News From 1862
The Vinton Eagle
Wednesday, April 2, 1862
THE BLIND ASYLUM.
The bill appropriating ten thousand dollars for the completion of the Blind Asylum at this place, has become a law. The act can be seen in another column of this paper. The work upon the building will soon be resumed and it will, in all probability be ready for occupancy early next autumn.
Much credit is due to Senator Dysart and Representative McQuin, for their judicious and untiring exertions in securing the passaage of this bill, in the face of the hard times and the opposition of the Governor and other members of the Legislature.
But in accomplishing this object have obtained nothing from the State at large, that will inure to the benefit of citizens of this particular locality, which was not justly their due, in consideration of the donations made, and the aid rendered the State, in the erection of the Asylum. An elegant track of land, as a site for the institution, and large contributions of money were freely given, in the full expectation that the building would be speedly completed and occupied, and had the appropriation been delayed two years longer, it would have not been at all impossible for the walls, in thier present only partially erected state, to have been so injured as to become almost worthless, and in that case, ten chances to one if the building would ever have been finished. The State would then have suffered a heavy loss and our citizens needlessly wronged out of thousands of dollars. No one will pretend to raise objections to the location, only upon the ground that the Charitable Institutions of the State should be at the Capital, where they can be under the immediate inspection of the Legislature. This would have been a good reason why the Blind Asylum should not have come here, had the "central location" policy been adopted before hundreds of thousands of dollars had been expended in erecting Institutions of this character, at points as remote from the Capital as is Vinton.
Inasmuch as the plan of scattering these institutions over the State, had been adopted before the Blind Asylum was located, there is no valid reason why this portion of the State had not a pre-eminent claim to this, or why Vinton was not as suitable a point as could have been found. It is already within eighteen miles of a railroad running East, and the day is not far distant, we think, when the iron horse will pass within the limits of our town.
In view of these and many other facts that might be enumerated, the Legislature has, in our opinion, persued a wise course in granting the means necessary to finish our Blind Asylum.— an Institution which the cause of humanity, and as a matter of economy on the part of the State, demand should be put in readiness for use at the earliest day possible.
The Vinton Eagle,
July 9, 1862
The work on the Asylum building under the general supervision of Commissioner Locke, and more immediate control of the energetic contractors, Messrs. Finkbine & Lovelace, is approaching rapidly towards completion.
We learn from Hon. E. Sells, who is one of the Trustees of the institution, that at the meeting of the Board held in Iowa City last week, a vote was passed authorizing the Principal to make preparations immediately for removing the school to the new building. The Board also adjourned to hold its next meeting at this place. Vinton will therefore soon begin to reap some of the fruits of the expenditures made to get the institution here.
The Vinton Eagle
Wednesday, December 3, 1862
Dr. Wright, Secretary of State elect, on his way to the State Capital from his home in Delaware county, passed through this place, visiting the Blind Asylum. In a letter to the Delhi Journal he speaks of that institution as follows:
"I visited this institution, under the direction of Mr. Clarke and his accomplished lady, formerly of Des Moines. Mr. Clarke was sick, but his excellent lady fully supplied his place. She seems to be the right woman in the right place. Although the building is unfinished, the principal has succeeded in making the inmates as comfortable as posible. They seem contented and happy.
The women employ their time in knitting and sewing. Mrs. Cook, of Delaware county, showed me a "nubia" that she is knitting. Which is a fine specimen of workmanship. She presented Mrs. Wright with a "tidy" that is of superior work. I saw undersleeves, hoods, shawls, &c., that were very fine indeed. The men make brooms, baskets, &c.
Prof. Price, of the musical department, called his pupils together, and such music as they made I never listened to before.—One song thay sung struck me forcibly. One verse of it was;
"If life is a pleasure,
it’s pleasures we will share;
If life is a burden,
It’s burdens we’ll bear,
And hope, hope, hope on!"
After the vocal music, the Professor called his orchestra together, and gave some specimens of instrumental music, which are rarely equaled, and I believe never excelled. — One fair-haired little boy, about fifteen years old, has succeeded in learning how to play the violin with a master hand. The citizens of Delhi doubtless recollect little "Jakey" who sung and played at your place. He is now playing on the violin, and will make a master.
I think if our citizens could visit our Benevolent Institutions, we should hear no more about the burden of sustaining them. —It is surely a great blessing to the unfortunate Blind, Deaf and Dumb, and Insane, to have these institutions, where in their condition be so vastly important."