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September 2001


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William Ringle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 12 Sep 2001 12:54:44 -0000
text/plain (60 lines)
For the Rome State School I'd suggest you write to Mrs. George Waters, 1205
Madison St.,  Rome, NY 13440-2725.. She's a lifelong resident of the city,
owner with her husband of The Rome Daily Sentinel,  mother, daughter and
granddaughter of Sentinel publishers.

Though I'm not touting her as an expert on the Rome S. S. she has an abiding
interest in Rome's history and will know who is an expert.

On the Internet
 http://www.geocities.com/MotorCity/Downs/3548/facility/mohawk.htm) is an
excellent thumbnail history of the R. S. S., the site of which has been a
prison since1989. The R. S. S. was launched in 1893 as "The Rome Custodial
Asylum for Unteachable Idiots."  It acquired the R. S. S. name in 1919..

I do know the R. S. S. 50-70 years ago had satellite "homes," or
"colonies" -- like halfway houses -- in upstate cities to which it would
send girls to live. During the day they would hire out as housemaids and at
night would return to the "home" which would be run by an older married
couple. They were paid, but I don't know on what basis.

I know this because in Gloversville, NY my mother and the woman who became
my mother-in-law were among those who employed the girls. Some of them, who
appeared trustworthy and  showed more alacrity than the others, would be
allowed to live in the homes of their employers. Those, I believe, were on
some kind of probation. If they were adjudged up to it, they would be
paroled eventually to their own homes. Some women who were more severely
handicapped mentally spent their entire lives, I believe, in the R. S. S.,
but I'm not sure of that.

Nor am I certain of the legal criteria for sending girls to the R. S. S.
but it was listed (as was the "Craig Colony School and Hospital") in the NY
State Legislative Manuals amongst  "State Institutions for the Mentally
Retarded" operated by the Department of  Mental Hygiene.

Perhaps some of these girls -- especially those in the 1930s and early
1940s --  wouldn't be classified as mentally retarded today. Many came from
poor homes and big families, had sketchy or no formal schooling or came from
a lot of the small, backward, out-at-the-elbow rural communities which
pepper Upstate New York ..So their surroundings aggravated their I-Qs,  I'm
sure.   A number of them, I gathered, had misbehaved with boys  and had been
shipped off to the R.S.S. by some court.

                                             William RIngle

---Original Message-----
From: Roy, Nora <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 12:48 PM
Subject: information about Craig Colony and Sonyea

>                I would be very interested in historical information anyone
>has about Craig Colony for Epileptics and the place where the Craig Colony
>was located, Sonyea, in Livingston County, New York.   I would also be
>interested in historical information about Rome State School in Rome, NY.
>                Nora Roy
>                Iowa City, Iowa