the Poorhouse Story

Caption:  Stark County Infirmary, Canton, Ohio

the Poorhouse Story


History of the Stark County Poorhouse  

from the 4th volume of the
Stark County Story, The Suburban Era in Stark County Ohio, 1917-1958
   dated 20 Jan 1958      
Submitted by Kathlena Funk-Anderson 

     "The County Home, spacious red brick buildings of which crest the highest hill of the rolling farmland at 2562 Cleveland Avenue N.W., now entirely surrounded by city streets and allotments, dates back under changing names to the county poor house, built in 1837.  The farm, originally 160 acres, was purchased in 1833 from John Shorb and John Saxton by the Stark
County commissioners, as authorized by act of state legislature March 8, 1831.
     David Foltz, Samuel Shrantz and Jonathan Holvick were appointed the first directors.  A hospital was erected in 1893 and other buildings were added after 1900.  Also more acres were added by purchase, bring the total to 240 in 1876, and to approximately 310 acres at the peak.
      In 1850 the name county poor house was changed to county infirmary, and this again to county home in 1924.
      The present superintendent, Walter J. Firestone, took office May 1, 1934.  Sales of parcels  of the ground over the years leave about 120 acres at the present time.
      Population of the home has remained steady in recent years at between 270 and 290...

      Those eligible to live at the county home are homeless persons who are unable to care for themselves.  They may be recipients of social security and old age pensions, if the amounts so received are not sufficient for them to take care of themselves.  Likewise if relatives are unable or unwilling to care for a needy person, the latter is eligible.  Many patients have no friends.  City residents who are unemployed single men are likewise eligible.  Present population is made up of 66 women and 236 men.  Relatives will take care of women before they will men.  There are many foreign born residents who have never married, or who left their families behind in the old country."


the Poorhouse Story

WPA   Inventory


Note: For every county in Ohio it would be a good idea to check the statewide resources listed below.     PHL

We have found so many infirmary/poorhouse records for Ohio that we have created a special page for the references -- which will be found in a table alphabetized by county.

During the 1930's and 1940's the Work Projects Administration (WPA) began the process of inventorying County Archives of Ohio. Those which inventoried infirmary records have been transcribed and links are here posted on a table
the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story

We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in STARK county through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.

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