Virginia Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story


Caption reads: Poor House from Hill   ELM GROOVE, W. Va.

Note the spelling! Think they meant Elm Grove in OHIO County???  PHL
See more information in Local Notes below.


OHIO County Infirmary  -- Wheeling 

the Poorhouse Story

"A recent issue of the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram featured information about the sale of the land where Harrison County  poor house was located. I recall it being a two story brick building on Route 19 South."
     Helen Wilson 

See this photo article about the removal of children from the Kanawha County Poorhouse in 1934. 
submitted by Mabel Wilson 

Here is another of Linda Fluharty's GenWeb Pages -- Marshall County
"The Poorhouse", From History of the Pan-Handle, West Virginia, 1879; page 382. PAUPERISM.
(supplemented with photographs from George & Janet Jones)

The following listing -- "Alderson, Joseph A. 1 Feb. 1851 300 acres on gap on Second Creek joining the Poorhouse Plantation" -- clearly establishes that there was indeed a poorhouse in the county at that time and may help pinpoint the location.  PHL
from: Land Records of Monroe County, West Virginia (GenWeb site)

"My mother-in-law grew up in Elm Grove, Ohio County, West Virginia and purchased a book which she gave my husband for Christmas one year. The title of the book is "Elm Grove A History In Pictures"  Research by Jack & Barbara Maynard.  Copyright 1999 by Creative Impressions Studio Keeping History Alive 
On page 13 in this book is the exact photo of the postcard you have on your web page without the caption!  Here is what it says about the photo:  "1888 - A nice view of Elm Grove.  At the left is the first Junior Avenue Bridge.  At the left in the distance is the first Elm Grove School.  In the distance on the hill is the Stone Church and Cemetery.  In the center is the Ohio County Infirmary which was later converted into the first Bridge Street School.  This photograph was taken from about where the present day Dorothy Avenue is located."
At the top of page 37 is a closeup photograph of the infirmary with the following written about it: "The Ohio County Infirmary, located on Junior Avenue in the same field that Bridge Street Junior High School sits today.  The Infirmary was for T. B. patients, when the sanitarium was moved to Roney's Point.  The infirmary was used as the first Bridge Street School."
The second photo on page 37 shows part of the back of the building when it was used as a school.  The information reads: "This photo shows the other side of the old infirmary after it was converted into the first Bridge Street School.  In the back row, 7th from the right is Bernice Crider.  Her married name is Bernice Crider Stauffer Ellis.  At 90 years of age, she still lives at 2208 Marshall Avenue."
I thought you might be interested in knowing that these photos exist and verifying that the postcard you have IS INDEED of Elm Grove, West Virginia."
     Debbie  Ullom  

This one is a MUST READ!

Linda Fluharty 
host of The Pleasants County WVGenWeb Page
obtained permission from Goldenseal and the author to post the full text and pictures from the article cited above --" A Home for the Homeless: Remembering the Pleasants County Poor Farm." This is a truly wonderful example of the emotional power of recorded oral history, an interview with surviving personnel of the poorhouse. Linda put this online from the hard copy provided by Thelma Wells West. (Hooray to both of them! PHL)

"The "Walnut Crest Lodge" Poorhouse and Cemetery are located in the Kingwood District of Preston County, West Virginia.  The Lodge was built in 1877.  It is built of red brick, has a slate roof and the interior woodwork is all oak, including the three staircases.  The building is presently being used by the Preston County Board of Education for storage purposes. 

The Walnut Crest Cemetery is presently being restored.  As soon as all the names have been established I will e-mail you the list." 
      Marion Scott 

Kim Varner [] whose father was caretaker of the Preston County Poor House in Kingwood,  and whose family lived there from 1973 until 2 years ago, has shared with us some wonderful photographs (then & now) in a photo album

Historical notes about care of the poor from "The Reference Book Of Wyoming County History " by Mary K Bowmanm, 1963,pages 157-8. 


Articles from back issues of Goldenseal
1.  Cabell County Poor Farm, 1853 to 1929 5:2;p36
2.  A Home for the Homeless: Remembering the Pleasants County Poor Farm 20:3;p45 (number phrases with colons denote volume: issue; page) found at


the Poorhouse Story

"Looking for information about the Cabell County West Virginia Poorhouses. I  know there were two of them. One was on Rt60 near Barboursville."      

"There was a "County House" in Calhoun County, which, according to a death certificate dated 21 Jan 1901, was located in Marengo. The individual named in the death certificate, my ggg grandfather, was 97 years old [cause of death: old age]. Although he owned property in Convis Township, at that age he was most likely beyond the abilities of his son and daughter to care for him."
     Stefani Evans 

"I have been trying to find information on the poor farm in Fayette county WVA. I still remember getting my grandfathers death certificate and it had that he was buried in the poor farm in Oak Hill WVA Nov 1st 1930. The informant was Mary Roach and he was attended by a doctor H.H. Pulett (I think the signature says.)  The undertakers were Tyree and Sevy. My grandfathers name was Earl Watts. I had never heard of the poor farm and have been looking for information to see if I could get any records or where I could get the information. Any help would be appreciated"  
     Marla Jones

Read the many inquiries and comments which have been posted on our Message Board about   Institute Poorhouse in Kanawha County

Mason County  had a Poor house that closed around 1900. I have found my  grand mother and great grandmother there in 1880 and then 1900. Since the 1890 Census records burned,  there is this great gap of information. Where would I locate records about this poor house in the county? Any  help would be appreciated. Thanks.  
     Nina Robertson 

"I am looking for information on a poor farm in West Virginia. It was in Mercer County on Brickyard Road. I was told that my father was born there or lived there in the early 20s. Thanks for anything you can share."  

"I am trying to find  information about a  "poor house" in Roane Co., W.VA. Where would I go to find death records for those who lived in that poorhouse?  Did anyone record those deaths? Do you have any idea what "poor houses" existed in that area at that time? Where were those people buried? Any help or direction would be greatly appreciated." 
     Nancee(McMurtrey)Seifert at  l375 Inverness Farms Road; Martinsville, IN 46l5l

"I have gotten the impression that county owned poor farms in WV were short lived . They were replaced by annual contracts made by the county with private households where the poor were "consigned" for care. My gg grandpa Drury's last home was the Poor Farm which he bought from Wyoming County and where he did "keep Paupers on consignment" as did other private homes. The many unmarked graves in the Poor Farm Cemetery were always said to be those of "County Paupers   
     W. Darrell Miller 
[Note: See below the historical notes (book excerpt) which were submitted by Mr. Miller.]


the Poorhouse Story

Marshall County Poorhouse Resident List from 1870 Census

Preston County Poorhouse Resident List from 1880 Census  
                 (later known as Walnut Crest Lodge , Kingwood

the Poorhouse Story

"I am looking for information on the burials from the poorhouse that was located around Mercer County, WV. That would be in the area of Brickyard Rd. and Springs Road near Princeton, WV. I was told there is a mass grave located in the Bethel Cemetery on the corner of Eads Mill Road and Springs Road. Can anyone verify this information? We are trying to get the cemetery organized; and this information would help avoid making a mistake on future burials. This information would be appreciated." 
          Barbara Duncan 

the Poorhouse Story
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in WEST VIRGINA 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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