Old St. Andrews



The Poor House



The Poorhouse or Alms House was a feature of nineteenth-century life. In New Brunswick, poor houses sprang up like mushrooms in the second and third decades of the century to deal with the sudden influx of Irish Immigrants to this province. Though perhaps not many know this, the Irish began to arrive in waves immediately after the cessation of the War of 1812 in 1815, when suddenly trans-Atlantic tranportation was open to the general public. Accordinly, St. Andrews received its first boatload of immigrants in 1817, and the Commissioners of the Poor for the Town immediately petitioned the Provincial government for assistance in dealing with this new burden of the ratepayer of Charlotte County. Of course, the crisis got only worse, and in subsequent decades the famines drove ever larger numbers of immigrants to New Brunswick as indeed to towns all across the North American coast. The St. Andrews Poorhouse or Almshouse was soon expanded into a working farm of 40 acres, and a perusal of the Poorhouse files in the New Brunswick Archives provides an interesting snapshot of the Town at work during this period, as a great many local businesses contributed services to the inmates and to the farm. Interestingly, the Poorhouse as an institution was not confined to maintenace of the poor. Poor there were aplenty--the old, widowed and blind, mainly; but this institution catered also to unwed mothers, men from other counties injured on local jobs, tramps just passing through and in need ot a meal and bed, and others besides. The St. Andrews Poorhouse was created in 1818 by private subscription, and lasted until approximately 1919, when the property, having fallen into disuse, was purchased by the Algonquin Hotel for new land to add to its golf course.