Women Children And The State

Women Children And The State  ?1920?18605718707310  

In the 1820s, the Allegany County poorhouse committee suggested that there be no difference between the county poor and the town poor. Superintendents were appointed and instructed to buy a farm and build buildings to house the poor. A stone building was built on a 180-acre farm about two miles east of the county courthouse. It was noted that in 1860 the Allegany county poorhouse housed an average of 57 inmates. From the 1870 US Census of the Allegany County poorhouse we gather that it housed 73 inmates as well as two poorhouse keepers and their wives. Another census of the Allegany County poorhouse taken 10 years later shows that there were 62 inmates as well as two families who ran the poor house, one of them with a young son. 

 A federal census is taken every 10 years, in the year ending with zero. It was originally taken so that we may know how many people reside in the United States as well as to give information on men eligible for the military. Given that it has evolved since it was made a law in 1790 we can now find out much more about U.S citizens. Using the Allegany County census we can find out what kind of people resided in the poorhouse. We can determine the number of single mothers, orphans, elderly and sick people that were inmates.
Poorhouses were occupied with people who could no longer take care of themselves. 

This included the elderly, the sick, and the insane as well as orphaned children. Families who could no longer support themselves, as well as individuals with no family could be found in poorhouses. From the 1770 Allegany County Census we gather that 28 males and 45 females inhabited the poorhouse. Five were blind, 18 were insane and 16 were idiotic. In 1880 33 females and 29 males resided in the Allegany County poorhouse. There were more disabilities listed. One inmate was deaf, two were blind, three idiotic, six disabled, and one was both deaf and dumb, while another was both idiotic and disabled.
Though the first orphanage in New York State was established in 1806, it wasn?t until 1875, when the state responded to bad reviews from poorhouse investigations, that a law required all children between the ages of 3 and 16 be removed from poorhouses.
From the 1870 census we learn that seven of the inmates were children between the ages of 2 and 16.F our were male and three were female. 

Three out of seven of these young inmates were orphaned, one female and two males. Six families were present at the poor house. There were two husbands and their wives, three single mothers, and what seem to be two sisters. In 1880 five boys and one girl lived in the Allegany County poorhouse only one of these children was an orphan. Three families that included two single mothers and one husband and wife lived at the poorhouse. Fewer children were present in the Allegany County poorhouse 1880 but officials still didn?t comply with the state law that required the removal of children between the ages of 3 and 16, established five years eairler.
When you look at the Allegany County Censuses from 1870 and 1880 you can see all types of people. The elderly, the insane, families, or people with no families could all be found in the poorhouse. 

The presence of African American inmates was not common in the poorhouse. In 1870 Deberah Pecock was the only African American present. She was 106 years old with no disabilities. I therefore assume she was in the almshouse because of her age. In 1880 the population of the Allegany County poorhouse made significant change. The number of African American inmates changes. One inmate is mulatto and two are black. Charles Nelson was nine when the census was taken. He was the only orphan and African American child there. The nationalities of people that populated the poorhouse also changeed. In 1870 we find that most of the inmates were native New Yorkers, 15 were immigrants from either Ireland or England and one inmate was from Connecticut. The 1880 census shows that the most!
common birthplace of the inmates was still New York. We also see the presence of fewer immigrants with only five being Irish, two Germans, and One Canadian. 

There are also inmates coming from other states including Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont, and Maine.
Using the censuses from 1870 and 1880 of the Allegany poor house, I wanted to learn if inmates that were present in 1870 were also present in 1880. I came across five names that were the same or at least similar. I used Chart I to compare the information provided by the two censuses on these individuals. It was hard to determine if these individuals were the same because of the differences in the information obtained in 1870 and 1880. For example in 1870 we can see that Amanda Way is 40, but ten years later she is only 45. The only thing that leads me to believe that Martha Ozmond and Martha Osborne are not the same person is the spelling of their last names, but the spellings are so close it is hard for me not to draw the conclusion that they are the same person. Another discrepancy is that in 1870 some of these inmates are listed with disabilities but then ten years later they have no disability. 

In 1870 Elizabeth Maffit is listed with no disability, 10 years later E!
lizabeth Maffet is listed as disabled. Is it possible that she could have become disabled between the time the first and second census was taken Or are these just two different people Again the closeness in the spelling of their names leads me to believe that this is the same person and that mistakes may heave been made when the cencus was taken.
Name Age Sex Race Birthplace Disability
Way, Amanda (1870) 40 F W New York Idiotic
Way, Amanda (1880) 45 F W New York Idiotic
Smith, Chancy (1870) 35 M W New York Idiotic
Smith, Chauncy (1880) 46 M W New York –
Crassmond, David (1870) 50 M W New York Idiotic
Crossman, David (1880) 60 M W New York –
Maffit, Elizabeth (1870) 20 F W New York –
Maffet, Elizabeth (1880) 25 F W New York Disabled
Lowell, Clara (1870) 65 F W New York Insane
Lowell, Clarisa (1880) 65 F W Vermont Insane
Ozmond, Martha (1870) 40 F W New York Insane
Osborne, Martha (1880) 51 F W New York Insane
Used to compare the information provided on inmates who may have been present when both censuses were taken
Using the transcripts of the Allegany County 1870 and 1880 censuses we discovered what types of people resided in the counties almshouse, how many families with children were present, how many children were present without families, and if the Poor House complied with New York States 1875 law requiring the removal of all children from almshouses and poor houses. The censuses taken served as a great way for us to look into our history and find out more about the people who occupied the poorhouse. -X


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