Proceedings of the Board of Supervisors
County of Dutchess
1908

related to the Dutchess County Poorhouse

Submitted by:  Ginny Buechele     ginnyflies@worldnet.att.net
The following report of the inspection of the Dutchess County Alms House, was read by the clerk:

NOTES OF INSPECTION OF THE DUTCHESS COUNTY ALMS HOUSE, OAK SUMMIT, N.Y.
Made by Inspector J. H. Foster, May 12, 1908
State of New York - State Board of Charities
Department of State and Alien Poor

NOTES OF INSPECTION OF THE DUTCHESS COUNTY ALMS HOUSE
Resident Superintendent, I. P. Carman
P. O. Address, Oak Summit, N.Y.
R. R. Station, Oak Summit, N.Y.

I.    THE BUILDINGS

Capacity, 150 Estimated Value, $80,000

General Character and Condition: There are four modern two story, attic, and basement brick
buildings, connected by brick corridors. The administration building is in the centre, service building,
with one story laundry extension, in the rear, women's to the right, and men's to the left. There are
also a one story brick tramp house and a Superintendent's house. The buildings are in good repair,
except that paint and repairs to cracked plaster are needed in some parts.

Recent Improvements Adopted on Recommendation of the State Board of Charities: None

Other Improvements: A new water main has been laid from the upper reservoir. Some painting
has been done.

Contemplated Improvements ordered by Supervisors or Committee: None

Heating: Steam from two low pressure boilers.

Lighting: Acetylene gas from Millbrook

Ventilation: Natural means. The air in several rooms is foul.

Water Supply: From spring fed reservoirs at about 10 lbs. Pressure. There are also two wells
with both windmills and a gasoline pumping engine. This is seldom needed.

Bathing Facilities: 6 showers and a tub for the men, 4 showers and a tub for women.
Bathing required weekly. Individual towels are supplied but roller towels are used in lavatories.

Laundry Appliances: Slate set tubs. A power laundry would set free labor for other needs.

Drainage: Tile Drains to a septic Tank.

Precautions Against Fire: 12 liquid chemical extinguishers and 36 grenades.
Stand pipes and hose, tested about once a year in all buildings.

Means of Escape in the Event of a Fire: One fireproof interior stairway in each building.
Fire ladders in corridors. There are no outside escapes.

II.    THE FARM         

Number of Acres of Acres: 103

Estimated Value: $3,000

Number of Acres Cultivated: About 10 beside garden, pasture and meadow.

Adaptability of the farm: It is a fair dairy farm.

Principal Crops: Potatoes, about 1,000 Bushels; hay, vegetables.

Barns and Outbuildings: Old but serviceable. The hog house is near the men's building
and at times offensive and also not warm in winter. There is a butcher shop and a good cooler.

Dairy, and the Disposal of its Products: 8 cows are now milked. Butter is made and bought.
The women have it regularly, the men occasionally.

Other Stock Kept: 4 horses, 25 swine, 50 hens.

III.     THE CENSUS      

Number of Inmates: 73 Male, 20 Female, Total 93
Children Under Two Years Old with Mothers: 0 Male, 1 Female, Total 1
Other Children Under Two Years Old: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Children Between Two and Sixteen Years: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Number of Blind: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Number of Deaf Mutes: 0 Male, 1 Female, Total 1
Number of Feeble Minded: 2 Male, 1 Female, Total 3
Number of Idiots: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Number of Epileptics: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Number of Insane: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 0
Number of Pensioners: 3 Male, 0 Female, Total 3
Number of Alien: 0 Male, 0 Female, Total 3
Persons Over Seventy Years Old: 33 Male, 10 Female, Total 43
Number of Tramps Entertained Since Last Inspection: 211
Means of Separation of the Sexes Indoors: Separate Quarters and Dining Rooms.
Means for Separation of the Sexes Outdoors: None

        IV.     CARE OF THE SICK  

Hospital Accommodations: None. The front room of each dormitory building intended for hospital
purposes is not so used. The policy is to put each sic man in a room with a well one who is to take
care of the invalid. The various rooms at the time of the inspection contained about 9 men each, or
about 5 women. One old man lay, practically unconscious and apparently near death in such a room,
while in another room a Negro lay in a helpless condition, from whom, though he evidently received
frequent attention. The stench pervaded the whole room. As the only paid employees at the alms house
are the keeper and the matron, it is impossible for them to give any great amount of personal attention to
the sick with their other duties to perform. Those whose condition demands closer attention than the
alms house can afford are sent to the hospital in Matteawan, where they are cared for at the rate of
$5.00 per week.

Medical Services, By Whom Performed: Dr. D. H. Mackenzie of Millbrook, calls twice a week,
or as summoned.

Hospital Supplies, Diet, Medicine, etc., How Furnished: By the county.

Number of Paid Hospital Attendants: 0 Males, 0 Females, Total 0

V.     RECORDS         

State Board of Charities Record of Inmates: Not Kept. The Superintendent says he has not time to
keep it and that the Board of Supervisors will not furnish him with a Clerk.

Alms House Register of Inmates: Properly Kept.

Are County and Town Poor Distinguished?: No

State Board of Health Record of Vital Statistics: Kept with stubs on file.

Deaths Since Last Inspection: Males 6, Females 2, Total 8

Births Since Last Inspection: Males 0, Females 1, Total 1

                            VI.     SALARIES, WAGES AND LABOR

List of Officers and Employees of the Institution, with their annual compensation:

I. P. Carman, Superintendent, $1,700
Simon Howell, Keeper, $300 paid by the Superintendent
Mrs. Simon Howell, Matron, $350
D. H. MacKenzie, Visiting Physician, $300
For Religious Purposes:
     Protestant Chaplain, $100
     Catholic Chaplain, $100

VII.    REMARKS           

Superintendent Carman, Keeper Howell and the Matron accompanied the inspector. The premises
were found generally neat and clean. No signs of vermin were observed. Some slight lack of
constant and immediate attentions to toilets and invalids must be laid to the lack of sufficient competent
help for the conduct of so extensive a plant. Food supplies, as seen by the inspector, were stored in an
ordinary manner and of good quality. Dinner, served while the inspector was present, was well cooked,
excellent in quality and abundant in quantity. For the day: Breakfast; hash, bread, coffee. Dinner; pork
and beans, corned beef, bread, tea. Supper; bread and tea. The men's smoking and the women's sitting
and sewing rooms are poorly furnished, bare and unattractive. It seems that the best is being made by
both Superintendent and Keeper of the limited resources available.

VIII.      SUMMARY        
                             
Of Needs And Recommendations

1. Improved Hospital Services
2. More Paid Help
3. Improved Laundry Machinery
4. Fire Escapes
5. Compliance with the law in regard to the State Board of Charities Record.

Respectfully Submitted,
James H. Foster, Inspector
Dated: May 12, 1908

 

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