The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
1857 REPORT EXPLANATION
To obtain further information on these reports click on the appropriate button.
(This will open a separate window so simply close to get back to this page.)
Click here to see the exact text of the section
dealing with Onondaga County from this 1823 survey of the conditions and
methods of poor relief throughout the state which resulted in the passage of
the law in 1824 which established a system of county poorhouses in New York.
|1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted):
"It is located on
Pompey Hill, some four miles from Syracuse. It is an establishment quite extensive, being made up of
additions from time to time as the exigencies of the case have demanded. The main building is constructed of stone, three stories high. Connected with the house is a farm of thirty-four acres, the revenues
of which was not ascertained, the keeper being absent from home. The house is warmed by furnaces and stoves. The rooms are not ventilated and some of them poorly lighted, nor was
there any provision for bathing. The
air in many of the apartments was oppressive, imparting that peculiar odor,
that is experienced in a close, vitiated
atmosphere not peculiar perhaps to poor houses, but not unfrequently found
there, nor could it be specially commended for its cleanliness.
The number of inmates
was one hundred and fifty, seventy-five males and seventy-five females, one
hundred and fifteen of whom were foreign and thirty-five native born,
including sixty children. The
sexes are kept separate, in small rooms two persons are placed, in larger ones
four, six, twelve and even twenty. The
house is in (the) charge of two keepers, both males, who are assisted by the
paupers both in the house and upon the farm.
The superintendent of
the poor purchases supplies for the house, prescribes rules regulating the
diet and government of the paupers, binds out the children and dismisses
lunatics when discharged. The
average number of inmates is two hundred, the weekly cost of their support was
not obtained on account of the absence of the keeper. A school is kept for instructing the children. The house is supplied with Bibles and religious services are held once
in two weeks.
This house is visited
once annually by the supervisors and by the superintendent of the poor every
week. The food furnished was
plain but appeared wholesome and good.
A physician is employed
by the year, who visits the house every day. During the year there had been four births and eight deaths, from
January to June. The number of
lunatics was sixteen, eight males and eight females and all paupers.
The insane receive no
special medical attention, and none have been cured. Two are thought to be
improved, four are constantly confined in cells, three males and one female. A male and female pauper are assigned by the keeper to wait upon the
insane. One lunatic was in irons, the straight jacket is sometimes
The house admits of the
classification of the insane. One
of the paupers is an idiot, a male, one deaf and dumb, five blind, all aged. Corporeal punishment is inflicted only upon children.
Two-thirds of the
inmates rendered paupers consequent upon the use of intoxicating drinks as a
Transcribed by PHS-Volunteer, Cheramie Breaux in Louisiana
PERSONAL NOTES FROM READERS:
(None received yet.)
|"I don't know where you got the information that
the Poorhouse was on Pompey Hill, it never was. It was built in 1826
on Onondaga Hill and that's where it always was."
Jane Tracy [firstname.lastname@example.org]
|That is a direct quotation from the official 1857
state government report.
But I guess that wouldn't be the first time the government got
something wrong! <grin> My bet is on your information
being more correct. PHL
Note: The links below are wonderful! The Photo Tour is EXCELLENT -- Don't miss it! PHL
ONONDAGA COUNTY POORHOUSE
Town and County of Onondaga, New York
From Onondaga's Centennial, Gleanings of a Century, edited by
Dwight H. Bruce, Vol. I, The Boston History Company, 1896, pp. 311-315
Onondaga County Poorhouse!
IT'S GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
NOTE: The web pages linked here
require that you have Vector Graphic Rendering (VML) on your computer.
If you open the pages and get that notice (or cannot see the
photographs) you may have to upgrade to the latest version of your web
browser (i.e. Internet Explorer) which takes quite a while but is well
worth being able to view the graphics which so many are now using on
their websites. PHL
Take a photo tour
of the Poorhouse campus (1827-Present)- and also find inmate
of Onondaga Historical Society
The Onondaga County Poorhouse records are in the keeping of the Town
Historian of the Town of Onondaga. That wonderful website was just updated
with links to much new material (including inmate information) after we
visited them in November 2001.
Click here to see a report
on that visit (with photos!) and the link to their website.
"The Onondaga County NY Poorhouse limestone building was recently
demolished and the records are now in the possession of the Town of Onondaga
Historical Society. The address is 4876 Onondaga Road, Syracuse, New York
13215 and the town historian is Jane Tracy. This information is being copied
from the original books to computer but I don't know what the plans are for
future use of the information."
Johanna Clift email@example.com
|Poorhouse INMATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES
Microfilm Series A1978 Roll
Number(s) 152-158 more information
|We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in ONONDAGA county through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending
e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.