Illinois Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story
POORHOUSE HISTORY by state

 

TABLE OF ILLINOIS COUNTIES

Counties are coded as follows:
Photos
Contains Pictures
No information
(Special Challenge!)
Microfilm Records at OHS
Microfilm Records
(available through IRAD)


(scroll to bottom of page for information)
 
ADAMS
Microfilm Records at OHS
ALEXANDER  BOND
BOONE BROWN
Microfilm Records at OHS
BUREAU CALHOUN CARROLL
Photos
CASS
Microfilm Records at OHS
CHAMPAIGN
Photos
CHRISTIAN

 

CLARK CLAY CLINTON COLES
Photos
COOK
Photos
CRAWFORD CUMBERLAND DeKALB
Photos
DeWITT

 

DOUGLAS

DuPAGE
Photos

EDGAR EDWARDS
EFFINGHAM
FAYETTE FORD
Photos
FRANKLIN FULTON
GALLATIN GREENE
Microfilm Records at OHS
GRUNDY HAMILTON HANCOCK
HARDIN HENDERSON HENRY
Microfilm Records at OHSPhotos
IROQUOIS JACKSON
JASPER

 

JEFFERSON JERSEY JoDAVIESS
Microfilm Records at OHS
JOHNSON
KANE
Photos
KANKAKEE

 

KENDALL

KNOX

LAKE
Photos

LaSALLE LAWRENCE LEE LIVINGSTON
Photos
LOGAN
MACON MACOUPIN MADISON
PhotosMicrofilm Records at OHS
MARION MARSHALL
MASON MASSAC McDONOUGH
Photos
McHENRY
McLEAN
MENARD
PhotosMicrofilm Records at OHS 
MERCER
Microfilm Records at OHSPhotos
MONROE
MONTGOMERY
MORGAN
MOULTRIE OGLE
Microfilm Records at OHS
PEORIA
Microfilm Records at OHS
PERRY
PIATT
 
PIKE

.

POPE PULASKI PUTNAM   RANDOLPH
RICHLAND ROCK ISLAND SALINE SANGAMON SCHUYLER
Microfilm Records at OHS  
SCOTT SHELBY
PhotosMicrofilm Records at OHS
STARK
Microfilm Records at OHS
ST. CLAIR
STEPHENSON
Photos
TAZEWELL UNION
VERMILION
Photos
WABASH WARREN
Photos
WASHINGTON
WAYNE

 

WHITE
Photos
WHITESIDE
Photos
WILL
WILLIAMSON WINNEBAGO WOODFORD
Microfilm Records at OHS
   

the Poorhouse Story

HISTORY:    

The following is an excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT 
summarizing various state poor laws in 1904. .
Click on the link above for more information.

the Poorhouse Story

"CARE OF THE POOR IN ILLINOIS"

Public care of the poor in Illinois began in 1819. In that year, the General Assembly passed a law mandating public care and maintenance of those unable to support themselves and without family support. County overseers of the poor farmed out care of the destitute to private citizens. [Laws of Illinois 1819, p. 127] 

In 1839, this system was reauthorized. County commissioners' courts were also authorized to establish county poorhouses, at their own discretion, to replace the farm-out system; to hire keepers of the poor, and to levy a property tax for poorhouse support. [Laws of Illinois 1839, p. 138] This poorhouse authorization was renewed in 1845 and 1861. [Illinois Revised Statutes 1845, p. 402; Laws of Illinois 1861, p. 181] 

An 1874 law required all keepers (superintendents) of county poorhouses to keep books of account. [Illinois Revised Statutes 1874, p. 754] The superintendent was required to keep a record showing the name of each person admitted to the county poorhouse; the time of his admission and discharge; the place of his birth; whether his dependence resulted from idiocy, lunacy, intemperance, or other causes, stating the cause; and is required, at the same time each year, to file with the county clerk of his county a copy of the same, together with a statement showing the average number of persons kept in the poorhouse each month during the year. [Illinois Revised Statutes 1874, p. 758] 

In 1917, counties were authorized to establish joint poorhouses and poor farms with other counties; and in 1919, the county poorhouses' names were changed to county homes. [Laws of Illinois 1917, p. 638; Laws of Illinois 1919, p. 698] The county home law was renewed in 1935 and 1945. [Laws of Illinois 1935, p. 1055; Laws of Illinois 1945, p. 1139] 

In 1949, the Public Assistance Code was passed, making relief of the indigent a function of the new county departments of welfare. County homes were reauthorized only for care of infirm or chronically ill persons; counties were specifically forbidden from placing destitute but physically healthy persons in the county homes. [Laws of Illinois 1949, p. 404] In 1967, the Public Aid code repealed the county home laws and deauthorized the county homes remaining in Illinois. [Laws of Illinois 1967, p. 118] 


Quoted from http://www.sos.state.il.us/depts/archives/wood.html#poor 
Woodford County Almshouse Registers Index,1868–1957
Compiled by the Illinois Regional Archives Depository System, Illinois State University
the Poorhouse Story
The Illinois Regional Archives Depositories (IRAD)  has so many poorhouse records available that we have listed these references-- 
in a table alphabetized by county.

Here is a wonderful article from Springhouse Magazine Online which reveals information about the poorhouses in SALINE and POPE counties; but these rich details may be of interest to all students of poorhouse history. (scroll down the left side of the page until you find POOR HOUSE)
the Poorhouse Story
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in ILLINOIS 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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