Maine broke away from Massachusetts and formally joined the Union in 1820. As a new state, Maine began to write its own system of laws and regulations, and was quickly faced with codifying laws around those living in poverty and with illnesses or disability. In 1821, the Legislature adopted Chapter 122 of the 1821 Maine Laws – on the “Relief of the Poor”. In that law, it reads that:
This law led to the rise of “town farms”, also called “Alms houses” or “poor farms” – across Maine, there were perhaps dozens or several hundred. These farms became repositories for all who could not support themselves and had no family to care for them – the poor, the aged, the infirm, and those with disabilities.