On File: Lewistown / Bldg / Poor Farm
|| Culver Studio, Brenner #3025.
"We do not have much information on the [Fergus County] poor house. It was called the
County Poor Farm and was started in 1890 as a County rest home and Hospital.
They cared for indigent patients. They raised all their own meat and produce.
They closed July 1, 1965.It was located on Lower Spring Creek. In the photograph
above, the Reed & Bowles Trading Post is
on the left of center." Nancy Watts Lewistown Public Library NANCYW@lewis-carnegie-library.org
Here is the Montana
excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT
summarizing various state poor laws in 1904. .
Click on the links above for more information.
Jackie Corr has written a piece of creative non-fiction (and
if you don't know what that term means, just click to see a wonderful example)
which uses the vehicle of an imaginary interview with the author, Charles
Dickens, to present some thoughtful insight into the history of the Silver
Bow County Poor Farm in Butte.
Don't miss A NEW YEARS TALE: The
Charles Dickens Interview
NOTES FROM READERS:
"I was a child in the 1930s and remember going to a place
my Father called The Poor Farm outside of Cody, [Park County] Wyoming. I
have not researched it since."
Ruth Kern firstname.lastname@example.org
"There was a County Poor Farm outside of
Lewistown, Montana, Fergus County, as recent as the early 1950's. I
recall visiting on a field trip with the Girl Scouts and we brought May baskets
to the residents. It seemed to be just frail elderly who were there, but I
recall seeing children playing outside who also lived there. "
Mary Jo Propst email@example.com
"Today I visited the State Historical Library and
discovered that my step-great-grandfather lived at the
Lewis and Clark County Poor Farm and Hospital and worked as their paid
gardener. My great-grandmother may have worked in the kitchen."
Jane A. Kipp firstname.lastname@example.org
The headquarters of NCAT
(the National Center for Appropriate Technology) in Butte, Montana, is a
1902 brick building that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building operated as
the Silver Bow County Poor Farm Hospital, providing care for the elderly
and indigent, until it was closed in the 1930's. The structure continued as a
hospital until 1956; NCAT moved into the building in 1976.
Monday September 02,
1996 PAGE: 10A
ON YOUR DOORSTEP
"Before welfare, [Yellowstone] county housed and fed the
By LORNA THACKERAY Of the Gazette Staff
submitted by Jackie Corr
This is a wonderful, very
comprehensive and well written article about the history of the Yellowstone
County Poorhouse. It has been reprinted with permission
of the Billings Gazette.
"When I visited the Montana Historical Society Library,
they hauled out huge ledgers with the names, dates and lots of information
about the inmates for many decades. It would be a gold mine for anyone looking
for in-depth records of people at the [Lewis & Clark County]
hospital/poor farm. I didn't look closely at all the ledgers they brought me
because I was focusing on 1903- 1908, but I believe they had records from
around 1879 - 1936. A woman asked me if I wanted the cemetery records, so they
must have those, too."
Jane A. Kipp email@example.com
Historical Society Library, P.O. Box 201201, 225 N. Roberts, Helena, MT
59620-1201. Phone: 406-444-2681.
(See note above in RECORDS section.)
Cemery Wall Needs Repair!
November 16, 2001
Depression era Butte, through the WPA built a large retaining wall of
granite around the Poor Farm cemetery. This granite came from the
Ernest George quarry at the nine mile. Recent acts of vandalism
involved the dismantling of this wall and the removal of the granite.
This took place on the northwest side of the slope. That wall was
crucial in preventing what remains of the cemetery from being washed
away in just a few short years.
This cemetery, one
of the earliest in the state, was in use before Butte was
incorporated in 1879 which makes it one of the oldest, if not the
oldest, of Butte's historical sites. Thousands were laid to rest here
over the years. In addition, the main building of the Silver
Bow County Poor Farm still exists. It is at 3040
Continental and is known as NCAT.
erected in 1902, was the largest public building in Silver Bow
County and the second largest public building in the state, second
only to the capital building in Helena at the time. It would remain so
until the the county courthouse that we use today was built a decade
I have remarked in
the past that the size of the buildings at the poor farm are a more
reliable measurement of the glory of the Copper Kings than what
has been written by the historians. Of course, buildings like the poor
farm and its cemetery remain unknown to the historians and the history
So it is time
that a case is made for this cemetery and the spirits that reside
there. No better place to start then this Butte
Evening New's Christmas story nearly a century ago.
From the Butte
Evening News, December 18, 1905. The News was one of four
daily newspapers in Butte in 1905. The others were The
Intermountain, Anaconda Standard and the Butte Miner. The
Intermountain and the Butte Evening News were afternoon papers.
The Evening News would quit publication in 1911 and The Intermountain became
the Butte Daily Post in 1912.
here to read this old Christmas article.
Farm Cemetery -- Jefferson County, Montana
Farm Cemetery -- Lewis & Clark County, Helena, Montana
Cemetery (China Row) -- Lewis & Clark County
"Note: On 10/28/1892 there were 16 "Chinaman" (they were
only given numbers 3 through 18) from China, residing in Helena, undertaker was
Flaherty, owner of lot deceased, buried in China Row, moved from Old County
Cemetery (Poor Farm Cemetery). These burials were matched up with the Poor Farm
Cemetery records and names were entered for some of the numbered burials."
Cemetery -- Billings, Yellowstone County
"This cemetery is in need of care. It originally was part of the Poor Farm
and many buried here are just identified by a cement number in the ground. Now
with the help of the Eugene Sara Detachment, Marine Corps League in Billings,
the cemetery is getting the attention it needs." Joyce Obland
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in MONTANA through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.