Williamson County Poor Farm

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Williamson County Poor Farm
Opened 1840
Closed 1946
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Single Building
Location West Marion, IL
Alternate Names


Williamson County was formed in late 1839, and during the year of 1840, the Williamson County Court appointed Overseers of the Poor, and up to 1861, when the county bought the poor farm, there were a great many sickly people in the county. Joab Goodall was named Overseer of the Poor in 1840 and Robert C. Thompson was for two years one of the Supervisors of the County and Overseer of the Poor. This farm was fitted up as a home for the poor of the county. In 1870 a one-story brick building, 18×80 feet, was erected thereon for the county, and the northeast quarter of said quarter section was sold by the county to W. J. Spiller for the sum of $362.50, and conveyed by deed dated September 23, of that year, the consideration being applied in payment of the cost of said building. A frame house of the same dimensions had previously been erected, and the cost of both buildings was about $2,500. These buildings are ample and comfortable, as an asylum for the paupers, who average about thirty in number from year to year, and who ate supported by the county at an average annual expense of $1,300 to $1,500. Prior to the purchase of this farm, the dependent poor were supported by appropriations made by the county court, and in this manner a few are yet partially supported outside of the county poor asylum.

In 1870, Jeremiah Cash took charge of the Poor Farm, and ran it for seven years. He then bought a farm near Marion, which he ran for four years and again took charge of the Poor Farm for three years more. The land was divided east and west when Route 37 was built through the center of it and at various stages it was reduced in size as lack of county need for such a sizeable tract dictated.

In June of 1946, the property was sold by the county board at public auction with the high bid taken by Marion funeral director and ex-sheriff G.J. Frick for $8,800. Buildings which were used for the housing of the county’s helplessly poor as late as 1930 were still around when Frick bought the property but had been picked over and stripped by thieves. The property on the west side of Route 37, was later put into use as the location for the Marion Drive In Theater which lasted until about the early 1970’s and then was bought for use by WDDD. The land on the east side of Rt 37 is in current use by the VFW.