Here is the New
Jersey excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT
summarizing various state poor laws in 1904. .
Click on the links above for more information.
Morris County -- Boonton Poor House -- historical
NOTES FROM READERS:
"My great grandparents ran the poor house that was in
Millburn/Short Hills, [Essex County] New Jersey for a number of years.
The Poor Farm was located on what is now White Oak Ridge
Road in Short Hills, Essex County, New Jersey. The fire station now
stands on the front portion of that property which was quite large at that
time. In the 1910-1920 range George W. Trowbridge (1868-1940) and his
wife Rachel (Sandford) Trowbridge (1875-1945) farmed the land and tended the
cows. They also ran a milk delivery wagon into local towns.
Their children often helped with many of those chores. By about 1923
Philip Ayres Ross (1890-1965) and his wife Helen Trowbridge Ross (1900-1986)
had taken on the poor farm and ran it for a ten year contract with the town
according to one of their sons. The family moved from the Poor Farm
approx. in 1933. A that point Earl James (1905-1995) and Mary James
(1898-1982) took over the operation of the farm. How long they ran the
Poor Farm I do not know.
It had a very large house which sat way back from the road,
at least two large barns. I do not have information about how it
operated earlier and such. But I do know it existed. I'm sure if I
keep digging I can find a picture or two. Will let you know when we
The Atlantic County Almshouse is mentioned in a booklet
entitled "Sightseeing Tour of Atlantic City, Ventnor City, Margate City,
Longport, Ocean City, Somers Point, Linwood, Pleasantville, Northfield, West
Atlantic City." This text was a lecture originated by "Pat"
McGeary. This was during the 1950's.
"Camden County, NJ had an almshouse as far back as the mid to late 18th century when it was part of
Gloucester County, NJ. This was used by both counties after Camden
separated from Gloucester in 1844. Camden County built its own in 1864, enlarged
it 13 years later and again in 1881. A separate hospital ward was built after
which the Camden County Almshouse was said to be the most complete in NJ. There
was also an Insane Asylum and a farm and residences for the superintendents of
The complex, located on Asyla Road in lower Gloucester Township, Camden
County, was known as Lakeland until the early 1990's when that name was dropped
for the county Health Services Complex. Some of the original hospital buildings
remain and there is a potters field on the grounds with largely unmarked graves.
Whether they contain almshouse residents or unlucky hospital patients, I could
not say and do not know where records, if any exist, might be located. However,
early Freeholder Minutes of the period do record the names of the
superintendents at these facilities and the budgets adopted for them. These
Minutes, unpublished and in long hand, are stored in the County Courthouse.
I do not know if there was an apprentice system for the young inmates of the
An old published map of Essex County makes reference to an Ivy Hill
Alms House. If anyone has further information about this institution, it would
be very much appreciated.
The great grandson of the Superintendent of the Millburn Township Poor Farm in
Essex County has
provided us with an abstract of
notes about that institution.
(See also his Notes From Readers comments above.)
The Morris County GenWeb site contains a
page with excerpts from newspaper articles exploring the history of poor
relief prior to the establishment of a poorhouse in 1837, the issue of what to
do with the old almshouse cemetery in 1899, and the establishment of a
separate children's home.
We have just published a scan of a "broadside"
(poster) of an 1840 report of the Poor-House Establishment of the Township of
Hillsborough, Somerset County, New Jersey.
(Note: This page takes a while to load because it is a
scanned page image.)
"There was an Almshouse/ Poorhouse located at Branchville, Frankford
township, Sussex county.
It was right next to the current Sussex County Main Library which is at
125 Morris Turnpike. There is also a cemetery connected with it across the
"My grandfather and grandmother (Edwaed
McGrath) and subsequently my father and mother ( Walter Summerton) were
superintendent and matron of the Elizabeth Almshouse [in Union
1960 when they retired. The almshouse was closed shortly after that.
The original picture that you show on the website was added to and expanded.
It was located on the Newark NJ city line in the county of Union
at what is now Newark International Airport. The original complex
consisted of a main building for inmates and superintendent and his family, two
barns, a corncrib and a chicken house. It had extensive acreage which we
farmed, and a pasture for cows. There were also two horses and a wagon and
buggy. These were gradually phased out to be replaced by tractors and a
station wagon. In 1946 the buildings were torn down to make way for an
US Rte #1 and an expanded Newark International Airport which now covers the
entire original area. At that time the inmates were moved to what was
originally the Elizabeth Isolation Hospital for Scarlet Fever and Diphtheria and
the name changed to The Eaton Memorial Home until it closed about 1960. My
five siblings and I were brought up in the poorhouse and, in fact, three
of them were born there -- which fortunately did not stigmatize them! At
one time there were as many as 70 to 80 inmates but at the time of closing only
about 20 to 30. There was a potter's field at Eaton Memorial when the
buildings were finally torn down to make way for a Holiday Inn but the city made
sure there were no remains. If anyone has any information to add I would
be happy to hear."
Jeanne Summerton Spangler Jeannes@attworldnet.net
"On the subject of
poorhouses in Warren County, it should be noted that the records for the Mansfield
Poor House are kept at the Warren County Historical Society, in file drawers in
an attic area. They're not in any particular order, so a researcher should have
a date range in mind before searching them and might also want to make an
appointment beforehand as searching may take longer than the scheduled two hours
when the library is open to the public. I searched records covering 1875-1878
but don't know the full extent of the records they have.
I don't know if Warren County had more than this one
poorhouse during those years. Later, I believe, Warren Haven in Oxford was where
indigents were supported...someone can confirm this, I'm sure.
I was led to the poorhouse records originally by
requesting a death certificate from Trenton. They sent me a photocopy of a whole
page of deaths recorded at the poor house.
Anyone who would like to discuss the Mansfield Poor
House further, can write me."
List of Residents of the Atlantic
County Poorhouse from the 1850
of Residents of the Newark City Almshouse from the 1880
In the 1870 Federal Census on Roll 855 for Camden
County on page 83, in Washington Twp, PO Williamstown there is an Alms House
listed with 114 residents.
of Residents of the Middlesex County (Woodbridge Township) Poorhouse
from the 1860 Census
of Residents of the Middlesex County (Woodbridge Township) Poorhouse
from the 1880 Census
The Morris County GenWeb site contains Abstracts
from Poor Records 1769-1779 from Pequanock Town Book I
of Residents of the Morris County (Boonton) Poor Farm from the 1850
of Residents of the Morris County (Boonton) Poor Farm from the 1860
of Residents of the Morris County (Boonton) Poor Farm from the 1870
Residents of the Warren County Poorhouse from the 1850 Census
Remember the horrendous problems encountered in HUDSON County when the
stumbled across thousands of burials from an old multi-use former
poorhouse cemetery? No?
(Well, scroll down the page to see the earlier stories.)
Now, Bill Hastings has updated us.
contains the list of all the names on this memorial, etc.
Click on these pictures to enlarge them.
(These are copied from Bill's website.)
This beautiful memorial (with
individual names inscribed) is being dedicated in a ceremony to mark the
re-interment of these remains in a beautiful cemetery. "The
monument service will be held on October 24, 2004 2:00pm at the
Maple Grove Park Cemetery 535 Hudson Street, Hackensack, New Jersey.
Photos of the monument as well as the cemetery in general are available
" Bill Hastings
But Wait! ... The
story is not finished.
Talk about irony!
That pauper cemetery in Hudson County
NJ -- remember? Well, their attempts to do the right
thing were further thwarted when they totally unexpectedly
stumbled across unmarked graves -- not again! -- at the location
where they were ready to place remains transferred from the old
startling find at cemetery halts reburial"
Thursday, August 7, 2003
The online publication NorthJersey.com
featured an article from the North Jersey News to which we have received permission
to link below.
unearthed from forgotten graves under turnpike
|The article tells
a very poignant story ... including the following encouraging
"Disinterment is expected to be done by the end of summer,
and by late fall the bodies will be reburied in the Hoboken
Cemetery in North Bergen, with a memorial listing the names of the
dead. The turnpike will also pay for upkeep and landscaping at the
| Sadly, we
recently had to report the following on our NEWS
News January 17, 2003
Today Judge Thomas Olivieri made his
decision today to grant the Turnpike Authority the right to
disinter the remains of those found in the section of cemetery lying
within the Secaucus Interchange Project, to be re-interred at the
Hoboken Cemetery in North Bergen, New Jersey.
To view the BURIAL LIST and other information
please visit this website.
|November 11, 2002
To Whom it May Concern;
I am the descendant of a person interred at
the Hudson County Burial Grounds located in Secaucus, New
Jersey. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority wants to move all 3,500
remains into a common grave. I do not believe the public has
been notified of this topic enough. I have started a petition
[see above PHL ] to help show support of the public
being against this matter. Our online petition as well as our
paper petition has been circulating for just two days now and
has been getting tremendous response. I have sent a letter to
the judge in charge of this case and await his reply. I want the
right to speak to the judge about this case in court. I want the
public to be well informed of this matter.
I want your help in spreading the news of this situation.
Bill T Hastings
COVERAGE about Poorhouse History
was the topic ... on the radio again!
Thursday, November 14th 2002
8:00 - 9:00 AM (EST)
issue was the local controversy about how to deal with the
abandoned cemetery mentioned above in which were buried some 3500+
people from the local poorhouse, a mental hospital, and a jail.
However, the radio station wished to help the community better
understand what the poorhouse really represented.
Morris County -- Boonton Poor House -- cemetery
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in NEW JERSEY through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.