Herkimer County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story
NY Poorhouse History by County


An excellent picture postcard of this building can be found on the Historic Buildings page at http://www.rootsweb.com/~nyherkim/herktown/homehistory.html 

The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
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the Poorhouse Story
ANNUAL REPORT of the STATE BOARD of CHARITIES                                                                               p 993-995
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of HERKIMER, 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.
Note:  *** indicates "No Return"
Columbia ***                
Danube 6 2 3 5 0 250.00 50.00  
Fairfield ***                
Frankfort 6 23 12 17 5 143.35 Not stated. 23
Germanflatts 6 15 13 8 5 842.00 Not stated.  
Herkimer ***                
Litchfield 2 8 4 6 3 145.75 118.47 6
Manheim 3 0 1 2 0 219.76 Not stated.  
Newport 3 10 4 9 5 215.00 35.00 1
Norway 1 2 0 3 0 100.95 Not stated.  
Russia ***                
Salisbury 8 3 7 4 3 222.68 24.00  
Schuyler ***                
Warren 4 0 2 2 0 173.58 20.50  
West Brunswick ***                
Winfield ***                
 Sums of money raised by tax, in the county of Herkimer, for the support of the poor, in the years 1817, 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822.

          In the year 1817,           $2,469
                           1818,             2,190
                           1819,             1,961
                           1820,             2,042
                           1821,             2,115
                           1822,             3,108
                 Total,                     $13,895

   In the town of Danube, there is a fund on hand $550 for the support of the poor.  In the town of Manheim, there is a like fund of $270.  In the town of Norway, there is a like fund of $260.


    A more minute, clear and precise law would remove many of the evils now complained of; yet there is one thing which it will not remove, that is spirituous liquors.  This is the cause of many of the evils now experienced; if this could be removed out of our land or confined to the place for which it was originally intended, many of those evils would be no more felt. [Letter from the supervisor of Manheim.]

To view the rest of this report click here
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1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted): Required
the Poorhouse Story

This establishment consists of two stone buildings, thirty by forty-six feet each, two stories in height, and an asylum building including a school house, built of wood, in size sixty-eight by twenty-four feet, and two stories in height. Connected is a farm of sixty-five acres, yielding a net revenue, the past year of $739. The basements are occupied for culinary purposes, except one which is mostly above ground and occupied by old and decrepit persons. In the house are seventeen rooms and twenty cells warmed by stoves, but with no means of ventilation; the ceilings however are quite high. The number of inmates was seventy-six, fifty males and twenty-six females. Of these one half are foreign born and eleven under sixteen years of age. The sexes are entirely separated at night and partially during the day. They are under charge of a keeper who employs three assistants, two males and one female.

The average number of inmates is 130, supported at an average weekly expense of $1.10 each, including the products of the farm. The paupers are employed on the farm and about the house, according to their ability. an inspector appointed by the board of supervisors, visits the house once a month. It is supplied with Bibles, but no other provision is made for religious instruction. For six or seven months a common school is taught in the house. The keeper is superintendent of the poor and exercises his own discretion in the government of the house and in furnishing of supplies. A physician is employed at an annual salary of from $200 to $250, who visits the house three times per week and oftener if called. During the year four births and seven deaths have occurred in the house. No contagious disease has prevailed.

Of the inmates, seventeen are lunatics, twelve males and five females, all are paupers. They have two attendants but no particular medical care. Three or four have been admitted within the year, three are confined in cells and others placed in rooms and allowed to exercise in a yard. During the year one person has recovered. The construction of the house allows of a partial classification of the insane.

Eight of the inmates are idiots, four male and four female, one girl is only eleven years of age. There is one blind. No corporal punishment is administered at the house.

Three-fourths of the paupers are made such by intemperance. This house is evidently in charge of a keeper, whose heart is in the right place, and who labors to cheer and sustain the broken in body and spirit of those who may by misfortune become the recipients of public charity in this county.

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

the Poorhouse Story




(includes history & a photo)


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List of Poorhouse Residents 
from the 1850 Census. (from the Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb site)

List of Poorhouse Residents 
from the 1860 Census.  (from the Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb site)

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 39-40  more information
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List of those known to be buried at the Herkimer County Home cemetery.  (from the Herkimer/Montgomery Counties GenWeb site)
[Note: This facility evolved from the earlier poorhouse, however the people named in this list died during the first half of the twentieth century -- not during the 1800s. Of those earlier deaths, we currently have no knowledge.  PHL ]

the Poorhouse Story

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