Schoharie County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story

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the Poorhouse Story
ANNUAL REPORT of the STATE BOARD of CHARITIES                                         p 1042-1043
A TABLE showing the number of Paupers supported at the public expense in the county of SCHOHARIE,  during the twelve months preceding April 21, 1823, with other particulars, derived from public documents and reports furnished the Secretary of State. [**** indicates no return was filed]
TOWNS Total number of paupers
supported during the
whole of the last year.
Total number relieved
during a part of the last year.
Total expenses of supporting and relieving paupers (including fees and expenses of officers, removals and appeals) for the last year.

Dolls.    Cts.

Expenses and cost of officers and appeals during same period.


Dolls.   Cts.

Number of paupers removed during the last year.
Blenheim 0 4 1 3 1 38.59 23.50 ---
Broome 11 Not stated. 5 6 4 254.52 45.00 ---
Carlisle ****                
Cobleskill 2 0 2 0 0 112.37 45.37 2
Jefferson ****                
Middleburgh 0 7 2 5 0 242.87 32.37 ---
Schoharie ****                
Sharon 8 Not stated. 3 5 1 431.00 158.00 5
Summit ****               ...
   Sums of money raised by tax, in the county of Schoharie, for the support of the poor, in the years 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821, 1822.

          In the year 1818,                502
                           1819,             1,350
                           1820,             1,050
                           1821,                950
                           1822,             1,070
                 Total,                     $ 4,922

     In the town of Blenheim, there is on hand a fund of $1,100,  for the support of the poor, in bonds and mortgages.


   In reference to our laws for the relief and settlement of the poor, the executing any office or charge for one year, gives a settlement.  An exception to the office of overseer of highways ought to be made. In country towns, there are from twenty to sixty road districts, and as some little additional trouble is imposed, by virtue of the office, on the overseers, they are generally put in by rotation, which in a few years extends to every person liable to be assessed on the highways.  The same objections applies to a trustee in a school district. Such, therefore is the facility and ease in gaining a settlement, that it renders nugatory that section of the act which was meant as a guard and relief against gaining a settlement to the different town. [Letter from the supervisor of Blenheim.]


   This town has a farm, containing about 110 acres, which has rented for $35 per year, which is applied to the support of paupers, exclusive of what is raised by taxes.  The tenant who occupies the farm above mentioned, pay the rent by supporting paupers.  [Letter from the supervisor of Broome.]


   I am inclined to suggest, and believe that county poor-houses or houses of industry, will much diminish the expense of paupers, and render those much more happy that are entitled to protection under that law, and will also have a tendency to detect many that claim support from the town.  It is in many cases difficult, and very expensive to board some description of paupers among the inhabitants at any price.  Many heavy expenses have heretofore occurred to this town, and to individuals who have acted in official capacities in disposing of that part of the community, in consequence of appeals, &c. [Letter from the supervisor of Sharon.]


the Poorhouse Story
1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted): Exempt
the Poorhouse Story

This house is located at Middleburgh, and is a two-story brick building, 100x40 feet, containing nine large rooms or wards, appropriated to the use of the paupers, with low ceilings, and without ventilation, and without any provision for bathing, and is heated by stoves.  Connected with the house is a farm of 160 acres, yielding an annual net revenue of $800.00. 

Thirty-five inmates were found in the house, twelve male and twenty-three female, and of these two were foreign and thirty-three native born.  The average number provided for at this house is about sixty, who are under the care of one keeper and his wife, who perform all the necessary labor connected with the management of the family and the farm, assisted by the paupers.  At night the males and females are locked, each in separate departments of the house; during the day there is no separation except at the tables.  The superintendent purchases all the supplies for the house and imposes rules regulating the diet, and when suitable places are found, indentures the children, and exercises exclusive control in the discharge of lunatics.  There were seven children under sixteen years, who are instructed in the house because of the refusal of the trustees of the school district to receive them in the district school.  The food furnished is of a plain, nutritious character and no complaint but that it was insufficient quantity.  A physician is employed by the year to answer all calls, at a salary of $62.  The house is supplied with Bibles, and preaching is enjoyed once in two weeks.  The supervisors of the county have visited the house once during the year, during the same time there have been seven deaths.

Of the inmates two were lunatics, both females and paupers.  None have been admitted during the year, nor any improved or cured.  They are occasionally restrained by placing them in cells in the basement.  They receive no special medical attention.  The county is supporting six lunatics in the State Asylum.

Ten of the inmates are idiots, eight males and two females.  Full two-thirds of all who receive support in this house are brought there consequent upon habits of inebriation.

The general appearance of the establishment indicated a disposition on the part of the keeper to discharge his duty, impaired a little, perhaps, by an effort to show, on a comparison with his predecessor, that he was supporting the paupers at a cheaper rate than he.  Seventy-five cents per week was given as the cost of their support.

the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

The  Old  Stone  Fort 
Manuscript File Index 
The Old Stone Fort Museum complex celebrates and preserves the rich, historic legacy of New York's beautiful Schoharie Valley. Buildings include an early 1700's home, 1780's Dutch barn, 1830's law office and 1890's one-room school as well as the 1772 stone church that was fortified and attacked by British forces in 1780. 

            includes the following: >>>>>


Almshouse, Schoharie Co. 1830-1955



List of Poorhouse Inmates from 1900 Census from Middleburgh Township
[Look for the Spickerman family on Page 162B] 

Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 199  more information
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in SCHOHARIE county through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.

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