HALLOWEEN HAUNTED HOUSES

"Vlad Tepes Dracula, the historical figure who inspired Bram Stoker for his novel ... was born in November or December 1431, in the fortress of Sighisoara, Romania."

"Dracula was also very concerned that all his subjects work and be productive to the community.
He looked upon the poor, vagrants and beggars as thieves.
Consequently, he invited all the poor and sick of Wallachia to his princely court in Tirgoviste for a great feast. After the guests ate and drank, Dracula ordered the hall boarded up and set on fire. No one survived."

There is irony in the similarity the name Dracula bears to the word -- 
"Draconian":  of, relating to, or characteristic of Draco (Athenian lawgiver) or the severe code of laws held to have been framed by him.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary
[Now you know why the worst, most abusive poorhouses were sometimes referred to as being almost "Draconian!"  Actually, we suspect that even folks who called them that didn't know why the word was so doubly appropriate. But now you do.  PHL ]
Above quotes were taken from a biography  found on-line through a Rootsweb Happy Halloween site.
The Poorhouse Story NEWSLETTER  10/30/2000  (Fifth issue)

Greetings!

The activities of the past month have been really gratifying. When we review the list (shown in the table below) of things we have added to The POORHOUSE STORY during the past month it could look like the Poorhouse Lady has been very very busy. (I have!) But the really nice thing is that this clearinghouse is truly becoming a cooperative effort. As awareness of the site grows, more and more people are submitting material for inclusion on the site. And the best thing is -- many of them are becoming really good about sending information in a form that requires less work on our part to make it ready for posting!  If they were not doing that it would have been impossible to post that much material. Of course, we don't always expect publication-ready material; there will always be people who do not have sophisticated computer skills or equipment who want to make a contribution -- their contributions are appreciated and snail mail still works just fine! We are grateful for every kind of participation.

The satisfaction that comes with this increased participation by other people goes way beyond a desire to have our work made easier.
On our homepage we stated some specific goals for the website; but underlying all of those is a desire to see a change in the consciousness of our society. The ultimate goal is probably respect for the lives of people -- sometimes called the "little people" (those who may have been of normal size in life, but for whom there are no monumental statues erected) or the "common man" (who was just as often a woman and who was often uncommonly successful in being a good human being despite a lack of financial success) -- who were unfortunate enough to spend time in the only institutions our society was committed enough to provide for them.

But there are growing signs that this consciousness is indeed becoming more respectful!
You could go directly to the following list of updates made to the site and discover this for yourself -- if you read between the lines.
But I hope at least some of you will allow me to share my observations and will read the following...

REFLECTIONS

Notwithstanding the influence of television and the internet, newspapers are probably still the medium through which most people learn of the issues of concern to them in their communities. And many newspapers ... even small hometown papers ... are going on-line with some of their articles.  That has given us the chance to hear of the growing number of  articles giving coverage to poorhouse issues -- so we could put them on The POORHOUSE STORY. But such coverage of poorhouses is not a new thing. Almost a quarter of a century ago a newspaper called the Frontier Times published one of the very best overviews of a county poorhouse (in Texas) that we have ever encountered. (The page takes a while to load because of the photographs.) At that time we were emerging from a period during which we tended to romanticize life and gloss over some of the more gritty details of life. The article reflects that transitional process. It does tell the story in a somewhat nostalgic sentimental way. But it still weaves the complex tapestry which was the poorhouse. The warp and woof of that tapestry consisted of the warm human compassion trying to manifest through the layers of cold harsh bureaucracy. The more recent newspaper coverage is often more brutal in its criticism of abusive or disrespectful conditions. (You may want to review the News Alerts link off our homepage.) That coverage, along with the exposure which sites such as ours can provide, can create the will to correct injustices ... and celebrate the success of people who "do the right thing." Sometimes the implementation of that requires a court decision; but sometimes it just takes the voluntary dedication of one or two people -- like the couple who are preserving a poorhouse and creating a museum in Virginia.

These show us that there is a definite (raised consciousness) change for the better ... in the air, everywhere.

But I guess we see it best through the increasing numbers of submissions from people who are willing to go back and dig through their files (like the lady who dug through her "selectmen" parents records to find old annual town reports to submit) to find poorhouse information which they previously through would not be of interest to many other people ... or to recognize that something that they worked on for some other purpose, like transcribing a census report, has additional significance because it contains information about a poorhouse. 

Yes, I know these reflections contain a lot of terribly run-on sentences; but that's how my reflections run! Especially when I am as happy as I have been with the work I have been privileged to do this month. As Martha would say .... It's (been) a goooood thing.

Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED  to The PHS Website  

     (since site counter went up on  5/8/200)

 

Total Visits to Homepage --  as of 9/30/2000

16,000+  

Total Visits to Homepage Ė as of 10/30/2000

nearly 23,000  (almost 7,000 visits or approximately 233/day)

   

E-mail Subscribers to Monthly Newsletter

273 as of 9/30/2000

 

335 as of 10/30/00

 

 

FEATURED PROJECTS  
(based on readers submissions)

 Good News after we published this story! >>>
 


                            Donít miss this one!) >>>>>>>





Great LESSON about Annual Town Reports >>
(and how much genealogical information can
be found in those boring, dry financial accounts!)
 

 

 


Wisconsin  (Milwaukee) Poorhouse History
 
Submitted by Jennifer Fleishmann   JenF@clr.wels.net http://www.poorhousestory.com/WISC_jennifer_fleischmann_files.htm

 

Jean Gilley  JGilley@TXK.net  sent us the BEST newspaper article we have ever seen about a poorhouse! From the 1974 Frontier Times, it tells the story of the Poor Farm in CASS COUNTY, TEXAS.
(See more information in narrative of newsletter above.)  

Sylvia Sebelist  (whose mom and dad both served as town "selectment" for the Town of Waterford (Oxford County, Maine) was kind enough to scan and share with us pages from their 1892 Annual Town Report (which reported on expenses for the poor during 1891).  We have been able to use this in a very helpful presentation about how genealogical researchers can use such reports to locate information about people who were residing on the Town Farm -- a form of poorhouse.    

 

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

 

(We LOVE it! Read it and rejoice!) >>>>>>>

Click here to see (off-site) a WONDERFUL research project for Indiana on the HENRY County Paupers Asylum -- complete with photos, original historical documents, and much more!    (Click on the link to the left that says County Home.)

 

Click here to see (off-site) another WONDERFUL story -- about the successful efforts of a married couple to restore the poorhouse in WYTHE County VA ... and turn it into a museum! We are featuring that in our News Alerts section ... to inspire others in other locations to follow their dedicated example.
at
http://www.mtnlaurel.com/poorfarm/poorfarm.htm

   

NEWS ALERTS

Wythe County Virginia County Poorhouse restored and turned into
a museum.

Jennifer's community in Wisconsin is cleaning up an abandoned poorhouse cemetery
A court in Newark NJ has ordered the cleanup of a Potter's Field cemetery.

 

 

HONORED STATES

Current

PENNSYLVANIA: has demonstrated a remarkable degree of commitment to the preservation of poorhouse history! That has expanded to the inclusion of on-line name indexes for the poorhouse inmate registers (an on-going project).

 

Previous

Illinois & Tennessee

 

  Picture Postcards

IN

Adams County

 

KS

Graham County

 

MN

Olmsted County

 

NH

Cheshire County/Hillsboro

 

NY

Oneida County

 

OH

Mahoning /Butler/Ashland/Miami

 

PA

Clearfield/Indiana/Mercer/Fayette/Bradford/Clarion/Cambria

 

Notes from Readers/Local Notes  AR Polk County

IL

Shelby/Vermillion County (re: records)

 

IN

Henry County

 

IO

Chickasaw County

 

KS

Reno County

KY Christian County

 

MI

Schoolcraft County / Pontotoc

OK Garfield

 

OR

Multnomah (re: others)

 

SC

Charleston County

 

TN

Hamblen County

 

TX

Bowie County

VA Patrick County

 

VT

Lamille County (Stowe)

 

WA

Cowlitz County

 

WV

Cabell County

 

Cemetery Lists

MI

St. Joseph County Infirmary Cemetery

 

MO

Cooper County Poorhouse Cemetery

 

TX

Fannin County Home Cemetery

VA Patrick County Deaths (from records and obits)

 

WA

King County Poor Farm Cemetery (Seattle)

 

Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS

 MI   

Grand Travis

1920

(new material or off-site links to the web)

MO

Stone

1920

OH Belmont 1860

 

PA

Somerset

1860

 

TN

White

1910

 

 VA

Patrick 

1850/1860/1870

 

 WV

Marshall

1870

 

The Poorhouse in Literature
http://www.poorhousestory.com/literature.htm


No new entries. 

 

STATE ARCHIVES Holdings

 

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY Poorhouse Holdings
http://www.poorhousestory.com/MINN_MHS_holdings.htm  

MICHIGAN STATE ARCHIVES Poorhouse Holdings
http://www.poorhousestory.com/MICH_Archives_holdings.htm

 


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

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