1864 Livingston County Poor House

“There are in the county poor house of Livingston one hundred and fifteen paupers, of whom fourteen are lunatics. Six are males and eight females; eight are of native birth. They have been admitted at various intervals, since 1848. Eight of the cases are mild, and several are violent only by paroxysms. Five have been treated at the State asylum. Five males and four females are capable of labor. The amusement for the others is reading, and walking in the yard and grounds. Two require occasional restraint, either by straight jacket or by being shut in cell. The house has water, but no bath tub. The insane are required to wash every week, and hands and face daily. Each room and cell has a window opening out of doors. The building is heated by large coal stoves. All the rooms are warmed. The building is superior to most of those in the rural districts. Dr. D.H. Bissell says: ”The treatment of the insane in our county house is all that can be desired for the insane confined there. They are mostly old and confirmed cases, not benefitted by medical treatment. They are generally mild in their behavior, with two or three exceptions, and they are only occasionally violent.” The inmates are fed, comfortably clothed, and well warmed in winter. The sexes are kept separated, and their care is not committed to paupers The rooms are scrubbed every week, and the air in them is as good as can he expected where so many are congregated. They have clean under garments every week. The county does not receive recent cases, but supports them at the asylum at Utica. It has ten cases there at this date. All had shoes and stockings during the winter. The building was designed to accommodate twenty, but twenty-four have been confined there at one time. Two escaped within the year who were not returned. Those who are kept at the county house, are considered incurables and receive no treatment.”

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 198-199.

New York State County Poor Houses.