#8: After the storm (1896)

Our little city had 2,000 or more looms, weaving cheap gingham cloth out of cotton thread from Manchester. When the storm of November 15th, 1895, broke, every loom in the city perforce came to a sudden standstill; and every Armenian merchant stopped importing thread. Knowledge of the facts in the world outside brought some funds for relief from Europe and America. But if available resources were given out in doles, the end would soon be reached with nothing abiding as a result. So we formed the plan of relief work and managed to employ many of the women in the habit of weaving or bobbin winding, practically every one the bread-winner for a large family. It naturally fell to the treasurer largely to handle this business, especially the sales, and in two years we produced 150,000 yards of gingham and a quantity of Turkish towels, sold all on the common market, recovering capital invested at every turnover and eventually reducing and then closing the business, distributing the funds in direct relief and leaving the gradually recovering manufacturers to carry on again.

One feature of the aftermath was the establishment of two orphan homes for boys and for girls and the gathering up for shelter, food, and care of 150 orphan children under the special charge of Mrs. Tracy, who was kind of heart and strict in requirements. It was a touching sight, those bereaved children.

Establishment of the Home for Younger Boys, between 12 and 15 years of age, in 1894, was a marked event. It was clearly recognized that they needed different arrangements and a different routine from those of the older students. When the girls moved to their new and better building, the old quarters of the Girls' School were available for the younger boys and Mrs. Edward Riggs, who had mothered her own boys, took charge of the new Home. A few years later she was succeeded by Mrs. Smith, and then Mr. and Mrs. Getchell jointly became superintendents for twelve memorable years.

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