Prepared by 
The Ohio Historical Records Survey Project
Division of Community Service Programs
Work Projects Administration
Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio Historical Records Survey Project
July, 1942
3 1466 00270 9363

Excerpts of portions dealing with Infirmary (poorhouse) Records

[Note: Click here to see portions of important information common to all the county inventories.

Housing, Care, and Accessibility of the Records
Records of the county home are kept in the superintendent’s office at the county home, Center Township, State Route 170, RFD, Lisbon, Ohio.                                                                          p. 61  
Superintendent of the County Home

    The earliest available record of an institution in Columbiana County to provide for the care of the aged, ill, or disabled indigent reveals that on August 15, 1829 the county commissioners ordered the poorhouse to be repaired and certain other improvements to be made, and on October 3, a contract was awarded to one Andrew Scott, who was to receive $92 for this work.  On March 23, 1830, the board declared the work on the poorhouse and the old building near it to be unsatisfactory. It was not until 1860, however, that the board authorized the auditor to advertise the letting of the contract for a county infirmary.  The main infirmary building was completed in 1864 at a cost of $12,570, and in 1873 a building in which to confine the insane was added at a cost of $8,000. Both were built on a farm three miles west of New Lisbon.  Two hundred acres had been purchased in 1829 at a cost of $3600 but the total cost of land at the time of building was $6700.  Subsequent purchases brought the farm up to 425 acres in 1940.  In 1879 the infirmary buildings consisted of two three-story brick buildings, a powerhouse, a heating plant, a meat storage house, a dairy, and a frame barn.  In 1936 a hospital was erected by the Public Works Administration providing three wards, with 10 beds in a ward.  Prior to this time all patients had been sent to Salem City hospital.  Until 1910 the infirmary was governed by a board of directors; from 1910 to 1913 the directors were made a part of the county government with pay; from 1913 to date the county commissioners have acted as the governing body. 

   There are 17 members on the staff, 15 of whom reside at the infirmary, their monthly compensation aggregating $2,125.  The annual salary of the superintendent, who is the only civil service employee, is $2,040 and he is not obliged to furnish bond. 

   Applicants are admitted upon recommendation and authorization of the various trustees, except from Wellsville, where authorization from the mayor is compulsory.  The number of residents has averaged 140 annually since 1872; the present number, 168, includes persons ranging in age from 24 to 88 years. 

   The advent of old age pension legislation has had little effect on the operation of the infirmary.  Ninety-one percent of the residents are still                                                                                p. 227

accommodated on account of old age disability, of whom 14 receive old age pensions and two pay their own expenses at a rate of $30 per month.  The remainder suffer from deformities, illness, or insanity.  Those who are capable are requested to perform a certain amount of work on the farm for the purpose of improving their morale and also to reduce the upkeep expense through the sale of farm products.

   Religious services are provided by the commissioners on a compensation basis of $50 for each denomination for a three-months period, denominations alternating weekly.  Attendance is not compulsory. 

   All records are located in the superintendent’s office of the Columbiana County Home, Center Township, State Route 170, Lisbon, Ohio.                                                                                 p. 228

County Commissioners

Poor relief at the time Columbiana County was founded was the concern not of the county commissioners but of the local township trustees.  Although the commissioners were required by law in 1816 to assist in the care of indigents by the construction and maintenance of poorhouses, the part played by the commissioners in poor relief continued relatively small until 1932, when depression legislation markedly increased the responsibilities of the commissioners in administering aid to the unprecedented numbers of citizens suddenly unable to provide for themselves and their families.  The emergency relief measures passed during the period 1932-37 gave the counties for the first time a centralized relief administration.  Since 1932, the county, state and federal governments have collaborated in obtaining funds for poor relief.  The commissioners have provided for their share of relief responsibilities by the issuance and sale of bonds secured by the county’s share of excise taxes received from the state, and by a levy of one-tenth of one percent on the general tax list.  On September 1, 1932, the commissioners of Columbiana County issued $94,050 in bonds for poor relief, and in December of the same year received $115,000 from the poor relief excise fund.  From March 1938 to December 1940, 14,470 cases were receiving aid.  Control over relief work has become one of the most important phases of the work of the commissioners.  The actual distribution of the funds, however, is accomplished through a relief director appointed by the commissioners, and his assistants.                                                                     p. 73

County  Commissioners

3.  COUNTY HOME JOURNAL, 1910—.  3 vols. (1-3).  Title varies: Infirmary Record, 1910-1919,
 1 vol.
Minutes of meetings of the infirmary board, showing dates of meetings, names of members present, record of all business transacted, including bills received and paid, and signatures of president and secretary of the infirmary board.  Arr. chron. by dates of meetings.  No index.  1910-19, hdw; 1919—, typed.  Aver. 300 pp.  17 x 22 x 2. Comm. main. ofc.                                                                                      p. 75

County Commissioners -- Fiscal Accounts

31.  LEDGER, 1872-99.  1 vol. (1).
Record of county infirmary receipts, showing date recorded, amounts received from sale of various articles and produce, amount for support of patients from different sources, name of source, and amount in depository.  Arr. chron. by dates recorded.  No index.  Hdw. on p.f.  300 pp.  16 x 11˝ x 2. Comm. main ofc.                                                                                                                                    p. 79 

35.  INFIRMARY RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES, 1892-1921.  2 vols. (1, 2)
Record of county infirmary receipts and expenditures.  Expenditures showing voucher number, date of entry, from whom received, to whom paid, amount and purpose of expenditure, including supplies, groceries, fuel, light, clothing, drugs, tobacco, implements, live stock, furniture, feed for live stock, tools, machinery, also salaries of superintendent, matron, physicians, nurses and other employees.  Receipts showing from whom received, amount, date, amount derived from inmates, their relatives, donations in the form of money, labor, materials, supplies, services, charities, appropriations, and amount derived from sale of county farm produce.  Arr. chron. by dates entered.  No index.  Hdw. on p.f.  Aver. 214 pp.  18 x 8 x 2.  Comm. main ofc.                                                                                                         p. 80

Superintendent of the County Home -- Proceedings; Financial Records


Minutes of meetings relative to the county home.  For complete description, see entry 3. 

518.    INFIRMARY REGISTRY, 1866—.  4 vols.
Record of arrival and departure of inmates, showing date new arrivals were admitted, name of arrival, and reason for entering home; record of patients confined to the hospital, showing names of patients, date confined to hospital, nature of sickness, and date of discharge or date of death; visitors record of the infirmary, showing relationship to person visited, date of beginning and termination of visit, and record of final release in the custody of family or relatives.  Arr. chron. by dates of recording.  No index.  Hdw.  Aver. 250 pp. 18 x 12 x 2.

                                                         (Financial Records) 

519.    PETTY CASH BOOK, 1866—.  3 vols.
Record of petty cash receipts and withdrawals of moneys by the inmates, showing date of entry, name of payer or payee, amount for service and goods supplied.  Arr. chron. by dates entered.  No index.  Hdw. on ruled form.  Aver. 200 pp.  12 x 8 x 1. 

Record of the budget and appropriations for the infirmary, listing all bills, receipts and disbursements, showing date of entry, amount of appropriations, name of payee or payer, and amount for services and goods supplied.  Arr. chron. by dates entered.  No index.  Hdw.  Aver. 500 pp.  18 x 12 x 2˝.                                                                                                  p. 228

Infirmary Directors
                                                                  Infirmary Directors

William Filson                           1859-1871
Joshua Bowman                        1860-1863
Hiram Chandler                         1861-1870
Solomon Rhinehart                    1863-1866
Joshua Bowman                        1866-1869
John L. Crowell                        1869-1878
John Mason                              1870-1877

Jesse D. Chandler                      1871-1879
George Coulson                         1877-1880
Jacob Miller                               1878-1881
Craig D. Filson                           1879-1891
Charles M. Miller                       1880-1886
John F. Groom                           1882-1883
William M. Richardson               1884-1889
                                                              p. 270

John Aiken                                  1886-1892
George H. Garnor                       1889-1890
Robert W. Hastings                     1890-1896
Samuel J. Roller                           1891-1897
Craig D. Filson                             1892-1901
James M. McBride                       1896-1902
L. C. Hoopes                               1897-1900

William A. Tarr                           1900-1903
Thomas O. Kelly                        1901-1913
G. W. Armstrong                        1902-1908
A. E. Swearingen                        1903-1909
John H. Morrison                        1908-1911
George F. Grossham                   1909-1913
Thomas E. Lodge                        1911-1913
                                                               p. 271

excerpted and transcribed by:  James Boyce  -- Dec 2000
Note: Most of these inventories were heavily footnoted. We did not include the footnotes (which were usually references to other documents) here because we felt that this website is for general readers without a strong academic/legal need to see these footnotes. However, they are available upon specific request from researchers who e-mail us.

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