Cortland County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

Vintage Photograph -- The County Farm The County Farm Front View 1996
[Photographs from the website of Mrs. Wright's 1996 class at F.S.Berry Elementary]
See Link Below.
the Poorhouse Story

The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
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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 about two miles from the village of Homer. It is an old two story wooden building, thirty by sixty feet, with a wing, twenty-two by sixty, one and a half story, also an asylum, twenty-two by fifty feet, one story, to which is attached a farm consisting of 118 acres, and yielding a revenue of $600. The number of rooms appropriated to the use of the paupers is twenty-five, including ten cells for the insane. It is warmed by means of stoves and fire places. The rooms have low ceilings, and no ventilation.

Fifty-two inmates were found in the house which is about the average number, of these twenty-four were males and twenty-eight females, of whom two were foreign and fifty native born, in (the) charge of one keeper and his wife, who has also as is usual the oversight and management of the poor house farm. The sexes are separated at night and also during the day, except as they come in contact in the discharge of duties about the house.

There were nine children under sixteen years of age, all of whom of suitable age attended the district school.

The inmates are distributed through the house in groups, from one to six a room. A physician is employed by the year, at a salary of $40, and is required to respond at all times when called upon, and although there are two penstocks discharging pure clear water in the yard, the year round the house is destitute of a bath; an omission under the circumstances that seems singular when viewed as a question of economy or health.

The paupers are supplied by or under the direction of the superintendent of the poor, with plain wholesome food, consisting of meat, vegetables, milk and butter, at an average weekly cost of 65 cents each, the paupers assisting according to their several abilities in the performance of the work upon the farm and about the house. The house is supplied with Bibles, and preaching is enjoyed at 5 P.M. every Sabbath, the services being performed by neighboring clergymen in rotation and without compensation. When the children attain suitable age they are bound out by the superintendent.

The house has been visited once by the board of supervisors during the year. There have been during the same time seven deaths and three births. Of the inmates ten are lunatics, five males and five females, nine of whom are paupers. During the year four have been received, three of these lunatics are confined in cells night and day, and the remainder only nights. Of the above number, not one has been cured or improved, but one has escaped and has never been found. The forms of restraints used, are confinement in cells, hand cuffs and occasionally slapping. The accommodations for the insane admit of a partial classification, but they enjoy no special attention either medically or otherwise. The superintendent delegates to the keeper the right to discharge lunatics in his discretion.

Of the inmates three are idiots, one male and two females, the boy about ten year old.

Two-thirds of the whole number supported at this house are brought there consequent upon habits of inebriation.

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

the Poorhouse Story


the Poorhouse Story

FEATURING! by Mrs. Wright's Class at Barry Elementary School
The County Farm

the Poorhouse Story

Cortland County  1855 Census Poor House    (on the Cortland County NY GenWeb site)

Cortland County  1860 Census Poor House    (on the Cortland County NY GenWeb site)

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 23-24
  more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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