The Resource Overseers of the Poor Annual reports and checklist

Overseers of the Poor Annual reports and checklist

Overseers of the Poor Annual reports and checklist, 1800-1909
Overseers of the Poor Annual reports and checklist
Inclusive dates
  • These records are part of Auditor of Public Accounts. Disbursements to Localities and Individuals: Local Government Expenses - Overseers of the Poor
  • The Overseer of the Poor Annual Reports and Checklists, 1800-1909, are housed in 36 boxes and are arranged alphabetically into two series. Series have been designated for Series I: Virginia Cities and Counties and Series II: West Virginia Cities and Counties. The Annual Reports and Checklists cover the years 1800-1864, 1871-1881, 1884-1907, and 1909
  • The Annual Reports and Checklists include written reports and statistics on the number of poor whites and free blacks maintained at the public charge; the amount of poor rates levied annually for their support; the amount of donations for the use of the poor from individuals; number of poor maintained at poor or work houses with the annual expense of their maintenance; and sometimes minutes are included. Also noted are payments made for medical services, salaries of officers and clerks, midwives fees, and the building of coffins. Beginning in the late 1840s - early 1850s, more detailed information is included such as the names of the poor (white, free black, and slave), age, physical condition, length of time on assistance, reason for assistance needed, and morals. Reasons for the need of assistance ranged from being too old to work, health issues (blind, paralysis, tumors, rheumatism, consumption, deformities), mental illnesses, drug issues, children too young to work, single mothers with several children, and some were noted as just being 'lazy.' Sometimes notes are included if the person died, how they died and their death date
  • Of note, several counties wrote in-depth descriptions in their reports, such as Pittsylvania County in Virginia and Hardy County in West Virginia. Beginning in 1860 large oversize standard printed forms were provided and used by many of the counties, although several still created hand-written reports. Many of these printed forms were gathered and bound into nine ledgers, dating from 1877 to 1907. The Overseer of the Poor Annual Reports and Checklists provides a wealth of information on the study of state and local social services, as well as providing genealogical information on a much under-represented group of people
Agency history record describes the history and functions of the Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928). (Search Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts (1776-1928) as author).
Member of
Biographical or historical data
In 1780 the Virginia General Assembly replaced the Anglican vestries and church wardens of the colonial period with elected bodies called Overseers of the Poor. The Overseers of the Poor made policy, levied taxes, distributed public money, and dealt with the underprivileged as they thought best. Some counties build poor houses while others did not. The Overseers provided food, clothing, shelter, and medical treatment for the persons who were too poor to support themselves or too ill to provide for their basic needs. The Overseers took over the supervision of the poorhouses and workhouses built by the vestries and built new poorhouses and workhouses where they were needed. On 20 February 1829 the General Assembly passed an act requiring that the local clerks or agents responsible for the records of the Overseers of the Poor, or the President of the County Board of the Overseers of the Poor, to report their proceedings annually to the auditor of public accounts. The reporting period was retroactive to 1 January 1800. On 14 March 1910 the General Assembly repealed the sections of the Code of Virginia that required that the reports be sent annually to the auditor of public accounts, and no more reports were submitted after 1909.
Cataloging source
Citation location within source
entry no. 739
Citation source
Auditor of Public Accounts inventory
Overseers of the Poor Annual reports and checklist
The collection is arranged into the following series: Seris I: Virginia Cities and Counties, 1800-1909; and Series II: West Virginia Cities and Counties, 1800-1862.
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
  • Inventory
  • Finding aid
Immediate source of acquisition
Annual reports and checklist, 1800-1909,
Type of unit
cu. ft. (36 boxes)

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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