Legislative Timeline


1647 - "Under the Dutch government...provision was made for the support of the poor in this colony, out of the fines imposed for offenses committed, and out of the collections made in churches."

1674 - Laws established by the Duke of York for the government of the colony declare "that 'for the making and apportioning of the assessments for building and repairing churches, and for the maintenance of the poor, etc.' eight overseers should be chosen, and to whom certain powers were granted."

1683 - "The first legislative assembly ever held in this colony, passed a law 'for the defraying of the public and necessary charge of each respective city, town and county throughout this province, and for maintaining the poor, and preventing vagabonds.'"

1702 - "An act was passed 'to prevent vagrant and idle persons from being a charge and expense to any counties, cities, towns, manors, or precincts, within this province.'"

1720 - "An act was passed 'to prevent vagrant and idle persons from being a charge and expense to any counties, cities, towns, manors, or precincts within this province.'"


1784 - Act for the Settlement and Relief of the Poor (Chapt. 35 Laws of 1784 - Senate 52).

1788 - Laws enacted to bind out poor children as apprentices and servant; Act for the Better Settlement and Relief of the Poor (Chapt. 62 Laws of 1788 - Senate 78).

1824 - Act to Provide for the Establishment of County Poorhouses (Chapt. 331 Laws of 1824, Passed November 27, 1824). Orleans County is still part of Genesee County when this law is passed. Yates Report


1830 - Nehemiah Ingersoll, Elisha Wright, and Avery Starkweather are appointed superintendents of the poorhouse. The County Board of Supervisors appropriates $2,000 for the use of the "county poor establishment."

1830 - "Resolved, that the distinction between the town and the county poor be and the same is hereby abolished, and that the expense of maintaining all poor shall be a county charge." Superintendents of the Poor House are directed to locate land on which to construct a building.

1833 - Orleans County purchases 94 acres of land from the Holland Land Company for $517.34 on which to erect a poor house.

1854 - Act in relation to the office of the keeper of the poor-house in the county of Orleans is passed on April 10, 1854. The County Superintendent of the Poor is authorized to be the keeper of the poor house and is elected for a three-year term. The law also sets forth guidelines for the removal of the Superintendent and the filling of a vacancy.

1865 - State authorizes the establishment of the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane and appropriates $75,000 (Chapt. 342, Page 556 - Senate 1865).

1878 - H.D. Waldo, Gates Sherwood, and Berton Keys approve the construction of a new poor house building. The work is completed by Cornelius Finecan and Superintendent of the Poor George Clark.

1890 - The Orleans County Board of Supervisors directs the Superintendent of the Poor to measure off land on the southeast corner of the property for the burial of those who die while in the poor house. The Superintendent is to relocate bodies interred in the current burial grounds.

1905 - A new hospital wing is dedicated by the County Board of Supervisors for the care and upkeep of the mentally ill.

1960 - A new county home and infirmary is constructed on 20 acres of land west of the Village of Albion.

1962 - The poor house complex on West County House Road is demolished.


Journal of the Assembly of the State of New York at their Forty-Seventh Session, 1824.

Legislative Timeline