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Will County, Illinois

Poor House

Originally transcribed by Karen L. Hutten from the Joliet Signal newspaper, dated October 21, 1856
Printed in the ISGS Quarterly, vol. XIII, #1, Spring 1981

Transcribed for Genealogy Trails by Carol Kardos, Proofread by G.T. Team

South facade of Will County Poor Farm

Will County Poor Farm
(Site 4, PIN No. 06-13-300-003)
The Will County Poor Farm is located in Section 13 on McDonough Street in east Troy Township, within the limits of the City of Joliet.
The property was originally owned by William and Margaret Eddy and purchased, along with associated livestock and farming equipment, by Will County in 1851. The ninety-five acre site included eighty acres of prairie and fifteen acres of woodlands. John L. Kidden served as the first supervisor with Joel George constructing the first two-story wood-framed house. The structure was built to care for the county's poor and mentally ill. Residents worked the surrounding farmland to support the facility. Manual labor included harvesting potatoes and corn and making soap. By 1878, the Will County Poor Farm housed forty-two paupers and nineteen mentally ill. In the same year, a three-story stone structure was constructed to house the insane. Under the direction of Supervisor Charles Rost (1888-1910) new cottage structures were erected on the property to help segregate the mentally ill and criminally insane from more able-bodied residents.
In 1955, the Will County Poor Farm was purchased by the State of Illinois and converted into the Sunny Hill Nursing Home. The property now houses the State of Illinois Youth Correctional Center. A cemetery located on the Will County Poor Farm property contains over one hundred and seventy marked and unmarked graves of former residents.  
[Source: Rural Historic Structural Survey of Joliet and Troy Townships Will County, Illinois April 2009]


The following information is from the annual meeting, September 8, 1856 of the Board of Supervisors, and is the report of the Poor House Keeper for the past year, a statistical report of paupers, inmates of the Poor House from September, 1855 to September, 1856.



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