1864 Tompkins County Poor House

“The building which contains the cells for the insane is an addition to or an extension of the main building for the poor. It is but one story high, and contains nine cells, varying in size as follows: 8 x 8 feet, 6 x 7 and 5 x 7. These cells have no windows; and when the insane are allowed to go out, they mingle with the sane paupers; but if they are confined at all, it must be in these cells, and they are so confined the most part of the time. The population of the county house is fifty-six. Only six are insane; one other was sent to the State asylum, and one other died. Of the six remaining, one had received treatment in the asylum. Three were able to perform some labor; two required occasional restraint, by handcuffs or shutting in cells. The house has no bath tub, and the insane are required to wash hands and face only three times a week. All the rooms are not supplied with bedsteads; one sleeps on straw, without other bedding. Two eat in their cells, and the others come to the table with the sane paupers, from whom they receive such care as they get. In the cells the air was impure, and one was very filthy. The institution receives recent cases. Their under garments are changed on Sundays. All had shoes during the winter, except one. The lunatics are not visited by a physician unless they are specially sick; and no case receives care with reference to its recovery, even though it be a recent case.”

SOURCE: Documents of the Assembly Of The State Of New York, Eighty-Eighth Session, 1865, Volume 6, Nos. 199 to 112 Inclusive, Albany: C. Wendell, Legislative Printer, 1865, Pages 219-220.

New York State County Poor Houses.

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