The Poorhouse Story  
19th issue)


As I look back over the almost 3 years of hosting this website -- and now that we have had well over half a million visits made to The POORHOUSE STORY --  I am very gratified to see that it is really working!  As a result, it is taking on a life of its own -- readers go out and do their own thing.  (See the new website, the proposed television episode, and the petitions and efforts at preservation of records, buildings, and cemeteries mentioned below.) Not all those efforts are totally successful in realizing the specific results intended -- but they are all successful in raising the consciousness of the historical/genealogical community and the public about the value of poorhouse history.  And all I need to do now is report the results! That's still work that I need to do, but I no longer feel like a loner.  The work goes on even when I am suffering a little burnout.  (But those offerings of your own work do wonders to restore me!)

As a result, I am now initiating something new.  I have always tried (not always totally successfully, but I tried ... ) to be very careful to be editorially objective in my reporting of poorhouse issues.  However, it has been impossible to do this much research into the history of how poverty has been dealt with in this country without developing some strong opinions on the subject.  And, of course, the issue of poverty is still with us.  So now I am taking the liberty of starting an editorial column.  It will not be contained in the body of these newsletters; but I will announce new editorial articles here.  You can then click on the link if you wish to read them.  

I know that many of you will have different opinions and may want to disagree.  Those of you who wish to do so may post your responses on our Forum or message board. (You will find the link in the lower right corner of our homepage.) I may not always have time to respond to you directly, but at least you will have an opportunity to voice your own opinions.

I hope you will enjoy the editorials, and I thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns.


   Commentary  # 1 TODAY'S TROJAN HORSES: or  Things That Are "Good for Bidniz"


This month I am going to let someone else do the writing.  I have, for years now, been adamantly suggesting that local historical and genealogical societies need to be routinely searching eBay on a frequent and regular basis. This "trolling" 
(if you're into fishing, you will get the idea) can often lead to precious historical resources which may be lost to the public domain if we don't get into the bidding.  This is a mixed Good News / Bad News fact of modern life with the internet.

January 14, 2003 -- the on-line edition of the The Christian Science Monitor carried a fascinating article titled "Scholars scour eBay"  by Noel C. Paul. The article starts off stating, "Whether they're studying poetry or the history of moviegoing, researchers now routinely check the online auction site for relevant items." It goes on to tell the story (among several such stories) of the discovery by a Walt Whitman researcher of the auction of a first edition of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" that had belonged to Henry David Thoreau. (Wish we'd been there to see his face.  That probably made his day -- or year! at least.)

The article goes on to say:

Academic sleuths once relied almost exclusively on the archives of major research libraries to track down facts and colorful details. Now, historians, literary critics, and museum archivists across the country incorporate a regular search of eBay into their research routine.

For scholars like Pannapacker, eBay has been a source of undiscovered information. Other researchers find objects that help them render a time or place in fuller color and texture. Some disciplines, say scholars, are being reshaped by the auction site's influence.

Told you so!  Told you so!

Now, go directly to eBay and search for items with keywords from your favorite historical byways ... or even the surnames of the "brick walls" in your genealogy research.  I know I will be looking for ... and frequently finding! ... 
tidbits about poorhouses around the world. 

Join the hunt. It's fun.


Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED to The PHS Website

E-mail Subscribers to Monthly Newsletter
as of  11/26/2002 --  787
as of  02/14/2003 --  800                             
NOTICE: Because many people (and many ISPs) are now using spam filters, we are having difficulty delivering our newsletter announcements to many of you who have subscribed.  Approximately 15% of our newsletter announcements turn out to be undeliverable.  For that reason, we have begun to post on our homepage a box with the issue number and date of the most recently posted newsletter.  If you have not been receiving our notices ... you may simply need to check the homepage frequently to see if a new issue has been published.  Our apologies for this inconvenience.   PHL

-- since last newsletter's stats (ended
11/23//2002) -- 58,932   (765 /day)
-- Total (as of 02/14/2003) since 5/8/2000 -- 538,928  [We did hit the half million mark!]


This month we have only a "hope" rather than an already manifest reality to report -- but it's a biggie!  Sandra Everson, the medical records secretary at the Badger Prairie Health Care Center, which is the program into which the Dane County Wisconsin Poorhouse evolved, has initiated a really exciting project.  A new television documentary series (which needs to remain nameless at present) is scheduled to go into production this summer.  They are considering devoting one episode to the history of this poorhouse and have already come out to do filming on location.  We will keep you posted!  (Click on the state link above to see a wonderful photograph of this building ... of which we hope you will be seeing more ... on TV!)


This is absolutely THE BEST local project to preserve poorhouse history which we have ever seen ... or even hoped for!!!

It can serve as an inspired and dedicated example of how a community can ... with the best of American values ... with respect for ALL its citizens ... honor their past.

Now there's a real Valentine!      PHL

Major Kudos to Susan Stessen-Cohn
and the Ulster County Legislature!

The ULSTER COUNTY New York county government has generously 
funded and provided their technical expertise to assist a local historian in providing a magnificent website to present the history of their poorhouse.

Here are some of the sections:

     The New Exhibit will change frequently,
     so we recommend you bookmark this.

     The Document Gallery provides both scans of 
     historic documents and also their transcriptions.
     (We will be highlighting some of these below.)

     The Admissions Lists and Burial Records are
     presented as both searchable data bases and tables.

     Don't miss this website!  Go there and browse.
     It is fascinating history; and it is seldom so



(based on readers submissions)


(We didn’t create them; 
we just show them!)


New York City
municipal institutions
(Almshouse, Workhouse, and hospitals)
located on Blackwell's (Welfare) Island.


Admission, discharge, census, and housekeeping records

Alms House Admission Foreigners & Nativity Records 
with Ships Names 1819( New York City, NY)

Source: Alms House Admission Foreigners & Nativity Records (New York City, NY) Item 5 LDS Film 1304647 Bond Registers 1819-1840. Original records in the Municipal Archives, New York, New York.

Excerpt from Webpage Notes

In the early 1800's port cities in the USA bore the burden of immigration. By the time they arrived, so many immigrants were tired, hungry and poor they ended up in the City Almshouse. 

Dating back to the colonial era, New York City assumed responsibility for its citizens who were destitute, sick, homeless, or otherwise unable to care for themselves. The city maintained an almshouse, various hospitals, and a workhouse on Blackwell's Island (now called Roosevelt Island) for the poor. 

Lorine's Note: There are 2 pages for each name in this ledger. I have only copied part of the left hand page. There is more information on the microfilm, including Captain's Name, Owner's Name, Date of Bond, Sureties, Date Discharged, Death Date, Remarks, Bonded, Commuted & Total. For example, under date 1820 March 11 - Elizabeth Kennedy age 34 is listed as having died June 14, 1820; her daughter Mary Ann died Nov. 5, 1820

I have not had time to track down the exact arrival date of each of the ships named, but interested researchers could use the clues (admission date, captain's name, owner's name, etc) as well as census records, to narrow the time frame of arrival. Families with children born in one country such as ; England; and then in ; New York; will find it much easier to narrow the time frame of immigration. If you find an exact year or date of ship sailing, please let Lorine know!

For individuals recorded in 1855-1858 the information includes ship name, date of sailing, ports of departure and arrival.


News January 17, 2003     Hudson County NJ
Today Judge Thomas Olivieri made his decision today to grant  the Turnpike Authority the right to disinter the remains of those found in the section of cemetery lying within the Secaucus Interchange Project, to be re-interred at the Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen, New Jersey.  

In our last newsletter, we reported the following:  
A controversy over the highway department's plan to run a highway exit through an old cemetery (which was used for the old poorhouse, a mental hospital, and a jail) -- relocating
those 3500+ remains to a mass grave
-- has resulted in a court decision requiring a month long delay to study alternatives.  Two descendents have protested and a petition is being circulated in print and on-line.  For more information, click on the link to NEWS ALERTS.
HONORED STATES previous Illinois/Kansas/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Tennessee
 Picture Postcards/Photos/Illustrations
      IL DuPage/Mercer
  IN Orange
  NH Grafton
      NY Lewis/Monroe
  PA Erie
  VA Frederick/Shenandoah
    WV Ohio
Notes from Readers / Local/Historical Notes
Our apologies to the many of you who have sent such notes in recent weeks (and sometimes months ... cringe!)

We hope to have many, many of these posted very soon.  
Thanks for your patience.

Hopefully the next newsletter -- in which we will announce these -- 
will be published by the end of March.

Historical Documents     

 NY  See the wonderful documents on the Ulster County NY
website (see Featured Project above)
Historical Memorabilia   None added recently
Poorhouse Records
  NY Ulster

Brown/Chippewa/Dane/Dunn/Fond du Lac/Forest Grant/Green/Iowa/Lincoln/Pierce/Polk/Racine Rock/St.Croix

Cemetery Lists (or notes)


NY Ulster
  WI Dane
Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS
new material or off-site links to the web)
  1930 CO LaPlata
       1930 TX Dallas
The Poorhouse in Literature


previous Delaware/Illinois/Michigan/Minnesota/Ohio/Oregon
New York/Pennsylvania
Thanks for your continued support.
Linda Crannell                                                        
(aka=The Poorhouse Lady)

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