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"Poor Farms" and where they were built - Family's Farm?

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"Poor Farms" and where they were built - Family's Farm?

Posted: 1336133466000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Pierce, Peirce, Kidder

On the List for Middlesex Co., MA, someone asked about the "Lowell City Hospital" (aka Almshouse) which existed in the very early 1900's. It existed on Chelmsford Street in Lowell, supposedly. As I drive there on a regular basis, I became curious about the address mentioned and it turned out to be an old, rundown house. So, it was not the location of a hospital large enough to hold over 1000 patients. I became curious and spent some time looking on-line for more information. The summary of it is that the Lowell City Hospital was built on what was originally the "Poor Farm" in Lowell. And, the Poor Farm was located on the "Joseph PIERCE homestead."

I found a few web sites mentioning the Poor Farm history, and one said it was decided around 1830 to build one - mostly for the "poor Irish" arriving in the newly incoporated town. You need to remember that it was 1826 when the Town of Lowell annexed off of Chelmsford.

It said on-line that the "PIERCE Farm" was large and after 1830 would have sat in both Chelmsford and Lowell. So, the Poor Farm which was created in 1830's would have been in both Lowell and Chelmsford. And I found a PIERCE researcher on-line who mentioned some of the family moved to Fitchburg in 1830's. By the way, when I checked the 1820 census, the name was spelled PEIRCE, with only a few households with the PIERCE spelling.

The reason I'm mentioning this is that, over the years, I've read about other large farms in New England in 1700's which became the Poor Farm for the town.

The Lowell Poor Farm was on Chelmsford Street - where the current 'Lowe's" is now. I know that the Billerica Poor Farm was on Billerica Road in North Billerica. I saw a page on-line this morning which called it the Tewksbury Poor Farm and that is probably because it was on the Billerica / Tewksbury line. In South Lowell, Lowell, Tewksbury, and Billerica all meet up. I checked and the Tewksbury Poor Farm was on North Street which is not near South Lowell (off of Main St.).

Betty (near Lowell, MA)

Board Administrator

(I've told the story on the Lists about the Westford, MA, Poor Farm. A member of the Westford Historical Society decided `5 yrs. ago to check out the old records of the Poor Farm. She discovered that a KIDDER baby boy had been born there and his birth had never been recorded at Town Hall. The older parents separated, and around Age 4/5 the mother took the boy to live with families in NH. When the Civil War started, he enlisted, and ended up in the mid-West. He remained there, married and had children. And his descendants searched for years to find out about his parents. The Society contacted me because they knew I was a KIDDER researcher. I was able to find old postings about Roscoe KIDDER and was able to tell one researcher of the find. She was grateful. Unfortunately, the other researcher had just passed, and she never found out.


When looking at the history of the highways in New England, a great many farms were taken over to make room for the highways.

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