|An excellent article
from the Sun-Journal (June 14, 1997) titled:
Norlands Seminar: 19th century poverty full
[This is a "Must Read!" for anyone interest in Maine
history. PHL ] This will take a while to load because we
used scans to retain the style of the original newspaper article.
LETTER DENYING RECOGNITION
of the Legal Settlement (or Residence) of an Individual
Overseers of the Poor of Canton
to the Overseers
of the Poor
of the Town of Mexico, Oxford County
1852 -- 1898
NOTES FROM READERS:
"I am interested in finding out any info
about a poor farm in St. Albans, [Somerset County] Maine. My sister
owns a house that was said to be a poor farm at one time. The house is located on
Ross Hill Rd. I am sure that wasn't the name of the road in the 1800 hundreds.
Any info would be appreciated. Thank you."
"I was raised in Old Town, Maine, and went to school my first 6 years in
Stillwater [Penobscot County]. There was a poor farm not too many
miles from our school. Sometimes the school bus would stop there to pick up
children. There were always old men there. I remember one in particular, his
name was Frans Thurstan, and he used to come to the school and set on the board
fence and play his harmonica for us children. I would be about 1940. Don't
remember when it was closed."
"If it is of any help, my ggrandfather, Robert M. Wylie kept diaries.
Only a few have survived. They go from 1897-1933. There is mentioned through
out, a 'town farm' in Boothbay/Boothbay Harbor [LINCOLN County]. A lot of
the elderly would eventually end up there, as well as those who fell on hard
times. Hope this is of some help. You could contact the Boothbay Regional
Historical Society. I'm sure they have lots of info on the farm and those who
Robert Wylie [firstname.lastname@example.org
"I remember that there was once a
"poor farm" just outside the town of Presque Isle, [AROOSTOOK
County] Maine on the Easton Road. The main house is still there (or was, the
last time I was by there). I don't know how it was administered, but I suspect
someone in the town was elected or appointed to supervise it while the residents
provided the necessary labor. If so any records that might survive would
probably have been kept with other town records, and might even have received
mention in the town reports that were published annually."
I've encountered another arrangement for care of
the indigent in at least one rural New Brunswick settlement (the one where my
father was brought up). A farmer (a great-uncle of mine) who had the reputation
of being God-fearing and scrupulously honest was appointed (by whom I'm not
sure) to be the "Overseer-of-the-Poor. He kept records of all his business
transactions in a little notebook that I was fortunate enough to be able to
copy, and among them were listed the chits or credit vouchers that he had issued
to various persons. He made them very specific, too, specifying that they were
for so many pounds of butter, or flour, quarts of molasses, etc.
C B Knox [email@example.com
"The Winslow Town Farm [Kennebec
County] is still standing (now private home) on outer Clinton Avenue, about 3/4
of a mile north of the intersection of Halifax St. and Clinton Ave. on the west
side of the road. Today it is a neatly kept, white building consisting of
a traditional "Cape" house facing the road and a two storey ell behind
the "Cape" running east-west. The ell looks as though its
west end had been sliced off (it just looks "odd", not a
typically Maine). In truth there were two large barns once attached to the
ell and they gave the original buildings a symmetry that doesn't exist today.
The barns (one ran north-south and connected to the other which ran east-west)
making sort of a courtyard. The barns, milk room and a garage were torn down in
the late 60's or early 70's. The farm was last run (to the best of my
knowledge) as a farm by a family named Glidden. The son of the family and
I were good friends and along with other "kids" from the area used to
play in the hay mows and help with the milking and mucking-out. I remember
that one had to go down a couple of steps to get from the ell into the front
part of the house. There was (and probably still is) a large, brick
cistern in the basement of the ell. I remember it as being at least twenty
feet across and five deep. I have no idea when the place Town Farm was closed."
Buzz Taylor [firstname.lastname@example.org]
"My Mom was town treasurer for the Town of Waterford in OXFORD
County in the late 1940s, then selectman (sometimes called selectwoman) until
1960s .Then my Dad was in late 1970s & early 1980s.
"Selectmen" were called : Selectmen, Assessors & OVERSEERS OF THE
Sylvia Sebelist [email@example.com]
[Note: Sylvia was kind enough to scan and share with us pages from the 1892
Annual Town Report (which reported on expenses for the poor during 1891) which
we have been able to use in a very helpful presentation about how genealogical
researchers can use such reports to locate information about people who were
residing on the Town Farm -- a form of poorhouse. (See below under Records.) PHL
We are privileged to have had historian Jean F. Hankins allow us to present
her previously unpublished article -- "Over the Hill to the Poorhouse":
Otisfield Town Farm, 1865 - 1924. [CUMBERLAND County]
This article gives perspective on historic poorhouse trends throughout the
state, and it will be of interest to residents of other counties as well.
We twisted Clayton Spencer's arm and got his permission to take his e-mail
comments and present them as another article which we have titled: Historical
Survey of Methods
of Poor Relief in Maine. (This article has reference
to the town of Machias in WASHINGTON County.) He explains more
about the use of Annual Town Meeting Reports when doing poorhouse research.
is an excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT
summarizing various state poor laws in
Click on the link above for more information.
Waterford (OXFORD County) 1892 Annual
Town Report -- giving detailed report of Town (Poor) Farm
[Note: This is used as part of a lesson on what genealogical information
can be obtained from poorhouse reports found in town reports. PHL
of Poorhouse Residents in the 1850 Census for Eliot, York
[Note: This is used as part of a lesson on how to locate poorhouses in census
records. PHL ]
of Poorhouse Residents in the Town Farm of Albion,
Kennebec County Maine
from the 1800 Census
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in MAINE through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.