|Records of the
Almshouse of Prince George's County, Maryland. (Westminister, MD:
Willow Bend Books,
2003.) Paperback, 151 pages.
Talk about "hot off
the press!" This book, compiled by our own Publication Committee,
is being published this month. It was reviewed in unbound pages.
As with the prison book reviewed in the last issue, the names on
these pages go beyond what one might expect. County commissioners,
the peace, trustees, sheriffs, undertakers, merchants, officials
of the almshouse, doctors, relatives of residents and others appear.
many prominent county families are found here.
For example, W. B.
Beall, age 64, was "received July 13th 1927" from
Public Welfare of DC and his nephews J. Ninian Beall and Frank M.
Beall and their DC addresses were listed (p. 1). A "William Beall
left May 25,
1931 on own accord" (p. 13), and "William Beall died June 1934 at
Casualty Hospital [which became Capitol Hill Hospital in DC], buried
by his people"
(p. 17). Is this the same individual? Most of the Bealls appear as
Trustees in the 1866-1884 period, as do Clagett, Magruder and Pumphrey
This book includes
partial records of the Almshouse at Forestville which was built
in 1772 and closed in 1965. White and colored inmates are identified
and individuals who were disabled or lacked someone to care for them
as well as those destitute were admitted. Commitments, deaths and
burials are recorded from 1927-1942; official commitment papers
of an earlier
1890-1930; burial permits 1909-1940. Census records from 1850-1930
are included. The Almshouse on D'Arcy Road has been replaced by
a county government
building. A lone headstone remains inscribed "Leonard C. Duncan -
Died June 30,1931." For decades he was thought to be the only person
Using the records shown in this book, the compilers searched death
certificates at the Maryland State Archives and confirmed an additional
Due to gaps in the records, the total is thought to be much greater.
Our researchers found lots of spelling and handwriting variations.
One surname was written nine different ways and it was impossible to
tell whether the name began with an I, J or S. Other sources were consulted
and the surname as spelled in a newspaper obituary was adopted for consistency.
So readers must exercise care in consulting these records. The index
of names will lead you to a page where each name is printed in bold type
which facilitates locating it.
Partial records of
the Almshouse are held by the Prince George's Historical Society.
We made photocopies of them (now in our library) and our Archivist
Karen Duffy Miles did the transcription. She and Mary Wanty Frazer
did additional research; K. Diane Stultz, indexing and, with Pricia
Paulkovich, the proofreading. Hats off to this team led by Publication
Committee chair Diane Stultz. We can be proud of their work and this