Children's Board Book, 1856-1884

This book records children who came under the care of the Chester County Poorhouse.

It was the practice of the Directors of the Poor to ensure that the children did not remain in the unhealthy institutional environment of the poorhouse. Therefore children between the ages of 2 and 16 were generally “bound out” as apprentices. The child was taken out of the poorhouse for a trial period. If the trial period was successful the child was bound out for a specific period of time. In 1883 a law was passed that made it unlawful for Directors of the Poor “to receive into, or retain in any alms house or poor house, any child between 2 and 16 years of age for a longer time than sixty days.” This law prompted private organizations, such as the Children’s Aid Society* to take over the care of pauper children.

Recorded Books
The information recorded in this book varies. Generally, the only standard information in each entry is the name of the child. However, the entries may also contain the following:
  • Date of Admission
  • Age/Birth Date
  • Race
  • Township Brought In From
  • Parents Names
  • Individual Taking Child Out (Either to be apprenticed or by parents)
  • Individual Bound Out To - Length of apprenticeship
  • Date of Death
  • Cause of Death
  • Comments
*Records of this organization can be found at the Chester County Historical Society.