“Cattaraugus county house has forty-nine inmates, seventeen of whom are insane. The lunatics have been admitted at several periods since 1838. Thirteen are of American birth. Thirteen are likewise mild cases; seven are of filthy habits. None have ever been treated in an asylum. Two cases were admitted in 1864, previous to August 12th. Five males and six females are capable of doing some labor. The others have no form of occupation. The violent are restrained by locking them up in a dark room. The house has no bathing tub. Some of the bedsteads are of iron and a part are fastened to the floor. In some of the beds two persons sleep. Straw is used for bedding and is changed as often as it becomes foul. The food is distributed in dishes to each one. No attention is given to free ventilation, nor to uniformity of heat in the winter. When indoors the sexes are kept separately; the keeper and his wife having a general superintendence over them. They have clean clothing once a week and oftener if necessary. One had no shoes during the winter. The building is designed to confine twenty lunatics, but nineteen is the highest in confinement at any one time. The insane are visited by a physician every week, and oftener if they are ill, but circumstances do not allow of any treatment with reference to recovery. They are as clean and comfortable as the system of management is calculated to make them.”
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 183-184.
New York State County Poor Houses.