|CITY of NORWICH, New London County -- Historical Notes re: Poor Relief|
following statements and quotes are made with the understanding that the
reader understands the circumstances that surrounded the decisions made
and the attitudes that prevailed at that time in history. Dave
This information was extracted from, "History of Norwich, Connecticut: From its possession by the Indians, to the year 1866" - Frances M. Caulkins, Pub. 1866
earliest record of the town caring for the poor was recorded in February
9, 1658-9. ".....Katherine
Duneffin to accounted two shillings per week ..... for the bringing up
of the child for 2 years....."
1723 the Town of Norwich was billed for 3 pounds, 5 shillings, 6 pence
for the care of Christian
Challenge by Henry Wallbridge Jr..
A description of the reason for her care was, "this poor
woman appears to have been a traveler, tramper, or transient person, as
wandering beggars are indifferently called in New England who was 'rode
over by Solomon Story on the Sabbath Day, either willfully or
carelessly', and being very much hurt, was for some time a burden on the
1790 the first Almshouse appears although the approval by vote
was given for this building back in 1767, some 23 years earlier. The location of the Almshouse was on the Hazen farm.
This location was both inconvenient and expensive and it was not
until 1800 that a permanent and final location was established next to
the Episcopal Church. This
site was directly upon the street and became a spectacle of attention.
Their visual presence was too disturbing and after a few years a
third house built further north on the West side of Yantic Cove.
This third house was opened to the poor in 1819.
number of residence in this house seldom exceeded thirty up until the
1859 a new building replaced the 1819 structure with larger and better
accommodations. By 1863 the
role of the inmates numbered 56. In
the 1860 census the town listed, "53 native-born Americans; 210 of
foreign birth" who were accepting some form of relief but not in
the Almshouse. This, I
assume, is some form of "outdoor relief". The term
"native-born" is not clear as to it's meaning.
This may refer to American Indian or, those who were of European
extraction but born in this country.
I have seen other references to "native" people in
local burial sites that are Indian.
In a short six years from 1860 the numbers of people receiving
outdoor relief tripled in size. The
numbers of poor, widows and orphans, increased considerably during the