Graves Located - And More
Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Poor FarmThe County Court of Barry County, Missouri adopted the above rules [see link] and regulations for the government of the Poor Farm. At the May 1873 Regular term of the County Court the Court levied the Pauper Tax to equal ½ of one Mill or five cents per one hundred dollars of taxable property. Repairs to the Poor House were numerous during the next several years.
The January 22, 1876, Cassville Democrat, reports that Mr. Miles E. Finney Esq., informs us that Elisha Stubblefield let the job of getting boards to cover the poor house, at the lowest bidder, and that he got the same, by bidding one cent less per hundred than was bid by any other bidder, without specifying the amount per hundred. Mr. Stubblefield was commissioner of the poor farm, and fully understood what was meant by the lowest bid, and recognized the fact that when Mr. Finney bid one cent under any other bidder, that his was the cheapest bid, for the other bidder had bidden 40 cents per 100, and the lamented Stubblefield knew that one cent less meant 39 cents per hundred and gave the contract to Mr. Finney as aforesaid.
Poor Farm Building, Circa 1887
By 1902 the 30-year-old Poor House buildings had deteriorated into a place of disgrace. The buildings required constant repairs. The last additions and major repairs to the buildings were made in 1887. The rooms were overcrowded and there was little heat in the winter to warm the inmates. Several inmates had lost toes and fingers to frostbite and one unfortunate soul had died from the effects of having his feet frozen.
Presiding Judge Hugh Bassett and Judges Shumate and Bowman, of the Barry County Court, recognized the need and the benefits of having a new and modern Poor Farm. They made the first levy for the purpose of building a new poor house in 1902. The court decided not to make additions repairs to the current farm but to save the funds and find a new site for the county farm.
The University of Missouri Department of Sociology made a detailed survey of Missouri Poor Farms in 1903. What they discovered was that living “down on the farm” was not a place one would want to be confined. Missouri had ninety-three counties with a Poor House. Information was collected from ninety counties while three counties would neither permit entrance nor respond in any form. Only thirty percent of the Poor Farms allowed the students to make an on-site visit. The remainder of the information was compiled from a survey sheet completed by the Superintendent of the Poor or the County Clerk.In 1903 E. M. Hutchens was the Superintendent of the Poor in Barry County. At that time Barry County housed 10 paupers, 6 white males and 4 white females. Of that number 3 were over the age of 60 and the remainder were between the ages of 18 and 60. Thirty percent of that number were crippled. The farm consisted of 40 acres compared to the State average of 146 acres. The study revealed however, that a smaller farm had a better chance of reaching the goal of being self-sufficient. The value of the buildings on the farm was $800, which was among lowest of all counties reporting. The cost per week to house a pauper in Barry County was $1.25.
The Barry County Poor Farm was managed under the “lease system”, as were most poor farms in the State. Under this form of management the County Court leased out the farm to the lowest bidder. The bid was based on the amount of money that would be charged the County per week to care for each inmate. The winning bidder therefore became the new Superintendent of the Poor. The “lease system” was a most regrettable form of management, as the Superintendent’s wages were based on what he could save from the inmates, obviously this contributed to the general overall poor conditions found in the care and comfort of the paupers in his charge.In Barry County all able-bodied inmates were “expected” to work on the farm but work was not officially ”required” of the inmate but considered “optional” according to the survey. There were little or no amusements or recreation provided for the inmates and no religious services were held.
According to the survey, treatment of the insane at most Missouri Poor Farms was for the most part considered inhumane. The survey speaks in generalities of abuse, filth and overall deplorable conditions used in the keeping of the insane. It would be unfair to comment on the treatment of the insane at the Barry County Poor Farm as no specific mention of Barry was made. The survey did list the Barry County Farm among those who provided cells for their insane inmates.May 2, 1905, the County of Barry purchased forty acres of land from C.R. Edison for the purpose of constructing the new county poor farm. Eidson Deed - 1905
Which is by the Court seen, heard, and examined and approved and commissioners ordered to proceed to let contracts, and erect building as soon as possible according to plans and specifications.
The County then sold the original farm to J. J .Wallen, July 6, 1905, with the exception of a strip of land located in the northeast corner of the property described as follows: Land commencing at the northeast corner of said forty and running due south 120 feet. Thence run due west 70 feet, thence run due south 110 feet, thence run due east 70 feet, thence run due north 110 feet to the point of beginning, this plot being the land used as a graveyard on the County Farm. The county further stipulated that the County had use and control of the buildings, farm and crop until October 1, 1905. At that time the Grantee could take possession of the farm but the County would reserve the possession of the buildings until January 1, 1906.At the October Term of the Barry County Court, October 3, 1905 the following was declared: “It appearing to the Court that there is now in the County Jail a number of persons serving jail and fine sentences. It is therefore ordered that the Sheriff work said prisoners on the County Farm”.
A Home For Our Unfortunate and Aged People Article from Cassville Democrat, January 27, 1906
The Inclement Weather.
Byron Barker Burned to Death. All Other Persons
Escape. Loss Estimated At $15,000.
The Barry county almshouse which at the time was the home of seventeen unfortunate poor of the county caught fire from a defective flue Thursday, Feb. 15, and burned. All of the seventeen persons kept at the county home escaped except Byron Barker.
Barker had been feeble minded since childhood. At times it was best for him to be kept confined in his room which was located on the second floor.
It is said that Barker was in his room and the door to the room was closed. Mark McCall, who helped to rescue a number of persons at he home, says that he tired the door to Barker’s room and could not force it open and as the flames were sweeping through the building there was no time to make further effort.
It was at a late hour Thursday evening when what was left of his body could be taken from the burning ruins of the building. Only the trunk of the body was to be found, the head and limbs having been burned off.
A Mrs. Montgomery was pretty badly burned on one arm as she came down the stairway to make her escape. None of the other patients at the home were badly injured.
Only a part of the household goods belonging to the home and to the superintendent, Harve Lowe, were saved.
When first discovered by some parties driving on the road to town, the fire seemed to be making slow headway on the roof near a flue. Lynn Hawk who lives a short distance from the county farm and some men working at he quarry plant discovered that the building was on fire and ran to it but without means to fight the fire could do nothing to save the building which was shortly a mass of flames. The building being outside of the city limits was without reach of fireplugs from which water could be had for using hose.
A number of Cassville citizens rushed to the county farm but were unable to do much except try to make sure that all of the persons living at the home were out of the building.
The persons who had been at the home were immediately brought to the courthouse and cared for during the remainder of the day in the ladies’ rest room. The necessary clothing and food was provided. Four of the sixteen were taken to the Newton county almshouse and will be kept there until arrangements can be made to care for them here. Four others are being kept at private homes and the remaining eight were taken to the home of Newton Kisler, the new superintendent, and will be cared for there.
The county court was in session at the time and spared no efforts to do all in their power to care for the unfortunate people left with little clothing and without shelter.
Insurance to the amount of $7,700 was carried on the building and $1,400 on the furniture, a little of which was saved.
The county far building was erected in 1905 at a cost of $7,200. The building was of brick, two stories high, and with a stone basement. It was 38x64 feet and contained 24 rooms, not including the closets and bathrooms. The building was heated by a furnace and equipped with water and electric lights. Mason & Smith of Monett were the contractors who erected the building. Judges Hugh Bassett, D. M. Shumate and E. M. Bowman were judges of the county court at the time the plans were made and Judges Bassett, L. W. Gardner and J. A. Brock were the members of the court when the work was done. The commissioners appointed to let the contract and superintend the work were A. L. Brown, P.E. Horine and C.D. Manley. At present day prices of labor and material the building and equipment would cost at least $15,000.
Cassville Republican, Thursday February 22, 1923
Byron Barker, who lost his life when the county farm building burned Thursday Feb. 15, was a son of the late Mr. And Mrs. John Barker who died a few years ago at Cherryvale, Kan. He was 58 years old and had been at the county home for a number of years. He was born in Michigan, June 14, 1864.
Bryon had been affected from boyhood, some 20 years ago his mental condition became such that it was not safe to keep him at home and he was sent to Nevada, later he was brought to the county home and had been there since.
The Barker family lived for several years southwest of Cassville five miles, where they located in 1886. Later all moved to Kansas. Two daughters, Mrs. M.H. Clark and Mrs. Lottie Dixon; and five sons, A.M., John, Sam, Will and Elmer; sister and brothers of Byron, survive and are all living in Kansas.
Cassville Republican, Thursday, February 22, 1923
According to the March 1, 1923 Cassville Republican, the County Court entered into a contract with Newton and John Kisler for the use of the Kisler home and six acres of ground, including a garden and orchard for one year at a rental of $200 for the purpose of taking care of the paupers, since the burning of the county farm building. The court also ordered that the paupers who were sent to Newton County due to the fire at the county farm be returned to this county March 1st.
FAVOR DIRECT TAX TO REPLACE BUILDING
Citizens from Different Sections of the
County Favor Fireproof Building, No Bonds
At a mass meeting of citizens held at the courthouse Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 21, at the call of the county court, sentiment expressed was strongly in favor of replacing the county farm building which burned lately, with a fireproof building, funds necessary to be raised by a direct tax levy. Sentiment was against a bond issue unless absolutely necessary.
The meeting was attended by citizens from every section of this county. All favored a building which would not only protect those who live at the county farm from the dangers of fire, but a building which will be a credit to the county.
The objection to voting bonds is the expense, which would result from having to call an election for the purpose and also the interest, which would have to be met on the bonds.
Judge Roy Haskins presided over the meeting. Talks were made by Judge Eden, Judge G. W. Finn, C.A. Rose, W. T. Sallee, F. M. Roller, F. S. Whittington, R. A. Ellis, J. J. Parks, J. S. Davis, Judge C. M. Landis, A. Hooten and James Webb.
Cassville Republican, March 1, 1923
PRISONERS DOING GOOD WORK
AT THE COUNTY FARM
The County Court is mighty well pleased with the service that has been rendered by the inmates of the county jail, in their work of clearing away the debris of the county farm that burned last February.
The prisoners seem to enjoy the work and Jess Preddy, who superintends the work, states that they are taking a great deal of interest in their work and are doing it in the right way.
It is estimated that from two to three carloads of brick have been cleaned by the men and put in shape for use in the new building. This item alone amounts to a huge sum and will make quite a saving to the taxpayers in the construction of a new building.
Cassville Democrat, April 28, 1923
ROBBINS TO DRAW PLANS FOR THE NEW
New Building To Cost Approximately $15,000
Will Be As Near Fire Proof As Possible
Work To Be Rushed
Court Is Very Anxious to Get Work Started—Robbins Will Rush
His Part of the Work to Completion
Engineer Bert Robbins of Monett, has been selected as architect to draw plans
and specifications for Barry County’s new Almshouse.
This action was taken by the county court at its meeting recently and Engineer Robbins will begin work on his duties given him by the court, at once and rush same to completion. The cost of the new building is not to exceed $15,000 and Robbins is to be paid two per cent of the amount for his services. He also will submit an estimate as to the probable cost of the construction of the building as soon as his plans and specifications are completed, which will be within the near future.
It has been definitely decided that a bond issue will not be necessary to raise funds for the construction of the building. At the present time there is a balance of over $8,000, in the hands of the county treasurer Thompson to be used in the construction of this building that was derived from the insurance carried on the old building. The balance needed will probably be raised by a small tax levy.
Robbins is one of the best architects and engineers in this section of the state and being a home man in addition, Barry County can rest assured that she will get a square deal and the best to be had in a building.
Cassville Democrat, April 28, 1923
NEW ALMS HOUSE NEARING COMPLETION
By November 1 it is believed Barry county’s new alms house will be ready for occupancy. The building is a two story brick with basement and trimmings of stone. The total cost will likely not exceed $18,000. Situated on a beautiful site a short distance northwest of Cassville, the building presents a very attractive appearance and will no doubt, be one of the best alms houses of its size in the State.
The building in which the unfortunate poor of Barry county are to have a home is to be equipped with a heating plant, electric lights and water.
No time was lost by the County Court in starting the new building after the old building, similar in size, burned son seven or eight months ago. The court has supervised the work themselves. James Davidson of Exeter was the superintendent and Bert Robbins of Monett the architect.
To pay for the building a small tax levy has been made to add to the insurance money collected from the loss on the old building. The new building will be paid for without any great burden to the people of the county, and it will be a credit to the county to have such a comfortable home for her unfortunates.
Cassville Republican, October 11, 1923
Barry County’s new home for her unfortunate poor will be dedicated on Thursday, October 25th, according to the present plans of the county court. The building was completed the last of this week and to say the least, it is a credit to any of its kind in this section of the state.
A very extensive program is being arranged by the county court and others, and the dedication ceremonies will be a very elaborate affair. Speakers of prominence will participate in the meeting and one of the features of the day will be a large basket dinner at noon hour. The court has not yet announced their definite plans for this day, but we feel sure that whatever requests that they may see fit to make of the good people, will be willingly, complied with.
The new home was erected at comparatively small cost to the taxpayers. The insurance money that was obtained form the loss of the old building, which amounted to nearly $8,500, was a great assistance, and had it not been for that amount, the expense would have been a great deal larger. The taxpayers acted very promptly in responding to the court’s call for a meeting, a short time after the old home was destroyed, and the assistance extended them was very muchly appreciated by the court, and assisted them very much in arriving at a plan whereby the new home could be constructed at the earliest possible date.
Cassville Democrat, October 20, 1923
Barry County’s new home for her unfortunate poor is completed and ready for occupancy. The work was finished this week by Superintendent Jas. Davidson and his crew of hands, and the building is one of the best in this section of the state. Some good work has been done by Davidson and he is commended for the good job that he has done for Barry county taxpayers.
Clarence Beck, son of Judge Beck, of near this city, has been named by the county court as superintendent of the new home and it is hoped that he will make a good one.
The inmates will be moved to their new home immediately. Probably the first of the week. All of the necessary furniture and fixtures have been purchased and installed and a nice new building awaits our unfortunates.
The county court has lost many sleepless nights over this improvement and are to be commended for the manner in which they have accredited themselves in this big undertaking. The building is a credit to our county, taxpayers and the court and is a comfortable and pleasant home for our poor people.
Cassville Democrat, October 23, 1923
OPENING OF COUNTY'S NEW ALMS HOUSE
Formal Opening Will Be Held in Cassville
In order that the county may properly care for its unfortunate the county court has erected a fine alms house building to replace the one that was destroyed by fire some months ago. The work on the building is practically finished and the county court decided that it would make a formal opening of the building on Thursday, Oct. 25, and invite the taxpayers of the county to come to Cassville on that day to inspect the building and to judge for themselves the fitness of the building as a place of refuge for the unfortunate.
The building is of brick and with concrete floors in the basement, has a Western Electric lighting and power plant to furnish the lights and power, and is almost as fine an alms house building as will be found in the Southwest.
In the construction of the new building the foundation of the old building was used, also the brick that were in the old one, which made quite a savings.
The building has been erected at approximate cost of $17,000, and we understand that the first superintendent of the farm will be Clarence Beck, son of Judge Beck.
A big basket dinner will be served in the courthouse at noon, which will be followed in the afternoon by a program, consisting principally of addresses. Below we give the program:
Dinner at 12 o’clock.
1:30 Address of welcome by C.D. Manley, President of the Commercial Club, Cassville.
2:00 Response, Dr. B.B. Kelley, of Purdy.
Address, Hon. H.A. Gardner of Monett.
Address, Grant Edens of Exeter.
Address, C.C. Fawver of Seligman.
Address, J.J. Parks of Washburn.
Address, J.S. McQueen of Wheaton.
Address, Claud Cope of Crane.
Address, Hon. Geo. Cottrell of Shell Knob.
Address Hon. Uel Williams of Jenkins.
Gunter and Monett Bands are invited.
All coming are requested to bring well-filled baskets.
Cassville Republican, October 25, 1923
INMATE ALMOST BURNED TO DEATH
AT COUNTY FARM
Jack Skaggs, an inmate of the county almshouse, lies in a very critical condition at the county home, near this city, as result of bad burns obtained early last Wednesday morning when he backed against a red hot stove at that institution, setting his clothing on fire.
He ran out of the building with all of his clothes on fire and superintendent, New Kilser immediately threw a bucket of water on him putting out the fire.
He was burned very badly on his arms, legs, back and stomach and the county physician, who is attending him states that his chances for recovery are very slim.
The boy came from the vicinity of Seligman and has been at that place for several years and seemed to be the favorite of the inmates. He had a habit of tearing his clothing from his body almost daily and at the time of the fire, it is said that he had on a pair of overalls and four gunnie sacks, with a hole cut in the top of the sacks for his head to come out. He is about 30 years old.
Cassville Democrat, October 27, 1923
JACK SKAGGS DIES AS RESULT
OF SEVERE BURNS
Jack Skaggs, an inmate of the Barry County Almshouse, near this city, who sustained serious burns at that institution, last week died last Saturday morning at 8:30 o’clock.
To say that poor old Jack had suffered untold agony from his burns, would be placing it mildly. He suffered and no one will ever know how badly he suffered. Physicians that attended him say that he was the most patient sufferer that they ever attended. Not one time did he open his mouth in response to the severe pain that he endured. Jack was a favorite of the institution and people that visited the home readily formed a liking for him. He was always jolly and ready to play with anything that was given him. Jack was 30 years old and had the mind of a mere child and had been in such condition for several years.
His remains were taken to Seligman, Saturday morning and were interred in the cemetery at that place. Services were conducted by Rev. Jas. T. Brattin of this city. His brothers were all present at the funeral and it is said that they requested that he be given a first class burial at their expense, which was done and these brothers are to be complimented for the attention they have given their afflicted brother.
The passing of Jack increases the death toll of the burning of our county farm, last February, to the count of 2. Barney Barker lost his life in the fire and had not the building burned poor old Jack, possibly would still be alive. Everything was done to save his life but all efforts were in vain.
Cassville Democrat, November 3, 1923
Clarence Beck, newly appointed superintendent of Barry county’s new almshouse has moved to the new building and is getting things in readiness for the receiving of the inmates at the new home Monday of next week.
Much work remains to be done by him and he states that he will have everything completed to make them comfortable by the above date mentioned.
New furniture is being installed and the new home will be one of the best in this section of the state. At the present time there are about 18 inmates in the county home and they will be cared for in a very satisfactorily manner.
Cassville Democrat, November 3, 1923
INMATES ARE NOW IN THEIR
NEW COUNTY QUARTERS
Barry county’s new almshouse has been completed and received by the county court and the inmates are very happily located and show from their expressions that they are highly pleased with the surroundings.
The building was completed after a cost of $17,607.83 to the tax payers of Barry county and of this sum, the amount of about nine thousand dollars was paid by the county by the various insurance companies that held policies on the old building that was destroyed by fire last February.
The county court is highly pleased with the manner in which the new building has been constructed and they state that superintendent Jack Davidson more than made his salary in the savings incurred in purchasing material that was consumed in the building.
The court has handled this matter in a very satisfactory manner and should be commended for their activities as they have been constant on the job and anxious at every stage of the game to see that none of the taxpayer’s money was squandered in its construction.
Cassville Democrat, November 10, 1923
COUNTY FARM IS NOW ALMOST SELF-SUPPORTING
It should be a matter of interest to the taxpayers of Barry county to know that the county farm is now practically a self-supporting institution.
Superintendent T. F. Plumlee says there are now 36 persons living at the farm, as county charges, and that the farm is taking care of them with the exception of some small monthly bills which run about seventeen to eighteen dollars per month.
For furnishing those at the home with milk and butter there are six good cows. There are plenty of hogs for meat and a good flock of poultry for the eggs needed. This year Mr. Plumlee has raised about 200 bushels of Irish potatoes and will have about the same amount of sweet potatoes for use this winter. He has a small evaporator and is drying a quantity of apples from the three-acre orchard on the farm.
A large amount of vegetables such as cabbage, turnips, beans, etc., are also grown. A sufficient amount of tobacco is grown for those charges who must have their tobacco. The barn on the farm is full of hay and other feeds are grown, including corn.
There are only 55 acres in the farm. Mr. Plumlee deserves much credit for his excellent work in making the county farm so nearly a self-sustaining institution as it is.
Cassville Republican, August 25, 1932
MAN 77 DIES AT COUNTY FARM FROM INJURIES
John Wilson who had been at the county home here for sometime, died Monday as a result of injuries sustained when he was struck about ten days before by an automobile while walking on Highway 37 near Butterfield.
Funeral services were held Tuesday afternoon, conducted by Rev. J. T. Brattin.
Mr. Wilson was 77 years old. He had been in very poor health and at times
would wander away from the county home. About ten days ago he left and was alone
on the highway near Butterfield. Not being in a condition to avoid passing
automobiles, he was struck by one, resulting in a broken leg and severe bruises
over the body. He was brought to the Barry County Hospital and treated, later
being taken back to the county home where he died.
Mr. Wilson formerly lived in the Shell Knob community.
Cassville Democrat, October 3, 1935
1873 POOR FARM CEMETERY
1873 Plat Map of FarmWith the establishment of a “County Farm” in 1873 came the need for a “County Cemetery” in which to bury those unfortunate souls who died penniless and whose relatives were without means to finance a burial. Burials were made on the hill located in the northeast corner of the land purchased from John Moore in August of 1872. When the County sold the land in July of 1905 the portion used as a graveyard was deeded off and described as follows: “Land commencing at the northeast corner of said forty and running due south 120 feet. Thence run due west 70 feet, thence run due south 110 feet, thence run due east 70 feet, thence run due north 110 feet to the point of beginning, this plot being the land used as a graveyard on the County Farm.”
The cemetery was abandoned and after time forgotten. As years past Mother Nature reclaimed the area. In February of 2008, Ted Roller and Jack Fly located the old cemetery. It had been recently bulldozer by the current landowner. If there were any existing headstones or fieldstones to mark the graves they were lost at that time. Jack Fly measured out the cemetery boundaries and using dowsing rods located the graves. Fly staked out the graves, photographed the area and drew up a plat map showing grave locations. There were twenty-eight graves located, three of which, appear to be the graves of children.
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