Genesee County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

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the Poorhouse Story
Note: locations named without boldface = an entry designated "no return"
ANNUAL REPORT of the SECRETARY OF STATE                                         p 989-995
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of GENESEE, during the twelve months preceding April 21, 1823, with other particulars, derived from public documents and reports furnished the Secretary of State.
TOWNS Total number of paupers
supported during the
whole of the last year.
Total number relieved
during a part of the last year.
Total expenses of supporting and relieving paupers (including fees and expenses of officers, removals and appeals) for the last year.

            Dolls.    Cts.

Expenses and cost of officers and appeals during same period.


  Dolls.   Cts.

Number of paupers removed during the last year.
Alexander 0 Not stated. 22.00 2.00
Batavia 5 10 6 9 5 241.70 44.87
Bethany 1 0 1 0 0 124.91 21.11
Bennington 0 3 1 2 1 5.00 Not stated.
Elba 1 1 0 2 1 61.16 6.75
Gainesville 3 3 3 3 3 150.00 50.00
Note: There was obviously an error in the reporting or recording of the above statistics.  PHL
Le Roy 5 13 7 11 4 440.00 50.00
Oak Orchard
Orangeville 1 2 0 3 3 71.60 19.00
Pembroke 8 1 3 6 3 461.55 22.50
Shelby 6 0 2 4 4 100.00 20.00
Warsaw 0 2 1 1 0 33.50 10.00
Yates   NR
   Sums of money raised by tax, in the county of Genesee, by tax, for the support of the poor, in the years 1816, 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822.

          In the year 1826,           $   967
                           1817,                895
                           1818,             1,295
                           1819,             2,335
                           1820,             2,148
                           1821,             1,166
                           1822,             1,462
                 Total,                   $10,268

     In the town of Alexander there is on hand a fund of $99.87, for the support of the poor.  In the town of Bennington, there is a like fund of $150.  In the town of Elba, there is a like fund of $185; and in the town of Warsaw, a like fund of $250.


   I would suggest for consideration, the propriety of having all accounts of overseers of the poor, for the support of foreign paupers, examined and adjusted, by a town board, to consist of the supervisor, town clerk, and one or more magistrates, who would be better able to judge of the equity of such accounts than the board of supervisors.  And it should be the duty of said town board, to meet at a certain time and place, a little previous to the annual meeting of the board of supervisors, (and at any other time they should deem expedient) and examine and adjust all the accounts of overseers of poor, for the relief of foreign paupers, and certify under the oaths of their respective offices, that the said accounts (after being adjusted as aforesaid) are just and reasonable, and a proper and legal charge against the county.  [Letter from the supervisor of Alexander.]


   I take the liberty to say, that many facts have fallen under my observation, that might be proper to state, shewing the defects of the present system, but as they are of such nature as will be discovered, I think proper to omit them mostly, and will only add, that I have seen a very unequal distribution of justice in consequence of the difficulty of removing paupers, that never gained a residence in the state; and the justices perhaps, with more caution than mercy, allowed paupers to suffer extremely, rather than afford the necessary relief, or make an order for removal, for feat they might be returned; while others have been removed in a situation very improper, not able to sit up, to throw the expense on other towns, where no doubts were entertained.  And on the other hand, where towns have been in possession of large funds for the support of the poor, extravagant charges have been allowed, and the towns stripped of their funds, very unjustly, and the principal part paid to justices, and overseers, for their services.  And I think I may venture to say, in country towns like ours, 



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

Located in the town of Bethany, it consists of a single main building attached to which is a wing designed and used for the accommodation of the insane. The main structure is of brick, thirty by forty feet, the addition of stone, forty by thirty feet. Connected is a farm of 133 acres, yielding a revenue of $1,300.00. There are no basements. There is no ventilation; the main building is warmed by stoves, the asylum by a furnace.

The number of inmates was seventy-five, forty-five males, thirty females; of these twenty-five are foreign born, fifty native, embracing fifteen children under sixteen years of age. The sexes are separated during the night but mingle together during the day. They are under four keepers, two males, two females. In the house are thirty rooms or wards, ten of which are occupied by the insane. In those occupied by the paupers ten persons are sometimes placed; in the asylum, but one.

The average number of inmates is ninety, supported at a weekly cost of seventy-two cents each, in addition to the products of the farm. Able bodied men amoung the paupers are employed on the farm, the women about the house. The house has been visited once during the year by the board of supervisors. It is supplied with Bibles and in the summer a Sunday school is sustained with occasional religious service. For about seven months in the year a common school is taught in the house. The superintendents of the poor in conjunction with the supervisors, procure supplies for the house and prescribe rules regulating the diet. At suitable ages the children are bound out by the superintendents. A physician is employed by the year. During the past year there have been two births and seventeen deaths. A shower bath and tub is provided for bathing. There is no pest house. Of the inmates, twenty are lunatics, seven males and thirteen females. Five of these are received from other counties. Fifteen are paupers. Five lunatics have been admitted during the year. They are under the care of the keeper assisted by two attendants, and receive medical assistance only from the house physician. But a single one is confined and he by a chain in his room. The rest are restrained in separate rooms at night, though mostly at liberty during the day. Two have been cured during the past year, and one-fourth are considered improved. The construction of the house is such as to permit their classification. The power of discharge is exercised only by the superintendent. The lunatic asylum has been erected about ten years. Since its erection the condition of the insane is materially improved. Classification is allowed, ventilation is in a measure, though not sufficiently introduced and the rooms are well warmed.

The accommodations are so ample that the superintendents receive and provide for the insane poor of adjoining counties, at a charge to those counties of the actual expense of their support. It is believed by the management, that of the new cases committed here, as many are cured as at other asylums. Of the paupers, about ten are idiotic, four males and six females. One blind. About one-third of the paupers are reduced to their present condition through intemperance.

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

the Poorhouse Story



The Progressive Batavian

Batavia, Genesee Co., N.Y.

January 29, 1886

FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS IN THE POOR HOUSE.--Miss Phebe White was found dead in her room in the County House on Sunday morning last. She was 67 years of age. For 58 years she had been an inmate, never having spent a single night away from that institution. The County House was completed in 1827 and Miss White entered it at 9 years of age in 1828, thus becoming one of the first recipients of its care and protection. Miss WHITE is a distant relative of the Ben WHITE who was hung in Batavia in 1843.

the Poorhouse Story

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 37-38  more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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