Goodwill Among All Humankind



The Poorhouse Story NEWSLETTER   12/15/2001 (Thirteenth issue)

Holiday Greetings!

Well, since the last newsletter went out on September 3rd ... I guess that staying an honest woman would require changing the description to quarterly ! (Or what is it called when a newsletter comes out only 3 times a year? A tertiarly?)  Sheesh.  Instead,  I think I will just make a New Year's Resolution to really make an effort to put it out bi-monthly. (And try to forget what usually happens to such resolutions.)

Let's see ... where to start? 


NOTE: As usual, you can skip all this talk and scroll down to find the facts about what has been posted to the PHS since the last newsletter.


Here I will highlight the major additions or revisions made to the website since the last newsletter. Then I will give you a summary of the speaking tour, "Going to the Poorhouse", below in REFLECTIONS. First,  thanks to the help of my wonderful friend, Brenda Fleming, (again!)...the CEMETERY page has been completely revised and updated. 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. (And the page already needs updating again! Which reminds me of the writer Pearl Buck saying what was wrong with housework -- It's like stringing beads on a string with no knot! Sigh.)

Illinois has become the fourth state which we have broken out into separate county pages. Whew!  That was a lot of work. (Personally, I think 102 counties is waaaay too many. But <grin> don't tell them I said that.)

I have finally upgraded from my old dial-up internet service to a cable service ... which is so much faster. Unfortunately that means having to change my e-mail address.  The new address is as follows.   We are in the process of changing the old address all over the website; but that may take some time.  If you will change it in your address book ... that will help.

Finally, I owe profound apologies to the many people who have written me e-mail over the past weeks (and even months!) which has not yet been answered, and to those who have submitted material which has not yet been published. In the last newsletter I described the problem I am having finding time to keep up with all of you. But the old saying is very true.  "The hurryered I go, the behinder I get!!!" I am not ignoring you because I do not value your correspondence. (And I will not get upset if you e-mail me again about some project which I may have left hanging.)

I beg your forgiveness and hope to find a way to catch up in the New Year.

Here's Wishing Wonderful Holidays for You & Your Loved Ones !

Linda ( & Maddie, too )


What a year! The highs have been so high; and the lows have been, as Mayor Giuliani said, almost beyond bearing. I still don't quite understand why September 11th took me down so far and kept me there so long. While no one I knew personally was hurt at the World Trade Center, it did feel personal. There was a strange coincidence of timing. I had cleared my schedule (no working my "day job") for two full weeks to finally pull my book, Portraits of Poverty, together ... or as my friends were putting it, "get it off your ironing board and into print!" So, September 11th, the second day of that two weeks, found me sitting at my computer, cracking-my-knuckles ready to go, and glancing over the top of the monitor at my TV watching Good Morning America when the first plane hit. I think I sat hypnotized with horror in that same spot for about the next 72 hours. (You may have noticed the banner we placed at the top of the website that week.) That next Saturday had been planned for a birthday party for my two adult children; so we disciplined ourselves to keep the television turned off and tried our best to remember that we did have life to celebrate. And fear to overcome.

That sort of broke the totally sad spell and I went into a kind of automaton mode and did manage to edit and print all the masters of the different program documents that comprised the various sections of the book. It went to the printer on schedule and I had the first few copies to take with me on the tour in November. But I think the book will always remind me of that terrible time.

Looking forward to "Going to the Poorhouse" ... well, not literally! ... the speaking tour scheduled to start at the beginning of November was really exciting. And the trip turned out to be all that I had hoped and even a great deal better. I had hoped to provide you with a scrapbook page and photo album of the trip but, since this newsletter really needs to go out now, I will have to wait and put that in the next letter. [Well, here is a tiny sneak preview: a photo story about visiting the Town Historian for Onondaga NY.] 

And here is what was one of the things I enjoyed most!

Watch out for the glare of the glasses!

Here I had the opportunity to publicly thank (with flowers! of course) Doris McEachron, who was for many, many years the Washington County (NY) Historian ... for having insisted on the preservation of the poorhouse records ... where I finally found my great-great-grandma Emma! That's Doris on the right, with Loretta Bates (a really, really dedicated volunteer in their County Historian's office) on the left, and me in my 1850s Irish immigrant PHL costume.

It was great to meet with so many folks who have their own passion for poorhouse research and the preservation of poorhouse history and records. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated. The number of people who attended the presentations (in Warren, Ohio; New Paltz, NY; Goshen, NY; and Saratoga Springs, NY) totaled about 300.  Local experts in records preservation very generously shared information which I will be sharing with you over the next weeks and months. Walking around cemeteries, visiting the old buildings, and even handling the original documents (achoo! mold allergies, sigh) made the poorhouse experience much more real than simply reading about it. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do all of that. And I hope to be able to do it again a couple of times next year.

Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED to The PHS Website

E-mail Subscribers to Monthly Newsletter
as of 9/03/2001   --  636
as of 12/24/2001 --  693 (57 new)
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 9/1/01)  
59,589 over 16 weeks (98 days) = 532/day
-- Total (as of 12/22/01) since 5/8/2000 -- 232,023 

(based on readers submissions)

We published the full NAME INDEX (all 1600+ !!) for my new book,

History & Abstracts of Inmate Registration Certificates
From the Washington County (NY) Poorhouse 1875-1900

Look here to view actual bonds.       >>>>> An eBay purchase of bonds issued during the Great Depression
by Clinton County Ohio to raise funds  for the poor relief fund and
for the County Home. They represent a third method of funding poorhouses and poor relief. (The other two methods were local taxes and the revenue from deliberately high fees for the licenses of businesses felt to be of a kind that helped cause "pauperism" ... i.e. taverns and other businesses which involved the sale of "spirituous liquors" ... therefore those were considered "sin taxes!") The bonds we featured here were issued during the Great Depression ... when apparently even taxes and sin were not enough to support poor relief!
This is typical of the vast correspondence which
involved the issue of who was responsible for
the relief of specific individuals under the 
poorhouse system.                       >>>>>

We also placed this on our History page.

of the Legal Settlement (or Residence) of an Individual
          from the Overseers of the Poor of Canton
          to the Overseers of the Poor 
                    of the Town of Mexico, Oxford County



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




This is an excellent work!             >>>>>>>
It would be wonderful to have a lot more such work for other areas of the country done like this!









A GREAT Website!      >>>>>>



       ANOTHER Great Website!   >>>>>


Look what they have done!

Delaware Public Archives
Digital Archives

A register of the infirm and poor inmates of the county almshouse. Deaths and births are also included.

These are actual images (and readable!) of the pages of these books for the following years: 1815, 1826, 1842, 1852. Take a look!!!   

The Precinct Book  (ISBN 0-9703767-0-7) by Mike Troy        
is a transcription of the account book of the Overseers of the Poor for the Southeast Precinct of Dutchess County, NY [now in Putnam County], 1768 to 1812. See Review by PHL

Monday   September 02, 1996  PAGE: 10A 
"Before welfare, [Yellowstone] county housed and fed the indigent." 
By LORNA THACKERAY Of the Gazette Staff 
      submitted by Jackie Corr 
This is a wonderful, very comprehensive and well written article about the history of the Yellowstone County Poorhouse. It has been reprinted with permission of  the Billings Gazette.   PHL 

Where Butte's Unmourned Dead Keep Lonely Vigil

(Written For the Christmas EVENING NEWS, December 18, 1905.)

The Warren County (New York) Archives has done a really outstanding job of presenting information about their holdings on their website  

The Town of Onondaga (New York) Historical Society has a wonderful website! When you get there, click on the link to their
new Poorhouse page. 

[NOTE: The website requires that you have Vector Graphic Rendering (VML) on your computer. If you open the pages and get that notice (or cannot see the photographs) you may have to upgrade to the latest version of your web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer) which takes quite a while but is well worth being able to view the graphics which so many are now using on their websites.]


  No new items.

HONORED STATES current Illinois now has a table of separate county pages.
  previous Illinois/Kansas/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Tennessee
 Picture Postcards/Photos/Illustrations IA Chickasaw / Jefferson / Waukon
  IL Ford / Iroquois / Menard
  IN Danville
  MA Lawrence / Plymouth
   MI Kalamazoo
  MN Hubbard
  ND Richland
   NY Onondaga
   OH Erie /  Hardin / Harrison / Huron / Logan 
    PA Allegheny County
(an image from
an 1872 map of the Millvale Burrough of Pittsburgh showing the location of the Allegheny City Poorhouse)

Bradford / Cambria / Jefferson / Schuylkill / York

  RI Providence
   WI Dane / Vernon / Walworth
Notes: from Readers/Local/Historical AL Marshall
  GA Emanuel
  IN Clay / Vigo
  NY Monroe / Onondaga
  RI Providence
  SC Darlington
  TN Smith
This is an amusing 1863 newspaper blurb!  >>> VT Rutland County 

Historical Documents     

NY Clinton County (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Chenango County (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Dutchess County (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Monroe County (1824 Yates Report) 
& 1857 investigation
  NY New York (City & County) (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Onondaga (see more info above under Featured Articles)
  NY Putnam County (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Queens County (1824 Yates Report)
  NY Schoharie County (1824 Yates Report)
Historical Memorabilia MO Commemorative Plate 
for Lemons Missouri's Centennial Celebration 
[Putnam County]
(Includes a drawing of the County Farm)
Poorhouse Records NJ Burlington County  -- 

-- October 29, 1822 through April 28, 1846
  NY Warren County website contains name indexes for their poorhouse holdings as follows:

Almshouse Admission Records    1855 - 1979  (Including Building Photograph)

Almshouse Burial Permits   1911 - 1933

Almshouse Reports of Death   1906 - 1930

  NY Onondaga
Cemetery Lists (or notes) KY Calloway
  MI Kalamazoo
  MO St. Louis poorhouse deaths  (1850-1908)
  MT Silver Bow (vandalism noted)
  NC Catawba
  NY Monroe / Warren (see Records above)
  RI Bristol / Cumberland / Coventry / Cranston / Exeter
Foster / Glocester / Portsmouth / Warwick
Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS
new material or off-site links to the web)
  1880 IL Pike
  1880 MA Essex
  1900 MI Charlevoix
  1880 NY Chautauqua
1900 NY Chautauqua
  1920 NY Chautauqua
  1910 PA Clarion
   1870 TN Smith
   1880 TN Smith
  1850 VA Henrico
  1870 VA Smyth
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
Thanks for your continued support.
Linda Crannell                                                        
(aka=The Poorhouse Lady)

Return to ARCHIVED NEWSLETTERS                       HOME