Hamilton County Almshouse

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Hamilton County Almshouse
Current Status Preserved
Location McLeansboro, IL
Alternate Names


"The almshouse in this county consists of two log buildings, one of which is occupied by the keeper, the other by the paupers. The pauper house contains two rooms, joined by a porch; and one of the rooms is divided through the centre by a partition. The keeper is paid two dollars a week for each pauper cared for, and furnishes everything, including medicine and medical attendance. There were only five inmates on the day of visitation, of whom two were idiotic. [Source: "Reports to the General Assembly of Illinois", Vol 1, 1871]

The Hamilton county almshouse is located two and a half miles northeast of McLeansboro. The farm contains 160 acres of land of inferior quality, of which 10 acres is in orchard and garden and 70 acres cultivated. The building is frame, old and battered, without underpinning, with window panes missing, locks and latches, and in some instances doors, broken off for years. The facilities for separating the sexes are nominal. But one stove is used in this entire building. This is placed in the sitting room, also used as a dining room, used by all the inmates. The one insane inmate is filthy beyond all description and should be removed. He and his room are as clean as it is possible to keep either, where the conveniences for caring for this class of patients are almost wholly wanting. The bedding of the more cleanly inmates is in good condition. There are numerous evidences that vermin at one time abounded, though the present management think they have them under control. A three-year-old girl who is here with her mother should be sent to the Asylum for the Feeble Minded. No religious services are ever held, or reading matter supplied. The food is cooked by the management, and served by the inmates.

For $55.00 per year and the income of the farm the superintendent agrees to furnish food, clothing, furniture and care of the inmates. One naturally speculates on what the conditions would have been had the lowest bid of $40.00 per year per capita been accepted. Date of inspection, Jan. 10, 1907. [Source: "Biennial report", Volume 7 By Illinois Board of Public Charities]