Schuyler County, Illinois
Genealogy and History
An account of the Jails and Poor-Houses in Illinois
Schuyler County Jail, at Rushville, is of brick, two stories, isolated, and unenclosed: might be occupied as prison, and dwellinghose [sic] for the keeper. At the time of my visit, it was altogether uninhabited, and part of it used for storing grain, etc. The place was evidently falling into decay, through want of care: and it would not be surprising if the county officers should be obliged by present neglects, to expend a large sum in repairs.—In the prison rooms were ten windows, carelessly defended by coarse gratings. The rooms were twelve by twelve feet, and nine feet high. Near the jail was a ruinous log-building, accessible only by a ladder, in which some year’s since, it was the custom to confine any insane person, whose evident excitement when at large, seemed to endanger the safety of the people.
In Schuyler County, as in Cass, liberal appropriations from the county treasury have been made for the support of the insane; and with equally small results of comfort to the patients; hospital care is always cheaper, and effects benefits which no private case can procure.
Of cases of insanity verified at Rushville, I can barely refer to a few. S., very insane, and threatens at times, the lives of his family and neighbors. Cr. is often furious, is persecuted by men and boys; sometimes put in the jail to protect him from their rude assaults; he is a worthy farmer, who is much respected, and when well, very industrious. he has a daughter who, at times, is equally deranged; but is at present more manageable. Mrs. P., insane, often violent, and wholly unable to direct domestic affairs, in consideration of which calamity, the husband’s taxes are remitted. Mrs. Pe. at times very crazy. Mrs. M. is occasionally violent. Mrs. S. on the borders of the county. One idiot greatly tormented by the boys, and often by vicious men; rendered furious by being induced to swallow ardent spirits. Mr. G. insane periodically. Mrs. S’s. son epilectic[sic], sometimes dangerous. Mr. P’r. had cost the county about three hundred dollars per annum; was in a suffering condition, in close confinement—was taken by Mr. Seeley and judiciously managed, so that he became perfectly well, and labors on his farm, exercising, I am told, judgment in directing all his affairs.
There is in this county no poor house.—The necessitous are, as in other counties, set off to the lowest bidder. D. L. DIX.
[Source: “An account of some of the Jails and Poor-Houses in Illinois. No. 3” Sangamon Journal 1 April 1847, 1/4. - Submitted by Joseph Johnstun]
THE COUNTY ALMSHOUSES OF ILLINOIS
Schuyler. — Schuyler county is under township organization, but the paupers are a county charge. We have nothing to add to what was said about this almshouse in our last report, and nothing to take back. The keeper has occupied his present position since March 1, 1877. His salary is seven hundred dollars, and the expenses, which amounted last year to twenty-seven hundred dollars, are met by the county. The amount expended for outdoor relief was something over a thousand dollars. When visited, this almshouse contained twenty-seven inmates, of whom eight were children and six insane, none of whom were in seclusion or otherwise restrained ; five of them were men capable of farm labor. The county physician receives seventy-five dollars a year, and furnishes medicines, but visits the almshouse only. An almshouse register is kept, but the overseers of the poor do not keep the accounts nor make the reports required by law.
[Source: "Reports Made to the General Assembly of Illinois" - 1881 -- Submitted by Tina Easley]
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