Saturday, August 10, 2019

Collins Mix and the Tioga County Poor House - Part 3

Welcome to Part 3, sorry for the broken up posts but the story ended up being longer when you type it all out!  Plus you know summer is busy!!  I tend to do more research in the winter!

So back in Part 1 and Part 2, we were learning about Collins Mix, who died in the Tioga County NY Poor House.  My cousin and I found the actual Keeper's Book that named him, and in that book we found out some additional information about Collins - he wasn't put into the Poor House just the one time.  Unfortunately, it was many times.

Here's the listings for Collins that my cousin and I found in the Keeper's Book:

The first listing of Collins in the book was 21 June 1845:  Collins, age 67, brought in by a Joel Robinson (many people were), after a bit of looking on the magic internet, I found a Joel Robinson who was the "Superintendent of the Poor" for Candor, Tioga County in the book, "The New York State Register, for 1843".  It's pretty likely it's the same guy then.  There are typically 3 columns to check for each person: "Lunatic", "Idiot", and "Mute" and none of these columns were checked for Collins.  Sometimes there would be a column for "Foreigner" and/or "Colored".

Next up, 12 November 1845:

Third, 12 November 1846:  Collins, age 69

Fourth, 12 November 1847:  Collins, age 70

Fifth, 12 November 1848: Collins, age 71

Sixth, 12 November 1849:  Collins, age 72.  This is the first time they have a column for "Intemperate" and there's no mark in it for him.

Seventh, 12 November 1850:  Collins, age listed as 72 again.  This is the only time they have a mark for the "Intemperate" column for Collins out of 3 opportunities.

Eight and final listing, 12 November 1851; Collins is listed as 73 and he's listed as dying in January 1852.

So the last 6.5 years of his life were spent there at the Poor House.  It's sad, there's not much you can say looking this far back in the past; without any other types of records there's no way to know for sure the circumstances.

So it could be he was a lifelong alcoholic, or maybe it was some mental illness along with the alcohol or was something else entirely - chronic pain that he was medicating with alcohol but then he'd get mean - or maybe that one check for Intemperance was an error and it was some other reason he was there - we won't know for sure until time travel is invented.  But either way, he didn't want to live with his family or his family didn't want him to live with them and so he ended up either voluntarily or involuntarily living in the Poor House.

But, on a good note for us today, it's one more piece of the puzzle in place!  Hopefully it will lead to more!  It was a fun investigation for me and my cousin, we had a good time!!!