Greene County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

                        Caption: Cairo near the Catskills, New York  County Alms House


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):  Exempt
the Poorhouse Story

The building is of wood, in size equal to two hundred feet in length. Connected is a farm of one hundred and thirty acres, yielding a revenue of $800 to $900. In the building are twenty rooms or wards, warmed by stoves, but destitute of ventilation. The number of inmates was eighty-eight; forty-four males and forty-four females. Of these, forty are foreign and forty-eight native born. Nineteen are under sixteen years of age. The sexes are separated at night. The keeper has no assistants. The average number of inmates is one hundred and thirty, supported at an average weekly expense of seventy-five cents each. The able bodied paupers are employed on the farm and about the house. A committee from the board of supervisors has visited the house once during the year. It is supplied with Bibles, but no provision is made for other religious instruction. A common school is taught in the house during most of the year. The superintendents of the poor furnish supplies, regulate the system of diet, bind out the children and exercise the power of discharging lunatics. The fare of the paupers consists of meat, fish, vegetables, milk, and tea and coffee. A physician is employed by the year, who visits the house when his services are needed. During the past year have occurred four births and thirteen deaths. They have no pest house. Of the inmates eleven are lunatics--six males and five females. All are paupers. But one has been admitted with the year. Their only attendance consists in the care bestowed by a male pauper on both sexes. Six are confined in cells, five of them are in chains, including two women. They are restrained by confinement, and by wearing chains about their legs and arms. Some are chained to the wall. While visiting the house the committee observed two men and one woman taken from their cells to the yard for air; there they were all chained to the fence, within a few feet of each other. These confined in cells are without air except from the small hole in the door. They are in a wretched state. None are cured or improved, a result certainly to be expected from their present treatment. In the house are nine idiots--five males and four females, none under sixteen years of age. There are two blind and one deaf and dumb. It is estimated that three-fourths, at least, of the paupers are made such by their intemperate habits. This whole house is most illy constructed, without ventilation and with low ceilings. As a certain consequence the air is most impure.

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

See the history of the Cairo Almshouse  -- Extracted from page 209 of J.B. Beers' "History of Greene County" published in 1884.

the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story


from the The Almshouse page of the 
Tracing Your Roots in Green County website

"A record book from the Cairo Almshouse covering the period 1887-1905 is in the possession of the Durham Center Museum. With time the record book will be transcribed , in its entirety for this website, by Sylvia Hasenkopf." 

1887  1888   1889

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 38-39
  more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

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