Excerpt from 
  "History of Buchanan County and the City of
     St Joseph and Representative Citizens"
Chapter XV: Public and Private Charities Pages 133-137

found on-line at http://members.aol.com/buchanancomo/asof.html 

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County Poor Farm
-- Buchanan County provides better for its paupers than for its prisoners. The county farm, situated northeast of the city, about two miles from the corporate limits, is quite a modern institution, there being quarters for indigent sane, indigent insane, a hospital, proper separation of sexes, medical attention and other comforts.

The first pauper mentioned in the history of Buchanan County was Henry FULKS, who petitioned the County Court for relief in October of 1840, stating that rheumatism had deprived him of the use of his hands. At that time there was no county farm and the court made an order granting him $15 per month for three months. This method of providing for the indigent, of whom there were few in those days, was pursued until 1850, when Elias RICHARDSON, a farmer, residing near One Hundred and Two River, was authorized to maintain the paupers at the rate of $5 per month each, the county providing clothing and medical attendance. RICHARDSON kept the paupers for two years. Judge Cornelius ROBERTS, of Bloomington township, then kept the paupers until 1857, receiving $80 per annum for each. The county then purchased from Leroy BEAN a tract of 140 acres, two miles southwest of Sparta, for $3,500. This farm was maintained until 1868. John PETER was superintendent until 1861, when he was succeeded by Henry UTZ, who served three years and was succeeded by George PETER, who served until December, 1865. he in turn was succeeded by Isham WOOD, who held the place until January, 1868, when he purchased the farm $4,200. The superintendents received as compensation the use of the farm and from $75 to $80 per annum for each pauper, the county providing clothing and medical attendance.

The paupers were next brought to the city and kept for three years by Dr. William BERTRAM, who had been appointed superintendent of the poor and county physician, by the County Court, Dr. BERTRAM was succeeded in January, 1871, by Dr. A. S. LONG, who held the place until September, 1871. The County Court purchased, August 16, 1871, a quarter section from Matilda S. and Martin HUGHES, paying $11,000 for e same, and, as soon as possible, had the paupers removed. Dr. BERTRAM and Dr. LONG received as compensation 50 cents per day for each pauper, the county furnishing everything but food.

In September of 1871, the new institution was opened, with seven male and six female inmates. John SPELLMAN was appointed superintendent at a salary of $100 per month, the county providing for the inmates, and Dr. A. S. LONG was retained as physician. There was good, roomy frame house on the farm, which had been erected by Kit TODD before the war and intended for use as a summer resort, a railroad from St. Joseph to Savannah having been built through the farm.

In 1873, a frame building was erected for the insane. The unfortunates had been kept at the State Insane Asylum at Fulton, but were returned owing to the crowded condition of that institution. They were care for in the temporary quarters until completion of Asylum No. 2. When that institution burned January 1879, they were again placed in the temporary quarters. The necessity of a permanent institution for the county insane was so pressing that, in August, 1880, the judges appropriated $10,000 for this purpose. A building with modern equipment and with a capacity of 150 patients was completed in February of 1881. In this building the incurably insane are kept. The county still maintains a number of patients at Asylum No. 2 considered curable.

Improvements were made at various times as the necessities arose until to-day the county has an asylum for indigent and insane that is both adequate and comfortable


Copyright 2000 by Danielle Thompson; all rights reserved. This information may be used by individuals for their own personal use, libraries and genealogical societies, however, commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior written permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.

URL: http://members.aol.com/buchanancomo/cxv.html

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