Thursday, September 8, 2016

This Day in Indiana History - September 08, 1823 - First Poorhouse in Knox County

A Day in Indiana History - September
A Day in Indiana History - September
September 08, 1823 - First Poorhouse in Knox County
Before welfare, unemployment insurance and food stamps, the county poor house existed to care for the mentally and physically disabled, the poor, unwed mothers and other unfortunates that could not take care of themselves. Every county had one in an era when care for the impoverished was a local affair. Most counties built large, stately brick structures to serve as the local poorhouse, poor farm or county infirmary, as the various local terms applied to them. The first of these in Indiana opened in Knox County in 1823.
Knox County Poorhouse

The General Assembly appointed David McClure, Thomas Emison, Samuel Chambers, Thomas Jordan, William Gamble, Abraham Kuykendall, James Watson and Henry Ruble to find suitable grounds and purchase them in 1820. This task was accomplished and the Knox County poor farm opened on September 8, 1823. In 1831, the Indiana legislature would approve poor houses in all counties. Since the poor farm was considered a sign of civilization, the counties were proud of their poor farms, built impressive structures to house the orphans, indigent, and disabled people in their care.

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