Some questions about field stone foundations

The house I'm trying to sell is a rehabbed old farmhouse with a 2-ft thick field stone foundation. It's really quite nice ... except for the basement.
My first question is: How solid are these things? The house was built 100 years ago. I don't see any evidence of settling - no cracks in the living area walls. No stones have fallen out or even moved inward into the basement. Potential buyers are sure to ask this question.
My second question has to do with water seepage/leakage.
In non-wet weather it is constantly damp down there. There are 3 open casement windows but they don't have a lot of square footage.
In wet weather, water comes in through several places. In very wet weather there is one spot where it actually pours in like a faucet turned half-on. This was not a problem until the city put into new sewers out front ... but alas I didn't file a complaint.
The floor is dirt and has a dry sump hole about 3 feet deep with natural gravel below. That's where the water exits. But the whole basement still gets wet and damp.
I don't believe there is anything I can really do about the water entry. The outside perimeter of the house is slanted away from the foundation and my gutters take roof water to the streets. The house just sits at a low area in town and I think that's the problem. It was wet down there from the day I bought it in 1987.
I have some ideas I'd like to bounce off you. There is a fourth window now boarded up. I'm thinking of installing a fan there - like the ones used to pull out radon gas - that runs permanently, venting air to the outside.
I'd also like to put a liner in the sump hole and put a pump in it that pipes water out to the street.
I'd like to install a dehumidifier with drain into the sump.
Although the fllor is damp, I'd still like to try to dig a channel around the inside perimeter than drains water to the sump, but I don't want to go too deep because the floor is level with the bottom-most layer of fieldstone and undermine the strength of the wall.
It looks like back in the 70s someone tried to solve the problem by pointing the whole inside wall with cement. It apparently didn't work; most of it has fallen out. I believe in my case that water pressure from the outside exerts far more power than any sealant can handle.
In wintertime it is fairly dry (upstate NY) down there.
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My son's house was built in the late 17000's and his is still in good shape.

If the fan is running constantly, iw may also b ring in some damp outside air and make the dehumidifier work harder. It would depends on the season, heat gain/loos, etc. It may work well in some case, but it may make things worse if you are not careful.

I'd be real careful there. It may be fine, it may so serious damage if you remove support. Get someone that know old houses to take a look at it.

You are probably correct.

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You're in upstate NY. You should be able to easily locate a 200yr old house with the same foundation that you could point to. Ask your local town historian-- or if he/she isn't aware, ask the neighboring town or county historian. [I'm in Schenectady county- and I'll bet I could find a 300yr old one in a day.]

-snip-
If the hole is dry- why bother? If I was a potential buyer it would just draw my attention to the damp problem-- and from what you describe, it sounds like it would make it appear worse than it is.

I'd go with this plan.

You sure don't. You're selling the house- so there's no way I'd go to that effort or expense. Here's how my perimeter drain worked out.
My plan was to go down 2feet- lay a 1'square drain with landscape cloth and #2stone- then put a footer under my stones and end up gaining a little ceiling height in my basement.
I got 2 walls dug out- a 30foot and a 20foot.. I was about to order the stone when we got the hardest rain I've ever seen- 3" of rain in about 4 hours. [there are areas where that may not be terribly unusual, but it is a 100yr thing in my neck of the woods]
My wife and I were sitting in the living room and heard/felt this loud 'whump'. My first thought was that the neighbor's oak tree had toppled on our house. Then it hit me. Both walls had collapsed into my basement.
6 weeks, lots of help from my friends, a few equipment rentals, and $10 grand later- I have 2 block walls with excellent inside and outside drainage. Not the way we planned it-- but I did gain a lot more headroom than I had originally planned for. [oh yeah- most insurance doesn't cover 'wall collapse'- mine doesn't]
In a year or 2 I'll do the rest & finish the basement.

The engineer the bank hired when I bought this house in 1984 had me parge and seal the inside walls. Cosmetically it makes things look better-- but apparently he had never heard of hydrostatic pressure. As soon as we moved in I installed gutters and did some landscaping- that probably saved the walls long enough so I could collapse them myself.
Good luck- Jim
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