Jefferson County Online
A part of the IAGenWeb and USGenWeb Projects
Poor Farm

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 407-408, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



Prior to the occupancy of the present County Poor-Farm, those misfortunates who were the charges of the county were distributed among the people, and the care and expense borne by the tax-payers. As the population increased, with a corresponding increase of feeble-minded and indigent, it became necessary to provide a place where better attendance at less cost to the people could be furnished them.

At the election in the fall of 1866, a question of buying a Poor-Farm at a cost not to exceed $6,000 was submitted to the people of the county and carried by a large majority.

A selection was not made until the next year, when, through William Hopkirk, J. H. Collins and W. F. Dustin, a committee appointed for the purpose, what was known as the "Traverse Farm," in Liberty Township, was purchased. This consisted of the north 140 acres of the northwest quarter of Section 22, and south 96 acres of the southeast quarter of Section 15. There was a building on the farm at the time of the purchase, 34x18 feet, with an "L" 16 feet. In 1869, H. B. Mitchell, William Alston and William Long were appointed a Committee to prepare buildings for the reception of paupers. They erected a new building 36x40 feet, two stories in height, which was completed the same year, and the next year built a barn 36x40 feet. Other improvements have been made since. In 1875, a story was added to the old building, and there is now in course of erection a kitchen 28x30 feet, two stories high. These building (sic) are of frame, well arranged, and of ample capacity for the present need of the county. The average number of inmates for the years 1876 and 1877 was twenty-one, which has increased the present year to twenty-five. James Armstrong is the present Superintendent.

This page was created on 27 November 2014 and is copyrighted. This page and/or its linked data may be copied and used for personal purposes but can not be republished nor used for commercial purposes without the author's written permission.

I am the County Coordinator and the Webmaster, the one who is responsible for the IAGenWeb project for Jefferson County, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this database or if you note any problems with these pages.

Return to the 1879 History of Jefferson County Contents Page

Return to the Jefferson County Main Page