National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Danville, Il
From: History of Vermilion County, Illinois
By: Lottie E. Jones
Pioneer Publishing Company
Chicago 1911


The Danville Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established at Danville, Ill., by act of congress, approved June 4, 1897, and was ready for use July 1, 1898, when several buildings had been completed. The cost of buildings and grounds has been $1,321,690.63. Of this amount $45,961.25 was paid for 325 acres of land, and $1,275,729.38 for buildings and improvements.

The principal buildings are the headquarters building, in which are located the headquarters offices of the governor and adjutant, and the office of the treasurer, and the printing office; also the hospital, with a capacity for 300 patients, besides room for the necessary attendants; fifteen barracks, with a capacity for 3,500 members, a splendid opera house, a thoroughly equipped library, for which building Mr. Andrew Carnegie donated $25,000; quartermaster's storehouse, mess hall, kitchen and bakery, all under one roof; laundry, Catholic and Protestant chapels, guard house, and about twenty five other buildings, consisting of residences of officers, store, restaurant, etc.

Eleven commissioned and thirty seven non commissioned officers constitute the governing power of the Home. All of these, excepting the treasurer and one chaplain, were soldiers in the Civil war. The official staff is as follows: Governor, M. J. Barger; treasurer, W. L. Kelley; surgeon, D. C. Jones; quartermaster, E. W. Eldridge; commissary of subsistence. J. W. Newlon; adjutant, William H. Platt; Catholic chaplain, Rev. Thos. H. Kinsella; Protestant chaplain, Rev. Thomas A. Parker.

To carry on the work of the Home, 325 members of the Home and 150 civilians are employed. Of the civilians, 70 are men and 8o are women; the latter being employed as nurses, cooks, waiters, seamstresses, etc. The membership of the Home at this writing is as follows: present. 2,229; absent on furlough, 694; total, 2,923.

Since the organization of the Home, there have been 13,579 members admitted and 10,579 have been lost by discharge, death, etc.; 2,030 have died since the organization of the Home; 1,349 are burried in the Home cemetery, and the others have been taken away by friends or have died while absent on furlough.

A band of twenty five musicians is maintained, and during the summer daily concerts are given. Besides, there are billiard rooms, croquet grounds, etc., and during the winter months many theatrical companies give shows in the opera house. Readers are employed for the blind in the hospital and in the "old men's" barracks.

The cost of maintenance of the Home per annum is about $360,000. Besides the Danville branch, there are nine other branches, and they are located as follows: Eastern branch, Togus, Maine, established in 1866; central branch, Dayton, Ohio, established in 1867; northwestern branch, Milwaukee, Wis., established in 1867; southern branch, Hampton, Va., established in 1870; western branch, Leavenworth, Kansas, established in i885; Pacific branch, Santa Monica, Cal., established in 1888; Marion branch, Marion, Ind., established in i888; mountain branch, Johnson City, Tenn., established in i903; Battle Mountain sanitarium, Hot Springs, South Dakota, established 1907.

The different branches are controlled by a board of managers, consisting of fourteen members, and appointed by the congress. Their names and address follow: The President, the chief justice, the secretary of war of the United States, ex officios; Major James W. Wadsworth, president board of managers, Geneseo, N. Y.; Gen. Thomas J. Henderson, first vice president, Princeton. Ill.; Capt. Henry E. Palmer, second vice president, Omaha, Neb.; Col. W. E. Brownlow, secretary, Jonesboro, Tenn.; John M. Holley, Esq., La Crosse, Wis.; Major William Warner, Kansas City, Mo.; Col. Henry H. Markham, Redondo, Cal.; Lieut. Franklin Murphy, Newark, N. J.; Col. Edwin P. Hammond, La Fayette, Ind.; Gen. Joseph S. Smith, Bangor, Maine; Lieut. Oscar M. Gottschall, Dayton, Ohio.

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