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Flatlands, N.Y., Overseers of the Poor account book

Call Number



1807-1831, inclusive


Flatlands (New York, N.Y.). Overseers of the Poor
Baxter, Garret S.
Wyckoff family
Lott family


0.04 Linear Feet in one folder

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


The account book includes the record of financial transactions conducted by the Overseers of the Poor of Flatlands, Kings County, N.Y., from December 1807 until the Overseer position was abolished in April 1831. The journal includes both receipts and expenditures, which typically include reference to the recipient's name and the amount of cash or goods provided by the Overseers.

Biographical / Historical

Late eighteenth and early nineteenth century laws, such as those of New York State, established that local municipalities were responsible for relief of their poor residents. Overseers of the Poor were elected or named by each municipality to manage the program. "Outdoor relief," or direct support of the poor outside of an institutional structure such as an almshouse, was a common approach for towns to use. Such support could take the form of cash or goods provided to individual residents, but might also include arranging for their boarding. (See Raymond A. Mohl's Poverty in New York, 1783-1825, especially Chapter 4.)

In Flatlands, Overseers of the Poor existed from at least 1807 when the records in this collection indicate the establishment of a poor fund with 75 dollars. The Overseer position was abolished by the town on April 5, 1831, and the fund closed shortly after. (See the Garret Baxter entry for that date in the abstracts from his journal; typescript version in BHS at call number F129.B7.F529, page 109.) Among the individuals holding the position of Overseer over time were Garret Baxter, Abraham Wyckoff, and John H. Lott.


The collection consists of one item.

Scope and Contents

The account book includes the record of financial transactions conducted by the Overseers of the Poor of Flatlands, Kings County, N.Y., from December 1807 to April 1831. The journal includes both receipts (e.g., collections from the town supervisor, interest on obligations) and expenditures. Entries on expenditures typically include specific reference to the name of the recipient and the amount of cash or goods (e.g., beef, wood) provided by the overseers.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to users without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The material is in the public domain.

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date (if known); Flatlands, N.Y., Overseers of the Poor account book, 2005.001, Box and Folder number; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The account book was donated to Brooklyn Historical Society in 2005 by Meredith Peterson Tufts, a descendant of Garret Baxter.

Related Materials

A typescript transcription of the Overseer's account book can be found on the shelves of the BHS library. It is bound in a volume of other transcriptions, found at call number F129.B753.B758.1900z (vol 3).

The Anita Lott Cruikshank collection of Kings County, N.Y., family papers (call number ARC.281) includes an 1830 letter from the Kings County Board of Supervisors to the Flatlands Overseers informing them of the abolition of the distinction between town and country poor.

Other archival material related to the welfare of the poor in Brooklyn includes the Brooklyn charitable organizations for the poor collection (call number 1985.104). This collection spans the period 1809 to 1959 and contains publications and ephemera documenting the activities of a significant number of Brooklyn-based public welfare organizations. BHS also holds Brooklyn Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor annual reports and publications (call number ARC.179), ranging from 1846 to 1951.

BHS holds a number of collections related to Flatlands. Among these are the Supervisor of the Town of Flatlands account books (call number ARC.081) for the years 1817-1886.

BHS holds the diary of one of Flatlands's longstanding Overseers of the Poor, Garret S. Baxter. See the John and Garret S. Baxter diaries (call number ARC.257), which are more readily accessible in typescript form found on the BHS library shelves at call number F129.B7.F53.1955 (vols 1-6).

Collection processed by

Larry Weimer

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:18:01 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: Finding aid written in English.

Processing Information

The collection was processed by Larry Weimer in September 2011.


Brooklyn Historical Society


Box: A0115 (Material Type: Text)
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201