1864 Chautauqua County Poor House

Chautauqua county poor house has one hundred and twenty inmates, twenty-seven of which are insane. They have been admitted at various periods since 1848. Two of these cases have been treated in an asylum. Sixteen of the cases are mild, two are violent, and five are filthy. Ten are confined to the house. Four males and five females are capable of doing some labor. No amusement is provided for any who do not labor. In dry weather the supply of water is insufficient and is brought about a half a mile by teams.

The insane are kept in two buildings; one building is of brick, and the bedsteads in the rooms of this building are of iron, and fastened to the floor. Only one sleeps in a bed, except in one bed, which is occupied by two persons. One sleeps on straw without any bed. The beds are filled with straw, except such as are occupied by the sick, which are of cotton or feathers. The mild cases are kept in one building, and the excitable or violent in another. A man and his wife are jointly employed in the care of the violent cases. The rooms are all heated by a box stove, with wood, from the lower floor, the pipes encased passing through the floor above, it is believed by the overseer that no inmates suffer with cold in the winter.

Paupers arc employed to take care of the mild cases. The rooms are clean and the atmosphere in them is not bad. All are furnished with shoes in the winter, only one would not wear them. The building is designed to accommodate twenty-two, but thirty have at times been confined there. There is no regular medical attendance, nor is ultimate recovery held in view. The duties of the keeper appear to be discharged in a kind manner, and as well as could be done by any one not experienced in the management of the insane. Dr. Barrett observes and justly, “The attendants ought not to be all paupers.” The deficiency in water must be a great drawback to the comfort of the inmates, and the question might properly be raised whether the system of heating is sufficient to warm the building in winter.”