Allegany County Poorhouse
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POORHOUSE HISTORY by county


Captions read: Allegany County Home (Angelica, N.Y.)

the Poorhouse Story

The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
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YATES REPORT      1824 LAW      1857 REPORT EXPLANATION
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YATES REPORT:
ANNUAL REPORT of the STATE BOARD of CHARITIES                                         p 970-971
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of ALLEGANY during the twelve months preceding April 21, 1823, with other particulars, derived from public documents and reports furnished the Secretary of State.
TOWNS Total number of paupers
supported during the
whole of the last year.
Total number relieved
during a part of the last year.
M
A
L
E
S
F
E
M
A
L
E
S
C
H
I
L
D
R
E
N
Total expenses of supporting and relieving paupers (including fees and expenses of officers, removals and appeals) for the last year.

Dolls.    Cts.

Expenses and cost of officers and appeals during same period.

 

Dolls.   Cts.

Number of paupers removed during the last year.
Alfred No return              
Angelica No return              
Almond No return              
Allen No return              
Caneadea 1 3 1 3 1 82.00 35.00  
Cuba No return              
Centerville 0 4 2 2 1 18.00 8.00  
Eagle No return              
Friendship No return              
Hume 0 3 1 2 0 11.50 3.50  
Independence No return              
Nunda Not stated. Not stated. ... ... ... 125.51 70.00 1
Ossian No return              
Pike 3 5 2 3 0 93.38 37.69  
 Rushford No return              
   Sums of money raised by tax, in the county of Montgomery, for the support of the poor, in the years 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822.

          In the year 1817,                   $     200       
                           1818,                          325
                           1819,                          325
                           1820,                          175
                           1821,                            95  
                           1822,                            50           
                           

                                       Total,        $1,170

     The following towns have funds on hand for the support of the poor,  and principally bearing an annual interest, to wit: Angelica $270.22; Almond $350; Hume $40; Independence $578.82; Nunda $174.44; Ossian $23; Pike $175.

CENTERVILLE

     Application is often made to overseers, and  relief granted, when the relations required by law to give support are sufficient  able.  Pauperism is frequently produced by the constant use of spirituous liquors, and consequent waste of time.  When a tax becomes  necessary to be imposed for the support of the poor, let every retailer or vendor of ardent spirits have an addition to his tax, say 10, 20, 50 or even an hundred percent, above any others. A small lot or lots,  house or houses, owned by the town for some classes of the poor to work on,  or live in, would be the cheapest way.  Removals are frequent, and made very expensive, there being no law to fix the bounds of constables fees, &c.  Doctors bills against the county are sometimes abominably high and yet allowed.  Let all paupers be as free as they now are, to move and remove with A CERTIFICATE, but not to stop and settle without an obligation  for their support, from one or more sufficient persons already settled in the town. [Letter from the supervisor of Centerville.]  

    

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1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted): Exempted
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1857 INVESTIGATION:  Allegany County House

   This house is located two miles from Angelica.  It is of good size, two stories in height, and built mainly of stone; connected with it is a farm of 180 acres, yielding a revenue of $1000.  The basements are not occupied by the paupers.  There are seventeen rooms or wards warmed by stoves, but without ventilation.  The number of inmates is seventy, the sexes being about equally divided.  Of these two-thirs are of foreign birth, and eight under sicteen years of age.  The sexes are separated at night.  They are under two keepers, both male.  The average number of inmates is fifty-seven, supported at a weekly cost of $1.03, exclusive of the products of the farm.  The paupers are employed on the farm and about the house.  The supervisors have once during the past year visited the house.  There is no religious instruction furnished, nor is the house supplied with bibles.  The children attend the district school.  The superintendents furnish to the paupers a plain and wholesome fare.  A physician is employed at a salary of $80, who visits the house once each week, and oftener when called.  No provision is made for bathing.  During the year there have been five births and eight deaths.  Of the inmates four are lunatics, two males and two females; all are paupers.  One, a female, is constantly confined in a cell.  The insane are generally confined in this way, sometimes by the ball and chain.  None within the last year are reported improved or cured.  They have not attendance of any kind.  Their cells are of the most filthy and loathsome description.  They sleep only on straw, and make their evacuation in their rooms, which are seldom if ever cleaned.  They are treated barbarously.  The lunatics frequently escape; one last spring, of whom no trace was found, and it was represent that he starved in the woods. Seven of the inmates are idiots; four males and three females.  Intemperance brings here two-thirds of the paupers.

   There is at this time no regular keeper in charge of the house, but only an ordinary hired man attending on both women and men.  The superintendent of the poor chanced to be at the house during the visit of the committee, and being asked if corporal punishment was administered to the paupers, replied that the keeper sometimes gave the unruly ones a "tanning;" and being asked what that signified, said "he took them by the collar and flogged them with a rawhide." The house is poorly kept. 

Transcribed by PHS-Volunteer, Cheramie Breaux in Louisiana
the Poorhouse Story

Letter from the Allegany County Historian     6/30/2001

My name is Craig R. Braack and I serve as the Allegany County Historian. 
My office is here in the County Seat of Belmont and more specifically, in the County Museum, 7 Court St., Belmont, NY 14813.

Angelica served as the original County Seat from 1806 until 1859 when Belmont was accorded the honor due to the completion of the Erie RR through Belmont and not Angelica.

There were/are 2 cemeteries for the Allegany County Home in Angelica.  The County Home continued operating in Angelica until its closure in the early 1960s. 

The first cemetery is approximately 200 yards east of the barely standing ruins of the County Home buildings behind the only house on the east side. No names appear on the small headstones-only numbers. This cemetery and the County Home ruins are located on County Road # 2, approximately 3 miles east of the Village limits. 

The other cemetery is considerably smaller, only about 20 or so small stones resembling vertical marble 2 X 4's. They are in the extreme back right corner of the main cemetery for Angelica named "Until The Day Dawn." (Singular on Dawn is correct.)  [Herein lies one of the saddest ironies in our history. These absolute paupers of society are buried directly behind and practically touching the only mausoleum in the cemetery and it is of/from one of the most wealthy and prominent families in our County's history.]  This large cemetery is located on East Main St. in Angelica and very easy to find.

The Home's Administration Building burned to the ground on a bitter cold winter night in Feb. of 1923 taking all records with it. The only records in existence today are the federal and state census listings for Angelica.

My 'phone # is 716-268-9293 and my e-mail address is:
historian@alleganyco.com  
Viewers are welcome to contact me anytime.

Regards, Craig.


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LOCAL NOTES:

   "In the 1820s, the committee on the poorhouse suggested that there be no distinction between the county and town poor. Allegany county appointed superintendents to the poor who were instructed to buy a farm and to build buildings to house the poor. Mssrs. Van Nostrand, Huff, Lockhart, Gordon and Merrick were appointed to make the nominations for superintendents. These were elected supervisors of the Poor: S. S. Haight (Angelica), Lorenzo Dana (Friendship), Andrew C.Hull (Birdsall), Stephen Major (Almond) and William P. Wilcox (Nunda). A stone building was erected on an 180 acre farm about two miles east of the county courthouse. In 1860, J.H. French
noted that it housed an average of 57, inmates, but that the building did not have any means of ventilation. At that time the farm was yielding about $1,000/year." 

Above quote found on the following site
http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyallega/poorhouse.html

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RECORDS:

http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyallega/poorhouse.html 
Allegany County Poor House  Angelica, New York
(The Poor House on the US and NY State Census:1900, 1880, 1875, 1870, 1865, 1860, 1855, 1850)

Poorhouse INMATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES
Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 7-8
  more information
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CEMETERY:

See County Historian's Letter above.  PHL

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We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in ALLEGANY county through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail  to The Poorhouse Lady.

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