Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1864 Report of the County Poor House

From the 1853-1867 Minutes and Account Book of the Franklin County Board of Supervisors (forerunner of the Board of Legislators) in the collection of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society (1984.118.1):

Among the reports to the 1864 Board of Supervisors from the Committee on Noxious Animals, Committee on Equalization (similar to property assessments), and the Committee on the Court House and Jail, is the November 18, 1864 report of Loyon C. Lathrop, Superintendent of the Poor for Franklin County.

click image to enlarge
List of animals and goods in the inventory of the Poor House

 Transcription of Report:
"The expenditure on account of the Poor House and Farm:  2874.77.  Includes the general supply bills, such as merchants' mechanics', physicians', undertakers', provision, clothing, bedding, fuel, labor hired and also funeral expenses, and all the incidental expenses connected with the house and farm, from which is to be deducted as having been realized from the sale of products of the farm the sum of 280.61 - leaving the amount of expense chargeable to farm from this last amount mentioned deducted as having been expended for the benefit, use of and permanent repairs for the poor house and farm the amount of one hundred and twenty three dollars and fifty cents - as shown by schedule G, leaving the actual expenses of the poor house and farm thus - 2470.66.  The whole number of paupers relieved and assisted at the poor house during the past year, is one hundred and nine persons, an increase of nine over last year, of which number forty five have received permanent relief and support, and sixty four have received temporary relief, as shown by schedules D & E, annexed."

click images to enlarge
List of "permanent paupers" -- those who resided at the Franklin County
Poor House for 52 weeks each year

Transcription of Report continues:
"The number of deaths from among the inmates of the poor house for the year ending with the date of this report, is nineteen, as shown by schedule H. hereunto annexed."

It appears that disagreements in public policy regarding the financial and moral responsibility to provide for the indigent is nothing new, to wit:
"The superintendent would further state that he is well aware of the many denunciations uttered by those unwilling to inform themselves against those upon whom the duty falls, to make or call for the making of appropriations from the peoples money, for the (to them) seemingly reckless and unwarranted calls made upon their generosity for the support of the unfortunate and oppressed who from some sad cause are doomed to eke out a pitiful existence, supported by the charities of those more highly favored or fortunate. To such as may be disposed to find fault with the present call for appropriating for the support of the poor of the county, I can only ask them to review the different schedules hereunto annexed, make a minute of the several amounts noted as the actual expenses of the several towns, notice the list of permanent paupers, as also that of the temporary ones relieved, to which after allowing in all candor actual or necessary expense as he or they in their judgment may deem proper, add the necessary incidental costs occasioned by sickness, death and transportation from the several towns to the county house, at the same time having reference to the present high price of those things most needed for their care, comfort and support, and I fear not but they will consider with me in the present call which I have herein made upon your honorable body as an appropriation for the care and support of the poor of the county which it may fall to our lot to nourish and protect, and not repine that they out of their abundance are permitted to thus contribute their mite. Being about to retire from the position of superintendent of the poor I could not in justice to the poor of the county, the superintendent elect, your honorable body, or to myself do less than I have in stating to you my opinion of the necessary amount to be appropriated for the benefit of the unfortunate under your supervising care, while much more might justly be appropriated to meet this class of expense for the present incoming fiscal year.

All of which is most respectfully submitted.
Dated Malone N.Y. Nov. 17, 1864"

1 comment:

  1. This is the kind of material I had hoped to see when I visited in July. I think my ancestor is listed in Schedule H noted above. If not, He would certainly have been listed in the previous year's report. Can you scan and post the whole account book?