The Poorhouse

Discussion in 'Other Reminiscences' started by Hal Pollner, May 29, 2018.

  1. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Well-Known Member
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    When I was a kid back in the 1940's, there was occasional talk about "The Poorhouse", where people would go who became destitute. I never hear it mentioned anymore.

    I would hear people say "You're gonna drive me to the Poorhouse", or "If this keeps up, we'll be in the Poorhouse".

    I never saw a Poorhouse...is it a big building or just a house?

    Is it run by the County, the State, or the Federal Government?

    I don't believe any of us have to worry about "going to the Poorhouse"!

    Hal
     
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  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I never heard that as a child....we were pretty well off. Not rich but close to upper middle class.
     
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  3. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    We had them over here Hal, they were called 'the Workhouse'
    You worked till you bled, little food and certainly no comforts
    Charley Chaplin and his Mother was sent to one
     
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  4. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Very Well-Known Member
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    I remember the saying. One description that I remember was...……"if a person continues spending money the way they do, they will wind up in the "Poorhouse".
    "If you keep asking me for money, the way you do, you will drive me to the "Poorhouse".

    Both meaning, a change in lifestyle. IOW, going from shopping at Saks 5th Avenue, to shopping at Walmart for clothes. Eating out at very nice restaurants, to eating at McDonald's or Denny's.

    Having to get rid of the Jag and getting a Galaxy 500.

    Change in lifestyle is what it comes down to.

    Most say it as a joke, but some do mean it.
     
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  5. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I saw them mentioned a few times in "Call the Midwife". ...horrible!!
     
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  6. Cody Fousnaugh

    Cody Fousnaugh Very Well-Known Member
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    Actually, the best thing to do, so as not to hear the phrase, is to...……..been rich and/or Upper Class and not have to worry about money and spending it. There are folks here that are exactly like that. There is a part of Jacksonville that looks like Beverly Hills.
     
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  7. Hal Pollner

    Hal Pollner Well-Known Member
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    I was born in the later years of the "Great Depression", and the watchword often heard in those days was "Brother, can you spare a dime?"

    Hal
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    the "poorhouse" was part of my vocabulary, growing up, too but I think the term comes from England or elsewhere in Great Britain. Charles Dickens, maybe?
     
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  9. Bill Boggs

    Bill Boggs Veteran Member
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    Maybe it was because we we're very poor but the poor house didn't seem so faraway in my growing up years. It was referred to often. A poorhouse was generally a County run facility, supported with public funds, a home or place to stay and sleep for the financially destitute old, who were stove up so they could not work and often included old veterans. There used to be one in my town I would walk past occasionally. An old person would be sitting out on the porch from time to time. I asked my daddy about the place and he said, 'son, that's the poorhouse.' It was eventually torn down. I don't know where it's occupants went or if there were any left who hadn't died off.
     
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  10. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Greeter
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    When I was growing up in Sandpoint, Idaho, there was the remains of the county Poorhouse; but it was not in use anymore by then, probably because there was more social structure for helping the poor, and welfare was just starting up at that time.
    From what I have read about it, people stayed there and then they worked on the farm/garden to help pay their way and supply food for everyone.
    I am not sure what era it was used in, but I am guessing maybe between the depression and the Second World War timeframe.
    It was in the country, but not a long ways out of town, and when I was a kid, we used to ride our horses out the old gravel road that the poorhouse was on.
    Since it was close to the railroad tracks, sometimes we would see hobos who had been camping in there between trains. This picture was probably sometime in the 1960’s, and taken when it was being torn down.
    5682E281-A5C9-4D23-B775-6389BF09E730.jpeg
     
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  11. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    I'd hear about these places when I was growing up..all closed down long before I was born in the 50's... .

    I was told several stories by my grandfather about his parents who had to spend some time in the workhouse where they were placed when they lost their jobs and then their homes and became poverty stricken . From what I remember husbands and wives were totally separated and forbidden to spend any time with each other.


    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/475994/Before-welfare-True-stories-of-life-in-the-workhouse

    here's an interesting piece...
     
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  12. Harry Havens

    Harry Havens Well-Known Member
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    A lot of people called it the poor house, but it was most often called the county farm, as it was supported by the county. It was generally just women and children, whose husbands were no longer in the picture for whatever reason. My oldest brother was a local politician at the time and it fell in his district. As such, he was in charge of distribution of commodities to that location as well as to individual homes. This was in the late 50s and early 60s that I remember, although there is plenty of evidence to indicate it had been around since the early 1800's. Widows and children of Kentuckians from that area, killed at the River Raisin Massacre.

    The county plowed up ground for gardens and provided canning supplies, etc. It was subsistence farming.

    Not sure when it ceased to exist, or the circumstances. Possibly replaced by other federal programs.
     
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  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    People would make comments about the poorhouse in more of a joking way, as in, "If you buy that you're going to send us all to the poorhouse," but I don't know if there ever was such a thing. When I was young, the county government provided for the welfare of people who needed assistance, and they were said to be "living on the county."
     
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