Friday, September 21, 2012

The Home for Aged Women

In 1854 a group of women from local Protestant churches in Portland, Maine, established the Association for the Relief of Aged, Indigent Women. They opened their first home in a house on the corner of Elm and Oxford Streets in the city's Bayside neighborhood in 1856. I have a list of the residents, and am trying to identify their families: their parents, husbands, and children. The information on this blog is preliminary and some of it is speculative. If you run across a familiar name or can prove (or disprove) any of the information here, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would especially be interested in hearing from descendants of these women or of their near relatives as many of the women never married and others never had children, or their children did not live to adulthood.
This is the first home as it looked in the 1924 Portland Tax Records. It is the only image of the home I have been able to locate. The largest number of residents it held was nine, although that required doubling up on rooms and they appear to have only done that once. Generally the house had eight, although before their move to Emery Street they let the number drop to three.
Six women moved into the home in the first month it opened, at least four of them on the same day. The women admitted in August 1856 were:
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, 85
  • Mrs. Esther Ingalls, 63
  • Mrs. Esther Davis, 72
  • Mrs. Joanna Farrington, 71
  • Miss Ruth Jordan, 69
  • Miss Serena Libby, 50

The next month, two more women were admitted to the home:
  • Mrs. Hannah Carr, 65
  • Mrs. Eliza Noble, 84

Those would be the only women admitted in 1856. Mrs. Esther Ingalls was dismissed after only three months, so at the end of 1856 there were 7 women living at the home.

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