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White County
Illinois

Genealogy and History



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Poor House
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Previous to 1845 an overseer of the poor was appointed in each election precinct by the country commissioners, who took charge of the dependent poor, letting them out by contract. These overseers made their reports periodically to the commissioners, who audited and allowed their claims. During the year here mentioned the court purchased of colonel William H. Davidson, about three miles northwest of Carmi, a farm of eighty acres, for about $500. On this was a log cabin, but other buildings were erected, so that fifteen or twenty paupers could be taken care of on the premises. The number taken care of at this place varied from one to two dozen.

In 1866 this farm was sold, and other land was purchased, about two miles west of Carmi. This comprised 120 acres, and upon it a log structure was built sufficient for the accommodation of twenty-firve or thirty paupers, and since that time probably an average of eighteen have been cared for at the public expense. Besides these unfortunates, of course a number of others scattered through-out the county, and not in a condition to be removed to the poor house, have had appropriations from the public treasury from time to time. Sometimes, especiallly in extremely cold weath, as great a number as thirty or forty have been admitted at the poor house. The great "tramp" raid of 1873-79 of course struck White County and every resident was tested as to his principles or disposition toward those unprincipled wretches known by that modern name. Many dwellings were visited by several beggars each day, claiming to have been discharged from some factory, mill or other establishment, or to have been burned out, drowned our or driven out by strickes or caught sick far aways from home, etc. So many stout looking engaged in this style of itinerant beggary as to overdo the business; and the resident citizens became so exasperated as to change their policy, turn a "cold shoulder" to them, and thus starved out the suspicious fraternity. It was thought that they had secret meetings and communications, sufficient at least to indicate the places where one had been treated hospitably, for example, by a ring marked on the gate post or fence in front of the house with red chalk or "keel," etc.

The present superintendent in charge of the poor farm is Robert J. Thomas, who receives as compensation 18 cents per day for each pauper cared for by him, for clothing, food, etc. Medical attendance is provided by the country separately. Formerly the allowance was 11 and 12 cents a day.

In conclusion we may say that although the present poor house is not very large or showy, it is sufficient under the careful management of the present Board of Supervisors, for the accommodation of all who should be sent to it, except on a few extreme occasions.
[Source: History of White County, Illinois: Together with Sketches of Its Cities ..."; Interstate Publishing company, 1883;  Tr. by G.T. staff]



1870 Poor House Census
Carmi Precinct, enumerated on 2 July 1870

Transcribed by Genealogy Trails Staff

NAME

AGE

OCCUPATION

PLACE OF BIRTH

FATHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH

MOTHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH

COMMENTS

M. Thompson 58 Keeper of Poor House South Carolina      
William Gallions 50 Boarder Kentucky      
Harriet Tusler? 26 Boarder; Blind Illinois      
Mary Pascal 30 Boarder Tennessee      
James Pascal 3 Boarder Illinois      
Atemissa Pacsal 1 Boarder Illinois      
Sarah Miller 20 Boarder Illinois      
Lucinda Hayden 22 Boarder Illinois      


1880 Poor House Census
Carmi Township, enumerated on 5 July 1880

Transcribed by Genealogy Trails Staff

 

NAME

AGE

OCCUPATION

PLACE OF BIRTH

FATHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH

MOTHER'S PLACE OF BIRTH

COMMENTS

Robert J. Thomas 47 Farmer and Keeper of Poor House IL Va Tenn  
Mary Thomas 50 Wife IL KY NC  
Mary 17 Niece IL IL IL  
Maria Baldwin 36 Boarder IL - - Blind, Idiotic, Insane
Jennie Buchanan 33 Boarder; Teacher in Public School Ohio Pa Ohio Blind
Martha ? 24 Boarder; Domestic Servent IL IL IL Ague
Nancy Phelps 18 Boarder IL IN IN Insane
Ada Buchanan 12 Boarder IL KY Ohio Epilepsy
Willie Buchanan 2 Boarder IL KY Ohio  
Anna Gibson 4 Boarder IL IL IL  
Nettie Clark 6 Boarder IL IL IL Ague and Diarrhea
Joseph Cates 40 Boarder; Broom Maker IL - - Blind
Ellen Cates 28 Boarder IL - -  
Jane Jordan 36 Boarder IL TN TN  
Willie Jordan 9 Boarder IL IL IL  
Martin Jordan 6 Boarder IL IL IL  
Losa Cates 1 Boarder IL IL IL  
Jennie Wiese 26 Boarder IL IL   Crippled
Willie Morgan 26 Boarder IL TN IL Epilepsy; Idiotic, Crippled
Frank Petigo 20 Boarder IL IL IL Epilepsy, Idiotic
Nathan Murphy 25 Boarder IL - - Idiotic
Andrew Mease? 16 Boarder IL TN TN Epilepsy, Idiotic
George Shoemaker 34 Boarder IL SC SC Paralysis, Insane
Sydney Green 30 Boarder IL - - Pthisis
Martha Robinson 49 Boarder NJ PA NJ Epilepsy
Maggie Pitman 31 Boarder IL - -  
Martha Runell? 25 Boarder IL PA PA Idiotic
Mary Ann Hall 16 Boarder; Domestic Servant IL OH IN Maimed or Crippled
William Taylor 26 Boarder; Farm Laborer IL IL IL Blind
Ann Taylor 25 Boarder IL - TN Blind
Jane Wilson (black) 24 Boarder; Domestic Servant IL KY KY Blind
Emma Gibson 1 Boarder IL IL IL  
Rosa Moore 1 Boarder IL IL IL  
Lizzie Moore 30 Boarder IL IL IL  



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