Infirmaries and Poorhouses

Special Note: We will be updating as much information that we can find on each individual infirmary and poorhouse. Check back frequently for updates.

The new Allen County Almhouse, a WPA project built in 1937. Photo ca. 1937 from the Goodman-Paxton Photographic Collection at University of Kentucky.

In 1910 there were more than 84 thousand paupers that were enumerated in poorhouses in the United States; this was a marked increase of 3 percent compared to 1904. In Kentucky, the number of enumerated people in poorhouses in 1910 were 1,522; 871 being male and 651 being female. Of that population, 1,044 were native born, 167 were foreign born, 27 have unknown nativity, and 284 were “colored.” Irish and Swiss immigrants had a much high ratio of pauperism in 1910 than any other nationality. According to the occupations of individuals admitted into poorhouses, unskilled laborers made up the highest number. Skilled trades also held a relatively considerable number as well. Women frequently were domestic servants prior to admission. A relatively large number of about two filths reported being unable to do any work of any kind. A statistically significant number of paupers during the year 1910 were consider physically or mentally defective though the number of insane and feeble-minded almshouses was on the decline in 1910. Three fourths of discharges were done so as self-supporting. Approximately 17,000 paupers died in poorhouses during 1910 a rate of 207.7 paupers per 1,000. The most common cause of death at that time was tuberculosis of the lungs.

In earlier days, poorhouses were sometimes used as temporary shelters for vagrants as well as a place of detention for petty criminals. This was often due to poorhouses being the only public agency available to offer relief, even to those who were insane, feeble-minded, or epilpetic. Some communities combined poorhouses with free hospitals or infirmaries that catered to the poor.

List of Infirmaries and Poorhouses

Adair County Poorhouse – Columbia, Kentucky

Allen County Poorhouse – Scottsville, Kentucky

Anderson County Poorhouse – Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Ballard County Poor Farm – Wickliffe, Kentucky

Barren County Almshouse – Glasgow, Kentucky

Bath County Poorhouse – Owingsville, Kentucky

Boone County Infirmary – Burlington, Kentucky

Bourbon County Almshouse – Paris, Kentucky

Boyd County Infirmary – Ashland, Kentucky

Boyle County Almshouse – Perryville, Kentucky

Bracken County Infirmary – Augusta, Kentucky

Breckinridge County Poor Farm – Hardinsburg, Kentucky

Bullitt county Farm for the Poor – Bardstown Junction, Kentucky

Butler County Poorhouse – Morgantown, Kentucky

Caldwell County Poorhouse – Princeton, Kentucky

Calloway County Poorhouse – Murray, Kentucky

Campbell County Infirmary – Cold Spring, Kentucky

Carlisle County Almshouse – Bardwell, Kentucky

Carroll County Poorhouse – Carrollton, Kentucky

Carter County Infirmary – Grayson, Kentucky

Casey County Poorhouse – Liberty, Kentucky

Christian County Poorhouse, Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Clark County Farm – Winchester, Kentucky

Clay County Poorhouse – Big Creek, Kentucky

Clinton County Poorhouse – Albany, Kentucky

Crittenden County Almshouse – Marion, Kentucky

Cumberland County Poorhouse and Farm – Burkesville, Kentucky

Daviess County Almshouse – Marion, Kentucky

Edmonson County Poorhouse – Brownsville, Kentucky

Estill County Poorhouse – Irvine, Kentucky

Fayette County Infirmary – East Hickman, Kentucky

Fleming County Poorhouse – Plummers Landing, Kentucky

Floyd County Poorhouse – Prestonburg, Kentucky

Franklin County Almshouse – Frankfort, Kentucky

Fulton County Poor Farm – Hickman, Kentucky

Gallatin County Farm – Sparta, Kentucky

Grant County Infirmary – Williamstown, Kentucky

Graves County Almshouse – Mayfield, Kentucky

Grayson County Almshouse – Litchfield, Kentucky

Green County Almshouse – Rollingburg, Kentucky

Greenup County Almshouse – Wurtland, Kentucky

Hancock County Poorhouse Farm – Hawesville, Kentucky

Hardin County Farm – Elizabethtown, Kentucky

Harrison County Infirmary – Cynthiana, Kentucky

Hart County Poor Farm – Munfordville, Kentucky

Henderson County Sanitarium – Corydon, Kentucky

Henry County Almshouse – Drennon Springs, Kentucky

Hickman County Poorhouse – Clinton, Kentucky

Hopkins County Poorhouse – Madisonville, Kentucky

Jefferson County Poorhouse – Jeffersontown, Kentucky

Jessamine County Infirmary – Nicholasville, Kentucky

Kenton County Infirmary – Covington, Kentucky

Knox County Poorhouse – Barbourville, Kentucky

Larue County Poorhouse – Hodgenville, Kentucky

Lawrence County Infirmary – Louisa, Kentucky

Lee County Almshouse – Filmore, Kentucky

Lewis County Infirmary – Vanceburg, Kentucky

Lincoln County Almshouse – Crab Orchard, Kentucky

Livingston County Poorhouse – Smithland, Kentucky

Logan County Farm – Russellville, Kentucky

Louisville Home for Aged and Infirm – Shively, Kentucky

Lyon County Almshouse – Eddyville, Kentucky

McCracken County Poorhouse – Paducah, Kentucky

McLean County Poorhouse – Faith, Kentucky

Madison County Infirmary – Union City, Kentucky

Magoffin County Poorhouse – Salyersville, Kentucky

Marion County Poorhouse – Raywick, Kentucky

Marshall County Poorhouse – Benton, Kentucky

Mason County Infirmary – Maysville, Kentucky

Maysville City Infirmary – Maysville, Kentucky

Meade County Poorhouse – Ekron, Kentucky

Menifee County Poorhouse – Frenchburg

Mercer County Almshouse – Harrodsburg, Kentucky

Metcalfe County Poorhouse – Goodluck, Kentucky

Morgan County Poorhouse – Index, Kentucky

Nelson County Poorhouse – New Haven, Kentucky

Nicholas County Almshouse – Carlisle, Kentucky

Ohio County Almshouse – Hartford, Kentucky

Oldham County Poor Farm – La Grange, Kentucky

Owen County Infirmary – Hallam, Kentucky

Pendleton County Infirmary – Falmouth, Kentucky

Pike County Poorhouse – Pikeville, Kentucky

Powell County Almshouse – Clay City, Kentucky

Pulaski County Infirmary – Somerset, Kentucky

Robertson County Infirmary – Mount Olive, Kentucky

Russell County Poorhouse – Jamestown, Kentucky

Scott County Infirmary – Delaplain, Kentucky

Shelby County Poorhouse – Shelbyville, Kentucky

Simpson County Poorhouse – Franklin, Kentucky

Spencer County Poorhouse – Taylorsville, Kentucky

Taylor County Poorhouse – Saloma, Kentucky

Todd County Poorhouse – Elkton, Kentucky

Trigg County Pauper House – Cadiz, Kentucky

Trimble County Poorhouse – Bedford, Kentucky

Union County Almshouse – Morganfield, Kentucky

Warren County Almshouse – Woodburn, Kentucky

Washington County Poorhouse – McIntyre, Kentucky

Wayne County Poorhouse – Betsey, Kentucky

Webster County Poorhouse – Dixon, Kentucky

Woodford County Poorhouse – Versailles, Kentucky

Kentucky Poor Laws

Contributed by Phil T. and Shawn L.

References

  1. Hill, Joseph Adna, Meriam, Lewis, and Goldenweiser, Emanuel Alexandrovich. Paupers in Almshouses. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1910
  2. Bliss, Edwin Munsell and Hill, Joseph Adna. Summary of State Laws Relating to the Dependent Classes. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1913.

Notes:

Some newspaper images are from historical archives of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky). Some photos are provided from former annual reports of the hospital to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. All other photos were obtained, donated, or copied from state and hospital archives or personal collections. Please contact us before using any photographs or images on this website. We do not own the copyrights to all photos and those photos we do own require written permission before any use.

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