Below you will find those born in Kentucky who were
living in the Almshouse of Woodford County, Illinois.
contributed by Dena Whitesell
Public care of the poor in Illinois began in 1819. County overseers of the poor farmed out care of the destitute to private citizens. In 1839, this system was reauthorized. County commissioners' courts were also authorized to establish county poorhouses, at their own discretion, to replace the farm-out system; to hire keepers of the poor, and to levy a property tax for poorhouse support. This poorhouse authorization was renewed in 1845 and 1861. An 1874 law required all keepers (superintendents) of county poorhouses to keep books of account. The superintendent was required to keep a record showing the name of each person admitted to the county poorhouse; the time of his admission and discharge; the place of his birth; whether his dependence resulted from idiocy, lunacy, intemperance, or other causes, stating the cause; and is required, at the same time each year, to file with the county clerk of his county a copy of the same, together with a statement showing the average number of persons kept in the poorhouse each month during the year.
In 1917, counties were authorized to establish joint poorhouses and poor farms with other counties; and in 1919, the county poorhouses' names were changed to county homes. In 1949, the Public Assistance Code was passed, making relief of the indigent a function of the new county departments of welfare. County homes were reauthorized only for care of infirm or chronically ill persons; counties were specifically forbidden from placing destitute but physically healthy persons in the county homes. In 1967, the Public Aid code repealed the county home laws and deauthorized the county homes remaining in Illinois.
Woodford County Almshouse Registers show the admission number; the name, birthplace, occupation, age and former residence of the inmate; the dates of admission and discharge; the date of death (when the inmate died while staying at the almshouse); and remarks.
Entries from 1925 to 1957 also showed the date of birth of the inmate. The remarks category provides valuable information about the physical, mental and emotional condition of the inmate; the reasons for admission to the almshouse; the place where the inmate went after discharge from the almshouse; and the relationship of the inmate to others residing at the almshouse or elsewhere.
Copies of entries from the original Woodford County Almshouse Registers may be obtained by mail atIllinois State University, 2016 Warehouse Road, Campus Box 1520, Normal, IL 61790-1520. Inquiries should be made directly to the Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) at Illinois State University in Normal. No requests are accepted by e-mail.