Category: Allegheny

Prison Records from the Allegheny County Workhouse and Inebriate Asylum

The Allegheny County Workhouse was a prison that was located adjacent to the town of Blawnox, Pennsylvania. Its full name was “Allegheny County Workhouse and Inebriate Asylum”. The first inmates were received in 1869, and the facility closed in 1971. The prison housed mostly inmates convicted of minor offenses. Many of those prisoners maintained a farm of about 1100 acres (445 ha), which contained apple orchards as well as many other crops and many different types of farm animals. The records of the Allegheny County Workhouse consist of minute books of the Board of Managers, 1866-1971, 11 volumes; oaths of officials, 1888-1912, 1 volume; visitors’ records, 1871-1880, 1 volume; account books, 1866-1940, 9 volumes; and various population records (admission and discharge books, 1870-1877, 3 volumes; conduct books, 1870-1906, 1915-1919, 8 volumes; discharge and descriptive dockets, 1873-1971, 24 volumes; daily sick call books, 1896-1940, 18 volumes; escaped prisoners records, 1882-1971, 3 volumes; hospital record books, 1913-1939, 6 volumes; prison registers, 1869-1951, 17 volumes; punishment books, 1870-1873, 1880-1892, 1904-1959, 7 volumes; and hard labor registers, 1869-1971, 24 volumes. Included are 11 annual reports (printed) partially covering the period 1873-1899, and a typed manuscript entitled “Feeding of Inmates of Allegheny County Workhouse,” by E. W. Tillotson, Jr., and W. A. Hamor. This article comprises a collection of records for the Allegheny County Workhouse and Inebriate Asylum throughout it’s 102 year existence from 1869-1971. Most of these manuscripts can only be seen in person at the Pennsylvania State Archives, but some of them have been digitized and can now be seen online. It should be assumed if there is no online link to a database or manuscript, than that data is only able to be viewed in person.

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