City of Newport Almshouse [ Newport County] -- Historical Notes

Submitted by Dave Mathieson   dave@mysticseaport.org
Note: The following statements and quotes are made with the understanding that the reader understands the circumstances that surrounded the decisions made and the attitudes that prevailed at that time in history. Dave

The first Almshouse established in the state of Rhode Island was located in Newport, Newport County,.  Funds were appropriated by a town vote on July 31, 1723.  I do not know the specific location of the Almshouse as of this writing. 

Less than fifty years later, during the American revolution, the town of Newport was under direct attack by the landing of a large force of British troops.  Providence County offered their assistance by receiving and providing for four hundred of Newport's poor.  The town council of Newport graciously accepted the offer, December 18, 1775,  and Providence took measures for their removal.   - (extracted from the History of Rhode Island) 

In the publication, "The State of Rhode Island And Providence Plantations At The End Of The Century: A History" ed. by Edward Field 1902, the fifth chapter gives a lengthy dissertation, some 102 pages, on "The Poor, The Defective, and The Criminal".  The title of this chapter alone gives the inference of how society looked upon the state of the poor and how they dealt with this segment of the population.

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