Livingston County Poorhouse
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POORHOUSE HISTORY by county


The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
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YATES REPORT      1824 LAW      1857 REPORT EXPLANATION
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YATES REPORT:

 

ANNUAL REPORT of the STATE BOARD of CHARITIES                                         p 1000
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of LIVINGSTON,  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.
M
A
L
E
S
F
E
M
A
L
E
S
C
H
I
L
D
R
E
N
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.
Avon
(No return)
... ... ... ... ... ...
Caledonia 0 2 1 1 0 28.10 6.75 ...
Freeport 0 9 3 6 7 69.93 22.50 ...
Geneseo
(No return)
... ... ... ... ... ...
Groveland 1 0 1 0 0 50.50 5.00 ...
Leicester 1 2 1 2 0 147.00 18.75 ...
Lima
(No return)
... ... ... ... ... ...
Livonia 2 12 5 9 7 150.90 45.00 ...
Mt. Morris
(No return)
... ... ... ... ... ...
Sparta 0 6 1 5 4 133.72 9.00 ...
Springwater
(
No return)
... ... ... ... ... ...
York 0 8 3 5 5 197.07 50.00 6
   In the town of Caledonia there is on hand a fund of $70, for the support of the poor.

SPARTA.

   There is a small house occupied by a pauper who is a lunatic.  This house is erected on the public square, in the village of Dansville, at an expense of $65, for the express purpose of containing the pauper aforesaid.  The license money, amounting to from 35 to 50 dollars, defray all the necessary poor charges of the town.  There are five in family, who are county paupers. 
[Letter from the supervisor of Dansville.]
   

   From what I can learn, the section of country now comprised in this county has been but little burthened with paupers, and from its local situation, will probably continue to be less so, than the neighboring counties.  We have no poor-house nor house of industry in the county, and we have never had any appeals from warrants or orders, for the removal of paupers.
[Letter from the county clerk.]

YORK.

   I would presume to suggest, that the removal or transporting of paupers from one town to another within the state, be entirely abolished.  Let each town support all the poor that may live in them, (except aliens or foreign poor, who may be supported at the expense of the state wherever they may happen to be) with a large penalty annexed, for any person removing or causing to be removed, any poor or indigent person into any city or town within this state, and there leaving them.
[Letter from the supervisor of York.]

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1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted):
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1857 INVESTIGATION:

Located near Genesee, this house is constructed of brick, three stories in height, in size 108 by 53 feet, including two wings. Attached is a farm of 118 acres, yielding a revenue of $2,000.00 The basements are occupied by male lunatics to a limited extent. The number of inmates was seventy-five, the sexes equally divided; of these forty were of foreign birth, thirty-five native born. Twenty-five were children, under sixteen years of age. The sexes are kept separate at all times. They are under two keepers, a male and female. Five or six paupers are sometimes placed in one room. The rooms are warmed by stoves and a furnace, no means of ventilation are furnished. The rooms and wards number seventy-five. The average number of inmates is 107, supported at a weekly expense of seventy-four and a half cents, inclusive of the products of the farm. The stronger males labor on the farm and the women about the house. Once during the past year the house has been inspected by the supervisors. It is supplied with Bibles, but there are no regular arrangements for religious services or instruction.

A teacher is employed in the house nine or ten months of the year, to instruct the children in the common English branches. The keeper purchases supplies and furnishes the house, himself imposing rules and regulating the government and system of diet. The superintendents bind out the children on their arrival at suitable ages. The fare of paupers consists of plain wholesome food. A physician is employed by the year who visits the house whenever called. He is paid a salary of eighty dollars per annum. No facilities exist for bathing. During the past year there have occurred four births and seventeen deaths. The keeper reports that heretofore illicit intercourse between the sexes has to some extent existed.

There is no pest house, but during the past year the paupers have suffered from no pestilential or contagious diseases. Fourteen of the inmates are lunatics, five males and nine females. Of these all are paupers. Five have been admitted within the year. The males are under the general care of the keeper, the females have an especial female attendant. A single one is confined in a cell. This is the only means of restraint in use, except in extreme cases, when resort is had to handcuffs. Three during the year have been considerably improved. The insane receive no particular medical atttendance, nor is the house so constructed as to allow a proper classification of the patients. The power of discharge is exercised alone by the superintendents. Four of those, now inmates of this house, have spent some time at the State Asylum, and have been discharged as cases of hopeless lunacy.

Three of the paupers are idiots, two males and one female, one under ten years. There is one deaf and dumb and two blind. Lunatics sometimes escape but have always been recovered. The keeper reports three-quarters of the paupers as brought here by intemperate habits.

The house has been constructed six years, and is much better than an average of the buildings used for this purpose. The rooms are built around and open upon, ranges or galleries, passing round an open court or hall, which aids materially in the ventilation of the building.

Transcribed by PHS-Volunteer, Cheramie Breaux in Louisiana
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PERSONAL NOTES FROM READERS:

"The Yates report deals with the original Poorhouse, which is across the street from us. It is now a private residence. In 1849 the county built a new facility on the North side of today's Rt. 20a. This is the building referred to in the 1857 report. Our Inn was the ladies dorm. Built in 1868 with an addition in 1873."
     Keith W. Hollis    oakvalleyinn@earthlink.net 

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LOCAL NOTES:

Keith Hollis and his wife are the current owners of the old Livingston County poorhouse which they now operate as a great "bed & breakfast" inn. They have generously given us permission to use a photograph (at the top of this page) from their website ... which has lots of other good information about the history of this poorhouse.  PHL

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LINKS:

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RECORDS:

Poorhouse INMATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES
Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 72-73
  more information
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CEMETERY:

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