1864 Wayne County Poor House

“Of eighty inmates in the poor-house of Wayne county, twenty are lunatics, or one in every four. They have been severally admitted since 1850; thirteen are males and seven are females, Fifteen are of native birth. Fourteen of the cases are mild; two have been discharged during the year, and two have been sent to Utica for treatment. Previous to September, four cases were admitted in 1864; nine cases were admitted in 1863. Five males are capable of doing some labor; the only amusement for the others is going in the yard when the weather will admit of it. One is constantly restrained by handcuffs. The house has no bath tub, and the insane are not required to bathe more than their hands and face daily. One is confined in a basement cell without the privilege of coming daily to the open air. All the inmates have beds or bedsteads, none sleep without them; the straw in the beds is changed every two months. Their food is served on tin plates in their rooms. The rooms are heated by stoves in the hall, but no attention is paid to uniformity of heat in the winter. The rooms are neat and clean; in most of them the air is good. It is intended to separate the insane from the sane paupers. The accommodations are designed for ten lunatics, though twenty are now in confinement, crowded into the meagre room designed for ten. Three escaped during the year who are not returned, and two were removed by their friends. There is no provision for their management or treatment with reference to recovery. The county receives, as will be seen, recent cases. A new building designed to be used exclusively for the insane is in process of erection.”

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 222.

New York State County Poor Houses.