HISTORY of  TAMA COUNTY POOR FARM

(copied with consent) from the on-line edition of 
HISTORY OF TAMA COUNTY IOWA
Union Publishing Company, Springfield, Illinois 1883
CHAPTER VI
Submitted by: Cyndi Hailey Vertrees  

At the general election in 1875, the proposition of purchasing a poor farm and the erection of necessary buildings, was submitted to the voters of Tama county. It carried by a large majority, and the Board of Supervisors purchased of A. J. Wheaton, a tract of one hundred and fifty acres in section two, township 83, range 15, for $6,750. The contract for remodeling and enlarging the building was awarded to the Tama Hydraulic and Builders' Association, for $4,084.65, while Kent and Conklin were the architects.

The house is on a high elevation, a dry and healthy location; it has been rebuilt and greatly enlarged, and various changes instituted. As the building appears from the road it is more suggestive of an Eastern suburban hotel, or something of that kind than a charitable institution. Its extreme length from north to south is 84 feet, its width varies, being, we believe, 24 feet and 34 feet. It is divided up into the rooms, kitchen, dining room, halls and bed rooms. It is so arranged that there are three different stair-cases leading to the second story, so that in case of fire the upper story could be easily emptied of its occupants and contents, no matter in what locality the fire might be. The furniture is plain and substantial, though neat. Near the kitchen is an excellent well and a large cistern in which a force pump has been placed for protection against conflagration. The farm is well stocked with implements, and everything seems to be in good, healthy condition. The place is under the charge of Mr. Abel Child, who with the assistance of his amiable wife, seem to be the right people in the right places. It requires a peculiar disposition and manner to make a success of such an institution, and Mr. and Mrs. Child seem to be possessed of that peculiarity.

There is a certain discipline required, which, while it is kind and gentle, must, at the same time, be strict enough to easily quell any refractory or perverse spirit which will at times show itself even under the most generous and favorable circumstance.

Mr. Child keeps the farm in business like manner, and each month makes out duplicate reports, one copy of which is filed in the Auditor's office, while the other is preserved for reference, either for himself or any one that many be visiting.