Essex County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

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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 between Essex and Elizabethtown, about six miles from the former place. The building is a wooden one, two stores high, without basements, attached is a farm of 100 acres, yielding an annual revenue of $1200.00. In the house are nineteen rooms or wards warmed by stoves, but destitute of means of ventilation. They are occupied by, from one to twelve paupers. The average number of inmates is sixty-seven, the present number sixty-five, thirty-two males and thirty-three females, twenty are foreign born and forty-five native born. Ten are under sixteen years of age. The sexes mingle during the day, but are separated at night. Two keepers care for the paupers, one male and a female. The paupers are employed on the farm and about the house. They are furnished with a plain wholesome diet under the direction of the superintendents of the poor, no person being allowed to contract for its supply. The average weekly cost of this support is sixty-two cents each. There is preaching in the house each week, and it is well supplied with bibles. For the instruction of the young, a school is taught in the house during the whole year. At the age of sixteen years the children are bound out to service by the superintendents. For medical attandance, a physician is employed at a salary of $50 per annum, who visits the house once each week and oftener when called. For bathing a shower bath is provided. During the year have occurred three births and six deaths.

During this time the house has not been inspected by the supervisors.

Of the inmates twelve are lunatics, six male and six female, all are paupers. None are confined, and they have no medical or other special attendance. They are placed in cells at night, but are subject to no mechanical restraint. Three have been cured during the last year, and during that time three admitted. The construction of the house is not such as to allow of their classification. The superintendents alone possess the power of discharge. Application has been made to the State asylum for admission of a pauper and refused.

Three paupers are idiots, all females and all over twenty years of age. There are two blind. There is here no resort to corporal punishment. They have no pest house.

Seven-eighths of the paupers are reduced to their present condition through intemperance.

This house though an old one and unfit for its present use, is kept extremely well and with great neatness and order. The paupers are cleanly and well dressed, and appear happy and satisfied with their lot. For the facilities furnished, the committee pronounce it one of the best kept houses in the State. Much credit is due the keepers.

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

the Poorhouse Story

"There is an article in the December 2000 issue of Adirondack Life magazine called, "Hard Times Come Again No More." It mentions several of the poorhouses in and around Warren and Essex County. There are pictures of ones in ESSEX County, WARREN County, and FRANKLIN County in the article."
     Kathy Campbell 

I have not gotten ahold of the magazine yet...but I went to their website and found a portion of the article on-line at  Please go look! There is a great anecdote about a colorful "local character" (complete with old photo of him in his old Arirondack woodsman dress) who sadly wound up in the Warren County Poorhouse.                                                                           PHL

the Poorhouse Story

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 34-35
  more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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