Landmarks of Monroe County  


"Stick Horse Johnny" Dead

In the Infirmary 69 Years.

Cost County $10,000

Paris Mercury: June 29, 1934

"Stick 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.

In 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.

He 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.

 Graphics courtesy of Rhiossampler