Pawtucket Poor Farm (Providence County)
from The History of Pawtucket 1635 - 1876 by Susan Marie Boucher,
published by The Pawtucket Memorial Library in 1976.
More RI Poorhouse Photos
R.I. State Alms House
When you get to the site it will
have two sections. One on the right and one on the left. On the left
type in "Coventry" and then hit the quick pix button and a bunch of
pictures will show up in the right hand section. The poor house is in
the second row first from the left.
Dexter Asylum photograph in the
American Memory Collection
the phrase "Dexter Asylum" (without the quotation marks.)
Here is the Rhode
Island excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT
summarizing various state poor laws in 1904.
Click on the links above for more information.
|Historical Notes excerpted from
-- The History of Pawtucket
(as was the photo above)
|Submitted by Ray
|- Nicknamed the "Pest House"
- Established by the town council in 1875
- Elderly residents lived in a dormitory behind the main building,
was a barn on the property.
- There was a two story building known as the Pest House, near the
dormitory, where the diseased and sick elderly were
- Men spent their days on the farm growing things, while the women
engaged in knitting and sewing and other work on the long
|In 1882 the Newport Poor House and Farm on the
92-acre Coasters Harbor Island was donated to the Navy by the City of
Newport and the State of Rhode Island on the condition that the site
would be used for the training of recruits.
This postcard shows a row of canons along the water at that Naval
Training Station at Newport, Rhode Island.
|"I do recall that there is a "Poorfarm
Road" in Coventry, [Kent County] RI; and I was told that one
was located there, thus the name. I am only going on
"hear-say" and family stories, maybe someone can give us
James A. Mulligan email@example.com
|"I remember the house on Poor Farm Rd. in
Coventry....off Rt.117 ...
if I remember correctly...a large 2
story close to the road and very plain...an exact duplicate of my
Grandmothers house in Charlestown, RI...now restored...I'll send you a
picture of my Grandmother's if you like...it was built about 1830
and probably the one in Coventry was also. I
know the farm was always referred to as Holden
T. Mauro mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
|And .... here is the picture
Dave Mathieson has submitted some historical
notes about the first Almshouse in the
state of Rhode Island -- The City of
Newport Almshouse [Newport County]
"Cumberland's poor house was
where the high school stands now on Mendon Road. There's a
cemetery out front that's
Alan Green email@example.com
Island Poor Farm/Town Asylum Records
|We are very pleased to announce that Bob
Sherman, a professional historian who works for the Rhode Island
Historical Society has provided us with a very instructive lesson in
how to find poorhouse historical information and records throughout
the state. This is an
extremely helpful and very specific document which lists the nature
and location of many, many records. PHL
RHODE ISLAND POOR FARM
want to place a link on your Rhode Island page to the RI Cemetery
Database Project. This has been an ongoing project the past nine or ten years to document RI cemeteries and
their occupants, especially all the out of the way ones including prisons, poor farms, asylums, etc. There isn't a
specific, separate listing for poor house inmates
but they are often included in larger town and city cemeteries. They
have been doing great work and have a searchable
database on the web with a much more detailed database available at
local libraries here. Check it out , it might be a very useful link for researchers."
Robert L. Sherman [firstname.lastname@example.org]
NOTE: Thanks to Bob's tip we searched
this list of descriptions of the cemeteries they have or are considering
in the database and found the following notes about cemeteries which
seem to be poorhouse cemeteries (or have something to do with poorhouses.) PHL
ISLAND CEMETERY DATA BASE
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: BR001
NORTH BURIAL GROUND
Location: 15 ft west of HOPE ST (RT 114) AT ASYLUM RD at TEL pole # 134
9000 burials with 4000 inscriptions NOTE: In 1822 the town purchased a tract of land on
the Neck for the purpose of erecting a "House of Industry" (poor house). At the town
meeting 17 April 1822 it was voted "A part of said town land be set apart for a burying ground, the same to be well
enclosed. This cemetery covers 30.8 acres. 18.9 is now being used and 11.9 acres at the west end is for
future expansion. The transcript of this cemetery was done in 1978 as a CETA project by two people known
only as MJR & AB. It only covers about 1/3 of the cemetery in the southeast corner. This cemetery
has been recorded but not checked.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: CU014
MENDON ROAD NOTE: (Poor House Cemetery), the remains were removed to
#15. This cemetery has not been recorded.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: CY188 TOWN
FARM NEW CEMETERY
Location: 20 ft north of POOR FARM ROAD NOTE: Arnold visited on November
3, 1904, Vol. 6, page 311, 'Beside the farm wall south side of road, the Town Farm new
cemetery, no markers yet, several are buried here.' Shows on George Matteson map on NW corner of
Town Farm and Poor Farm Roads. There are no gravestones evident in 1997. This cemetery has
been recorded but not checked.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: CR552 TOWN
SOUTH OF KNIGHTSVILLE STATION NOTE: James Arnold visited this lot
1891 (Vol 1, Pg 74) A few rods south of the Knightsville Station and a short
distance from the railroad bridge there is quite an extended burial lot of the poor who died on the Town
farm. We understand that the first burial of the poor on this farm was precisely where the railroad bridge
now is and were removed here when the railroad was built. This cemetery has been recorded but not
checked. This cemetery is not registered and has not been located.
EXETER HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: EX025 JOHN CHAPMAN LOT
Location: 10 ft south of PURGATORY RD
30 burials with 9 inscriptions from 1762 to 1801
40 ft x 80 ft in fair condition no enclosure; sign in fair condition
Tax Assessors Map #: 50 Plat #: 2 Lot #: 4
NOTE: At junction of Purgatory Rd & William Reynolds Rd. According to
George Harris, who recorded this cemetery in 1880, there is a large grave in the
northeast corner of this lot containing the remains of the town poor who were
burned in the Peckham holocost. There are 13 graves turned 90 deg to the rest,
the reason for this is unknown.
EXETER HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: EX029
CAPT JOHN REYNOLDS MONUMENT
Location: 20 ft north of ALLENTON RD at TEL pole # 157
25 ft x 25 ft in fair condition enclosed with granite posts and iron rails;
sign in fair condition
Tax Assessors Map #: 68 Plat #: Lot #:
NOTE: 1/8 mile east of route #2. This is not a cemetery, it is a monument to
Capt John Reynolds on the old poor farm to which he gave money.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: FR060 SPEARS
Location: 10 ft north of NORTH RD at TEL pole # 13 500
burials with 393 inscriptions from 1816 to 1991 NOTE: Council Bk 8 Pg
342 7 Oct 1905
Henry Nye appointed to procure lot for burial of poor
and marines of late Civil War. recorded 1992 by Donald
Boyden for FPS This cemetery has been recorded but not
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: GL109
GLOCESTER RI Location: 350 ft
north of TOURTELLOT HILL RD 20 burials with 2 inscriptions from 1831 to
1848 NOTE: Sayles #108. 1/4 mile north of Chestnut Oak Rd., north of the
poor farm. The driveway passes north and east and it is close to a
house. This cemetery has been recorded but not checked.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: PO019 TOWN
FARM LOT PORTSMOUTH west of WEST MAIN
ROAD at TEL pole # 161 41 burials NOTE: The Portsmouth Ayslym, the town
poor farm. When the institution rules were formulated in 1838, the 11th
rule included the provision that " "All persons dying at the
Assylum (sic), his or her relations or friends may have the liberty of
burying them at their own expence (sic); but if at the town's expense,
they may be buried at the Assylum or elsewhere at the discretion of the
Commissioners" (repr. in John T. Pierce, Sr.'s "Historical
Tracts of the Town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island," Portsmouth, 1991,
p. 60). No transcription known at this time (1998); the 48 names entered
in the database come not from gravestones, but from lists of
"Inmates died at the Asylum" 1847-1875 in the "Book of
Registry for the Portsmouth Asylum" at RIHS. The institution rules
make it clear that some of these people may have been buried elsewhere.
Two people were buried here from outside the poor farm. An additional
three names for a period preceding the RIHS records have been entered on
the basis of Benjamin Pearce's coffin records (BP); these show
inexpensive coffins for names marked "Town House." In 1975
CETA gave the location as "on Raytheon property on the south side
of their buildings," but they did not record the stones. Not found
by Ian Kohl 1989. This cemetery has not been recorded.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: WK090
WARWICK POOR FARM CEMETERY WARWICK RI ASYLUM
RD at TEL pole # 12 100 burials with 0 inscriptions 135 ft x 150 ft in
good condition no enclosure; sign ??? Tax Assessors Map #: Plat #: 372
Lot #: 2 NOTE: Arnold visited this lot 25 Oct 1891; Vol 4 Pg 228. On the
Asylum farm northeast from the house, lot fenced, some neglected. This
was the cemetery for the Warwick Asylum (poor farm) from 1870 to 1943.
Also buried here are paupers from elsewhere in town. The early markers
are plain fieldstones, the later ones are cast concrete with no
markings. The data on the burials comes from the almshouse records. This
cemetery has been recorded and checked.
||HISTORICAL CEMETERY #: WKA20
BUDLONG-BRIGGS LOT WARWICK RI WARWICK
POOR FARM NOTE: James Arnold visited this lot 25 Oct 1891; Vol 4 Pg 170.
In a corner of the Asylum farm, graves mostly obliterated and overgrown.
This cemetery has been recorded but not checked.
|We are hoping to build this base of
information about poorhouses in RHODE ISLAND through the helpful
participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of
interest by sending e-mail
to The Poorhouse Lady.