“Paupers Outside”

The Horton Poor House as it looked in the 1880s.


The poor houses of Nova Scotia did not just help paupers inside the house; paupers were often supported outside of the poor house as well. This was often referred to as Outside Assistance or “Paupers Outside”.  I write about this in my book A Wholesome Horror; Poor Houses in Nova Scotia. It was a tradition of helping paupers who were not in the house but may have had a house of their own but still needed some form of assistance in the form of wood, coal, clothing or money.

In 1915, the Township of Horton reported the following “Paupers Outside”:

Mrs. James Schofield                                       $10.15

Mrs. Fitzgerald                                                    11.00

Mrs. Williams                                                        4.00

Jonathan Welsh                                                    7.00

S. Keddy                                                                 12.25

Abner Keddy                                                        36.00

Nathan Fitzgerald                                               18.00

James Kelly                                                          11.75

Joseph Best                                                             7.08

Fred Pinch                                                            22.83

Frank Morine                                                         4.25

Rupert Morine                                                       4.00

Jacob Shaw                                                           57.00



It is interesting  to see the varying amounts. It would have been fascinating to see a break down of just what the amounts were to purchase. Was it wood? Clothing? Food? Were the Keddy paupers and the Morine paupers related?

Five years later, in 1920, the list changes from mostly men to mostly women. The Horton Poor House recorded the list of “Paupers Outside” in 1920 before the three county poor houses of Kings County amalgamated into one poor house.  The report states:

Paupers Outside 1920

Mrs. Albert Fitzgerald                                     $16.66

Mrs. Henry Golar                                                15.00

Mrs. James Berry                                                13.97

Mrs. Emma Turbit                                              14.75

Mrs. Jacob Shaw                                                  50.75

       George Lyman                                                     15.05

Wm. Walsh                                                           17.25

Noble Coldwell                                                    10.37

 Rupert Morine                                                    15.00

Total                                                                           $168.80


Notice that most of the applicants were female and most were married. It makes the reader wonder if the married women were widows or were they applying on behalf of the whole family?  Most of the married women used their husband’s names instead of their own first names with the exception of  Mrs. Emma Turbit. The women had their marital status recorded whereas the men did not. Were the  men single? Did the  married men make their wives apply for assistance?

It also makes you wonder what situation brought them to apply for assistance? Where ‘outside’ the poor farm did they live? The outside paupers would have lived in the catchment area of the Horton Poor House but what was their catchment area?

More digging in the history books must be made!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s