Old County Home

Old County Home has been designated a Lost Pioneer Cemetery by the Des Moines County Pioneer Cemetery Commission.

The Old County Home Cemetery was located centered about 1/4th mile from eastern line of section 4, Union Township.


County Home laundry facility (LEFT PHOTO) remodeled into a firehouse by the munitions plant, because on the ground floor it has wide doors for moving equipment inside. Slaughterhouse (RIGHT PHOTO) which I believe was used as a field office for a time during the munition plant years. Photos: Herb Price.

This cemetery was for the deceased residents of the county home. It may also have been a family or neighborhood cemetery, but this is not documented. There are no stones currently (2011) visible, if there ever were any, but it is believed the remains of those buried are still there. An 1891 map which includes section 4 of Union Township and shows the Poor Farm Cemetery.

At the Des Moines county Board of Supervisors meeting on Wednesday, September 15, 1869 (and reported in the Hawk Eye) the following report was offered by Mr Bryson: 
"We your committee on poor farm and paupers, appointed to select and locate a place to be used as a burying ground on the poor farm, have selected the south-east corner of the poor farm and have instructed Mr. Snelson to bury the dead in regular files in order to keep a better record.  
Signed, John Bryson 
The action of the committee was approved. The Board also approved other Poor Farm expenses, including $9 for meat and $700 for a barn.







BullMrs.   5 Oct 1891 80yFrom Prugh's list.
JohnsonSamuel E.   13 Oct 1892 52yDropsy. From Prugh's list.
ThomanJohn   3 Dec 1891 77yGeneral disability. From Prugh's list.
Ulrich??   18 Feb 1892 65yMale. From Prugh's list.

Not all County Home residents were buried in the cemetery there. Anderson Scroggins, a veteran of the Civil and Mexican wars died at the County Home in 1885. When his 2nd great-grandson started researching, there was no record of Scroggins at the county courthouse, but the staff there sent him to the County Veterans Service Office. They had a card index suggesting that a veteran with a similar name might be buried at Aspen Grove.

Aspen Grove staff members were able to determine that Anderson Scroggins had died at the poor farm on August 11, 1885, a day earlier than indicated in his widow's pension application, and was buried at Aspen Grove on August 12. The services and grave site were apparently provided by a local undertaker (Unterkircher) who handled the burial of veterans who died at the farm. Aspen Grove helped order a government marker for the grave. Anderson is listed as "Anderson Scroggins" in the Aspen Grove cemetery.

Additional information on Old County Home burials would be appreciated.

Burlington Hawk Eye illustration of the county poor farm and asylum for the insane.
This appeared in the publication within two days of the date it was destroyed by fire, July 15th, 1901.



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