Poorhouse talk at Annual Meeting Oct. 22

Ledgers from the Delaware County Poorhouse will be on display at the meeting.

Ledgers from the Delaware County Poorhouse will be on display at the meeting.

An illustrated talk on the Delaware County Poorhouse will be presented Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown’s annual meeting and luncheon.

The event begins at noon at the HSM hall, 778 Cemetery Road, Margaretville. It will include a report on HSM’s activities over the past year. Current and prospective HSM members are most welcome.

Admission is $20 and reservations are required for the luncheon of roast turkey with dressing or vegetarian lasagna. Call 845-586-2860 by Oct. 14 to reserve your seat.

The program, which follows a short business meeting and HSM trustee election, will be given by Delaware County Historian Gabrielle Pierce. “Down and Out at the Delaware County Poorhouse” will reflect on lives lived (and lost) during the years that the Home existed, c. 1828-1965.

Pierce has been County Historian since 2010 and has done considerable research into this almost forgotten Delhi institution where hundreds of area residents spent months or even years. Her presentation will utilize narration, photographs and interviews with individuals who lived and grew up at the Home, and will also cover the cemetery at the site.

The Poorhouse, located on Arbor Hill Road, was home to poor, homeless, and indigent families and adults from all over the county, including Middletown. It also housed the “feeble and insane,” the disabled and the sick (there was a special section for those with tuberculosis).

Unmarried pregnant women and those whose husbands had left them lived there with their infants and children, many of whom were born and died there. In later years people without heat who could not stay in their homes during the winter found shelter at the Home.

The facility was believed built in 1828. It burned in 1862 but was immediately rebuilt with residents moving back in in 1863. It ceased to operate in 1963 when the buildings and 100 surrounding acres were sold. A new county infirmary was built in 1964 on Route 10, Delhi.