Peoria County, Illinois  Genealogy Trails



Peoria County Institutions




The City Hospital. - This building was erected by the city authorities about 1859, upon a block of land donated for that purpose by Hon. Geo. C. Bestor, (deceased,) in Butler's Division, in South Peoria. It is a two story brick structure, and is valued with the block on which it stands at about 110,000. Under the existing Poor Laws, the poor of the city are under the charge of the county officers, but in this case the city maintains the building, and the county pays for the care and treatment of the patients. The hospital has for the past three years been under the charge of the Sisters of St. Francis, who are paid so much per capita for each patient, the cost to the county being about $ 1,500 per annum. It has accommodations for about twenty patients, but the number of beds occupied ranges from six to twelve. Four sisters of the Order are in constant attendance. Before the hospital was placed under the charge of the sisters, its management was far from good, but now through their self-sacrificing devotion the house is kept clean and sweet, and the patients are attended to with the utmost care.

The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Chicago: Johnson & Co., 1880,pg 568 -Transcribed by: Candi Horton- 2007









The Bradley Hospital. - This fine building and excellently managed institution, occupies a commanding position on the East Bluff overlooking the city. It was originally built as a residence by the late Isaac Underhill about the year 1847, and was at that time the handsomest one in Peoria. It subsequently passed into the hands of the late Tobias S. Bradley, and was bought after his decease by the Right Rev. Bishop Spaulding for use as a hospital. The purchase price of $8,000 was much below its real value, and Bishop Spaulding tendered Mrs. Bradley the compliment of naming it the "Bradley Hospital," in recognition of the easy terms upon which it was acquired. This sale took place about four years ago, and at that time the Sisters of St. Francis, who take charge of the hospital, had a small Infirmary on S. Adams Street, near Bridge Street, which they had managed for about a year and a half. Thereupon the scene of their devoted labors was transferred to their new building, which had been fitted up with every thing necessary for its purpose, and hundreds can testify from their own experience, to the unremitting watchfulness and care with which the good Sisters have tended the beds of those who have been inmates. The hospital has accommodations for fifty-four patients, and the average number the year round is forty. Separate rooms may be had by those able to pay from $7.00 to SI0.00 per week. The patients treated last year numbered about 150, and about 100 of them were charity patients. Dr. Studer attends to the medical department and Dr. Stewart to the surgical. The Sisters in attendance are nineteen in number, and are under the experienced charge of Mother Francis. The building is of brick, three stories in height, with large basement and a dwarfed mansard roof, and occupies an extremely healthy and airy site. The death rate of the hospital is very low.

The History of Peoria County, Illinois; Chicago: Johnson & Co., 1880,pg 568 -9 - Transcribed by: Candi Horton- 2007







An examination of the records of the county clerk's office reveals the fact, and a most commendable one, that from a very early period in the county's history, generous and humane provisions were made for the care of the poor, the sick, and the disabled, to whom fortune had denied her favors. In the earlier days their care and maintenance was secured under contract, with suitable persons. As an instance of the manner in which contracts were made for the maintenance of the unfortunate, the following order of the County Commissioners under date of March 8, 1845, is presented: 

     Ordered, That John Keller be allowed to take charge of the paupers now upon the county, and that he be allowed two dollars  per week for Benedict, one dollar and fifty cents for Isaac Dewey, one dollar and fifty cents each for Nichols and his wife, and one dollar per week for each of the children.

Physicians to the poor and indigent were appointed by the County Commissioners, and their bills, when presented, were audited and ordered to be paid as were any other bills against the county. 

This system of management continued in force until the beginning of the year 1848. On the 11th day of December, 1847, the County Commissioners, Thomas P. Smith, Thomas Mooney and James L. Riggs, contracted with William Mitchell for the south half of the northeast quarter of section ten in Limestone township (eighty acres) for the purpose of a poor farm, the contract price being one thousand dollars, to be paid when the deed was delivered. The deed bears date June 9, 1848.

On the 15th day of January, 1848, the county clerk was directed to advertise for bids for taking charge of the farm and the poor who might be sent there; the proposals to be opened on the first day of the next month. When that day came, one of the County Commissioners, Mr. Riggs, was sick and unable to be present, and at his request the proposals were not opened till the next day. The bid of Hiram Patridge was considered to be the lowest and best, and he was elected to the management of the poor house and poor farm for one year. The buildings on the farm at the time of purchase were made to answer for the time being, and thus commenced a system of management that has resulted in the present large, comfortable and convenient county alms house.

Mr. Patridge was again chosen to the superintendency[sic] of the poor farm at the beginning of 1849, and for the services of himself, wife and three boys, and one yoke of oxen and one horse, he was allowed at the rate of three hundred and sixty-five dollars per year. The same management was continued under Thomas Bryant, as County Judge, and for some years after the management of county affairs passed under the control of a County Board of Supervisors.

At the first session of the Board of Supervisors, on the 8th of April, 1850, L. B. Cornwell, Stephen C. Wheeler and Isaac Brown were appointed a committee to visit and examine the poor house and poor farm, and to report thereon. This committee reported June 19th, of that year. At the same session fifty dollars were appropriated by the Board for cellar repairs and one hundred and fifty dollars for repairs to the house -making a total of two hundred dollars, which was, the first appropriation for improvements on the county infirmary. On the 13th of September, in the same year the Board ordered the erection and enclosure of an addition to the building then used, for which purpose an appropriation of four hundred dollars was made. At the March meeting, 1851, Mr. Patridge was chosen to continue in the management of the farm, and Dr. John H.Murphy was elected by the board to be county physician.
In the Summer of 1851, the Board of Supervisors purchased what was known as the Herron farm, adjoining the poor farm, and as an addition thereto, for which they agreed to pay $9,000. This tract consisted of one hundred and sixty acres, and increased the poor farm to two hundred and forty acres. The deed from Herron and wife to the county bears date September 14, 1851.

In April; 1867, the Board ordered the Herron tract to be sold, stipulating, however, that it should not be sold at a less price than the original cost. Henry Harker became the purchaser, and the sale, as made by a committee appointed for that purpose, was ratified in full board on the 10th of September, 1867.

In April, 1868, a committee was appointed from the Board of Supervisors to select a new site, to consist of forty acres. Several sites were offered and examined, but the committee finally reported in favor of a re-purchase of the Herron tract at a slight advance over the price for which it had been sold. They assigned as a reason that it adjoined the original poor farm purchase, eligibility of situation, purity of water, healthfulness of location, and that with the two places united, there was ample room to raise enough farm and stock products to support the inmates of the alms-house, with something for sale besides. The report of the Committee was accepted and adopted, the County Board voted to re-purchase the Herron-Harker place, and appointed Messrs. Anderson, Matson, Jenkins, Wilder and Pinkerton a committee to advertise for and receive bids for the erection of an alms-house according to plans previously adopted. On the 22d of February, 1869, this committee reported that they had received several propositions for the erection of an alms-house, and that the bid of G. L. Ryers, for $59,000, made on the basis of the plans shown, was considered to be the lowest and best; also, that the committee had prepared a bill to be presented to the Legislature authorizing the board to issue and sell bonds to the amount of sixty thousand dollars for the purpose of erecting the building under consideration.
After some discussion on the adoption of this report and the bid of Mr. Ryers, the following resolution was adopted:

    That there be a committee appointed by the Chairman of this Board to get up plans for a poor house that shall not cost to exceed thirty thousand dollars. The plans to furnish accommodations for one hundred paupers, to be a good, substantial, plain building, and to be so arranged that it can be added to at any time the necessities of the county requires, without destroying the appearance or convenience of the building.

Messrs. Anderson, Burdett, Monroe and Dunlap were appointed a committee to adopt the plans and proceed with the building. In April, 1869, plans were presented by Charles Ulrichson, which were adopted, and the contract awarded to him.
Under a special act of the Legislature entitled "An act to authorize the Board of Supervisors of Peoria county to build an alms-house, and to issue bonds to pay for the same," approved March 25, 1869, bonds to the amount of thirty-five thousand dollars were issued and the building was commenced.

In February, 1870, the committee in charge of the work reported that Mr. Ulrichson had completed the contract, and that the building was ready to be delivered to the county. 

Contract price for building $31,879.00
Extra allowance for smoke-house, out-houses, etc 3,131.61
Heating apparatus, furnished by Kyser & Co., St. Louis 2,940.00
Total cost of the building $37,950.61

In closing the account, it was voted by the board to present Mr. Ulrichson with an order on the county treasury for five hundred dollars, as a token of respect and honor for the faithful manner in which he had filled his part of the contract. This sum added to the above total makes the cost of the Peoria county alms-house $38,450.61.

The poor farm is under the oversight of a committee of three persons appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and known as inspectors. This committee is appointed from the Board. A working manager for the farm is elected by the board, who has immediate charge, subject to the Inspectors, of the alms-house and the farm. A strict account is kept by the Superintendent or working manager of every thing produced on the farm, of the articles and amount consumed, and of whatever sold. Regular reports are made to the board, which are as carefully examined as are the accounts rendered against the county by private individuals. Since the re-purchase of the Herron-Harker place, the farm has been well improved and all of it made available for some purpose or other, Some of it is devoted to tillage, some to meadow, some to pasturage and stock growing. Every interest connected with the farm is carefully guarded and made as productive as possible. The last report of the Superintendent is here submitted:


Amount paid into the County Treasury during the past year from various sources.. .$1,345.00

Amount audited from December 1, 1878, to March 11, 1879     $1,168.73
                                 March 11 to Sept. 1, 1879                          1,572.44
        to be audited from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1, 1879                           1,445.53
Superintendent's salary for past year                                              1,500.00
Physician's ....................................                                                   300.00
Poor Farm Inspectors' expenses for past year                                    100. 00
Cash expenses for Alms-house hired help                                          95.42 -$7.037. 12

Total amount disbursed                                                                     $7,037.12
..................... received                                                                        1,345.90
Excess of Expenditures over Receipts                                                $5,691.16
From which deduct expenses for permanent improvements                      419.53
Balance                                                                                             $5,271.63
There remains on hand at this date fat hogs, the market value of which is 175.00
And rye, the market value of which is                                                     225.00- $400.00
Cash expenses for hired help                                                                 $781.00
...........................threshing                                                                     26.07-$950.42
Expenses of house for repairs                                                                $419 53

From December1, 1878, to March 11, 1879                                         $1,168.73
March 11 to September 1, 1879                                                              1,572.44
September 1 to December 1, 1879                                                          1,445.53
Total                                                                                                            $4,186.70

There have been two births at the institution during the past year, and fifteen inmates have died during the year.
There have been eighty-seven persons admitted during the year, and one hundred and nine persons discharged during the same time. Total number of inmates December I, 1879 -108 ; average monthly number of inmates, 135.
The average cost of keeping paupers, per week, during the past year has been eighty-one cents per head, but when the value of products on hand is taken into consideration, to wit: the sum of four hundred dollars, the average cost of keeping each inmate would only be seventy-four cents per week during the year.

Milk cows - 15
Steers, two years old - 7
Yearlings -1
Calves - 13
Fatting cattle - 8
Fat hogs - 48
Stock hogs - 57
Horses - ?4
Mules - 2
Total head of stock 165
Rye, 385 bushels; on hand - 350
Oats, 535 bushels , on hand 570
Corn, 4,500 bushels; on hand 3.000
Potatoes, 400 bushels; on hand 150
Beans, 20 bushels; on hand - 12
Onions, 20 bushels; on hand - 20
Total bushels on hand  - 4,102
Hay, 18 tons; on hand 38 tons

Source: The History of Peoria County, Illinois, 1880, Johnson & co., Chicago, - Transcribed by C. Horton 2011






Home  |  Institutions

Peoria County, IL Genealogy Trails
2006 - 2011 by Genealogy Trails

All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.