama Dept. of Archives and History, Montgomery, has cemetery rosters, insurance papers, and superintendent reports.
  10. "VA Hospital Began with 250 Beds, Now Has 2,307" in The Tuskegee News, 8 February 1973. At archived on 27 January 2010
  11. Rosenburg, 215, says the Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, has applications for admission, Board of Managers reports, and superintendent's reports.
  12. National Archives and Records Administration, "15.3 Records Relating to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers and the National Homes Service, Veterans Administration 1866–1938," in Guide to Federal Records at http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/015.html#15.3 (Retrieved 2 January 2010).
  13. California Dept. of Veterans Affairs, "The Veterans Home of California, Yountville" in California Dept. of Veterans Affairs [Internet site] at http://www.cdva.ca.gov/Homes/Yountville.aspx (Retrieved 24 November 2009).
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  15. Colorado Dept. of Humans Services, "Colorado State and Veterans Nursing Homes" at http://www.cdhs.state.co.us/svnh/FacilityLocations.htm (Retrieved 25 November 2009).
  16. Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs, "History of Connecticut Veterans' Home" [Internet site] at http://www.ct.gov/ctva/cwp/view.asp?A=2005&Q=290842 (Retrieved 15 January 2010).
  17. U.S. Soldiers' and Airmens' Home (USSAH), "History of the U.S. Soldiers' Home" at http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/heroes/history1.html (Retrieved 3 December 2009).
  18. Rosenburg, 215 and 218, says the Jacksonville Public Library, Jacksonville, has applications for admission, Board of Directors letters received, and Florida Soldiers' Home Papers.
  19. National Archives, "The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers-Branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers," in Prologue Magazine Spring 2004, Vol. 36, No. 1 at http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/spring/nhdvs-sidebar1.html (Retrieved 25 November 2009).
  20. Rosenburg, 215 and 218, says the Georgia Dept. of Archives and History, Atlanta, has applications for admission, Board of Trustees letters received, minutes, and reports, hospital record book, invoices, list of persons subscribing contributions, payrolls, record of miscellaneous functions, record of admissions, discharges and deaths, record of donations, register of inmates, George N. Saussey Diary, and visitors' register, and the Atlanta Historical Society, Atlanta, has a Confederate veterans file.
  21. Boise Idaho Veterans Home at http://www.veteransareheroes.com/BoiseVetHomes.aspx (Retrieved 2 December 2009).
  22. A.T. Andreas, History of Chicago: from the Earliest Period to the Present Time (Chicago: A.T. Andreas, 1884–1886; Digitized by BYU Family History Archives) 2:310-13.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 23.7 Ancestry.com, "U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866–1938" in Ancestry.com at http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1200 (Retrieved 29 December 2009).
  24. University of Illinois at Chicago, University Library, "Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War: An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago" in Special Collections Finding Aids at http://www.uic.edu/depts/lib/specialcoll/services/rjd/findingaids/DUVf.html (Retrieved 31 December 2009).
  25. Illinois Veterans' Home [Internet site] at http://www.quincynet.com/ivh/ (Retrieved 30 December 2009).
  26. Oakwood Cemetery Association of Wilmington, Illinois, "Soldiers' Widows' Home," in Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington, Illinois at http://wilmingtonil-oakwood.com/2.htm (Retrieved 4 December 2009).
  27. Friends of the Indiana State Archives, "Indiana State Soldiers' Home" in Friends of the Indiana State Archives Archives Collections at http://www.fisa-in.org/news/articles/soldiers_home.html (Retrieved 1 January 2010).
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  29. Ford County Historical Society, "4th of July, 1890 Fort Dodge, Kansas Soldiers Home" at http://www.skyways.org/orgs/fordco/july.html (Retrieved 4 December 2009).
  30. Rosenburg, 216, says the Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort, has a list of Subscribers to the Confederate Soldiers' Home and Widows' and Orphans' Asylum.
  31. Rosenburg, 216, says the Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort, has Board of Trustees minutes, clothing issue book, commandant reports, hospital register, inmates register, miscellaneous reports, officer and employee payroll, physician and undertaker records, purchase ledgers, and rules and regulations.
  32. Rosenburg, 216, says the Louisiana Historical Association Collection at the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane Univ., New Orleans, has Board of Directors correspondence, House Committee reports, Investigating Committee reports, membership lists, minutes, President reports, reports 1886–1938, Secretary reports; clippings and pamphlets, financial reports, rules and regulations, Superintendent reports, and Surgeon reports.
  33. "The National Home For Disabled Volunteer Soldiers A Memorandum 1917" in Dayton History Books Online at http://www.daytonhistorybooks.com/page/page/2810506.htm (Retrieved 4 December 2009).
  34. Maryland Historical Society, "Maryland Line Confederate Soldiers' Home Collection" at http://www.mdhs.org/Library/fotofind/PP0159lnk.html (Retrieved 4 December 2009).
  35. Associated Topeka Libraries Automated System catalog description citing Discharged Soldiers' Home (Boston, Mass.), "Sixth Annual Report of the Discharged Soldiers' Home [microform] : with the Constitution, By-laws, and a List of the Officers" (Boston: Press of Geo. C. Rand and Avery, 1868) at http://lib.wuacc.edu/search/o?19691777 (Retrieved 18 December 2009), and "Sixth Annual Report of the Board of State Charities of Massachusetts" (Boston, Mass.: Wright and Potter, 1870). Digitized by Google Books at https://books.google.com/books?id=APTJAAAAMAAJ (Retrieved 18 December 2009), 111–13.]
  36. Gerard W. Brown, Chapter 7: "The Soldiers' Home" in Chelsea, Postcard history series (Charleston, S.C.: Archadia Publishing, 2004), 99–108. Digitized by Google Books at https://books.google.com/books?id=cRs1pqiCcP0C&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=soldiers'+home+chelsea&source=bl&ots=vtU9d5PAtM&sig=0q-8ksoQQNRDh9AqYZ7q0q1RiEs&hl=en&ei=W51DS63XD438MIi1tY4J&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CAwQ6AEwAjge#v=onepage&q=soldiers'%20home%20chelsea&f=false= (Retrieved 5 January 2010).
  37. Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, "Soldier's and Sailor's Homes Records" at http://bentley.umich.edu/research/genealogy/cw/soldiershome.php (Retrieved 7 January 2010).
  38. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  39. Rosenburg, 216, says the William D. McCain Library, Univ. of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, has Board of Directors correspondence, minute books 1920–1936, and reports, and the Mississippi Dept. of Archives and History, Jackson, has the register of inmates.
  40. United States Department of Veterans Affairs, "VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System-About this Facility" at http://www.biloxi.va.gov/about/index.asp (Retrieved 7 January 2010).
  41. State Historical Society of Missouri, "Missouri. Confederate Home, Higginsville, Records, 1897–1944 (C0066" at http://shs.umsystem.edu/manuscripts/invent/0066.pdf (Retrieved 25 June 2013).
  42. 42.0 42.1 National Archives, "The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers-State Run Homes (in 1922)," in Prologue Magazine Spring 2004, Vol. 36, No. 1 at http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/spring/nhdvs-sidebar3.html (Retrieved 25 November 2009).
  43. http://montanahistorywiki.pbworks.com/National+Register+-+Flathead#MontanaStateSoldiersnbspHomenbspHistoricDistrict (Retrieved 8 January 2010).
  44. "Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, Grand Island, Neb.- Historical Notes" in Nebraska Memories at http://memories.ne.gov/cdm/ref/collection/opl/id/293 (Retrieved 8 January 2010).
  45. Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Department of New Hampshire, "Veterans Helping Veterans Group at NH Home" at http://web.archive.org/web/20091203113403/http://www.vfwwebcom.org/newhampshire/33400/Veterans+Helping+Vetrans+Group+at+NH+Veterans+Home+.html (Retrieved 9 January 2010).
  46. Kearny High School "Home for Disabled Soldiers" in Kearny Photos: Landmarks [Internet site] at http://shorock.com/alumni/kearny/landmarks/soldiers.pdf (Retrieved 5 December 2009), and Deborah Fitts, "Kearny Veterans Home Statue Will Be Replaced" in Civil War News [Internet site] at http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/06/july/kearny_df.htm (Retrieved 5 December 2009).
  47. Deborah Fitts, "Kearny Veterans Home Statue Will Be Replaced" in Civil War News [Internet site] at http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/06/july/kearny_df.htm (Retrieved 5 December 2009).
  48. Frank John Urquhart, History of the City of Newark, New Jersey (New York: Lewis Historical Publ., 1913; digitized by Google Book, 2006), 2:719.
  49. State of New Jersey, Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, "New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes" at http://www.state.nj.us/military/veterans/health.html (Retrieved 5 December 2009).
  50. New York State Legislature, Documents of the Senate of the State of New York – One Hundred and Fortieth Session (Albany, N.Y.: J.B. Lyon Co., 1917; Digitized by Google Books), 133 (Retrieved 12 January 2010).
  51. "18. Confederate Women's Home Historical Marker" in Fayetteville, N.C. Military Sites Tour Map at http://www.visitfayettevillenc.com/images/military/sites/Fayetteville_MilitarySites.pdf (Retrieved 13 January 2010). The home's ending date can be estimated from an article discussing the use of the Home's chapel by others in 1945: Haymount United Methodist Church, "Church History" at http://www.haymountumc.com/HUMCHIistory.html (Retrieved 13 January 2010).
  52. Rosenburg, 216-17, says the North Carolina Div. of Archives and History, Raleigh, has Board of Incorporators minutes, building and maintenance expenses, drug and whiskey account, hospital record of patients, hospital register, inmate expenses, inmate record, inmate register, inmate roll book, ledger accounts paid, record of clothing issued, Superintendent's inmate behavior log, visitors' register, and warrants and weekly payroll.
  53. North Dakota Veterans Home, "History of the North Dakota Veterans Home" at http://www.nd.gov/ndvh/about/history.html (Retrieved 5 December 2009).
  54. "Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" in Ohio History Central: An Online encyclopedia of Ohio History at http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=2172 (Retrieved 18 January 2010).
  55. "Oklahoma Veterans Center, Ardmore, Oklahoma, Oklahoma Confederate Home, 1911–1942)" in CivilWarAlbum.com at http://www.civilwaralbum.com/indian/ardmore_vet1.htm (Retrieved 15 December 2009).
  56. Doug Loudenback, "The Union Soldier's Home" in Doug Dawgz Blog at http://dougdawg.blogspot.com/2007/08/okc-street-map-history.html (Retrieved 15 December 2009), citing The Oklahoman's [newspaper?] archives.
  57. United States, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, "Cemeteries – Roseburg National Cemetery" at http://www.cem.va.gov/CEMs/nchp/roseburg.asp (Retrieved 15 December 2009).
  58. Pennsylvania Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs, "Pennsylvania Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" at http://www.milvet.state.pa.us/DMVA/480.htm (Retrieved 15 December 2009).
  59. Library Company of Philadelphia, "McA 5778.F Civil War Volunteer Saloons and Hospitals Ephemera Collection 1861‐1868" (Philadelphia, Pa.: LCP, 2006; Digitized by LCP), 5.
  60. "Philadelphia City National Cemetery Haines Street and Limekiln Pike Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19138" at http://www.cem.va.gov/pdf/philly.pdf (Retrieved 16 December 2009), page 223.
  61. Rhode Island. Dept. of State, "Ohio Soldiers' and Sailors' Home" in Manual, with rules and orders, for the use of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island, 1912 (Providence, R.I.: E.L. Freeman, 1912; Digitized by Google Books), 278 at https://books.google.com/books?id=OMcGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA278&lpg=PA278&dq=Rhode+Island+Soldiers'+Home&source=bl&ots=JH6He0Zofu&sig=UqZ_E4tDsHPzLanYBHUg7TZ9P4U&hl=en&ei=utNUS-jwHoiWtgefs4yoCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CBQQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Rhode%20Island%20Soldiers'%20Home&f=false (Retrieved 18 January 2010).
  62. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, "Confederate Home and Infirmary Applications" in Research at the Archives at http://archives.sc.gov/CmsPortal/AgencyPostingTemplate.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRNODEGUID={34FB3DAA-B858-4705-8B19-6584274CFD5B} (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  63. United States, National Archives, "Sample Case Files of Members, Battle Mountain Sanitarium, 1907–1934" in Selected Military Personnel Records in ARC at www.archives.gov/research/arc/topics/personnel-files (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  64. Hikenutty, "State Soldiers' Home – Hot Springs, South Dakota" at http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM22V2_State_Soldiers_Home_Hot_Springs_South_Dakota (Retrieved 18 January 2010).
  65. "Confederate Soldiers' Home and Cemetery" in The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture at http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=C133 (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  66. "Texas Confederate Home" in The Handbook of Texas Online at http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ynt05 (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  67. "Confederate Woman's Home" in The Handbook of Texas Online at http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ync06 (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  68. "A Brief History of the Soldiers' Home of Vermont" in Vermont Veterans' Home at http://vvh.vermont.gov/About+Our+Home/History (Retrieved 18 January 2010).
  69. Library of Virginia, "About the Robert E. Lee Camp Confederate Soldiers' Home" in Library of Virginia at http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/opac/campabout.htm (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  70. Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs, "WA Veterans Home" at http://www.dva.wa.gov/soldiers_home.html (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  71. Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs, "Washington Veterans Home" at http://www.dva.wa.gov/veterans_home_retsil.html (Retrieved 16 December 2009).
  72. Ancestry.com: "Grand Army Home, King, Waupaca County, Wisconsin" . retrieved 18 January 2010.
  73. National Trust for Historic Preservation: Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home
  74. National Trust for Historic Preservation: National Soldiers Home Historic District, NTHP List of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places (2015).
  75. National Park Service: Veterans Affairs National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Northwestern Branch, Milwaukee, NPS Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary.
  76. Savethesoldiershome.com: About the Milwaukee Soldiers Home
  77. Grace Raymond Hebard, Government of Wyoming: The History, Constitution, and Administration of Affairs, 8th ed. (San Francisco, Calif.: C.F. Weber, 1919; Digitized by Google Books), page 265 footnote (a).
  78. Mary and Don Saban, "Fort McKinney" in U.S. Army Frontier Posts in Wyoming at http://genealogyalongtherockies.com/wyoming/Veterans/wyarmy.htm (Retrieved 16 December 2009), and Grace Raymond Hebard, Government of Wyoming: The History, Constitution, and Administration of Affairs, 8th ed. (San Francisco, Calif.: C.F. Weber, 1919; Digitized by Google Book), page 265 footnote (a).

External links