August 5, 2003
Woman has records for some
Ledgers copied of
deaths from 1934 to 1955
By Anthony Farmer
Part of the mystery over who is
buried in several hundred graves at the site of the
former Dutchess County poorhouse near Millbrook has been
Stanfordville resident Sue
Blouse said she has records she copied a decade ago
showing who was buried in the numbered graves between
1934 and 1955.
The cemetery at the rear of the
100-acre property in the Town of Washington, which also
houses the former county infirmary, is now overgrown
with trees and brush. Small, ceramic markers, numerals
carved into the top of each, are the only sign of the
graves among the leaves and branches.
Blouse had come across the
ledger while doing research on the poorhouse for a
college paper in the early 1990s. Though she didn't need
it for her report, she photocopied the 38 pages that
show people who died at the poorhouse or were buried at
the cemetery there after 1934.
''I thought there are going to
be people that may want to look for their families
someday,'' Blouse said. ''I was just fascinated by this
Ledger location a mystery
The status of ledgers that show
who is buried in each of the numbered graves has been
clouded since the county closed the infirmary five years
County officials say documents
related to the property were given to the Dutchess
County Historical Society.
The historical society says it
has a box of items from the county, but hasn't gone
through them because they are public records.
Blouse said she was surprised
to see a story in the Poughkeepsie Journal last week
reporting on the status of the cemetery and the mystery
surrounding the records. Her copies have been stored in
a paper bag in her closet for several years now.
Ginny Buechele, a Town of
Poughkeepsie resident and genealogist, has led efforts
to save the old cemetery and has searched for the
records to help people researching their family history.
Buechele said she hopes to post
Blouse's records on her Web site, which chronicles some
of the history of the poorhouse and its residents.
''I just feel each one of these
people has a story to tell,'' Buechele said. ''When you
tell the story of who the person was, you help remove
the stigma from the poorhouse.''
Blouse said the documents list
the person's birth date, name, grave number, burial date
and place of death, among other information. The grave
numbers in the book run from 639 to 748.
''It's just so sad,'' Blouse
said. ''These people were just on their own and nobody
really cared about them.''