CALHOUN COUNTY POOR FARM

THE COUNTY ALMSHOUSE.

   In the year 1849 (December 20) the board of supervisors bought of Thomas Chisholm the northwest one-quarter, section 9, township of Marengo, for two thousand dollars, for a county poor-farm, and abolished the distinction between county and township poor and made them all a county charge.  The original building was erected in the year 1850-51, to which additions have been made from time to time until at present the building consists of a central part of one hundred and ten feet front and thirty feet deep, two stories; a wing to the north, the insane ward, twenty-four by forty feet basement and one story; and a similar wing to the north, twenty by thirty feet, two stories, which contains the lodging-rooms and the sitting-rooms of the inmates.  The lower story of the central building has the office of the keeper and the general dining-room, the upper floor being occupied by the keeper and family.  The buildings are of wood, and are heated by hot-air furnaces located in the basement of the insane wards.  The buildings are thoroughly ventilated through the walls of the same, and the barns and out-buildings are capacious and convenient.  The real estate is valued at eighteen thousand dollars.

   The report of the county superintendents of the poor for the year ending September 30, 1876 shows receipts as follows:  General appropriations for poor purposes made by supervisors $15,000; products of farm sold, $101.32; other receipts, $76.65; total, $15,177.97.  They disbursed for all purposes connected with the charge of the poor in the county, $17,014.09; and for the insane poor at the State institution, $3338.74; for which an appropriation was made of $3500, and an amount of $484.59 was received from friends of insane persons cared for; making a total of expenditure for sweet charity's sake of $20,352.83, in the centennial year of the republic by the county of Calhoun, one of the soulless corporations of the country.  Ten children were taken from the almshouse to the State school at Coldwater, twenty-five in all having been so disposed of since the establishment of the school.  For this expenditure two thousand six hundred and five weeks of board were furnished for the poor at the county house, and two hundred and fifty weeks for the keeper of the house and his family and hired help; besides a large amount of relief afforded outside of the farm in the towns.  There were fifty poor persons in the house at the close of the fiscal year, and one hundred and four had been admitted during the year.  Five deaths occurred during the year.  The products of the farm for the year were four hundred and seventy-four bushels wheat, two hundred bushels oats, one thousand four hundred bushels corn (in the ear), three hundred and thirty-six bushels potatoes, fifteen bushels apples, fifty-five bushels garden vegetables, six hundred heads cabbage, twenty-four tons hay, corn fodder from eighteen acres, two tons of pork, and fifteen and one-half acres wheat on the ground.  The farm was well stocked with live-stock and farming implements, and improvements, permanent and valuable, had been made during the year.

   The county superintendents of the poor are elected by the board of supervisors, and hold their office for a term of three years.  Owing to the non-transference of the old records from the preceding board of superintendents to the present incumbents, we are unable to give a complete list of the superintends and keepers of the house since the establishment of the farm, but, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the superintendents have been as follows:  William Farley, Moses Hall, and Thomas Holmes were the incumbents when the farm was bought and the first house built; Seth Lewis, J. M. Parsons, Solon E. Robinson, 1859-67; Elias Hewitt, whose term expired 1865; George E. Johnson, 1865-68; Rev. J. P. Averill, 1857-60; E. H. Johnson, 1860-63; Benjamin Clark, 1863-67; E. H. Johnson, 1866-77; Judge T. W. Hall, 1867-77; A. O. Hyde, 1868-77.  The keepers have been as follows: S. H. Bunker, whose connection expired 1862; Henry Drake, 1862-66; W. D. Chappell, 1866-71; H. L. White, 1871-77.

   We present to our readers in connection herewith a view of the almshouse, surrounded with the portraits of the present superintendents and keeper.

The above has been copied and quoted from:

Submitted by:
Carlene DeMaso, Vice President, Calhoun County Genealogical Society  c.demaso@prodigy.net
 

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