Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group

Clark County Illinois
Genealogy and History

Clark County
Poor House


The Clark County Poor House, also known as the County Poor Farm, was an institution of the late 19th and early 20th century for County residents who could not provide for themselves. It was funded by the taxpayers and was run by an elected official known as the Overseer or Superintendent. It least two different locations had served as the Poor House for Clark County.

The first poorhouse was in Parker Township, on 400 St. north of Martinsville, just south of Olympic Road, between Westfield and Cleone.1 Later, by 1910, it was located on Illinois Route 1 south of Marshall. It consisted of a house and barn. The buildings were torn down in the late 1950s to make way for the site of the present-day Clark County Highway Office and Garage.
(source: Larry Wells)

Census Enumerations:
1910 -- 1920 -- 1930

Poor House Law

In counties under township organization the overseers of the respective towns shall be ex-officio overseers of the poor. In towns of more than 4000 inhabitants the county board may appoint an overseer who is a resident of the town. In counties not under township organization the county board shall designate some suitable person in each precinct to act as an overseer of the poor. The overseers have the care of all indigents who are not supported at the county poorhouse; but when such a poorhouse does not exist they may let out the support of the poor by contract.

The county board of any county in which the poor are not supported by the towns thereof has power to establish, maintain , and control county poorhouses. to appoint keepers, a county physician, and a county agent of the poor. In counties under township organization each town may have its paupers supported in the county poorhouse by paying the fixed rate to the county board.

There are more elaborate provisions to compel under process of law the support of the poor either in whole or part by their relatives according to ability. for bringing a pauper into a county in which he has no legal residence a fine of $100 may be imposed.
The state board of charities has the duty of inspecting and reporting upon almshouses.

Source: Special Reports, Paupers in Alms Houses, U.S. Government publication, 1904, transcribed by L. K. Ortman


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