Horse Johnny" Dead
Infirmary 69 Years.
Paris Mercury: June 29, 1934
Horse Johnny", the first inmate of the Monroe County Infirmary,
died in that institution Monday and the remains were buried there.
"Stick Horse Johnny" - his real name was unknown- was a
Negro and was brought from the south by Col. Poindexter of the
Confederate army, then living near Middle Grove, at the close of the
civil war. John was then a boy of 15 and Col. Poindexter, who had
escaped a federal prison by throwing red pepper in the eyes of his
captors, thought he would make a good house boy. He brought John's
sister along also, but soon discovered both were idiots and turned
them over to the county. The old "poor house" south of
Paris where the present infirmary stands, abandoned during the war,
had been rehabilitated - it was a fearsome hole - and Johnny and his
sister, who died shortly, were sent there. John has been there and
in the new infirmary ever since - a period of 69 years.
that time Glendi Blakey, county mortician, estimates that he has
eaten 75,555 meals alone, at ten cents per meal, a cheap estimate,
costing Monroe county over $7,500 for food. All told, it is
estimated he cost Monroe county taxpayers over $10,000. He could
never work because of lack of intelligence. His nickname resulted
from the fact that he never went anywhere without riding his stick
horse - usually made of a hoe handle.
had complete freedom and a jaunt of 2 1/2 miles to town on his
wooden steed used to be of daily occurrence. He always had a free
pass to the Monroe county fair, and three generations of men and
women recall him prancing around the arena on his stick horse,
bedecked in ribbons, which the judges always tied on for him. He was
a small Negro and when the writer first saw him as a little boy he
had a scraggly beard. Sometimes the horse reared up and threw him
and he always arose and grinned at the people in the grand stand.
His age is estimated at 84 years.
courtesy of Rhiossampler