1864 Fulton County Poor House

“One-seventh of the inmates of the Fulton County poor house are lunatics, there being ten of this class, viz. three males and seven females. The whole number of inmates is seventy. Eight are native, and two of foreign birth. All have been admitted since 1857, and six of them have been treated in an asylum. Three males and five females are capable of doing some labor, but at such times as they do not labor, they have no employment or amusement whatever. Six of the number are destructive to their clothing, and three require occasional restraint. The modes of restraint are by handcuffs and confinement, and the exercise of kindness. The house has a supply of water, but no bathing tub. The insane are required to wash hands and face daily. There is no arrangement for ventilation, or the uniformity of heat in the winter. “Are any confined in basement cells?” “Yes.” The building is of brick, two stories high, with ceilings of nine feet, the rooms 18 x 50, with windows 4 x 2 1/2 feet. All the rooms have bedsteads in them; the bedding is of straw, and none sleep on straw only. The diet provided is simple, but nutritious, and all come to the table and receive their food on plates. The sexes are kept separated, but they have no other than pauper attendants. They receive no care with reference to their ultimate recovery the physician visiting the institution only when he is sent for, The location of the poor house is pleasant and healthful, but in its construction it was never designed for the care of the insane. The county does not hesitate to take care of recent cases, even with such barrenness of means for their care.”

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 194.

New York State County Poor Houses.