A Cure for the Winter Blues
BYOB Painting Parties
Sunday afternoon get-together at the schoolhouse
to celebrate the Pennsylvania Impressionists
Our “wish we were there scene” was inspired by the maritime works of Joe Crilley. This painting delights with the sense of a summer sail in Nova Scotia aboard the province’s premier racing ambassador schooner, The Bluenose II. We call our version The Bluenose III.
Questions? Call 267 614 3515
Relief for the Poor in Late 18th Century and Early 19th Century
Lecture by Jesse Crooks
Sunday, March 5
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the schoolhouse
(snow date March 12)
From the colonial era until the rise of the modern welfare state, the poor residents of Bucks County relied on a social safety net that was administered at the local level. Township officials called Overseers of the Poor were tasked with levying a poor tax and providing financial support or in-kind relief to residents who were unable to provide for themselves. This system became more centralized following the opening of the county almshouse in 1810. Also known as the poorhouse, poor farm, and later the Bucks County Home, the almshouse took in people who faced financial hardship for a wide variety of reasons. This ranged from farm laborers who couldn’t find work in the winter to the elderly, sick, mentally disabled, and even pregnant women, who would come to the almshouse to give birth and then remain there during their postpartum “lying-in” period.
While the poor relief system was designed to save people from abject poverty, some of the methods employed would be considered inhumane by modern standards. Almshouse residents were considered inmates, and they frequently ran away. The psychiatric care was particularly problematic, and before the establishment of state-run psychiatric hospitals, individuals considered dangerously insane lived in chains at the county almshouse. Until the state’s anti-miscegenation law was abolished in 1780, the Overseers of the Poor were also tasked with binding out mixed-race children as indentured servants.