Thursday, December 22, 2016

Lyon County, Kentucky Paupers 1880

In the earliest days of Kentucky, the goal of dealing with  paupers was to keep them from becoming a charge upon the county.  Prior to the establishment of county poorhouses, local residents bid on the care of each  individual pauper and cared for the pauper, usually in the resident's home.

In 1821  "An Act authorising the county courts to erect houses for the accommodation of their Poor" was approved.[1]  The county court was also given the power to appoint a fit person to superintend those who were in the poorhouse and to receive a reasonable fee for his services. Those wishing to be in charge at the poorhouse farm, placed a bid with the lowest bidder becoming the "winner."  No experience was required, but there were periodic reviews.

The order sending paupers to the poorhouses is often recorded in the county court order book (court minutes).  In addition, you might find a list of poorhouse inmates on the census records.  Lyon County poorhouse paupers can be found on the 1880 Lyon County, Kentucky census .[2]  The head of the household was J.W. Warfield, Supervisor of the Poor House. The inmates of the poorhouse  on the 21st of June 1880 were:

Sam Dyer, Black, Male, age 89, born Virginia, parents born Virginia.

Jas. Lady, White, Male, age 70, birthplace illegible, father born Virginia, mother born North Carolina.

Geo. Moneymaker, White, Male, age 37, born Kentucky, parents' birthplaces not given.

Fanny Oliver, White, Female, age 35, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky.

Rilla Goins, White, Female, age 19, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky.

Lilly Goins, White, Female, age 12, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky.

Nancy Oliver, White, Female, age 4, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky.

Alone Sells, White, Female, age 1, born Kentucky, parents born Kentucky.

[1] Digest of the Statute Laws of Kentucky, Vol. II, (1834) p. 1325, referencing  Session Acts, p. 385.
[2] 1880 Lyon County, Kentucky Census, Eddyville, Page 8C, E.D. 141, image 0018,, accessed 27 September 2016. 

Published 22 December 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,


Deb said...

J W Warfield, the supervisor of the poor house in 1880, was my second great grandfather. Also living with him were his wife and daughter.

My grandfather Morris Town, was listed as the Superintendent of the Alms House in the 1930 census.

Moses Crow, my third great grandfather was paid by the county in 1816 to care for a man. It's from your Western Kentucky Journal:
From Western KY Journal Winter 2000: "Miscellaneous Records Caldwell County, KY 1811 - 1866" 19 Oct 1816: Agreement between the Gentlemen Justices of peace composing the County Court of Caldwell County and Moses Crow. At the May term of sd. Court, the Court took into consideration the helpless condition of James Mercer Senr., he from age and infirmity not being able to gain a support by labor, the Court appointed Reuben Rowland a commissioner to find a suitable place for the residence of Mercer, where he might be fed and clothed and Mercer choosing the house of Crow. Crow proposed to keep Mercer one year for the sum of $75 and as it appeared to the satisfaction of Rowland that Mercer was living and had been some time before the May term at the house of Crow. Therefore it is agreed that Crow shall receive $75 for feeding, clothing and comfortably taking care of James Mercer Senr. from the fourth Monday in May 1816 until the fourth Monday in May 1817, to be paid out of the levy of 1816. [signed] Moses (X his mark) Crow. Teste: Reuben Rowland.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Thanks, Deb.

Carolyn said...

The Alone Sell was my grandmother. After looking at Lyon Court Order Book D (1881-1886) page 37 I found were John Sell grandfather of Alone came and got her. Lyon Court Order Bk C shows Margaret Sell and infant were admitted to Poorhouse 1879, page 429 and page 430 shows Margaret dies. I later found on page 431 that a bastardy suit filed by Margaret was dismissed as she was dead. I have not been able to find the original suit. It is interesting in the orders that additional funds were ordered for the care of this child. Carolyn

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Thanks for this additional information, Carolyn. Such a sad situation for your grandmother.