1864 Lewis County Poor House

“There are only forty-one paupers in the Lewis county poor house. Eleven are insane, three males and eight females. It is creditable to the authorities that six of this number have received treatment in an asylum. The oldest resident is a female who was admitted in 1829—thirty-five years ago. She has never received treatment in the State asylum, as hers was a chronic case long before that institution came into existence. Five of the number are able to labor; three arc destructive; and three require occasional restraint with leather muffs. The house has a full supply of water, though no bathing tubs.

The building is of brick, two stories high and basement. The rooms are located in the middle of the floors with halls on the outside, (after the style of cells in a prison,) and the windows open into the halls, (so that the rooms or cells receive light, if at all, through the doors opening into the halls,) and the bedsteads are fastened to the walls. For bedding straw is used, which is changed as often as necessary, for some, every two or three days. Those who are able, go to the table, and others receive their meals in tin dishes. The building is heated with a furnace. The sexes are not kept entirely separated; male attendants are occasionally employed to care for female lunatics, and pauper help to the keeper of the house is the care they receive. This institution is designed to accommodate sixteen. No case receives care with reference to its ultimate recovery.”

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, Page 198.

New York State County Poor Houses.