Chemung County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

Caption: Chemung Co. Alms House, Breesport, N.Y.


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the Poorhouse Story

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

This house is located at Horseheads. The main building is sixty by forty feet with an out building, forty by twenty feet, furnishing eleven rooms and five cells, with no means of ventilation and no provision for bathing, it is heated by stoves. Connected with the house is a farm of 180 acres, yielding an annual revenue of about $1000. The number of paupers was fifty-two, one half males and one half females, thirty-five of whom were foreign and seventeen native born, embracing thirteen children under sixteen years of age, all under the care of one keeper, who with his wife assisted by pauper labor, work the farm and provide for the family. The superintendent purchases all needful supplies aside from the products of the farm, and imposes rules regulating the diet, binds out the children on their arriving at a suitable age, and exercises the power of discharging lunatics when cured. The house is supplied with bibles, but no provision is made for instruction religiously or otherwise. The average number accommodated in this house is seventy. The board of supervisors occasionally visit here. A physician is employed by the year, at a salary of $55.00 to visit the house once a week, and as much oftener as his services may be required. During the past year eight have died, there have also been 9 births, (seven illegitimate) one originating in the house.

Six of the inmates are lunatics, four males and two females, and all paupers; two have been received during the year, but none have been improved or cured. They are allowed their liberty during the day, but are locked each in separate cells all night. The mode of restraining the insane is by hand cuff, and shutting them in cells. They receive no special attention either medically or otherwise. Three of the paupers are idiots, two males and one female, and two-thirds of the whole number are reduced to the necessity of sharing in public charity, consequent upon habits of inebriation.

The paupers seem to be well fed and cared for, costing eighty cents per week per head, aside from the products of the farm. But the house is too small to afford adequate accommodation; the lodging rooms are too crowded for comfort or health.

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

the Poorhouse Story

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 16-18 
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the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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