SCROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > SCROOTS > 2002-04 > 1018885850
From: "Janet Jilote" <>
Subject: Re: [SC] Charleston Orphan House Records
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 11:50:50 -0400
Your relative(s) propabably knew my grandfather, as he was
in the orphan house in 1905.
"Pupils" was a nice way of saying orphans that were being
The City of Chas. Archives has copies of the Chas. Orphan
House Records, if this is in fact the same orphange that you
were referring to... there were other orphanages.
The files on the children have request for submission, which
will list parents names (if known), in some cases notes were
taken that stated a child was illegitimate, or that a parent
ran off. Some even made statements for or against a woman's
or man's character. There were stories of bigamy. And of
course the old baby in a basket story, abandoned on a
doorstep, children without known parents. So you never know
what you may find out about your family till you search the
Some letters were written to the orphan house on behalf of
the surviving parent, since most were widowed, and approval
had to be made before children entered. I have found request
of relatives or surviving parents to withdraw the child/ren.
Letters or orders of children going to work as an
'indentured servent'. This was a way to teach a skill or
profession, or sometimes just work like heck as cheap labor
on a farm. Others like my grandfather opted to stay in
school. His father petitioned for his removal, but was
unsuccessful because of his age, illness, and the fact that
there was no woman in the household to lookafter the child.
There may be surprizes like finding other relatives, via
permission slips for holiday visitations with aunts and/or
uncles, etc. Papers may list the names of other siblings.
Some remained in the households of the parent, others may
have been of legal age, sent to live with relatives, or
indentured to friends relatives or strangers. One of my
cousins went to live in NC with a family I've yet to
In many cases the families were too poor to raise the
children. Some parent(s) even listed as living in the Poor
House. And then there was illness. If a mother was too ill
to care for her children, or a father too ill to work,
children were oftentime placed in the orphan house until the
situation was better.
And then there were letters of escapes, runaways, illness
Some widowed parents remarried and children were removed
from the orphanage. While other children remained in the
orphanage until the legal age of 16 for boys and 18 for
girls (if my memory serves me).
The Charleston Orphan House Records were housed at the
City Archives located at:
Port City Center
701 East Bay Street
I've heard that the Charleston Library (SC Room) will be
taking over the contents of the Archives. I don't have much
info on this. And do not know if the City Archives is still
open to the public at present, or not.
Happy Hunting! ~
Janet Nielson Jilote
PS: I think I have the 1910 listing of Orphans from the
Chas. Orphan House, if that would be of some use to you and
If your orphans were older and at the orphanage before 1900
I would suggest you view a copy of:
History and Records of the Charleston Orphan House
by Susan L King.
SCMAR; 929.38 Charleston, Vol. 2.
----- Original Message -----
From: Cynthia H Porcher <>
Sent: Sunday, April 14, 2002 3:22 PM
Subject: [SC] Charleston Orphan House Records