The Poorhouse Story NEWSLETTER 3/10/2001 (Ninth issue)
Well, this newsletter is late also (like last time...sheesh!) -- but my Irish immigrant great-great-grandmother, Annie Tolly (who with her children can occasionally be found receiving "outdoor" relief in the records of the Overseers of the Poor in Washington County, NY during the 1800s) would be upset with me if I did not honor St. Patrick's Day. Hence the color change in the design theme for this month.
One of the nice things about the internet is that it offers the opportunity to rewrite history! (No, not to enforce some notion of political correctness. But to correct the record.) So the GOALS & OBJECTIVES of The POORHOUSE STORY which we wrote for the last newsletter has been altered. They have also been posted to a page with a link on the homepage reading -- MISSION STATEMENT. We reconsidered and discovered that there was one important thing which we had left out. It is discussed below ...
[Special Note: The Poorhouse
Lady will be taking a break from publishing this newsletter next month. This
will me give me the much needed opportunity to get caught up with e-mail and
the preparation of already submitted material for publication. It may also
give me chance to get my Income Tax papers filed on time! <grin> So
the next newsletter should come out sometime toward the end of April. Thanks
for understanding and being patient.]
The introduction of students (kindergarten through high school and college) to genealogy represents a powerful tool for helping them understand themselves as cherished and valuable members of a multi-generational community of people who respect each other and who seek to communicate their history and traditions honestly.
The POORHOUSE STORY will try to provide teachers with tools which can help them offer this introduction to genealogy and local history (with an emphasis on local poorhouse history) in a manner which can teach and reinforce academic skills and strengthen social values. There is a special benefit to utilizing poorhouse study in such lessons -- Dealing with institutionalization and a population of people burdened with poverty in a respectful manner can help students whose families have experienced poverty or institutionalization (of whatever kind) feel less marginalized or less like "outsiders." The teaching of a history (especially a local history) which deals only with the Rich & Famous cannot do that!
Toward these goals, we have provided a new page called CLASSROOM CORNER.
We hope you will read and enjoy it and
find many ways to utilize it!
Table of STATISTICS and NEW ITEMS ADDED to The PHS Website
|E-mail Subscribers to Monthly
as of 2/09/2001 -- 446
as of 3/03/2001 -- 477
|Here we are (for the first time) 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!)|
Total Visits to The
(based on readers submissions)
Click here to see a scan of an original 1817 document:
(We didnít create them; we just show them!)
19th CENTURY WORKHOUSE: A Personal Story
from The HOOSIER GENEALOGIST, 1989, "The Union County
Poorhouse in the 1860 Census."
|HONORED STATES||current||OHIO! (see top of table of POORHOUSES BY STATE)|
|NH||Hillsboro (an old stereoscope view)|
(a link to a website with a wonderful photo-tour)
|Notes from Readers/Local Notes|
|From a 94 year old gentleman who
kind enough to share his memories!
|MA||scan of an 1826 receipt from the Overseers of the Poor from Newburyport in Essex County|
|NY||Click here to see a scan of an original 1817 document:
Articles of Agreement (which resolved an issue of
which county would be responsible for the support of two
specific individuals when Hamilton County split off from Montgomery County. (Page takes a while to load.)
1836 Certificate of Removal to the Otsego County Poorhouse
|Historical Memorabilia||MI||Hillsdale (Commemorative Plate)|
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.
|Previously Published: OHIO:Ashland/Athens/Belmont/Columbiana/Fayette
|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.
CALIFORNIA: Santa Clara
|The Illinois State Archives continues to do a wonderful job of making poorhouse records accessible on-line! They have added name indexes to two more counties. >>>||IL||JoDaviess/Adams|
|VA||Buckingham (Supervisor's Minute Book, 1870-1887)|
|WI||Milwaukee [a new website ]|
|Poorhouse Resident lists from CENSUS
(new material or off-site links to the web)
|1880||IN||Union (see Featured Article item above)|
|1880||OH||Washington (note re: location in census report)|
|The Poorhouse in Literature
||The Witch Diggers
by Jessamyn West
Harcourt, Brace and Company, New York, 1951
Jessamyn West (1902-1984) was an American
author who wrote stories based on her Quaker ancestors. Her most
well-known book was
This novel is the story of the family of a man who idealistically leaves his law practice to become the Superintendent of a county poorhouse in southern Indiana. Set in the 19th century, the author develops the characters in ways that give us insight into the day-to-day lives of those who lived in poorhouses -- both the folks who are inmates, supervisors and visitors. This backdrop (which will be of special interest to readers of this website) is only secondary to the skillful telling of stories of the lives of these fascinating people.
|Other BOOKS||The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849,
by Charles E. Rosenberg
The University of Chicago Press, 1962 & 1987
ISBN 0-226-72677-0 LCN 62-18121
It may be hard to imagine, but this exploration of the politics of public health (which can be horrifying) is a real "page-turner"! A chronology of the evolution of social attitudes and public policy dealing with a recurring and devastating contagion -- it reads like a combination multi-generational family saga and detective story.
Why should genealogists read it? Because the three major things which pruned all of our family trees were war, famine and disease. And since it can be argued that the primary factor contributing to fatalities in both war and famine involve disease -- disease wins hands-down as the most significant.
Why should students of poorhouse history be concerned with this? Because cholera discriminated. It's rate of infection was much higher among those who lived in poverty. And this examination of the treatment of cholera victims of necessity places attitudes toward the poor under a microscope. Additionally, in many communities the only "pesthouse" (or place where people with contagious diseases could be quarantined) was the poorhouse.
|STATE ARCHIVES Holdings||new||none added|