People at the House

Residents of the poorhouse were referred to as “inmates”. A register of admittance was kept whereby information about all inmates were recorded upon their entry. The “Register of Paupers, Vagrants, and Idiots” included information such as the inmate number, name, occupation, age, nationality, years in the County, and reason for pauperism.

Staff of the House included the Keepers and Matrons, Health care personnel including a House Physician, the Inspector and Clerk, and servants and farmhands. Inmates that were able, did various tasks around the House and farm – some were paid and some unpaid.

Community leaders included the County Council that governed the Board,

In the sections below we share profiles of the various people that lived, worked and governed the Waterloo County House of Industry. Through this project, we aim to piece together what remains of the stories of residents of the poorhouse using poorhouse archival information, census records, newspaper articles, government documents, and information from

A Note about Language on this Site

Please note that the language used throughout this site, includes labels like “inmates”, “idiot”, “lunatic”, “coloured”, “dumb”, etc. to refer to people. This language is taken directly from archival documents and meeting minutes. This language is not the language of the research team. We include this language to reflect the contexts and realities faced by people with disabilities and others as they tried to survive in a context that was often harsh and demeaning.

The position of the research team for this project is that labeling people is an act of objectifying and promotes a way of interacting with someone that is dehumanizing and limiting. In our accounts, we have tried to be sensitive to this issue as it is our intention to treat people that resided in the House as worthy individuals that were more than simply a label that was indiscriminately  placed on them.

Pin It on Pinterest