Massachusetts. State Board of Charity.

Annual report online

. (page 48 of 60)
Online LibraryMassachusetts. State Board of CharityAnnual report → online text (page 48 of 60)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

or town almshouse for a period of more than two months are :
(1) those who are so defective in body or mind as to make their
retention in an almshouse desirable; (2) those who are under
two years of age; (3) those who are under three years of age,
with mothers who are almshouse inmates and suitable persons
to aid in taking care of them. In cases of failure of Overseers
of the Poor to remove children illegally in almshouses, the State
Board of Charity is required to remove them and provide for
them otherwise, at the expense of the city or town concerned.
(Revised Laws, chap. 81, sect. 6 ; Acts of 1905, chap. 303 ; also
Acts of 1913, chap. 112.)

Digitized by VjQOQ IC


Provision is made that tramps and vagrants, as well as crim-
inals, shall be confined in separate and distinct quarters in all
almshouses, and shall not be permitted to associate or communi-
cate with pauper inmates. (Acts of 1905, chap. 348.) Alms-
house officials knowingly violating this law are liable to be
punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars, or
by imprisonment for not more than six months, or by both such
fine and imprisonment. (Acts of 1904, chap. 274.) It should
also be noted that tramps and vagrants, if physically able, shall
perform labor of some kind, and shall be lodged under condi-
tions prescribed by the State Board of Health, (Acts of 1905.
chap. 344.)

The State Board of Charity is authorized to advise with and
assist Overseers of the Poor in the preparation of plans for alms-
house buildings. (Acts of 1905, chap. 162.)

Inspection of Almshouses.

During the official year every almshouse has been visited once
by the inspector, 19 have been visited twice, and 3 three times.
The inspector has also conferred with Overseers of the Poor or
their representatives of 34 cities and towns in regard to alms-
house conditions, or on other matters pertaining to the business
of the Board. "Individual members of the Board have made a
number of visits. The good work and hearty co-operation of
the Board's appointed almshouse visitors still continues.

Plans for New Almshouses.

Plans have been carefully prepared for new almshouse build-
ings at Manchester and Lenox.

Almshouses closed.

The almshouse at Millbury has been closed; the town has
joined the Charlton Almshouse Association, and its indoor poor
af-e provided for at the Charlton Association Almshouse.


In 170 almshouses the management is in the hands of a war-
den and matron, and in 8, of a matron only. The combined
salaries of these officials average about $1,228 per annum for

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


the cities and about $535 for the towns, in addition to their
board and lodging; the total amount of all salaries being $114,-
137.50. About three-quarters of the towns employ a total of
498 assistants, who are generally paid by the town, but in a
few instances by the warden. In a number of cases the warden
performs other services for the town, without extra compensa-
tion. The greatest length of service in any one place is that of
Waltham, where the warden and matron have served thirty-one
years ; at Lexington there has been a like service of twenty-nine
years; at Pittsfield the warden has served twenty-eight years
and the matron nineteen years; at Haverhill the warden and
matron have served twenty-six years ; at Springfield the warden
has serv^ed twenty-five years; at Bridgewater the matron has
served eighteen years ; at Beverly the warden has served eighteen
years; and at Harwich the warden and matron have served
seventeen years. Twenty-four cities and towns are reported as
employing a total of 151 nurses in almshouses, as follows:
Beverly, 2; Boston (Long Island), 60; Cambridge, 5; Cohasset,
1; Concord, 1; Fitchburg, 2; Fall River, 5; Gloucester, )S;
Greenfield, 1; Haverhill, 16; Holyoke, 3; Lancaster, 1; Law-
rence, 8 ; Lowell, 8 ; Lynn, 2 ; Maiden, 2 ; Milton, 1 ; Xew
Bedford, 5 ; North Adams, 1 ; Rockland, 1 ; Salem, 4 ; Spring-
field, 5 ; Westfield, 2 ; Worcester, 13. It appears to the Board a
matter of no little importance that in every case of serious
illness, where hospital care is not available, the service of a
nurse should be procured.

Twelve cities and towns are co-operating with local district
nursing associations, and as a result the district nurse is called
to the almshouses in these places whenever needed. The Board
urges the extension of this practice where district nursing asso-
ciations are established and where regular nurses cannot be
permanently kept in the almshouses.


In 110 almshouses one or more sitting-rooms are provided
for the use of inmates; 5 use corridors for sitting-rooms; and
54 use dining-rooms. There is in all a total of 158 sitting-
rooms and 2,965 sleeping-rooms, in addition to 29 wards and 91
dormitories. There are 6,147 beds. There are 114 smoking-

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


rooms and 17 assembly-rooms. One hundred and thirty-five
almshouses have improved plmnbing. In 9 the heating is by hot
air; in 12, by hot water; in 107, by steam; in 31, by stoves;
in 7, by hot air and stoves ; in 1, by hot air and hot water ; in

3, by hot air and steam ; in 4, by hot water and stoves ; and in

4, by steam and stoves. Oil furnishes light for 104 almfihouses,
electricity for 66, gas for 4, gas and electricity for 2, and oil
and electricity for 2. Fire escapes appear to be provided in all
cases where they are a matter of importance. In 95 almshouses
special hospital accommodations are provided, either by setting
apart one ar more rooms, or, in a few instances, by separate
buildings. The total valuation is $4,698,260.74. The cost of
repairs and improvements for the year amounts to $122,299.50,

Number of Inmates.

The number of inmates of all the almshouses at the time of
visitation was 4,643, viz., 2,650 men, 1,871 women, 56 boys,
and ijQ girls ; the largest number in any one almshouse being 955
in Boston (Long Island), besides 91 in Boston (Charlestown),
and the smallest, 1. Among the other almshouses with large
populations may be mentioned Lowell, with 390; Fall River,
with 198; Cambridge, with 190; Worcester, with 157; Law*
rence, with 150; New Bedford, with 141; Holyoke, with 133;
and Springfield, with 127. The ages of the inmates of all the
almshouses were as follows: fifty-five imder 2; thirty-one be-
tween 2 and 5 ; fourteen between 5 and 15 ; twenty-two between
15 and 21; one hundred and twenty-one between 21 and 30;
two hundred and twenty-nine between 30 and 40 ; five hundred
and thirty-eight between 40 and 50 ; eight hundred and ninety-
four between 50 and 60; one thousand three hundred and
twenty between 60 and 70 ; nine hundred and eighty between 70
and 80; three hundred and eighty-seven between 80 and 90;
fifty-one between 90 and 100; and one over 100; or, under a
different grouping, one hundred and twenty-two were under 21
years of age ; three hundred and fifty between 21 and 40 ; one
thousand four hundred and thirty-two between 40 and 60 ; and
two thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine 60 and over. In
60 of the almshouses there was a complete separation of the
sexes; in 30 the sexes were separated at night only; in 45 they

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


were separated except at meals ; in 17 there was no separation ;
in 3 there were no inmates ; and in 23 the inmates were all of
one sex. Board was paid by friends, or by themselves, for a total
of 105 inmates. There were 334 able-bodied inmates under
sixty years of age at the time of visitation. There were 20
soldiers and 18 soldiers' widows.

Coiuiumptivo Imnataf .

There were 103 consumptive cases found in 11 almshouses,
viz., Boston (Long Island), 81; Essex, 1; Gloucester, 2;
Ipswich, 1 ; Leominster, 1 ; Lowell, 5 ; Mansfield, 1 ; Pittsfield,
1 ; Taunton, 3 ; Weymouth, 3 ; Worcester, 4.

It was reported that the 85 patients in Boston (Long Island),
Essex, Gloucester, and Ipswich were separated from the rest
of the inmates, and received special treatment and diet; that
the 13 patients at Lowell, Pittsfield, Weymouth, and Worcester
were partly separated from the other inmates, and received spe-
cial treatment and diet; that the 4 patients at Mansfield and
Taunton were not separated, but received special treatment
and diet ; .and that the patient at Leominster received special
treatment only.

The Board has always urged separation and special treat-
ment and diet in all cases of consumption. In cases where
these conditions cannot be complied with, the attention of the
overseers or boards of health has been called to the necessity
of better care, and a recommendation made that the patient
be placed in one of the State sanatoria.

DefectiTO Imnataf.

In 167 almshouses there was a total of 1,542 defective in-
mates, of whom 599 were reported as mentally defective, 69
epileptic, 707 cripples, 119 blind, 23 mentally defective and
cripples, 5 cripples and blind, 4 deaf and dumb, 2 mentally
defective and blind, 7 mentally defective and epileptic, 4 epilep-
tic and cripples, 1 epileptic, mentally defective and cripple, 1
mentally defective and deformed, 1 mentally defective, deaf
and dumb. The presence of persons believed to be insane is
brought to the attention of the State Board of Insanity.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


During the last year a total of 149 tramps was found in 17
almshousefl. In 15 of these they were wholly separated from
the other inmates, as the law requires, and were lodged and
fed; and in 2 they were separated and fed only. The alms-
houses having tramps were : Belchertown, 1 ; Boylston, 2 ; Brim-
field, 1; Harwich, 1; Holliston, 7; Marshfield, 4; Saugus, 2;
Sherbom, 2; Stow, 21; Sturbridge, 5; Sudbury, 1; Swansea,
7; Wareham, 21; Webster, 1; Westfield, 60; Westford, 3;
Westport, 10. In view of the fact that in some communities
the lodging of tramps and vagrants is allowed, in contravention
of the provision of law requiring suitable housing conditions
and a work test, the statute embodying those provisions is

Acts of 1905, Chapteb 344.

An Act relative to the lodging op tramps and vagrants by
cities and towns.
Cities and towns which provide lodging for tramps and vagrants
shall require them, if physically able, to perform labor of some kind
in return for the lodging and food furnished to them; and the
places in which such persons are lodged shall be kept in such order
and condition as may be prescribed by the state board of health.
[Approved April 26, 1905.

libraries of Books.

The following towns provide libraries of books for the in-
mates: Boston (Long Island), Brookfield, Carlisle, Fairhaven,
Framingham, Groton, Lowell, Maiden, Manchester, Marl-
borough, Melrose, Montague, New* Bedford, Newburyport,
Newton, North Andover, Somerville, Spencer, Springfield,
Waltham, West Brookfield, Westfield, Wobum, and Worcester;
and in a few instances newspapers are regularly supplied.

Farm and Farm Products.

In connection with the 178 almshouses is a total of about
17,000 acres ; of these during the past year 1,852 were ploughed
and 3,570 were tilled. Among the towns having the largest
acreage are Gardner, with 400 acres; Worcester, with 376
acres; Ipswich, with 365 acres; North Adams, with 300 acres;

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


and Brookfield, with 297 acres. Boston (Long Island) tills
135 acres, and Worcester, 100 acres. The chief products are
' milk and vegetables. Some 'of the other products* are hay,
apples, cream, pork, butter, poultry, strawberries, small fruits,
and plants for market.

Fir0 Protection.

It seems absolutely necessary that every almshouse should
be equipped with some form of fire protection, and it is grati-
fying to note that nearly all the boards of overseers have com-
plied with this recommendation.

ImproTementi and Repairs.

The following improvements and repairs have been made as
a result of the Board's recommendations: вАФ

At Ashland, new floors laid ; Bellingham, improved plumbing
installed; Blackstone, inside painting; Charlton, constant hot
water introduced in men's bath-room, a bath-room for the war-
den, set tubs in the laundry ; Clinton, better light for stairways ;
Concord, new floors laid ; Conway, poles erected and a tele-
phone installed ; Douglas, a new water supply secured and water
conducted to house; Haverhill, new water-closets; HoUiston,
bath-room for inmates; Groton, house remodelled so as to pro-
vide for better separation of sexes ; Hopkinton, improved sewer-
age system; Marblehead, new concrete floors in toilet rooms;
Peabody, additional water-closets; Provincetown, new bath-
room installed ; Wilmington, kitchen sink waste pipe relocated.
At Deerfield the custom of housing tramps has been discon-

Other improvements and repairs are: At Acton, roofs re-
paired, plumbing repaired ; Adams, inside painting, plastering,
papering, repairs to roof, boiler and sewer, also new storage
batteries installed and electric light plant greatly improved;
Amherst, ordinary repairs, new silo; Andover, shingling and
ordinary repairs, a new detached smoking-room built ; Ashbum-
ham, barn and shed shingled, papering, inside painting by
warden ; Athol, water system put in order, cupola on bam, new
floor and steel ceiling, minor repairs in house; Attleborough,
all shingled, new floor and other repairs to bam, painting and

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


renovation in house; Ayer, general repairs in house, bam ell
and outbuildings shingled, ordinary repairs in house, bam in-
side painting and papering, plumbing repaired ; Bedford, steam
heat installed, new bam in process of construction; Belcher-
town, new silo; Bellingham, new floors; Beverly, general re-
pairs in house, furnishings, cement work; Blackstone, inside
repairs and painting by warden; Boston (Long Island), re-
placing of routine equipment, to keep plant in perfect condition ;
Boylston, new ice house; Brimfield, shingling, painting and
ordinary repairs ; Brockton, new barn ; Brookfield, general reno-
vation in house; Brookline, new plumbing, painting, and gen-
eral repairs; Cambridge, stables painted, dormitory enlarged;
Canton, general repairs ; Carlisle, new wagon shed and poultry
house, repairs to bam and water system; Chicopee, four new
ceilings; Clinton, a hospital room arranged, entire house
screened; Concord, a bath-room for warden installed; Dana,
inside painting and papering; Dartmouth, new tile floor in
bath-room and walls given a sanitary finish, new floor in war-
den's dining-room, sheds shingled; Dedham, ordinary repairs;
Deerfield, outside painting, new conductors on house, new roofs
on outbuildings; Dennis, ordinary repairs; Douglas, minor re-
pairs on house; Duxbury, new windows, blinds repaired, build-
ings painted ; East Bridgewater, town water introduced ; Easton,
new heater, set tubs installed; Essex, sea wall, storm windows
and repairs at barn; Fairhaven, inside painting, new boiler;
Falmouth, repairs to stable and new poultry house ; Fitchburg,
renovation of warden's part, inside painting, and electrical re-
pairs; Foxborough, ordinary repairs; Framingham, repairs to
bam, inside painting, new bedding; Franklin, new sills under
bam and shed ; Gardner, water system improved, house painted ;
Georgetown, barn and shed repaired, ice house repaired;
Gloucester, shingling, inside painting and general repairs, new
refrigerator, a motor for wood sawing installed ; Greenfield, in-
side painting, papering, repairs to plumbing; Greenwich,
ordinary repairs; Groton, necessary repairs; Groveland, house
shingled ; Hanover, inside painting and papering; Harvard, im-
provements on barn,. inside painting in house; Harwich, house
shingled, new well ; Hingham, hot air pump, new silo, ordinary
repairs; HoUiston, painting; Holyoke, general repairs; Hop-
Digitized by VjOOQ IC


kinton, inside painting and plumbing repaired ; Hudson, driven
well and electric pumping outfit; Huntington, house newly
slated; Ipswich, water system improved, heater repaired;
Lawrence, outside painting, new piggery, new silo; Lee, in-
terior renovated ; Leominster, addition to barn, set tubs installed
in house, steel ceilings, roofs repaired; Lexington, necessary
repairs ; Lowell, new barn, minor repairs at aknshouse ; Lunen-
burg, inside painting; Lynn, steel ceilings, papering and paint-
ing; Maiden, new bath-room, laundry improved and rebuilt,,
and new laundry machinery installed; Mansfield, new wagon
shed built; Marblehead, new plumbing, new hot water piping,
new fioor in kitchen, new ceilings and electric wiring; Marl-
borough, hospital ward greatly improved; Marshfield, two
rooms renovated; Mattapoisett, shingling; Maynard, inside
painting; Medford, ordinary repairs; Medway, minor repairs;
Melrose, interior painting; Methuen, new cesspool; Middle-
borough, granolithic walks laid; Milford, ordinary repairs;
Milton, roofs repaired, painting and papering; Montague, steel
ceiling in kitchen, interior entirely repainted, bam shingled,
bath-room renovated; Nantucket, painting and plumbing re-
pairs; Natick, inside painting; New Bedford, plans drawn and
work begun on new dormitory to accommodate fifty men ; New-
bury port, inside painting and plumbing repaired; Newton, re-
pairs on plumbing and heating; North Adams, general repairs;
Northampton, repairs on stable; North Andover, new wagon
shed and cow bam, repairs on heater; North Attleborough,
inside painting and new screens complete; North Brookfield,
barn repaired ; North Reading, hot-water boiler and set tubs
installed, new floors laid in kitchen and one other room ; Ox-
ford, new heating plant, new chimney, and extensive general
repairs; Peabody, improvement in heating plant, plumbing
improved, and shower bath installed ; Palmer, extensive repairs
on bam, ordinary repairs on house ; Pembroke, inside painting
and papering; Pepperell, improvements in house and town
water introduced ; Pittsfield, city water installed ; Plymouth,
cellar newly cemented, new hot-water boiler; Provincetown,
ordinary repairs ; Quincy, minor repairs ; Randolph, new floors,
new boiler, and roofs repaired; Salem, new floors in two cor-
ridors, repairs to boiler and plumbing, new lavatories, barn and

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


fences painted; Saugus, general repairs, set tubs installed;
Seekonk, bam shingled ; Sharon, vegetable cellar built, also new
poultry house; Sherborn, plumbing repairs; Shrewsbury, new
piazza built, plumbing repaired; Somerset, house shingled, in-
side painting and papering, new furnishings; Southbridge,
ordinary repairs; South Hadley, painting, shingling and dap-
boarding; Spencer, new poultry house built and light hard-
wood floors laid by warden; Springfield, four additional dor-
.mitories built, new heating and electric lighting plants installed ;
Stoneham, electric lights installed, boiler moved and repiping,
new chamber floor, repairs on bam ; Stoughton, new boiler and
set tubs; Sturbridge, bam repaired, chimney rebuilt; Sutton,
new woodshed, steam pipes covered, and new silo built;
Swansea, improvements in plumbing; Taunton, new refriger-
ator, new boiler, repairs to plumbing and electric wires;
Tewksbury, new windmill; Townsend, ordinary repairs; Ux-
bridge, new driven well, general repairs; Wakefield, buildings
painted outside, general repairs, electric lights installed; Wal-
tham, new boiler; Ware, new silo; Wareham, general renova-
tion, five rooms papered; Warren, two rooms newly furnished,
inside painting by warden; Watertown, boiler and plumbing
repaired, house screened; Webster, house painted inside,
whitening, bam repaired; Westborough, new piazza floors and
concrete steps, electric motor for pumping water; West Boyls-
ton, bam shingled; West Bridgewater, extensive repairs on
bam; West Brookfield, new silo and concrete work about
bam; Westfield, electric wiring, buildings painted, and
ordinary repairs; West Newbury, house painted outside, some
inside painting and papering, new steps ; Weston, outside paint-
ing and general repairs; Weymouth, 2^ acres waste land
cleared by inmates, a chapel, bath-rooms renovated, and new
floors, improvements at bam ; Wilmington, new silo ; Winchen-
don, painting and papering, new poultry house ; Worcester, new
piggery, cow bam repaired and milk room built, blacksmith
shop improved, new cottage built for farmer, also ordinary re-
pairs ; Wrentham, repairs to plumbing, inside painting.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


Recommendatioiui made.

The following su^estions and recommendations have been
made by the Board during the year: to the overseers of the
poor of Amherst, that electricity^ be installed foi* lighting pur-
poses; Ashland, that the almshouse register must be kept at
the almshouse; Billerica, that there is serious need of better
protection about the vrood-buming stoves in the inmates' rooms ;
Buckland, need of fire protection; Chicopee, renewing recom-
mendation of last year relative to better separation of sexes
and the need of an additional bath-room; Dedham, need of
improved plumbing in bath-rooms ; Easthampton, need of some
means of fire protection ; Fairhaven, calling attention to the
presence of a child in the almshouse beyond the time limit
allowed by statute and requesting that other provision be made
for him; Fitchburg, general renovation of bath-rooms recom-
mended; Framingham, recommending the installation of one
new bath-room and two additional water-closets; Grafton,
recommending improvements in water supply; Ipswich, need
of some means of fire protection; Lawrence, recommendation
that a child be examined with a view to determining his mental
condition, and if he be fpund defective, admission be applied
for at the School for Feeble-minded; Lee, that the almshouse
register must not be removed from the almshouse; Maiden,
need of a sitting-room for the women inmates ; Mansfield, need
of an adequate water supply, also the necessity for a new alms-
house; Marlborough, recommendation that suitable lockers be
provided for inmates' clothing; Marshfield, recommendation
that extensive repairs and improvements be made to present
building or a suitable almshouse be erected; Medford, that
electricity for lighting purposes be installed ; Methuen. that the
register should not be removed from the almshouse, also recom-
mended that electricity for lighting be installed; Milton, over-
seers' attention called to the absence of both acting warden
and matron at time of inspector's visit; Monson, that other
provision should be made for a child at the almshouse beyond
the limit allowed by law; Newburyport, recommended that
electricity for lighting be installed ; North Attleborough, recom-
mended that a smoking-room, preferably outside the building.

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


be arranged; Huntington, recommended that some manner of
fire protection be provided ; Quincy, reconmiended that privies
be relocated in a less objectionable situation; Reading, recom-
mended that an additional bath-room be installed; Rockport,
recommended that a smoking-room be arranged ; Somerset, need
of fire extinguishers or some other means of fire protection;
Stoneham, need of better accommodations for an old and untidy
inmate; Stow, that the present practice of housing tramps be
discontinued; Sturbridge, need of new floors; Swansea, that
housing of tramps be discontinued; Taimton, the following
recommendations were made: a new bath-room and an addi-
tional water-closet for men, a sitting-room for women, better
laundry equipment, and better segregation for consumptives;
Townsend, renewing the recommendation of last year that a
bath-room be provided; Upton, recommended that roof be re-
paired and an additional bath-room be provided; Waltham,
the attention of the overseers was called to the prolonged absence
of the matron; Warren, that other provisions be made for a
child remaining at the almshouse beyond the legal time limit;
Wareham, that the practice of housing tramps be discontinued,
that a suitable system of heating be installed and that the men's
dormitory be painted ; Westfield, need of removing the women's
bath-room to the women's part of the building; Weymouth,
recommended that other provision be made for an inmate suffer-
ing from consumption, and suggesting that admission be ob-
tained to one of the sanatoria ; Woburn, twice calling the atten-

Online LibraryMassachusetts. State Board of CharityAnnual report → online text (page 48 of 60)