Ulster County Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story
POORHOUSE HISTORY by county

 

Ulster County Poorhouse

early photo

 

Ulster 
County 
Poorhouse

later
photo

 

Photos Submitted by:
Susan Stessin-Cohn

the Poorhouse Story
The ULSTER COUNTY New York county government has generously 
funded and provided their technical expertise to assist a local historian in providing a magnificent  website 
to present the history of their poorhouse. Here is their masthead.  Go browse.  

the Poorhouse Story

The notes below have been abstracted from the following reports.
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.)

YATES REPORT      1824 LAW      1857 REPORT EXPLANATION
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YATES REPORT:       A very detailed report of how poor relief was being provided (town by town) in the county prior to 1824. This data was collected for presentation to the state government for their consideration in contemplation of the proposed new law to establish a system of county poorhouses. (Click on this "report" link to see the extracted text of the report which deals with Ulster County.) To read about the full report, click on the "Yates Report" link higher above.
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1824 LAW (required establishment of poorhouse vs. exempted):  exempted
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1857 INVESTIGATION:      ULSTER COUNTY HOUSE

This house is constructed of wood, twenty-two by one hundred and twenty feet, two stories in height, connected with a farm of one hundred and forty acres, yielding an annual revenue of $500.  The basements are only occupied for domestic purposes.  In the house are eight rooms or wards, warmed by stoves, but not at all ventilated.  In the largest of these rooms forty-five paupers are placed in the winter, and twenty in the summer.  This room is mostly filled with invalids, is in size about twenty by thirty feet, with low ceilings; the air confined and altogether most unhealthy.  The number of inmates was one hundred and twenty-seventy males and fifty females; of these forty are foreign and eighty native born; forty-five are under 16 years of age.  The sexes are kept separate.  They are under the care of a single keeper, by whom is kept the usual system of registration.  The average number of inmates is one hundred and seventy-five, supported at an average weekly cost of $1.25, aside from the products of the farm.  As far as able the paupers labor on the farm and about the house.  No authorities have inspected or visited the house during the year.  It is supplied with Bibles, and preaching is enjoyed on Sundays.  For six months of the year a school is taught in the house.  The superintendents of the poor furnish rules to govern the paupers, regulate their diet, bind out the children, and exercise the power of discharging lunatics.  A physician is employed by the year.  During the year have occurred twenty births and fifty deaths.  The paupers have suffered considerably from the small pox during that time.  There is no pest house provided.

Of the inmates fifteen are lunatics--three males and twelve females; all are paupers.  Five have been admitted during the last year.  They receive no special medical attendance, but a male attendant supplies their ordinary wants.  Ten are confined in cells, and one restrained with chains.  Beside the main building are several small old buildings on the premises, in one of which--a very poor one--were twelve cells for lunatics, very open, and where it is barely possible to keep them from perishing.

In the houses are twelve idiots--four males and eight females; two of the females are under 16 years of age.

Three-fourths of the paupers are reduced to their present condition by intemperate habits.

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PERSONAL NOTES FROM READERS:

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LOCAL NOTES:

Postcard Photo Captioned: 1871 -- Poor House, Kingston, N.Y.

Submitted by: James Storrow

Note: The building above was a local poorhouse and not the official County Infirmary  -- which was located at New Paltz. 

 

the Poorhouse Story
LINKS:

From The Times Herald-Record
(This online newspaper article is about a grant funding  the research of Susan Stessin-Cohn. 
Note:  See also the article in the section below ... about Cemetery records ... for more information.)

Ulster will fund graveyard study 
    NEW PALTZ: A crusading historian has been awarded a grant to document and memorialize the history of the people buried in a potter's field behind the former county poorhouse.
   
   By Jeremiah Horrigan     jhorrigan@th-record.com 


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RECORDS:

 

ULSTER COUNTY INFIRMARY (POORHOUSE) RECORDS

The notes below were found at the Ulster County GenWeb site at http://www.hopefarm.com/geneatop.htm 

This is a list of microfilms available for rental at any local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Family History Center. The centers are open to members and non-members of the church free of charge. There is a fee for film rental (less than $4.00 for a short term rental) and films are not allowed to leave the center. Contact http://www.lds.org to find a Family History Center near you.

CALL NUMBER US/CAN FILM AREA: 1753429 (item 4)
TITLE: Alphabetical listing of Ulster County infirmary records.
FORMAT: on 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm.
NOTES: Microfilm of typescript (14 leaves) at Huguenot Historical Society, New Paltz, New York.
Complete printouts of the 661 records can be obtained from Huguenot Historical Society.
CONTENTS: Birth dates are from 1860 to 1956.
Includes name, birthrate, spouse and township.

 

Poorhouse INMATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES
Microfilm Series A1978  Roll Number(s) 206-208  more information
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CEMETERY:

Excellent newspaper article!           From The Times Herald-Record
(This is about the research of Susan Stessin-Cohn regarding the Ulster County Poorhouse.)

Ulster historian uncovers field where the 'broken people' lie
    NEW PALTZ: A local historian finds the graves of 1,000 forgotten poor people.
   
   By Jeremiah Horrigan  jhorrigan@th-record.com 

NOTE: We have also added the wonderful photographs which were a part of this article in the print version.
(They are not quite so wonderful after we have scanned and posted them, but we think you will enjoy them ... after a wait while they load.  PHL )

   
   


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We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in ULSTER 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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