1893 Yates County Poor House

Yates County Poor-house was visited by Commissioner Craig without notice, in company with the keeper, Mr. Charles S. Cook, and the matron, Mrs. Charles S. Cook, July 22, 1893.

The census of the day shows, inmates, 30; of which 23 were men and 7 were women; 4 males and 2 females were idiots or feeble-minded; 2 women were epileptics; none were insane; none were children between 2 and 16 years old.

The buildings remain substantially the same; but new bath-tubs have been put in; though they are not used, for the reason stated, that, being on the second floor, there is no way of supplying warm water for them in the summer weather, when steam is not turned on to heat the house, except by carrying hot water up two flights of stairs. The dormitories for men and those for women are divided into single rooms. This arrangement ensures classification or separation of the decent poor from the vicious pauper while in their respective rooms.

The new bath-tubs not being used for the reason already stated, the women use pails for bathing, and the men bathe in the old movable bath-tub in the detached building known as “the hospital.” In this hospital are two men ill and nearly helpless, who have no care except such as may be given by a pauper inmate, who evidently, is not very efficient, or perfectly trustworthy; and save also such as the keeper’s supervision and occasional presence may insure. One of these sick men has palsy with dementia and occasional delusions. The other sick man has paralysis of his left side, and has to be lifted from and to his bed; but appears intelligent and uncomplaining. The situation, considerably removed from the main building, the dirty floors, the foul smells, and the general atmosphere of the place, aroused a feeling of profound pity for the uncomplaining sufferer. There is not intended any reflection on the keeper, who seemed disposed to do the duty devolving upon him personally, though, perhaps, unaware of the necessity of a better assistant in the hospital. The criticism is on the system which preceded the office of the present keeper. In correspondence with the superintendent of the poor, he writes, that “the building should be called a building for old men, as we do not take sick persons always to that room, but generally leave them in the main building; but the people have got in the habit of calling it a hospital.”

In one of the rooms of the main building was an inmate suffering with ulcers of the foot of a serious nature, who was attended by a pauper inmate. His request that Dr. Wm. Oliver, of Penn Yan, might, rather than the visiting physician, give him professional attendance, had been granted, showing evidence of the humane consideration of the wishes of the patients. One woman inmate, stricken with apoplexy and dying, by name Angeline Merritt, is remembered as giving evidence on former visits, of being an efficient and faithful helper, though an invalid. There are not wanting cases in poor-houses of which this is an instance, showing not only self respect, but due regard for others, and disposition to become useful on the part of the unfortunate, but worthy poor.

There is no dietary established as yet by the new keeper; but the diet includes fresh beef twice a week. Dr. McGovern, the physician, visits once each week, and whenever called.

The rooms in the main building, their contents and inmates were clean and in good condition, except remnants of bedbugs, against which a well conducted fight was in progress. The general administration under the new keeper and matron, who took office last April, appears to be relatively good, and likely to improve under their manifest purpose to do right.

The annual salary of the keeper and matron is $500; the physician receives two dollars per visit; being about $160 last year, exclusive of medicines. The weekly cost per capita is one dollar and nineteen cents.

Among other suggestions implied in the foregoing criticisms, it is recommended that the detached building, known as “the hospital,” so long as it may be used as such, for any cases, be put in cleaner and better condition, and under the care of a resident assistant, other than a pauper.”

SOURCE: Annual Report of the State Board of Charities for the Year 1893, Transmitted to the Legislature February 1, 1894, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1894, Pages 497-499. 


1893 Monroe County Poor House

Monroe County Poor-house was inspected without notice, by Commissioner Craig, in company with Mr. David M. Hough, chairman of sub-committee of county visitors, and accompanied by Mr. C.V. Lodge, the warden, July 24, 1893. An official visit with the same company was made in the preceding winter.

The number of inmates in Monroe County Alms-house, July 24, 1893, was 266; of which men were 174, and women were 92; infants under 2 years old were 2; epileptics were, men, 5, and women, 2, total 7; idiots were, males, 3, females, 1, total, 4; blind were, men, 2, women, 1, total, 3; of insane there were none, and of children between 2 and 16 years of age there were none. Number of State paupers, males, 5, total, 5, as follows:
No. 316. Jacob Zimmerlee.
No. 1803. John Hoyt.
No. 1827. Michael Welch.
No. 1837. Frank Aubry.
No. 1836. John Murphy.

In 1892 an addition was built to the east wing of the male department, 50 x 60 feet, and four stories high, with slate roof, to correspond with the old part. A lavatory, 15 x 18 feet, and four stories high, was also built on the north side at the junction of the new and old parts, and connected with the main building by a cross corridor. The addition is built of brick and finished on the inside, on the brick, with two coats of paint and a coat of spar varnish-no plaster. The floors are hard maple and the ceilings corrugated steel, except the fourth story. It is heated by steam, with Bundy radiators, having flues from the bottom, through the wall to the outside air.

Ventilation is secured through ventilating flues in chimneys, with steam coil in the top, to insure circulation. The fourth story has a ceiling of Georgia pine and trussed roof, leaving a clear floor, 50 x 53 feet, eighteen feet hjgh. This room is used as a hospital ward, and can accommodate thirty patients. The first, second and third floors have a few rooms for employes, but are mainly used as dormitories, and have a capacity of about 100.

The floors in the lavatory are iron beams with brick arches and white vitrified tile. The second and fourth stories are each fitted with a white indurated fibre bath-tub, a spray bath, two large iron sinks, a urinal, with slate back and sides, and two washout closets. The first and third stories are fitted just the same as above, except that they have no bath-tub. Total cost, $15,000. The present season a grain barn has been built, adjoining the horse barn, with stables in the basement for cattle, at cost of $3,400.

The bread and other articles of food were examined, and found good, on the day of inspection and the day of preceding visit. The land cultivated is said to supply all the vegetables except potatoes. The milk of eleven to fifteen cows is used by the inmates. The dietary, with comments of the warden, is copied verbatim from his written statement, as follows, to wit: Winter diet-table for Monroe County Alms-house, 1892-3:

Breakfast – Rice, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat, potatoes, pickled beets, bread, ginger cake, coffee or tea.
Supper – None.

Breakfast – Corn meal mush, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat, potatoes, turnips, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Oatmeal or soup, syrup, bread, tea.

Breakfast – Rice, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat and potatoes, bodied cabbage, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Corn meal mush, or soup, syrup, bread, tea.

Breakfast – Oat meal, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat and potatoes, onions, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Oat meal, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.

Breakfast – Rice, bread, syrup, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat and potatoes, boiled cabbage, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Corn meal mush, or soup, syrup, bread, tea,

Breakfast – Rice, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Codfish and potatoes, pickled carrots or onions, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Oat meal, syrup, bread, tea.

Breakfast – Corn meal mush, syrup, bread, coffee or tea.
Dinner – Meat and potatoes, turnips, bread, coffee or tea.
Supper – Oat meal or soup, syrup, bread, tea.

By “coffee or tea,” is meant that both coffee and tea are provided, and the inmates have their option. The meat provided is beef. Some is salted, but mostly fresh. Three times a week soup is substituted for oat meal or corn meal, but not always on the days marked on this table. The hospital ward is provided with the same diet as given in the diet table, and in addition stewed dried fruit twice a week, butter for supper for all; and buttered toast and bread three times per day with milk or milk punch as the physician may order. From sixty to seventy quarts of milk per day are used on that ward, and from three to four dozen eggs. In the summer time one day in the week pork and beans are subtituted for beef.

For vegetables in summer, potatoes are used every day, and turnips, green peas, tomatoes, string beans and cabbage as the gardens may be able to supply. Cherries were given to every inmate when ripe on the trees. Once a week this summer a dry stew with baked dressing and once a week a dumpling stew is given. With the above variation the summer diet would be the same as in’ winter. Three hundred and eighty pounds first class turkey were provided for Thanksgiving dinner.

There are two paid chaplains, viz., Rev. J. Ross Lynch, Protestant; and Rev. John P. Stewart, Roman Catholic. Each chaplain holds Sunday services, and ministers to the inmates as they may severally need. There is one visiting physician, viz., Frederick Remington, M.D., of Rochester, who visits the poor-house each day. There is also a resident assistant physician, or interne, who receives fifteen dollars per month. On inquiry the inmates of the hospital and the infirm in other wards, without exception, stated that the principal physician, Dr. Remington, visited them respectively each day, or so often as needed and desired. No complaints were made by inmates in these or other respects.

The beds and dormitories were generally clean and in good order on the day of inspection. Ladies who accompanied the inspectors remarked that some of the bedspreads and bedding had gone too long without washing; but none of the sheets or beds examined, including those of filthy persons, appeared to be soiled. Samples were examined in every ward and dormitory.

The statements of ordinary inmates, as well as of assistants, confirmed the advices from the warden, that one of the two sheets on each bed is changed every week in ordinary cases, and in addition, so often as the needs or habits of infirm inmates make necessary or proper, in some cases several times a day; and that each inmate is bathed once a week in clean water. The closets and bath-tubs were clean and generally in good order. Some of the closets with plumbing, however, are not so good as those in the new hospital for men.

The inmates of the hospital for men seem comfortable under the administration of the paid attendant, verifying the opinion of the board that the sick and infirm should be cared for by competent and faithful persons other than pauper inmates. The general conclusion from the foregoing and all the facts observed on the said inspection and former visit, is that the administration of the Monroe County Poor-house is excellent.

Warden’s salary, per year, $1,000; matron’s salary, per year, $360; physician’s salary, per year, $1,000; assistant physician’s salary, per year, $180; chaplain’s salary (Roman Catholic), $150; chaplain’s salary (Protestant), $150. Last year’s cost of medicines, in addition to salaries of physicians, $809.99. Weekly cost per capita for year, one dollar and thirty-five cents.”

SOURCE: Annual Report of the State Board of Charities for the Year 1893, Transmitted to the Legislature February 1, 1894, Albany: James B. Lyon, State Printer, 1894, Pages 500-504.