The Poor Farm
The Poor Farm 1907

       Joseph C. Wells, John Gilliam, Jeremiah Boling, John N. Buchanan and Robert McCoy, who having been elected as Overseers of the Poor, for this County, came into court and severally  took the oaths prescribed by Law to wit: the Oath to support the Constitution of the United  States, the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth, the oath prescribed by law.
       (Source: Court Order Book 1, July, Monday 28th, 1856.) 

       Ordered that John Gilliam, Overseer of the Poor, Bind Jane Collier and Ivannah Collier to the age of 18 years of age. (Wise County Court Order Book No. 1, October 26, 1857.) 

       Ordered that John Gilliam go to John Farmers and see to two children who are said to be in  sufferance.

       Ordered that Joseph C. Wells, Overseer of the Poor, bind to Charles Blair,  Americus J.   Collins with the conditions that the Law requires.  Said Blair to learn the said Americus J.  Collins to read, write and cipher to the single rule of three, furnish him with a horse, bridle   and saddle worth $75.00 when said Collins is 21 years old. (Wise County Order Book No., 1, January 25, 1858.)

      Ordered that John Buchanan, Overseer of the Poor in the third district be authorized to bind Elizabeth Scarberry to Marshall Mullins with the conditions that he is to educate her as thelaw requires and give her when she becomes free, forty dollars ($40.00) worth of property such as a cow, bed and bedding and c. (Wise County order Book No. 1, March 27, 1860.) 

       Ordered that Robert McCoy of the Pore (Poor) Bind out the following children to wit:   Harman Jackson and Charles Clay the children of Emily Clay. (Source: Wise County Court Order Book 1, Monday, 22nd day of March, 1858.) 

       Ordered that the committee heretofore appointed to purchase a farm for a poor house be  discharged from any further duties in relation thereto.  (Wise County Court Order Bk. 1,  April 24, 1860.

       Ordered that the Committee heretofore appointed to purchase a farm for a Poor House Farm  be discharged from any further duties in relation thereto. (Source: Wise County Court Order Book 1, Tuesday, 29th of May, 1860.) 

       Ordered that Thomas Kennedy be allowed Twenty five dollars ($25.00) for keeping his  Mother until the next County Levy. (Wise County Order Bk. 1, October 23, 1860.)

       For Poor Rates ......$465.00 (Wise County Order Bk. No. 1, January 25,1858)
       Amount allowed by Board of Overseers of Poor........$797.10 (Wise County Order Bk.1,April 24, 1860)

       Ordered that Andrew Shepherd Overseer of the Poor in 1st District be authorized to bind  Joseph Sally son of Polly Sally to any person with whom he can agree, with stipulations as  the law requires. (Source: Wise County Court Order Book 1, Tuesday, 26th day of March, 1861.)

      Ordered that the following be allowed, Aggragate of the Report of Overseers of the Poor,  $605.00.  (Source: Wise County Court Order Book 1, Tuesday, 28th day of May, 1861.)


Interview with Martha Adams Beverly
       "In 1939 they had anywhere from 20 to 30 people, from all ages.  They had to be totally unable of taking care of theirselves and not having anyone in the family that could take care of them.  We had no entertainment. Sometimes some of the churches would come out and  hold services.
        When my father first took it (Poor Farm) over, they had wooden boxes down in the  basement and he said he absolutely would not bury people in boxes like that, without a  service or anything.  He took them (wooden boxes) out and burned them.
      They (the residents) had their own rooms and then they had the one room downstairs where the people would come."
        ( Alb Adams and his wife, Ethel Hubbard of Pound, VA were the parents of Martha Adams  Beverly.  The family lived on the grounds of The Poor Farm.)
Memories of Nancy Clark Brown, May 31, 2002

        I remember visiting the Poor Farm as a child with my aunt and uncle, Newton and Muriel  Baker Cantrell.  The caretakers at that time were Coy (KO) and Garnet Baker Mullins. 
         I remember one old lady that had a baby doll which she rocked all day.
        Aunt Malissa Peak Moore died at the Poor Farm and they brought her to Indian Creek to the home of Fred and Leora Belcher Hash. She was in a wooden coffin that was  shaped like  they used to bury the old cowboys in at "Boot Hill.," made like a cross.  My mother, Violet Baker Clark and Elsi Belcher Freeman went door to door and collected money to buy a spray of
flowers and help bury her. Aunt Malissa had knitted a beautiful coverlet and the Hash's gave this to my mother.  It is a treasured heirloom.  The lid of the coffin was nailed on and she was buried in an  unmarked grave at the Poindexter Cemetery on Indian Creek. This took place about 1948.

      I remember talking to a friend, many years ago about the Poor Farm.  He and his brother were taken there until other arrangements could be made. They remained several days and were locked in a secured room.  I remember him saying that his younger brother was very  frightened and cried a lot and that he held him close to reassure him things would get better. The two boys were taken by a family living at Almira near Pound where they had a good home. The older boy married a girl I grew up with and they had a daughter and a son.  I am sorry to say I lost track of the younger boy and have often wondered what happened to him after his foster parents died.

Listed in the Wise County School Census in 1895, in the Poor House, Gladeville District, Wise County, Virginia, are:
Page, Lakie, age 9

Page, Qincy A., age 6


Frank Burk, age 65, birth date unknown, born Lee County, VA, coal miner, died March 18, 1931 at the County House, place of funeral County House, burial on County Farm.

Lewis Coats, age 73, birth date unknown, born Pennsylvania, coke puller, died Sept. 25, 1931 at the County Home, place of funeral County Home, buried on County Farm.

Patrick Dugan, age about 70, birth date unknown, born in Ireland, hod carrier, died July 27, 1930 at Norton Hospital, place of funeral and burial, County Farm Cemetery.

Eugene Gibson, stillborn, Nov. 1, 1928, Norton Hospital, buried Nov. 2, 1928 at County Farm, Mother, Louise Gibson, Davenport, VA, Father, Wilard H. McGlothin.

Alice James, age about 70, birth date unknown, born in Alabama, widow, ¾ Indian, died Feb. 14, 1930 at the County Home, funeral and burial at County Farm.

Eliza C. Miller, age about 63, birth date unknown, born in Tennessee, separated, coal miner (?) died Dec. 22, 1930 at the County House, funeral and burial Dec. 23, 1930 at the County farm.

Cora McClane, age about 78, birth date unknown, born in Ohio, widow, died Nov.14, 1930 at the County House, funeral and burial Nov. 14, 1930 at the County Farm Cemetery.

Abraham O. McKee, age about 20, birth date unknown, single, bell boy, died July 7, 1931 at the County Home, funeral held at the County Home, burial July 8, 1931 at the County Farm.

Frant or Prant Neely (alias Charles Nusesus), age about 41, birth date unknown, born Bulgaria, died on a Branch of Indian Creek, Dec. 26, 1926, burial March 25, 1927 at the County Farm.

Drewey Price, age about 76, birth date unknown, widowed, born Scott Co., VA, son of George Price of Clinchport, VA, pauper, died Nov. 26, 1929 at the County Alms Home, funeral at the same place, burial Nov. 27, 1929 at Wise County Farm.

Rueben Winkle, age about 62, birth date unknown, born Green Co., TN, married, wife Martha Winkle, laborer, son of Robert Winkle and Mary Katherine West, died Jan. 20, 1930 at the County Home, funeral at the same place, burial Jan. 21, 1930 at the County Farm.

John Bindle (or Beuder), age about 39, birth date unknown, born in Poland, married, could not speak English well, miner, died Jan. 22, 1913 at the Poor Farm, burial Jan. 23, 1913 at the Poor Farm.

Carnie Poolin, age 32, born in Italy, son of Phillip Poolin, widowed, farmer, died August 12, 1915 at the Poor House, burial August 13, 1915 at the Poor House Cemetery.

Elias Branham, age 88 yr. 7 mos. 17 days, born April 13, 1829, married, farmer, son of W.M. Branham and Charity Gibson, died August 30, 1917 at the Poor Farm.

submitted by Nancy Clark Brown copyright 2002

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