Historical Notes -- New Haven Poor House

Three Centuries of New Haven, 1638-1938, Yale University Press, New Haven & London, 1953.
by Rollin G. Osterweis
The colonial custom of selling contracts for the care of the “town’s poor” had been replaced in the late 18th century by a system little better; the establishment of a “poor house,” in which all kinds of unfortunate persons from the indigent to the mentally ill were incarcerated. Socially conscious citizens deplored the situation and worked for its amelioration. Simeon Baldwin , Timothy Dwight, and Elisha Punderson served on committees to organize farms and work projects in connection with the problems of pauperism. James Brewster and Nathan Peck prepared reports that brought improvements to the physical equipment of the Elm Street almshouse. Thus in 1852 a well-constructed, carefully designed new building was provided near West River. (1)
(1) Town Records, V (1769-1807), pp. 205, 303, and VI (1807-54), pp. 19, 103, 105, 166, 290, 292-314; Connecticut Journal, September 2, 1801, July 23, 1822, Register, July 13 and July 21, 1822, December 6 and 27, 1850, December 24, 1825, October 10 and November 28, 1846, November 30, 1850, February 1 and November, 1851, march 20, 1852.
submitted by: Christopher Barttels, Dayton, WA

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