From the Poor House to the Soldiers’ Rest Home



Admission to the Greene County Poor House

My 3x-great-grandfather William Justice Warner had an interesting journey the last 15 years of his life. In 1870 he is living in Athens, Greene County, NY with his wife Mary and two sons, William and Walter.

According to William’s military pension records, Mary died in 1871 in Athens. In late May 1883 William is admitted to the Greene County poor house. The document includes some interesting info, including his place of birth and that of his mother and father.

In the remarks section it indicates:

He has no home, says he has come here for that reason to live and die here. He has no other other home, is a very nice old man deserving of a great amount of sympathy and care.

In 1887 William shows up in Bath, Steuben County, NY at the New York State Soldiers and Sailors Home. Oddly enough he is listed as married in the admission record, but widowed in the previous record. He lists his son, William, as next of kin and gives William’s address in Brooklyn, NY. That building looks like this now:

Screen shot 2015-02-12 at 7.45.52 PM

In 1892, William Justice Warner moved to this address to live with his son William and his family – wife Minnie, daughters Alice and Florence, and son George.

Finally, in 1897, William Justice winds up at the Soldiers Home in Hampton, Virginia where he dies the following year.




7 thoughts on “From the Poor House to the Soldiers’ Rest Home

  1. My heart went out to William. A busy “government” worker describing him as a nice old man leads me to believe he really was a nice old man. I could only imagine his feelings of desperation when his only hope was admittance into the poor house.

    Isn’t it interesting that the form asks about the habits of the applicant’s parents? And what a nice glimpse you received into the personalities of William’s parents – both were described as temperate.

    • HI Laura – I found this interesting too. I wonder about William’s children – he had two living sons, one in Pennsylvania (very close to the NY state line) and one in Brooklyn. He later lived with the son in Brooklyn according to a census record. I’m not sure why he didn’t live with either of them prior. Perhaps the sons couldn’t afford to care for him or he needed healthcare they couldn’t provide. William did have a number of medical issues from the three wars he fought in.

  2. Info on your 3x gg is most interesting. How did you ever obtain a photo of where your ancestor’s lived in Brooklyn?


    • Hi Wendy – I found this document on in a group of records called “New York, Census of Inmates in Almshouses and Poorhouses, 1830-1920”. Subsequent records came from the group “U.S. National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, 1866-1938”.

      What are the names in Greene County you are researching?

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