Fonds MC249 - Saint John almshouse fonds

Titre propre

Saint John almshouse fonds

Dénomination générale des documents

  • Document textuel

Titre parallèle

Compléments du titre

Mentions de responsabilité du titre

Notes du titre

  • Source du titre propre: Title based on the contents of the fonds.

Niveau de description




Mention d'édition

Mentions de responsabilité relatives à l'édition

Mention d'échelle (cartographique)

Mention de projection (cartographique)

Mention des coordonnées (cartographiques)

Mention d'échelle (architecturale)

Juridiction responsable et dénomination (philatélique)


  • 1853-1965 (Production)
    Saint John almshouse (Saint John, N.B.)

Description matérielle

5.8 m of textual records and 3 reels of microfilm

Titre propre de la collection

Titres parallèles de la collection

Compléments du titre de la collection

Mention de responsabilité relative à la collection

Numérotation à l'intérieur de la collection

Note sur la collection

Nom du producteur

(Established in 1800, ceased operations by 1965)

Histoire administrative

The first almshouse in Saint John, New Brunswick was established in 1800. A new building was acquired in 1819 and used until 1843. An act to "provide for the erection of an alms house and work house, and to provide a public infirmary for the city and county of Saint John" was passed in 1838. It was paid for by an assessment from the city and the parishes of Saint John, Portland, Lancaster and St. Martin's, and £1000 from the provincial government. In 1841 a site in the parish of Simonds was chosen and the contract awarded to Ewen Cameron and Edward Roche for £3330.

From the beginning, there were problems with the management. The commissioners directly responsible for inspection were appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council but supervised by the county Sessions and later by County Council. It was also included in the jurisdiction of the justices of the peace and the grand jury. The resulting conflicts lead to continual controversy. The first keeper was William Craig who remained until 1850. In 1846 he was tried and acquitted on charges of rape and larceny and his financial dealings were frequently suspect. He was followed by Robert Reed and shortly after, by William Cunningham. Cunningham, who remained for 33 years, was also dogged by rumours of corrupt and incompetent dealings The treatment of the inmates was often bad. All types of people were housed together and treated the same, including the old, children, women, the mentally disturbed and the physically ill.

In 1897 another act was passed in an attempt to improve conditions, but it appears to have been unsuccessful. In 1907 the name was changed to Municipal Home. In 1937 an in-depth investigation by John A. Barry, H.C. Schofield and Neil MacKellar identified such problems as the deterioration of the building, under-use of the farm, improper feeding and clothing, mixing of the able and the sick and conflict of interest by the Commissioners and Superintendent. If conditions improved, it was not for long since in 1949 another investigation by John Chard, Charles MacIlveen and Ernest Patterson revealed similar problems.

By 1957, the Municipal Home had evolved into a chronic care facility but conditions were still deplorable, according to a complaint by E.F. Mullay. In 1960 the Social Assistance Act replaced the Municipal Homes Act and by 1965 the Home had ceased operation.

Historique de la conservation

A part of this fonds was given to the New Brunswick Museum by the Home.

Portée et contenu

The collection consists of administrative records of the Saint John almshouse, almost all from after 1920. It includes minutes, correspondence, financial records, employment records and records related to the Home as a trustee of the pensioners in its care.

The earlier records include alphabetical admittance registers, 1853-1961; chronologically arranged admittance registers, with remarks about the patient's character and condition, and date and reason for leaving, if any, 1885-1925; register of applications for assistance made to the Almshouse Office at Water Street which gives case history and record of action taken,1901-1921; and alphabetical files on persons admitted to the home between 1900 and 1963, which may include biographical sketches, dates of admittance, major physical disabilities, age, religion, death dates, and sometimes a photograph. There is also material relating to illegitimate children, their mothers and adoption.

État de conservation

Source immédiate d'acquisition

Portions of the fonds were donated to the Provincial Archives by Mrs. Margaret Mosher, of Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1972. The rest was donated and transferred to the Archives by the New Brunswick Museum, in Saint John, on 5 October 1994.


Langue des documents

  • anglais

Écriture des documents

Localisation des originaux

Disponibilité d'autres formats

Microfilm no. F17072 contains the admittance register, 1843-1850. The original is housed in the New Brunswick Museum Archives and Research Library, Saint John, N.B.

Admittance registers from 1853-1877 are on F24226.
Admittance registers from 1878-1897 are on F24277.

Restrictions d'accès

Post-1900 records on registrants of the Home and records of illegitimate children and their mothers, are restricted. Written permission of the Provincial Archivist is required for access. Presently (March 2012), the next volume of the Admittance Register, 1882-1912 (MS1/6) is now opened to public viewing. It is not on microfilm.

Délais d'utilisation, de reproduction et de publication

Instruments de recherche

An inventory is available.

Éléments associés

Related records can be found in MC2700 Graeme Somerville collection, RS13, ss 35 of the Provincial Secretary's fonds, and RS156, Muncipality and county of Saint John fonds in the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick.

Éléments associés


Identifiant(s) alternatif(s)

Numéro normalisé

Mots-clés - Sujets

Mots-clés - Noms

Mots-clés - Genre

Identifiant de la description du document

Identifiant du service d'archives

Règles ou conventions


Niveau de détail

Dates de production, de révision et de suppression

Langue de la description

Langage d'écriture de la description


Zone des entrées

Sujets associés

Personnes et organismes associés

Genres associés