|The Poorhouse Story NEWSLETTER 07 /02/2002 (Sixteenth issue)|
|Have a Safe & Happy 4th of July!|
"Now, here, you see, it takes all
the running you can do to keep in the same place. If you want to
get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as
Well, I don't really want to get anywhere else; but I do want to get caught up. So I am going to disregard the Queen's advice. Instead of running faster I am going to slow down. Over the next couple of months I will be concentrating on getting caught up on responding to e-mail which has piled up over many many moons, working on postponed projects, completing things that seem to have taken up permanent residence on the back burner. Update some pages like the Cemetery and Records pages (which have not been updated since my friend, Brenda, helped me out almost a year ago. Sheesh!) You know ... get organized. Those loose ends tend to get lost; so if you have e-mailed me and not gotten any follow-up ... you may hear from me in the next few weeks. Soooo...you may not be seeing as many announcements of the posting of new material for a while. But don't think we have shut down; this is just maintenance time. And please feel free to keep those e-mail tips and submissions coming. Hopefully they may get answered soon.
Have a Great 4th of July and a Wonderful Summer!
Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED to The PHS Website
|E-mail Subscribers to
as of 04/26/2002 -- 759
as of 07/01/2002 -- 780 (21 new)
Visits to The POORHOUSE STORY
|MEET THE PRESS -- "IN THE OLD DAYS"|
If you think today's press is sometimes
intrusive ... take a look at this 1871 newspaper article!!
NOTE: What is amazing about
"The County Alms-House Its General Condition
Detailed description of the
Huntington County Indiana Infirmary,
|This is exactly the
sort of (not uncommon)
inhumane treatment of the mentally ill which motivated Dorthea Dix in her reform efforts.
... "A great moral responsibility attaches to some one for this crime against humanity. We will not stop to discuss now the policy of keeping the insane at home instead of in state institutions. It is sufficient that they were kept on the poor farm. Why were they not cared for? Who is to blame for the shocking barbarity of leaving nine unfortunate human beings unable to take care of themselves alone in a building to perish like so many rats?" ...
|This article about the
Clarke County [Iowa] County Poor Farm includes a biographical sketch
of an inmate which tells a story that is -- sadly -- not uncommon in
See excerpt below.
from The Osceola Democrat -- January 16, 1908
Source: from reprint of "Clarke County History", Lewis Pub., Chicago, 1886. p. 266.
"Probably the most interesting character among the inmates at the Poor Farm is the venerable James Madison Walters, who has made his home there for the past 5 years. Mr. Walters is now 88 years old, is tall, erect, and vigorous in body and intellect. His history is an interesting one ... In portions of his life he has had wealth, friends, political influence and official rank and prestige, yet he is spending his declining years in the poor house, waiting for the grim reaper.
Sixty-five years ago Mr. Walters settled on land in Marion county, Iowa, which he secured from the government. The early settlers of that time and vicinity selected him for his intelligence and enterprise as their first Justice of the Peace, and he exercised jurisdiction over a vast territory. When Marion county was organized, he was elected the first Sheriff of that county and served two terms. Afterward he was made postmaster at Knoxville, in which office he served several years. Subsequently he was sent for two terms as representative in the legislature from Marion county. Afterward he pursued a varied business life, at one time having considerable wealth. In later years he came to Clarke county living near Murray. One evening about five years ago he came walking to the poor house and asked for admission. He was an old man, then 83 years old, and he announced that he was through, was destitute, and must make that his home. From that time he has remained an inmate of the place. He keeps neatly dressed, is a ready and willing conversationalist, of intelligence and culture. With various old time acquaintances and with his few relatives he maintains regular correspondence. The success of no man's life can be accurately measured until its close."
|MEET THE PRESS -- "NOWDAYS"|
Press Republican Online 4/20/02
NOTE: We considered referring to this merely as "a web page" with no link or credits -- as they did when quoting extensively from material we had previously posted. But we decided not to be as tacky as they were. Sigh. PHL >>>
We lost another old poorhouse
(based on readers submissions)
CHRISTMAS IN JULY!
We were delighted when Dr. Marc Alan Peterka wrote to tell us about his mother ...
The Poorhouse Keeper's Daughter ...
"My mother, an only child, was raised on a poor farm. Later known as the Richland County Farm, it was in Wahpeton, North Dakota. She moved there when she was 5, in 1921. Her mother died there in 1936, and her father, some time later, retired to an old folks home in Devils Lake, ND, and passed away in 1953.. John Mathiesen and Lena Olson, her parents, were both Norwegian immigrants who met in Wahpeton. Corine failed first grade, as she only spoke Norwegian. She later skipped 3rd, 5th, and seventh grades, and graduated as Miss Wahpeton High School, and was class Valedictorian. My father, Paul Peterka, captain of the state championship football team, used to pick her up in a Buick Touring Car, with heated bricks on the floor for warmth. They married in 1936, shortly after her mother's death. She and Paul later had 5 children. My mother, Corine, wrote
a short Christmas story about life on the 'county farm' a few years before her death in 1999, which was given to friends as a holiday greeting." Photos
Here we have scanned the pages from this 1911 publication which deal with the history of the following related institutions:
Nothing new reported recently.
|Notes: from Readers/Local/Historical|
|Proceedings of the Board of
|WI||Fon du Lac|
Note: We are no longer including poorhouse information for Nebraska on The Poorhouse Story website. Instead it can be found on the GenWeb Nebraska website in their Resource Center . This was necessary because so many members of this community considered it spamming to post announcements of additional poorhouse information to their e-mail lists. PHL
"HOMES OF THE POOR" Article describes these counties:
click to enlarge
Almshouses [London, England] were built in 1715 by the Worshipful
Company of Ironmongers, with funds bequeathed by Sir Robert
Geffrye, former Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Company. The
fourteen houses and chapel
provided pensioners and widows with retirement homes over a period of almost two hundred years. In 1912, the buildings and gardens were sold by the Ironmongers to the London County Council, who at the time had not determined a use for the site. After much debate and a petition signed by members of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a decision was made to convert the almshouses into a museum ... "
from the website of the museum
|Poorhouse Records||No new ones added recently.|
Special Request of New York researchers
(feedback needed from you)
The NYS Archives are having difficulty meeting the demand for access to these records; we would like to find a way to help improve the situation. PHL
would like to hear from those of you who have had experience requesting
the use of the microfilm series Series A1978:
CENSUS OF INMATES IN ALMSHOUSES AND POORHOUSES 1875-1920
Please e-mail us to let us know how your request was handled.
|Cemetery Lists (or notes)|
|Seasonal Update! Photos||IL||DeKalb|
|WI||Fon du Lac|
Resident lists from CENSUS
(new material or off-site links to the web)
|1880||NJ||Newark City Almshouse|
Recently I really DID take time to read -- not one book but two! PHL
While these may not be books about poorhouses, they are on a subject important for understanding the poorhouse era. In 19th century America a defining demographic was the Irish immigrant. And in 19th century Ireland, second only to the church, the defining institution may have been the poorhouse. (The defining event undoubtedly was the Great Famine.)
The books are in a somewhat new genre -- creative non-fiction. They are novels about the Irish struggles for independence. Each book starts with a list of characters -- divided into historical characters and fictional characters. The fictional characters carry the plot and provide an opportunity to personalize or "flesh out" the varied ideas and beliefs of the participants in these historic events. But the integration of the historical characters allows their actions and words to inform that wonderful rarity -- a really great historical read!!!
A Book of the Irish Century
|STATE ARCHIVES Holdings||new||none added recently|
|Thanks for your continued support.
(aka=The Poorhouse Lady)