Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Once a Sailors Utopia thanks to a man with a lifelong predjudice against ...

First, some review:

History is filled with deceptions perpetrated chiefly by dishonest lawyers (examples), leaders (e.g. Boss M'Kane), followers (e.g. students), heirs, and publishers (example).


What Institution did the following describe, and who was qualified for admission?

The first building was erected in 1831-32, and during the year following, fifty seamen were admitted to the Institution. Since that time, it has provided for nearly nine thousand sailors.

Answers to Tuesday's Qualified Sailors, Nets and Institutionalization questions.

Upon his death in 1801, the estate of sea captain and wealthy merchant Robert Richard Randall provided for the maintenance of aged, decrepit and worn-out seamen (merchant marine sailors). Sailors Snug Harbor opened in 1833, along Kill Van Kull on Staten Island's north shore. American sailors must have served 5 years under the flag, foreignors 10, or have been incapicitated by age or broken health from further sea service. Trustees of the asylum referred to residents as sea dog wards, inmates or dependents, according to the New York Times here.

A magnificent residence, the grounds covered over one hundred enclosed acres. Some sixty acres were laid out in lawns, flower beds, and shade trees. More than fifty buildings stood on the estate, representing an investment of several million dollars. Eight main buildings, used as dormitories and mess halls, were connected by corridors of brick and stone, eliminating outside walks during poor weather. The Home had its own bakery, dairy, storage warehouse, laundry, power plant, hospital and dispensary and theater. Ample acreage devoted to farming provided most of the vegetables and a goodly amount of meat consumed. In its heyday (1939) twenty pigs were slaughtered at a time, to supply the tables with fresh pork. The dairy pasteurized its milk.

A large staff included farm hands, engineers, mechanics, carpenters, repair men, clerks, orderlies, laborers, butchers, stablemen and persons in various other capacities. The hospital staff included a Superintendent and two resident physicians. A registered pharmacist has charge of the dispensary.

Sailors Snug Harbor saw a peak of 1,000 residents by 1900. After the Social Security system was implemented residency declined. By the mid 1950's, fewer than 200 residents remained and in 1972, the facility was moved to North Carolina. Today, Snug Harbor is a Staten Island Arts, Cultural Center & Botanical Garden. Ah, Utopia!
According to the New York Times article (linked four paragraphs above) Captain Robert Richard Randall maintained a lifelong predjucice against lawyers. With only hours of life remaining, Randall contemplated his Snug Harbor hospital and summoned lawyer Alexander Hamilton.
In 1912, The New York Times reported, If Randall could have lived the work that Hamilton did for him that June day must have changed his opinion of the profession.



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