1864 Sullivan County Poor House

“The building in which the insane poor of Sullivan county are confined, is fifty yards from the poor house. It is roughly constructed and sets low on the foundation. The frame is hemlock, planked and sided with the same material. It is divided in one room through the center, with cells on either side all unfinished. The center room is heated by stove and the cells are only heated from this room either by a door or an aperture through the door. The rooms in the poor house building for the accommodation of the more mild cases are 10 x 10 feet. The number of paupers is sixty-four; twelve are lunatics; four are capable of labor. Those who do not labor have no form of amusement or occupation. The house has water but no bath tub. No arrangement is made for ventilation. There are three rooms that have no window opening out of doors. Seven sleep on straw without bedsteads or beds, the straw being changed (as for horses,) some every day others once a week. The building is heated by stoves with wood for fuel. No attention is paid to the uniformity of heat in winter, nor to ventilation. Only paupers are employed to care for the insane. The cells were tolerably clean, but the atmosphere not good. The, arrangement is made for sixteen lunatics, but twelve is the greatest number confined at any one time. It is creditable to say that six of the number confined have at some time received treatment at Utica. The county receives recent cases, but does not make provision for their treatment with reference to their 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 218.

New York State County Poor Houses.