Poor farms

Research materials > Poor farms

general materials on the history of poor farms/poorhouses in New England:

according to the “Wendall” 1885 town directory, supt of the Poor Farm that year was Frank W. Russell

Annual Report of the Selectmen, Overseers of the Poor, Treasurer and Town Clerk of the Town of Wendell for the Year Ending, Feb. 10th, 1899, together with the report of the School Committee and Sinking Fund Commissioners, and Auditor (Turners Falls, MA: Printed by Cecil T. Bagnall, Proprietor of Reporter, 1899)

month-by-month expenses show specific payments for individual paupers:
March 12:
– William G. Holden ($6 state aid- same below unless otherwise noted)
– Lucy A. Barrows ($4 state aid)
– Geo. H. Russell, ($4 state aid)
March 26:
– R.L. Sibley, board of Chas. Rogers, February and March ($25.97)
– Geo. H. Russell
– Wm. G. Holden
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Town of Orange, aid furnished J.H. Whitney ($36.85)
– E.D. Graves, groceries for Mrs. Begor ($6.75)
– E.S. Putnam, groceries and wood, Mrs. Lund ($60.51)
– John H. Wentworth, expenses in moving Polander to hospital ($7.79)
April 26:
– Chas. C. Blaney, treasurer Medfield Insane Asylum, on acct. Wyman ($18.72)
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum ($169.16)
– Wm. G. Holden
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
– F.F. Johnson, M.D., servies and attendance State pauper ($11.75)
– Andrew Baker, aid to C.O. Lock ($8.64)
– Franklin County Hospital, board of State pauper ($21)
– N.D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, month of April ($11.39)
– John H. Wentworth, expenses to Tewksbury with State pauper ($10.05)
May 28:
– Wm. G. Holden
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Geo. H. Russell
– Henry L. Hoyt, expense in selling town farm property ($4) **
– J.H. Sears, B.B.L. Flower, C.O. Lock ($5.50) – no reason given
– N.D> Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers month of May ($12.18)
June 25:
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Wm. G. Holden
– James B. Marsh, clothing for Chas. Rogers ($7)
– E.D. Graves, groceries to Mrs. Begore ($8)
– Andrew Baker, groceries and cash to C. O. Lock ($7.45)
July 1:
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum, bill ($169)
– Wm. G. Holden
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
Aug. 4:
– N.D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, month of July ($12.18)
Aug. 27:
– Nelson D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers ($12.18)
– Geo. H. Russell
– Lucy A. Barrows
– Wm. G. Holden
– S. J. TenBrook, M.D., professional services, Mrs. Begor ($10)
Sept. 9:
– Nelson D. Plumb, board of Chas. Rogers, September ($11.70)
– Andrew Baker, goods to C.O. Lock ($1)
– E.D. Graves, groceries and wood to Mrs. Begor ($18.98)
– Alburn Fiske, 1 3-16 cord wood to Wm. Johnson ($5.50)
– Alburn Fiske, shoes and stockings for Kezar children ($3.15)
– H.L. Hoyt, selling grass on town farm ($3) **
– Lewis F. Babbitt, treasurer Northampton Insane Asylum, bill ($170.84)
Oct. 29
– W.D. Strong, house rent for Boleo family ($24)
– Russell, Barrows, Holden, Plumb/Rogers
Nov. 26:
– Holden, Russell, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
– Charles M. Ballou, keeping seven tramps overnight ($3.50)
Dec. 12:
– Mrs. L.P. Lewis, mileage of Mrs. Murry’s children (6.50)
Dec. 30:
– E.D. Graves, groceries, Mrs. Begor ($17.89)
– Holden, Russell, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
Jan. 4:
– Babbitt/Noho ($170.84)
– Russell, Holden, Barrows, Plumb/Rogers
– Alburn Fiske, 4 1-6 cords wood to Wm. Johnson ($13.50)
– Andrew Baker and John H. Wentworth were paid $35 each for their “services as selectman and overseer of poor”
– F.E. Johnson, M.D., professional services to Boleo family ($4.40)
– Chas. M. Ballou, keeping four tramps overnight ($2)

Feb. 10, 1890 [sic – should be 1899] assets include $70.41 due from the state for state paupers (13)
and “Other Resources” on Feb. 10. 1899 include $800 from the Town Farm

Selectmen were Alburn Fiske, Andrew Baker, and John H. Wentworth – they were also the Overseers of the Poor

p. 15 notes that the Overseers of the Poor hired Charles Rogers, boarded by Nelson Plumb for $2.75/wk – he was the “one boarder that is fully supported” and was 78 years old
“Tramps lodged over night, 7.” (15)
four people were lodged in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital at $42.71 each per year, with the remainder ($687.43, noted on p. 16) being paid by the state (15)
the state paupers account brought in $176.78 (p. 16)
½ the cost of cattle inspection was $23.25 (16)
“Sale of personal property from town farm” brought in $88.53 (16)
sale of “Hay from town farm and common” brought $34 (16)
“G.A. Lewis, wood from town farm” brought in $22.50
“Use town farm pasture” brought $5
“Apples sold from town farm” brought $2

Note: a G.A. Lewis was also paid by the town for inspecting meat (eg. a $22.75 payment on Dec. 12)

“Copy of an Old Report” includes info from 1842-43, which the 1899 Selectboard thought would “prove both interesting and instructive” (pp. 21-22)
Support for the Poor cost the town $431.47 in 1841 and $535.09 in 1842, for a total of $966.56 (total expenses were $1975.46, so this was a very considerable part of the town’s financial burden)

the Wendell Town Report for 1967 notes $300 budgeted for “General Relief,” of which only $81 was spent ($6 for wood purchased from Robert Ballou and $75 for groceries at Donelan’s Supermarket) – however, nearly all of the $2000 budget for Aid to Dependent Children was spent – there’s a note on p. 15 about $786.40 in federal moneys expended for this – pp. 38-39 note the shift into Medicaid and that this will be the last year the town bears these expenses – has been part of Eastern Franklin Welfare District – there’s a budget on p. 42 showing various expenditures and receipts – looks like money was coming in via the state, perhaps shifting to federal programs at that point?