Infirmary Records of
Fairfield County, Ohio 1848 - 1910
and Death Records from the Infirmary Records 1911 - 1980
Fairfield County, Ohio Infirmary Records 1848 - 1910, and death records from the Infirmary Records 1911 - 1980. Published in 1994. 128 Pages. "Paupers in the Poorhouse of Fairfield County, Ohio" - that is the title as inscribed on the first page of the record journal kept by Superintendent Samuel Fetters in 1848. Most but not all persons who entered the institution were public charges. There were pay-patients, "lying-in" cases, persons with mental and emotional problems, the homeless, the elderly, and transients. Some residents were born, lived their whole lives, and died there. Others, both singularly and with families, were admitted and discharged many times. It is difficult for us, in our own time period, to imagine what the daily routine must have been like at the Institution.
In compiling, editing, and otherwise preparing the data in the records for publication, we have tried to preserve what can best be described as a personal quality. We will allow the notations portion of the record to speak for itself. The numerous entries of birth and death dates before 1867 are important to researchers as these are not easily found in Ohio before this date.
Before 1826 township officers called "overseers of the poor" were responsible for the indigent and homeless in their respective townships. Contracts were let out for the keeping of each pauper and awarded to the lowest bidder. Each charge was to receive adequate food, comfortable clothing and competent medical attention. It apparently became necessary to end this system and land was purchased for a county "poorhouse" in 1826 and the first building was erected in 1828.
In 1840, according to Graham's history of Fairfield County, this frame building was removed and a brick structure was erected on the same site. Outbuildings were erected from time to time.
In February of 1881, the Infirmary consisted of 70 male "inmates" and 54 female "inmates", with 20 of the males being boys and 12 of the females being girls. There was a common school and farming, stock raising and fruit culture were carried on these residents.
In the 1980's the population had dwindled and it was decided to close the Infirmary in May of 1985. Part of the 16 remaining residents went to nursing homes and part to foster homes.
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