Sanilac County, Michigan
The Board of Supervisors in 1867 appointed a committee, consisting of Phillip L. Wixson, Alonzo Goodrich and George McIntyre, to provide a farm and home for the poor. After careful examination of several pieces of land, they found an acceptable spot in the present farm of 120 acres, five miles northwest of Lexington.
Previous to this the poor were hired out to different families, at the expense of the county, but increasing numbers demanded a general place of refuge.
Captain Israel Huckins was the first Chairman of the Board of Superintendents of the Poor. He held the office for a short time, when R. J. Arnot was appointed, and has held the office ever since, with the exception of the year 1875 when Captain Huckins again had it.
The long term of service by Mr. Arnot, is the best statement of the satisfactory manner in which the farm has been managed. The building of the home was committed to his care. It was finished in 1868, costing $3,300, and the first inmate was admitted Nov. 24, of that year. Her name was Mrs. Green, a woman partially insane and who had fits.
George Kerslake kept the home for the first four years; John Harris then took it for the same length of time, at the expiration of which Mr. Kerslake was reinstated, and has kept the farm since. The keeper at first received $300 per year, with board for himself and family; but his salary was gradually raised, until he now receives $400 per year. Mrs. Kerslake is a most estimable woman for her position, and the outside work is carried on quite economically.
In addition to the grain and produce raised on the farm, it requires about $1.50 per week from the County Treasury, to sustain each inmate, though in good crop years a portion of this money is returned.
The value of the farm at present, including buildings, live stock, farming implements, and all other property, has been carefully estimated at $7,995.
The average number of inmates is 12 to 14, the lowest number at any one time being 7, and the highest 20.
In order to become an inmate, an application must be made to the Supervisor of any township, or to the Superintendent of the Poor, who has power to examine and admit worthy candidates. A great deal of temporary relief is afforded to persons outside of the home. The number thus assisted in 1883 was 284, involving a total expenditure of $3,407.08. The total expenses for maintaining the Poor House and Farm for 1884 was $1.475,41, exclusive of interest on capital invested, and value of pauper's labor.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Sanilac County 1884, pg. 384