The Poorhouse Story NEWSLETTER   9/3/2001 (Twelfth issue)


I just made an honest woman of myself.  This previously so-called  "monthly" newsletter is now a bi-monthly newsletter! There!  Now I am putting it out on time. I really mean it; check the homepage (lower right corner.)  Telling the truth feels a whole lot better than constantly making excuses. So I guess I will keep doing it in my REFLECTIONS below. (You all know you can skip those and scroll right down to the meat & potatoes STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED section listed even farther below.)

We have two major announcements to make. First (and a huge load off my mind!) thanks to the help of a wonderful personal friend, Brenda Fleming, that horribly chaotic and out-of-date RECORDS page has been completely revised and updated. (Some of the additions noted in this newsletter have not yet been added. Sigh. The writer, Pearl Buck, once said, "Housework is like stringing beads ... on a string with no knot at the end!" So is keeping up with posting all of the new submissions of material for our website.) You can view the new page by clicking on the link above. You will need to click REFRESH on your browser if you do not see the big yellow "NEW" arrow up in the upper right corner.

Second, The Poorhouse Lady will be going on tour (the fancy name for a vacation) making presentations about poorhouse history and records!  During the first two weeks in November I will be speaking in Ohio and New York. Those of you who are are on the e-mail list to receive notices when new issues of this newsletter come out got a special notice a few days ago. And the response was terrific! (Now I have stage fright!)  I could probably still fit in a couple more presentations along the way. The route is Ohio/Pennsylvania/New York/Vermont. If you would like more information I can send you (by e-mail attachment) the WORD files for the following documents: the program description and a resume for The Poorhouse Lady (aka = Linda) ... or you can read them by clicking on the links above. The purpose is to educate people and make them more aware of poorhouse history and its significance for genealogists, and to raise donations to support the expanding work of The POORHOUSE STORY website. (More about the need for that in Reflections below.) 
When all the details of the itinerary are worked out, I will send a copy to this newsletter mailing list and post to the homepage a link to another detailed copy. It would be wonderful to meet many of you on this trip!

Hope you had a great Labor Day!

Linda ( & Maddie, too )


The past two months (since the last newsletter) have taken The POORHOUSE STORY into a period of exponential growth. I now really know the meaning of a word I have never actually used before. 

         PLETHORAtoo much of a very good thing! (So much for Martha Stewart's binary rating system.)

We are now averaging over 600 visits a day. More than 200 e-mails arrive each week. Most of the e-mails are questions about how a reader might find the poorhouse records for an ancestor who may be hiding behind that brick wall. Some are simply compliments or thanks for helping someone understand what the poorhouse really was ... helping them understand the life of an ancestor whom they located in one. But about 40 submissions of actual poorhouse material arrive each month ...  needing various amounts of work in preparation for posting. And I have a confession: 

                 I cannot keep up with the volume no matter what I do with the resources currently available to me. 

During the first eight months after we began publication of the website I was better able to keep up with the volume of work; but even at that lower starting volume I found myself inadvertently declining opportunities for paid employment as I spent more and more time on the website. By the end of 2000, I found myself really hurting financially as a result. So, for 2001 I had to set a policy of limiting myself to 30 hours per week working on the website ... leaving the option of working 30 hours per week working to support myself.  But at this rate the backlog of work to be done is steadily growing. And so is my frustration with the situation!

As a result ... The POORHOUSE STORY needs to generate the money to provide additional equipment (hardware & software), supplies, and services that can allow it to realize its potential. But I am totally committed to keeping this a service that is available absolutely FREE to anyone who has access to the internet.  And I loathe the idea of The POORHOUSE STORY becoming one of those websites full of obnoxious banners and pop-up menus which carry advertising which can help foot the bills for a large website.

So ... we are going to have to explore the following options:

  • Donations  (The speaking engagements may generate some donations.)

  • Grant Funding  (We need a volunteer to help with applications.)

  • Advertising

Picture the advertising representing an opportunity for many people who are friends of The POORHOUSE STORY to network together in a simple unobtrusive manner which can benefit all of us. By the time we write the next newsletter we would like to have the framework set up for you to be patrons of the website by carrying modestly priced ads which will be small logo links (to your business website or your e-mail address) on a "Sponsors Page" (with a link on our homepage) or placed at the bottom of specific state or county pages if your business is local. Please e-mail if you might like to explore this opportunity.

We have created a sort of classified HELP WANTED page and a WISH LIST at the bottom of this newsletter.
Please don't panic! We are not going to get too big for our britches or go "commercial."
Just help us put our heads together to come up with some solutions to our "problem" ... that there is so much yet to be done!

The Poorhouse Lady


      Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED  to The PHS Website 

E-mail Subscribers to Monthly Newsletter
as of 6/30/2001 --  562
as of 9/03/2001 --  636  (74 new net)
Here we are presenting a newer and more accurate detailed way of looking at the statistics regarding the volume of usage of The POORHOUSE STORY website. Click here if you would like to see an explanation of the wonderful reports which are being generated by our new server. (If you host a website, this could be very helpful to you! If you don't like unsolved mysteries, read this!)


-- since last newsletter's stats (ended 7/4/01)   41, 114  (average 653 / day)

-- Total (as of 9/01/2001) since 5/8/2000 -- 172,435   

(based on readers submissions)


This is a scan of a rare handwritten historical document (a receipt from the auction of paupers) -- side by side with a transciption. Authentic Record of an AUCTION OF THE POOR (to the lowest bidder) of  Sandown NH [Rockingham Co.]  on March 19th 1832
This is a great read!                   >>>>>>>>
It does not contain much poorhouse information ... but if you love authentic  "Old West" stories, you will love this one.  PHL









(We didnít create them; 
we just show them!)

This is a fascinating article ... full of rich detail about the poor relief system ... with wonderful old photographs.
Don't miss it!       >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A fascinating 1937 (poorhouse inmate) Interview, which was a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project, begins as follows:

"George S. Stiers, 73, inmate Tarrant County Home, born on Pine Ridge, Indian Reservation, So. Dak., Jan. 8, 1864. Of Canadian-French and Indian descent he attended Catholic Mission School for 8 years on the reservation. At 15 became a Pony Express rider out of Ft. Dodge until 1881, was a a Government Scout through 1884; worked as a {Begin deleted text} [?] {End deleted text} cowhand in Texas and Colorado until 1891 when he joined the Buffalo Bill circus for six years in a shooting act; from 1898-1905 made 2 reel Western movies with Wn. S. Hart, later followed the vaudeville circuit until 1927.

"I was born Jan. 8, 1864 on the Pine Ridge Reservation in So. Dak.. My mother named me Tella Wabasha, which are the Indian words for Red Wolf. The Indian custom was to name the child after the mother. Mother was a Sioux Indian and grand-daughter of Chief Sitting Bull. Her mother was the Chief's daughter. Father was a French-Canadian. I was born in an Indian teepee, reared in a teepee and lived the native life of the Indians until I reached the age of 15. . . ."  

[To locate interview jot down the following keyword or phrase (using any quotation marks given) and click here to get instructions .]
Keyword: "George S. Stiers"  Note: Choose longer of the two articles; the shorter one is incomplete

"Boston's Pauper Institutions" by William I. Cole 
The New England magazine/Volume 14, Issue 2/April 1898

This article is apparently the third in a series and deals with the "principal Almshouse, on Long Island."  It is rich in detail and full of wonderful old historic photographs which evoke the detailed texture of life in a city poorhouse in those times and tells of the evolution of the almshouse and its relationship to other institutions.  (The link will take you to the article on the Cornell University website.)  PHL

NEWS ALERTS Please visit this wonderful website for the:

Old ALMSHOUSE Cemetery

It contains photographs and the sad and fascinating history of the cemetery as recorded on the stone memorial in the current memorial garden and the inscription on the (May 27, 1994) dedication plaque.

  previous Illinois/Kansas/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Tennessee
Picture Postcards/Photos/Illustrations  CA  Orange
  FL Seminole
  IA Page
  MI Muskegon/Tuscola
  MN Hubbard
  MO Jasper/Johnson/Nodaway
  NC Anson/Union
  NY Wyoming 
  OH Seneca/Summit
  PA Blair/Erie/Schuylkill/Venango
  WI Sauk/Winnebago
  WV Preston (a wonderful photo album: then & now)
Notes: from Readers/Local/Historical     
1939 WPA interview of "The Sunshine Lady" of the Richmond County Home in GA. GA Richmond
  IL Jersey
  IN Martin
  KY Jefferson
  MA Hampden (3 newspaper articles!)
  MD Frederick
  MI Clinton/Gratiot
  MO Howell (newspaper article) / Nodaway / Shannon / Worth
  NEB Merrick
Wonderful interviews (with poorhouse residents) which were recorded by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1939 ! NC Cherokee & Yadkin
  NY Livingston/Nassau/Queens
  OH Stark
  OR Linn
  PA Beaver/Schuylkill
  SC Anderson
  TN Smith (biographical sketch of Supt. of the Poor)
1937 WPA interview of a Native American who was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation in S.D. but was then an inmate of the Tarrant County Home in Texas TX Tarrant

Historical Documents     

NY Livingston (1824 Yates Report)
  VT Rutland (West Rutland 1888 Overseers Report)
Historical Memorabilia    
WPA Inventories
This is the largest project which the PHS Volunteers have undertaken yet!  They did GREAT! 
(Still some more counties to be posted later.)
To read about this program which was undertaken during the 1930s and 40s by the Works Progress Administration,
see these notes off the Ohio page.
  OHIO Previously Published: Ashland/Athens/Belmont/Columbiana/Fayette
  OHIO New addition: none
Then ... it grew! 
Carolyn Feroben took up the effort and searched for such inventoried records in California .... by the way, not an easy state in which to find them. She is publishing them first on the CA-RECORDS e-mail list and then sharing them with PHS.
  CA Previously Published:  Santa Clara/San Francisco/Fresno 
  CA New addition: none

Poorhouse Records

MI Bay
  MT Lewis and Clark (notes about poorhouse records)
  PA Somerset (information about a book of records)
Cemetery Lists (or notes) IL Jersey (book information & burial list)
  FL Hillsborough / Seminole
  MI Shiawassee
  MO Howell (and photos) / Shannon
  SC Anderson 
  WI Rock
Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS
new material or off-site links to the web)
  1870 IN Randolph
  1880 KY Allen
  1880 KY Jefferson
  1880 MA Bristol
  1880 NC Union
  1870 NJ Camden
  1850 OH Summit
  1870 TN Smith
  1880 TN Smith
  1880 WV Preston
 List of Veterans who were residing in the Erie County Alms House according to: the  1890 Special Schedule--Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows 1890 PA Erie
The Poorhouse in Literature
Didn't have any time to read any new books!   PHL
STATE ARCHIVES Holdings new  none added
  previous Delaware/Illinois/Michigan/Minnesota/Ohio/Oregon
New York/Pennsylvania


Poorhouse  Shopper

Someone who can make a firm commitment to (at least 3 x week) surf eBay -- according to a search technique which The Poorhouse Lady will teach you -- to locate poorhouse related items and report back to her via e-mail with links to appropriate auctions. [This can be big fun! PHL ]

            HTML Editor 
      (person, not program)

Someone who can help this totally HTML-illiterate FrontPage user fix up pages when Maddie is waaaay too busy to mess with it ...
[cuz her business is really growing! 
Go, Maddie!] 

Requirement: someone who will not nag me to learn more HTML myself !  [Did you hear that, Maddie? ]
<sheepish grin> PHL 


(See Wish List Below)


Grant Writer

Someone experienced with grant writing who can review our 
Mission Statement and help us prepare applications for grants from appropriate sources.

Good Ideas


How to Raise Donations


who wish to advertise the sale of their genealogy/history books, professional genealogist services, or other local businesses on our Sponsor Page or on other selected pages of the website.

We would like to --
R.I.P. The Poorhouse Lady's
3 year old HP OfficeJet Pro 1150C

[We worked it to death on the website!]

donations to go toward ...  


The Angel above is jumping up & down with Joy in the Hope that the Poorhouse Lady won't have to keep using her old clunker machines ... or "go to the poorhouse" by trying to pay to replace it all by herself. 

--  new  SCANNER
(high speed with great software ...
for more versatility
in scanning material 
which has been submitted by readers
who do not have their own scanners.)
-- new PRINTER  
(for which there is no need to feed the copy paper by hand ... one page at a time ! because the automatic paper feed will work)


Thanks for your continued support.
Linda Crannell                                                        
(aka=The Poorhouse Lady)

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