Chautauqua County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

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the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story
1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted): exempted
the Poorhouse Story

This is an old and dilapidated building of wood and brick, erected in 1832, in size thirty-two by ninety-six, with a wing, twenty-four by sixty feet, aside from these is a small building for the insane; attached is a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, yielding a revenue of $2,000.There are no basements. The rooms are warmed by stoves, but are without means of ventilation. The number of inmates was fifty-six; forty males, sixteen females. Of these forty-six are native born, ten foreign, and seven under sixteen years of age. The sexes are separated only at night; they are under two keepers, male and female. In one room as many as thirty-two persons were placed.

The average number of inmates is one hundred and thirty, supported at a weekly cost of forty-four cents. The paupers are employed on the farm and about the house. The house has not been visited during the year by supervisors. It is supplied with Bibles; through no provision is made for religious instruction they often have service on the Sabbath. A common school is taught in the house during six or eight months of the year. The fare of the paupers is plain and wholesome and supplied by the keeper. For medical attendance a physician is called when needed and paid per visit. During the year there have occurred six births and seventeen deaths. They have no pest house.

Of the inmates twelve are lunatics; six males, and six females; all are paupers and six of them have been treated at the State asylum. They have no particular medical attendance. A small wooden building, size twenty-six by forty feet, has recently been erected for their accommodation, though hardly fitted for its designed purpose. The cells are small, illy ventilated and constructed of rough hemlock boards and plank, in which the lunatics are confined with no bedding but straw, and an insufficient supply of clothing. The building is so open that it is impossible properly to warm it in winter. Four are confined in cells. They are also sometimes restrained by the "mittens". The construction of the house is such as to allow classification; the power of discharge is exercised by the superintendents. Application has been made during the year, for admission to the Utica asylum in six cases, and as often refused. The lunatics sometimes escape and are never again heard from. Ten of the paupers are idiotic, all males. There is one blind. Two-thirds are brought here through intemperance.

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

the Poorhouse Story

Information about the book:  Chautauqua County Alms House and Asylum by Virginia W. Barden.

"The original poor house in Dewittville has been torn down; it was replaced with a county home (now a nursing home) in the City of Dunkirk."
Dee Davidson 

the Poorhouse Story

Poorhouse Resident List from the 1850 Census 

Poorhouse Resident  List from the 1880 Census  

Poorhouse Resident  List from the 1900 Census 

Poorhouse Resident  List from the 1920 Census 

Poorhouse Resident List  from the 1930 Census   

The Chautauqua County Genealogical Society has published 2 volumes
entitled "The Chautauqua County Alms House and Asylum. compiled by
Virginia W. Barden and Lois M. Barris. A collection of genealogical information on individuals and activities at the institution, located on 440 acres in Dewittville, NY., for the years from 1833 to 1918, extracted from ledgers found in the archives of the Chautauqua County Home in Dunkirk, NY published in 1992 500pages paper. $48.50 includes s&h.
These books may be ordered by contacting the CCGS P.O. Box 404
Fredonia, NY 14063.

[If any one would like a look up in these two volumes I would be willing to do so.  
     Donna Mills ]

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 15-16
  more information
the Poorhouse Story

Chautauqua County Poorhouse Cemetery Listing at GenWeb 

(for A-K)

(for L-Z)

the Poorhouse Story

We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in CHAUTAUQUA 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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