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Whiteside Co Govt 1885 > Poor Farm

Source: Portrait and Biographical Album of Whiteside County 1885
1 Feb 2005

Poor Farm

The Board of Supervisors assembled together at the June term of 1853 to devise some means to provide for the helpless poor of the county. After due consideration a committee was appointed for this purpose, consisting of W. C. Snyder, William V. Wetzell and James M. Pratt. The committee immediately set to work and matured their plans. A farm of 240 acres, of which one-half was inclosed and under cultivation, was selected, in Union Grove Township. It contained a good rock house and outbuildings. This farm could be bought for $25 per acre, one-half down and the balance in one and two years’ payments. The report of the committee was accepted by the Board, and the farm purchased, which was called the County Poor Farm. This answered the purpose for many years. A more suitable location, one convenient to the railroad and the county seat, became desirable.

The Supervisors took the matter under consideration, which resulted in the appointment of James M. Pratt, L. S. Pennington and H.R. Sampson as a committee to make a new selection of grounds and erect necessary buildings. The committee selected108 acres of land on; section 23, township 21 north, range 5 east, on the line of the Northwestern Railroad, which could be purchased for $45 per acre. This selection was approved by the Board, and the committee was instructed to purchase the farm, and erect the necessary buildings, at a cost not to exceed $15,000 for the whole. Switzer & Kennedy received the contract for putting tip the house, barn and out-buildings. The whole was completed in 1870, and at a cost of $13,448. The building is 50 by 72 feet, three stories high, with basement, and constructed of brick. It is divided in two parts for the convenience of the male and female occupants.

 The basement is divided up into apartments for kitchen, dining-room, store-rooms, bath-rooms and cellar. On the first floor are bed-rooms, a parlor, a sitting-room and a vestibule. The second is arranged for sleeping-rooms, with ample closets. The general construction of the building is substantial and the architecture attractive. Every convenience is considered for making the county wards comfortable and at home. The soil is rich and well adapted for agriculture. The larger and smaller fruits are cultivated at the farm with success. This eleemosynary institution is very creditable to the authoritiçs and citizens of Whiteside County, and gives assurance that while they are supplied with the wants and luxuries of life, they are not forgetful of the poor. W. F. Barnum is the present Superintendent of the farm. He is paid $850 for his services. Expenses for the year ending Sept. 1, 1884, was $6.343.67.

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