June 1992


submitted by Jean Gilley

Imagine finding yourself standing before a judge in commissioner’s court to declare yourself a “pauper” an eligible to take residency on the Cass County poor farm. 

After it was established in 1895, these were the circumstances some found themselves in when the county stopped sending them monthly payments for assistance. The plan was then to cre for these people on the farm. 

Even though the experience may have been a humiliating and disgraceful one, they were well cared for there. Martha Young, a member of the Cass County Genealogical Society, provided an insight into this forgotten, and perhaps to some an unknown part of our area history. She was speaker at the March 10 meeting of the Society

Located out of Linden, the farm also housed short term convicts. 

The farm was cultivated and the stock cared for by the convicts. The other residents were also given jobs to help “earn their keep,” except those who were physically unable. Most of the food needed for the operation was raised there. 

The commissioner’s court employed a superintendent to assume charge of the operation. He and his family were required to live on the grounds. 

Mrs. Young interviewed Marion Jones of Linden to gather information on her subject. His father, Nat Jones, served as superintendent three years.

  Marion was born there on the farm. When his father died shortly thereafter, his uncle, Edd Jones, was then employed. His connection with the place continued when, as a child, he would go to visit and play with his cousins there.  

Each resident was responsible for keeping their room clean. One man, unable to walk, learned how to mop his floor as he moved about in the straight chair he sat in. His room was kept spotless. 

A cemetery named Mockingbird Hill provided a burial ground when there was a death. A coffin was furnished as well as a minister and the music. Flowers from someone’s garden would be gathered and people from the community would attend. 

Marion Jones states that the cemetery is in a lovely setting with about thirty graves. 

There had been no burial there for years until recently. A vagrant passing through Linden had been hit and killed on the highway. His daughter was unable to return the body to his home state for burial. History repeated itself the latter part of March when he was laid to rest in the “lovely little cemetery” called Mockingbird Hill. 

Through the years, other superintendents at the farm included J. C. Erwin, Jim Weatherall, Martin Echols and Elmer Almond. When the last superintendent, Ed White died in 1956, the farm closed its doors, thus ending another chapter in Cass County history.


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