Cattaraugus County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

Caption:  County Home Buildings, Machias, N.Y.


We are delighted to announce the recent success of an effort to preserve the "Stone Building" -- the 
only building on this campus which still stands. You may read the history of the building and also see a great photograph by clicking on this link to the county website page which also contains links to the newspaper articles covering this preservation effort.  
                                                                                                                posted 9/28/2004

"The Stone House will be opening soon to the public. It will house the Cattaraugus County Historical Museum, along with a Cattaraugus County Health Department branch. Not exactly sure what date it will open, but I believe it's around October 13th. [2004] If you have any further questions, you can call Evelyn Penman (Cattaraugus County Historian) at 938-9111, 
ext. 2240."  

Gary Cappelletti
Cattaraugus County Web Technician


The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
To obtain further information on these reports click on the appropriate button.
(This will open a separate window so simply close to get back to this page.)

the Poorhouse Story
ANNUAL REPORT of the SECRETARY of STATE                                                            p 972
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of CATTARAUGUS,  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.
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.
Coldspring ***                
Connewango ***                
Ellicotville 0 2 1 1 0 25.00 10.00 2
Farmersville 0 0 0 0 0 8.00 8.00 1
Freedom ***                
Great Valley ***                
Hinsdale ***                
Ischua ***                
Little Valley ***                
Olean ***                
Otto ***                
Perrysburgh ***                
Yorkshire 0 1 1 0 0 10.50 9.50 1
[Note:   *** Indicates "No Return" PHL ]
   Sums of money raised by tax, in the county of Cattaraugus, for the support of the poor, in the years  1819, 1820, 1821, 1822.

          In the year 1819,           $  397.67
                           1820,               138.24
                           1821,                 36.91
                           1822,                 68.00
                          Total,            $   640.82

   The town of Olean has a fund of $150 accrued from the excise duty. The expense of removing a pauper in Yorkshire, only 6 or 7 miles, in the year 1821, was no less than $23.

[Note: Click here for an interesting contrast of a report from a very populous county (Albany) and an explanation of the problems involved with the "removal" of paupers.  PHL ]
the Poorhouse Story
1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted): exempted
the Poorhouse Story

This house is built of wood, thirty-six by thirty-eight feet long. Connected is a farm of 200 acres, yielding a revenue of $1000. There are no basements. There are nine rooms or wards warmed by stoves and without ventilation. The number of inmates is thirty, one-half males. Twenty-three are of native and seven of foreign birth. Four are under sixteen years of age. There is a complete separation of the sexes; they are under the care of a single keeper. The average number of inmates is thirty-five, supported at a weekly cost of $1.40 each. The paupers are employed on the farm and in domestic avocations. The house has not been inspected by the supervisors during the year. The house is partially supplied with bibles, and there is a church near, where the paupers attend if they choose. The children attend the district school. The superintendents furnish supplies and regulate the government of the house, and prescribe the system of diet. The fare is plain and wholesome. A physician is employed by the year at a salary of $65, who attends when called. During the year have occurred three births and two deaths. No contagious disease has prevailed. Of the inmates three are lunatics, all males, and all paupers. For the accommodation of the insane are two small houses; one an old and dilapidated one, very cold in the winter from its loose construction and much decay, and at all times particularly offensive from the accumulation of filth; the other is a new structure, though an inferior one, and illy planned. This, from some reason, is very little used. In these cells the insane sleep on straw, with very little clothing, the straw becoming filled with filth before being changed. Two are confined in these cells. The insane are attended by a male pauper. None during the year are improved or cured; they receive only the same medical attendance as the remaining paupers. No application has been made for admission to the State asylum. In the house is one idiot and one blind person. Intemperance is the cause of one-half of pauperism here. The house is a poor one, and the poor, especially the insane, are illy cared for.

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

"My relative John Little, Jr. and his wife Christina McVey Little were "Keepers of the Alms House" in Machias from 1895 to 1902. Thought you might like to have his obituary."
     Terry Schliewe 

the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 11-12 

 more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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

HOME             Back to find Other NY Counties

Poorhouse HISTORY CEMETERIES by State RECORDS by State