|Harrison County Iowa Genealogy|
Extracted from the 1915 History of Harrison County, Iowa, by Hon. Charles W. Hunt, Logan;
published by B. F. Bowen & Co., Inc., Pages 104-105.
Transcribed and submitted by Mona Sarratt Knight
The care which any county takes of its unfortunate poor is a good index as to the character of her citizens. Iowa has set the Union an example in this regard. In fact, Iowa ranks well up in the matter of her public institutions of all kinds. We have the best regulated prisons, alms houses, deaf and dumb and blind institutions, as well as the best hospitals for the insane and feeble-minded that can be found in the world. The poor ye always have with you. This is as true today as it was when the Master spoke the words nearly twenty centuries ago.
Early in the history of Harrison County, these matters were carefully looked into by the Board of Supervisors at their August session in 1861. It may be said that with the flight of years, there have been mistakes, from a business standpoint, concerning the care of the pauper element within the bounds of this county, yet on the whole this county will perhaps average with any county in the state. It was at the board session in 1861 that the southwest quarter of section 7, township 79, range 44, and the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of lot No. 1 in section 15, township 80, range 45, which was county swamp land, was utilized for poor farm purposes. These lands, however, were not sold until January 1, 1868, when the board of supervisors, through their committee, Robert McGavren, James L. Roberts and Barzillia Price, selected a poor farm from the following tract of land: The southwest quarter of section 22, township 81, range 41, in Harrison township. This land was looked upon then, as well as in later years, as one of the choicest in all this county. It was purchased of Hammer & Ferbs for the sum of three thousand six hundred dollars or twenty-two dollars and fifty cents per acre. This was used for poor farm purposes until 1870, when the supervisors changed it for one nearer the center of the county, but not nearly so valuable a tract of land. The land taken in exchange for the first named, is situated in Boyer township, in sections 28 and 33 of township 80, range 42. It is now crossed by the Northwestern and Illinois Central railroad lines, down the Boyer Valley, mid-way between Woodbine and Logan. On this farm there had been expended up to 1891 about four thousand seven hundred dollars, making a total cost of about ten thousand dollars. The farm was usually leased to the overseer of the poor, who paid a stipulated sum, and he charged the county a certain amount per week for maintaining the county's poor. Among the overseers or superintendents of the farm should not be forgotten the faithful services of Brig Young and wife, and Henry Wacker and wife. This farm never proved a successful investment for the county, so in 1900, it was sold for seven thousand dollars.
Since then the county has hired A.J. Shinn to keep the paupers of the county on his farm, north of Woodbine, paying by the week for their board. All in all, this method is probably as cheap as to maintain a county farm, for the present, at least. END
Note to researchers. The 1920 census for Harrison County, IA, Boyer Township, S.D. 9, E.D. 70, enumerated 28 January 1920, lists the county home occupants as follows:
A.J. Shinn, head, age 53, born Iowa, father born Ohio, mother born Missouri
Maggie Shinn, wife, age 48, born Illinois, father born Kentucky, mother born Illinois
Eliza Shinn, daughter, age 19, born Iowa
John Stagg, age 79, divorced, born New Jersey, father born NJ, mother b. NJ
William Moss, age 88, widower, born TN, father born TN, mother born TN
Frank Dunking, age 22, single, born IA, father born NC, mother born IL
Philip Mekeling (or Meheling), age 88, single, born PA, parents born U.S.
Sophronia Keller, age 69, single, born IA, father born OH, mother born OH
Mrs. Epperson, age 56, widow, born IA, father born IN, mother born IN
Mrs. Wilson, age 84, widow, born UT, father born England, mother born England