January 24, 2009

Poor Farms



Down the road there is a cemetery in a meadow that is all that is left of a Poor Farm that the County of Annapolis ran in the 1800s and the turn of the century. Apparently there were quite a few all over Nova Scotia (Marshalltown, Woodsville Halifax...). There are census records kept for the "inmates" - the infirm, elderly, impoverished and disabled who lived and laboured there for their keep. I'll have to get to St. Mary's University in Halifax to track down some literature on this, as the internet is pretty unhelpful. A poor farm is one of the settings for the 1969 film about Helen Keller A Miracle Worker. And here is an article about Saint Mary’s University anthropology student's field work on a Poor Farm site in Cole Harbour.

4 comments:

Isabelle said...

Here is a link from the Nova Scotia Archives (not far from Saint Mary's University) with a story about another Poor House that existed about three blocks from where I presently live: http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/halifax/exhibit.asp?ID=45. There would be a lot of these forgotten graveyards in Nova Scotia.

anne said...

Have you heard of a poor farm in Halifax as well as that huge home...or was it there?

Isabelle said...

The poor farm story from the archives is in Halifax. I would say it is where the Gorsebrook School presently stands. Another source that would probably be a good help for more information is the public library (http://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/index.php). I'm sure someone in the "reference" section could help dig up some information.

Isabelle said...

Here's another link that looks promising: http://www.canadianmysteries.ca/sites/jerome/contextes/maladiementale/indexen.html.