Prepared by 
The Ohio Historical Records Survey Project
Division of Community and Service Programs
Work Projects Administration
Columbus, Ohio
The Ohio Historical Records Survey Project
May 1941
3 1466 00271 9314

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

County Home.   The home is at Munroe Falls, on State Route 91, 6 miles northwest of Akron.  Its 441 acres of beautiful farm land were bought in 1918, and a building costing $750, 000 was erected.   Improvements and additions were made in 1934 with the aid of WPA funds.  It is one of the most modern and efficient county home in the state.  All of the records are kept in the stenographer’s office, the volume in a steel safe, the unbound records in steel file case along the east and west walls.  This room is in excellent condition, having a hardwood floor with a rubber mat under each desk chair.  It is well lighted and well ventilated, the records are neat and in orderly arrangement.  While space is ample, about 50 percent additional equipment if needed.                                                                                  p. 66

Superintendent of the County Home

   When Summit County was organized in 1840, care of the aged poor was provided under the terms of the act of 1831 under which county commissioners were to appoint for terms of 3 years a board of directors of three persons who in turn to appoint a superintendent of the “poorhouse” and make the necessary rules and regulations for those designated as paupers by the township trustees.  From 1840 to 1849 the Summit County paupers were cared for in the Portage County poorhouse or in homes selected by township trustees at the order of the county commissioners. In 1849 the commissioners provided for the construction of a poorhouse or infirmary on the Joseph B. McCune farm in Portage Township (now Akron) at the corner of Medina Road (West Market Street) and Portage Path. A second and more spacious infirmary was built in 1864 at the southeast corner of West Exchange Street and Rose Boulevard.  In 1872 a pesthouse was added.  At the request of the commissioners an addition was authorized by the legislature in 1875 and completed the following year.  The insane were first adequately segregated in pursuance of an order of the commissioners of March 10, 1884 providing for “a new pigpen, outside water closets and an additional room for incurable insane inmates.”  In 1898 it was made unlawful to confine adult insane and epileptics in the county home. In 1884 children eligible by law for the county children’s home were barred from the infirmary unless separated from the adults.  Since then the children admitted are generally insane (idiotic or epileptic). 

   In 1911 the infirmary directors, elective since 1865, were abolished10 and their powers transferred to the county commissioners who were to appoint the superintendent for an indefinite term, subject to civil service regulations and fix his salary, which in Summit County is $2298 a year with maintenance.11  The superintendent’s bond is $5000.12  He appoints a matron and other employees.13  Since 1882 the commissioners have been authorized to appoint at least .....
                                                                                                                                             p. 243

... one infirmary physcian.  In 1919 the name of the institution was changed from county infirmary to county home. 

   On November 2, 1915 the Summit County voters approved the construction of a new building, and in 1917 the present spacious edifice at Munroe Falls was completed. The staff now numbers 61, including the superintendent and two full time doctors, and makes up a monthly pay roll of $4295.  The annual outlay has increased from $63, 047.17 in 1929 to $92, 840.10 in 1939.  At the same time receipts from patients has increased from $4073.37 to $10, 641.52.  Every year a few hundred dollars is realized from the sale of products made by the residents.  Throughout the years since 1915 the population of the home has stayed surprisingly the same.  The daily average number of inmates for the year 1915 was 261, for 1929 it was 255, and for 1939 it was 275.  This indicates that in the last 25 years the number of residents at the home has not materially changed.  However a great change has taken place in the condition of the residents.  In 1915 those listed as “disabled by old age” or as merely old and poor numbered 74 percent of the total.  The rest were either physically or mentally ill or deformed.  In 1939 only 18.5 percent were classified as merely old and poor or disabled by old age.  This left the bulk of them listed as epileptic, idiotic, feeble-minded or physically disabled.  Fully 60 percent are listed as physically ill or deformed.  This change has made the institution more of a hospital for the aged than a home for the aged.  This is born out by the fact that the hospital staff numbers 32 of the 61 employees.  This change is related in large measure to the program of aid for the aged which has enabled the able-bodied and mentally fit to remain in private homes.  Male residents outnumber female residents by about three to one. 

   All records are located in the county home on State Route 91, at Munroe Falls, Ohio.
                                                                                                                                                  p. 244

Superintendent of the County Home -- Journals

764.  [MINUTES OF MEETINGS],  1907-12.  In Bill Docket, entry 778.  Minutes of meeting pertaining to hearings and authorization of bills for county home expenditures.
For subsequent records, see Infirmary Journal, entry 3.
                                                                                                                                                 p. 244

765.  General Record,  1934---.  2 vols.
Detailed record of activities of the county home, classified by subjects as, cash  received, checks recorded, invoices, registrations, pay roll, and general journal entries, all show date of entry.  Arr. alph. under tabs by subjects  and chron. thereunder by dates of entries.  No index.  Hdw. on. p. f.  Aver. ??pp,  11 1/3 x 15 x 2 1/2.  Steno. ofc.
      For infirmary journal,  1913--,  see entry 3.
                                                                                                                                                 p. 245

Superintendent of the County Home -- Case Records

766.  RECORDS OF INMATES,  1897-1917,  1934--.   2 vols.
Record of inmates, showing date admitted, name, age, cause of admittance to county home, birthplace, color, hospital record (if any), and date of dismissal or death.  Arr. chro. by dates of entries.  Indexed alph. by names of inmates. Hdw. on p. f. Aver.  200 pp.  10 1/2 x 12 x 1.  Steno. ofc. 

767.  HISTORIES OF INMATES],  1917--.  6 f. b.
???ly and case history of inmates, showing name of inmate, age, birthplace, physical condition.  Arr. alph. by names of inmates.  No index.  Hdw. on ??f,  5 1/4 x 6 1/2 x 17.  Steno ofc. 

768.  DAILY RECORDS,  1927--.  10 vols.
???ly record of population of the home classified as male and female, showing number of inmates at beginning of day, daily admissions to county home and to hospital, number discharges or deaths, and total number at end of day.  Arr. chron. by days.  No index.  Hdw. on p. f. Aver. 80 pp.  16 x 9 x 1/2.  Steno ofc.


771.  RECORDS OF DEATHS,  1916--.  1 vol.
Record of deaths of inmates, showing name of decedent, date of death, date of burial in county home burial grounds, and registered grave number;  also record of burial of unidentified and of county’s indigents unable to buy burial plots.  Arr. chron. by dates of deaths.  No index.  Hdw. on p. f.  120 pp. 10 x 8 x 1.  Steno ofc.
                                                                                                                                                 p. 245

Superintendent of the County Home -- Fiscal Accounts

777.  EXPENDITURES AND RECEIPTS,  1883-1914,  1920-1925,  1931--. 5 vols.
Record of cash receipts from all sources including farm produce and item?? account of expenditures in operation of institution, showing date of entry amount, to whom paid or from whom received, and for what.  Arr. chron. by dates of entries.  No index.  Hdw. on p. f.  Aver. 275 pp.  10 1/2 x 15 x 2 1/?.  Steno ofc. 

778.  BILL DOCKET,  1907-14.  2 vols.
Docket of bills filed, showing date filed, name of creditor, bill number, specific purpose, amount approved and authorized by county commissioners, cover expenditures created by the county home;  also canceled vouchers of commissioners authorizing payments of bills, showing bill number, voucher number,  name of creditor or payee, date of bill, amount, for what, date of date paid, signatures of county commissioners and superintendent of county home.  Also contains [Minutes of Meetings], 1907-12,  entry 764.  Arr chron. by dates of filing and num. by bill nos.  No index.  Typed on p. f. 10 1/? x 13 1/2.  Steno ofc.             For commissioners’ record,  1904--, see entry 44.
                                                                                                                                              p. 246

Superintendent of the County Home -- Miscellaneous

Record of valuation of equipment, livestock, real estate of county home showing date of inventory,  name of article, and valuation.  Arr. chron. by date of inventories.  No index.  Hdw. on p. f. 25 pp.  14 x 1/2 x 6 x 1/4.  Strm.
         For appraisal,  1929,  see entries 54,  497.
                                                                                                                                                p. 246

Roster of County Officials
Infirmary Directors*                                                                                              
Boswell Kent                                          1849-1851
Avery Spicer                                          1849-1853
Lucius V. Bierce                            July to Oct.1849 
Gibbons J. Ackely                                  1849-1851
Joseph E. Wesener                      Aug. to Dec. 1851
Ira Hawkins                                           1851-1857 
George D. Bates                                    1851-1855
George Sherbondy                                 1853-1856
Charles C. Hanscom                              1855-1858 
David A. Scott                                       1856-1859 
Avery Spicer                                          1857-1866
William B. Walker                                  1859-1868
Alfred R. Townsend                               1861-1867
Jonathan H. Brewster                             1866-1875
William Cunningham                               1869-1873 
Francis T. Husong                                   1868-1871
Webster B. Storer                                  1871-1874
Alfred R. Townsend                               1873-1876
(Resigned October)     
William Southmayd                                 1876-1877
(Vice Alfred R. Townsend)  
Levi S. Herrold                                       1874-1877
Clement J. Kolb                                 1875-1881
Henry Frederick                                 1876-1882
William Southmayd                             1879-1883
Joseph A. Beebe                                1881-1887
John M. Johnston                               1882-1888
Steven D. Miller                                 1883-1890
Joseph Moore                                    1888-1894
Eli Smith                                             1889-1895
Jacob Koplin                                      1890-1893
John B. Betz                                       1893-1896
William H. Jones                                1894-1897
Clinton F. Berger                                1896-1899
Jacob G. Metzger                               1897-1903
J. M. Kleckner                                   1899-1905
William E. Waters                              1901-1907
Z. F. Chamberlain                              1903-1909
John M. Johnston                               1905-1911
William H. Wagoner                           1907-1911
F. A. Green                                        1909-1911
William G. Foust                                1911-1913
W. F. Strobel                                     1911-1913
Herbert E. Waldsmith                         1911-1913
excerpted and transcribed by: Jacqueline Baral -- Jan 2001
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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