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Jersey County Page     Jersey County History

Jersey County PoorhousesHistory

Text from 1919 Hamilton, History of Jersey County. Thanks to Carol Rhodes Van Valkenburgh, Marty Crull and Jersey County Historical Society for this page.

First Poorhouse

At a special session of the county commissioners’ court, held on Monday, October 13, 1845, the following record was placed on the records: “Ordered, that Samuel R. Perry of the county of Greene and State of Illinois, and he is hereby ordered to collect the sume of $900.00 in full payment of a certain farm, situated in the County of a Jersey, State of Illinois, containing 160 acres, being the same tract of land heretofore owned by Thomas Vance, conveyed by said Vance to said Samuel R. Perry, and which said farm the Court has this day purchased for the purpose of establishing a poorhouse thereon, and it is further ordered that the clerk deliver to the said Samuel R. Perry aforesaid the sum of $900.00 in Jersey County orders upon receiving the conveyance of said premises.” In December of the same year the county commissioners established the county poorhouse of this farm, located five or six miles northeast of Jerseyville, on which was a house all ready for occupancy, and it was used for the purpose intended.

Second Poorhouse

Later that first farm was sold and a farm of twenty acres adjoiningJerseyville on the east was purchased of Richard Graham. It, too, had a house on it. This house was used to shelter the poor of Jersey County for several years, when another change was made.

Third Poorhouse

During the administration of O. P. Powell, William H. Allen and Phineas Eldridge, in 1868-69, the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 16, of township 8, range 12, English Township, consisting of 160 acres, was purchased and a large brick building erected thereon for a poorhouse for the care of the paupers of this county, with the necessary outbuildings, and a large orchard. This location is about six miles northwest of Jerseyville in English Township. A temporary structure, 18 x 60 feet, two stories high, was erected immediately to care temporarily for the paupers.

Present Poorhouse

On July 9, 1888, a contract was entered into with Robert H. Clark, for $2, 700.00 to erect the present poorhouse from materials furnished by the county. The county collected $5,000.00 insurance for the loss of the old building, which was sufficient, with the material on hand, to construct the present building. Charles C. Campbell was the overseer of the poorhouse at the time it was burned. The inmates were all rescued, no lives being lost in the fire. The old plan of operating the poorhouse was for the county board to furnish the farm and everything necessary and employ a superintendent to operate it, making an allowance to him for boarding the paupers. This has been changed of recent years, and now it is under the superintendence of a committee appointed by the board of supervisors, they to employ a superintendent and his wife to care for the inmates at a fixed annual salary, the proceeds of the farm being paid over to the county board. This plan has been so successful during the past three or four years that the income from the farm has more than paid all the expenses of feeding and clothing the inmates of the home, and paying the salaries of the overseers. During this time, the inmates that have occupied the home have been no burden on the taxpayers of the county, a fact greatly to the credit of the committee and their management, and to the board of supervisors which appointed them.

Jersey County Democrat, December 18, 1869.

County Farm

Old Poor Farm to be leased on the second Monday of Jan., 1870. The old County Poor Farm will be leased for one year to the highest and best bidder. This farm consists of twenty acres in good cultivation and is located one mile east of Jerseyville. There are two good frame houses on the premises and also a good orchard.

Jersey County Democrat, 24 June, 1886.

List of children now at the poor house turned over to the undersigned by the board of supervisors of Jersey county at the June term, A. D. 1886, thereof, in order for him to advertise and find homes therefore: Marion Goings, white boy 14 years of age, has a mother at the poor house; Edward Scroggins, white boy 14 years of age, has mother at poor house; William Scroggins, white boy 8 years old, mother at the poor house; Frank Welsh, black boy 8 years old, Wesley Welsh’s child; Belle Welsh, black girl 4 years old, Wesley Welsh’s child; Wesley Welsh, black boy 6 years old, Wesley Welsh’s child; Robert Kimerly, white boy 7 years old, mother at poor house; George Heathcoat, white boy 6 years old, no parents; John Kimerly, white babe, with mother at poor farm; Charles Massey, white boy 2 years old, mother at poor house; William Brewer, white boy 4 years old, mother at poor house; Jas. Brewer, white boy 4 years old, mother at poor house; Flora Scroggins, a white babe 1 year old, with mother at poor house; Ella Scroggins, white girl 3 years old, mother at poor house; Osena Brewer, white girl 9 years old, mother at poor house, Ida Brewer, white girl 7 years old, mother at poor house; Cora Kimerly, white girl 14 years old, mother at poor house; Adda Scroggins, white girl 14 years old, mother at poor house. Anyone wishing any of the above please write or see the undersigned. W. H. Pogue

Republican Examiner, March 29, 1889.

County Farm

Charles Campbell, keeper of the poor house, reported that during the quarter ending Feb. 28, 1889, there in that institution for the following named persons: Wm. BRANYAN, W. BRADY, Martin STURDY, Frank WELSH, Signora KENT, Phoebe CARROLL, Adeline THOMPSON, Louise WASHINGTON, Martha and Charles MASSEY, ?no GAMMON, Nena and Chas. SEIDEL, Henry DUFF, Lizzie, Tena, and Willie LEISI, Albert PICKETT, John MUNCIA, Alex McINTYRE, Wesley WELSH, Matthew STREITZ, Jerry McCARTHY, Mr. BENTON, James Conners, Dan DOLAN, Chas. PIERS, Mrs. BURNS, David BURCH, James WOODS, and Chris LUTT.

1895, At The County Farm (no source)

A representative of the REPUBLICAN enjoyed a drive over the dusty road, Saturday, to the County farm. As is the custom, made so by state law, the Board of Supervisors, C.P. Stafford, Lloyd T. English, Wm. Goshorn, R.R. Ward, H. V. Vorhees, M. C. Whipple, Ben Elliott, T.C.H. Wylder and Wm. Dougherty and the following visitors: Supervisor Herring and wife of Greene County, W. E. Carlin, Smith Hill, L. O. Linsley and son and Mesdames Stafford, Wylder, Carlin and Dougherty. Anticipating that a long drive over dusty roads would bring on a good appetite. Keeper Wm. Ashlock and his estimable wife had prepared an elegant and bountiful dinner which was so much appreciated by the visiting delegation. The house and premises were carefully inspected and found in a very satisfactory condition. Improvements and changes in the building were suggested and apparent that would tend to improve the sanitary condition of the apartments of the building. Some improvements about the barn and an ice house were also mentioned. The inmates at present number 29 who are cared for by Mr. and Mrs. Ashlock to the satisfaction of the inmates and of the county Board.

Jerseyville Republican, June 1907

Meeting of the Supervisors: The matter of sstting off a piece of ground at the County Farm for the burial of poor persons dying at the County House, and to be known as the County Farm Cemetery, was brought up and discussed by the members. Mr. Journey moved that three acres be set aside and properly fenced to be used for said cemetery purposes. Mr. Bartlett moved to amend the motion by making the same one acre instead of three — amendment adopted. The motion as amended was adopted. Mr. Craig moved that the plat of ground to be used for cemetery purposes, be selected, fenced and properly laid out in lots under the directions of the committee of management of the Couty Farm. Motion adopted.

June 4, 1908 (no source)


Jersey co. Board of Supervisors made the annual visit for inspection to the county farm and alms house on Thursday, May 28th. The party included the following: Mr. and Mrs. Tunis H. Craig, William Hanley, R.C. Gillham, Ed Sauer, Wm Weighard, Geo. W. Noble, T. B. Ruyle, J. C. McGrath and Miss Ada Noble. Delightful event. Dinner served. Home in excellent condition, which speaks well for Superintendent of J. R. Mourning and Matron Lottie B. Allen. The management of the Jersey county farm is the best in the state. The supervisors and the committee are pain-staking and t– judicious. They take a deep interest in the farm and the welfare of the inmates.

1914 (no source) The poor farm committee, composed of Charles H. Terry, Frank Gorlin and Edward Sauer, and county chairman J. L. tober and Insurance agent, David Beaty, went to poor farm Thursday to adjust the damage done by the recent fire. Full amount of $1250 will be paid out by the insurance company as the barn and adjoining sheds were a total loss.

August, 1921


Jersey County sustained considerable loss when the main building at the county farm caught fire Friday evening and was completely destroyed. The fire is thought to have originated from a defective flue in the kitchen, the flames starting near the roof of the building. The building destroyed was the two story brick building utilized as the home of the superintendent of the poor farm. An alarm was sent in to the Jerseyville fire department and the run was made to the county farm with the chemical truck. The fire had gained such headway that nothing could be done to successfully cope with the flames. The entire interior of the structure was consumed and only part of the brick walls left standing. Some of the furniture was saved from the fire. The insurance on the building does not exceed twenty-five hundred dollars and the loss is estimated at close to eight thousand dollars. At the last meeting of the board of supervisors it was decided to use the brick residence occupied by the farm superintendent for housing the inmates of the farm and abandon and tear down the other old structures, which have been used heretofore. It was decided to erect a new five room bungalow for the use of the superintendent. Other unused old structures were also to be torn down. The loss at the present time hits Jersey County hard as the county is short of funds and the insurance re- [remainder of article missing]

Report March 1930, Poor Farm Inmates

Name; Sex; Age; Birth Place; Cause of Pauperism; Date of Admission; Date of Discharge; Days Kept; Remarks

ANDERSON, Singleton; M; 57; U.S.; blindness; Sept. 20, 1917; 90

RODELL, Adolph; M; 69; U.S.; insane; May 25, 1897; 90

HUNDT, Fred; M; 84; Germany; insane; May 25, 1897; 90

CLINES, Jim; M; 72; U.S.; poor health; Nov. 21, 1924; 90

CLINES, Jack; M; 74; U.S.; poor health; Nov. 12, 1924; 90

DHRUM, Charles; M; 87; U.S.; poor health; Jan. 29, 1926; 90

BARTON, George; M; 73; U.S.; poor health; Feb. 18, 1924; 90

GOODRICH, Charlie; M; 75; U.S.; poor health; Sept. 17, 1928; 90

GROSS, Charlie; M; 50; U.S.; deaf and dumb; Nov. 18, 1924; 90

VANAUSDOLL, Louis; M; 74; U.S.; poor health; Feb. 11, 1929, 90

SEARS, Oliver, M; 78; U.S.; old age; Oct. 2, 1930; 90

RIDENOUR, John; M; 79; U.S.; old age; May 18, 1930; 4; To Rosedale

BOYLE, Michael; M; 77; U.S.; old age; Nov. 8, 1930; 90 Days

BURKE, Barney; M; 79; Ireland; old age; Nov. 11, 1930; 90 Days

BUTLER, Daniel; M; 73; U.S.; old age; Nov. 11, 1930; 90 Days

NOBLE, J. R.; M; 65; U.S.; no home; Dec. 6, 1930; 84 Days

RICHEY, W. P.; M; 80; U.S.; no home; Feb. 18, 1930; 90 Days

MAINS, Thomas; M; 58; U.S.; no home; Dec. 6, 1930; 84 Days

SCOTT, Frank; M; 65; U.S.; sickness; Dec. 27, 1930; Jan. 8, 1931; 12 Days; buried Jerseyville

RYAN, John; M; 72; U.S.; no home; Jan. 24, 1931; Jan. 25, 1931; 1; To Springfield

JONES, W. M.; M; 72; U.S.; no home; Jan. 6, 1931; 53 Days

DOWDALL, Ed; M; 64; U.S.; no home; Jan. 24, 1931; 35 Days

KELL, William; M; 72; U.S.; no home; Jan. 24, 1931; 35 Days

VANDERGRIFF, John; M; 74; U.S.; sickness; Feb. 20, 1931; 8 Days

CLINE, Janie; F; 82; U.S.; poor health; Sept. 10, 1919; 90 Days

KINKEDE, Martha; F; 82; U.S.; poor health; Aug. 5, 1922; Feb. 21, 1931; 7 Days, buried Jerseyville

HOLDEN, Mary; F; 75; U.S.; poor health; Oct. 1, 1923; 90 Days

MANNEY, Lucy; F; 76; U.S.; poor health; Dec. 18, 1928; 90 Days

OSCAR, Anna; F; 71; U.S.; old age; Nov. 18, 1930; 90 Days

MARSHALL, Sarah Jane; F; 69; U.S.; no home; Feb. 3, 1931; 8 Days

Jerseyville Republican, December 11, 1942.

James L. Long was employed as superintendent of Jersey County Farm. He succeeds Mr. & Mrs. Tony Pegue who had served for 14 years.

June 4, 1948 (no source)

Mr. and Mrs. James Long ably managed the Jersey County Farm in English township for benefit of indigent county residents. Two-story brick home was on a 195 acre farm. Practically all food produced on farm.

November 7, 1957 (no source)

County farm was to be sold at auction on the premises. Two-story brick home, which for many years housed indigent residents, contained 10 rooms and one bath downstairs and 10 rooms and two baths upstairs.

Some of this material is from Marty Crull.

Jersey County Page     Jersey County History
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