Program on Monroe County Almshouse and Asylum slated for Feb. 9

Postcard of the Monroe County Almshouse and Asylum, postmarked ‘1914’

By JARROD ROLL

Monroe County Local History Room director

Researcher Scot Simpson will present a public program, “All But Forgotten Institutions: A Glimpse into the History of the Monroe County Poor Farm and Asylum,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Monroe County Local History Room.

Simpson will share his experience with indexing the old records of Monroe County’s Almshouse and Asylum and how he discovered more than just names and dates: He discovered forgotten people and compelling stories. 

 Simpson’s project involved taking information from three volumes of records to produce a poor house/asylum index to add to other indices available to researchers through the Local History Room website (www.monroecountyhistory.org).

As Simpson began transcribing the poor-farm register, his first surprise was how many of the inmates were foreign-born. A large number were from Germany and Scandinavia, arriving during the great European migration of the late 19th century. In census records, many of these future poor-farm residents had been listed as being employed as laborers, or more specifically, farm laborers.

Another surprise was the amount of turnover in the poor-farm population. In any given year, an average of 25–30 inmates were more or less in permanent residence, with often just as many (and sometimes more) being admitted and discharged during any given year. Several inmates were readmitted a half-dozen or more times over the course of the years recorded in the register.

Beginning in the depths of the Great Depression (1931–1934) the comings and goings of inmates were listed on loose-leaf notepaper inserted in the register. And of course, the number of poor-farm residents was very large during that period. The asylum population averaged 75–80 inmates and did not have very much turnover.

Simpson also found the causes of admission interesting. The language used in describing people and their conditions would never be tolerated today, making this project a fascinating look into a bygone era. It was no surprise that many inmates’ cause of admission was “old age.” What was surprising was how many of these people were later discharged.

The Monroe County Local History Room is at 200 Main St. in Sparta. A $1 admission donation would be appreciated. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/mclhr.

Comments are closed.

  • Kickapoo Teen Drop-In set for Sunday in Ontario

    February 15th, 2017
    by

    The Kickapoo Teen Drop-In group’s monthly event will be from 3–6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, in the Ontario Public Library basement.  


    Brookwood wrestling team advances to sectionals

    February 12th, 2017
    by

    After capturing the regional team championship at Royall on Saturday, the Brookwood wrestling team will advance to the team sectional at Orfordville Parkview on Tuesday night.

    This content is for County Line Monthly and County Line Yearly members only.
    Log In Register

    Vernon County to offer immunization clinic

    February 9th, 2017
    by

    The Vernon County Health Department’s immunization clinic will be from 9–11:30 a.m. and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, at the health department, 318 Fairlane Drive (County Hwy. BB), Viroqua.


    A Syrian family settles in Wisconsin, just before U.S. refugee pipeline closes

    February 6th, 2017
    by

    Rula and Abdul plied the narrow aisles of Madison’s Istanbul Market on Tuesday, looking for spices and other staples, such as dried jute leaves, that are hard to find in their new country.

    This content is for County Line Monthly and County Line Yearly members only.
    Log In Register

    UPDATED: One fatality in town of Wilton snowmobile crash

    February 4th, 2017
    by

    UPDATE: Police have released information on the snowmobiler killed Saturday in the town of Wilton. Michael T. Melde, 29, of Sparta died after his machine struck the concrete end of an overpass.


  • Brookwood Special Olympics basketball plays home game

    February 1st, 2017
    by

    Brookwood Special Olympics hosted a basketball game Saturday.

    This content is for County Line Monthly and County Line Yearly members only.
    Log In Register

    Ontario Community Club to begin planning July 4 celebration

    February 1st, 2017
    by

    It’s time to begin planning the big Fourth of July Celebration in Ontario.


    Kendall police identify perpetrator of various crimes: burglary, arson and more

    January 30th, 2017
    by

    Police identified a 23-year-old, rural Monroe County man Jan. 26 as being responsible for a range of crimes in Kendall, including burglary, arson, criminal damage to property, theft, trespassing and graffiti.


    Man hurt in Clifton snowmobile crash

    January 28th, 2017
    by

    One person was hurt Friday in a town of Clifton snowmobile accident, according to Monroe County Sheriff Scott Perkins.


    Monroe County WIC to issue benefits

    January 25th, 2017
    by

    The Monroe County Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will issue benefits and offer nutrition-education days for February.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Falcon grapplers send team, individuals to sectionals

    The 2016–17 season continues to be a seminal year for the Brookwood wrestling team, as the Falcons are headed to the team sectional for the second time in school history after winning Saturday’s regional at Royall.

    Brookwood boys basketball suffers back-to-back losses

    Despite a strong 56–33 win over Hillsboro last week, the Brookwood boys basketball team suffered tough losses to Bangor and Westby on opposite ends of the weekend.

    Nelson, Falcons finish sweep of Royall

    Scenic Bluffs Conference scoring leader Allyson Nelson led all scorers with 22 in last week’s 63–35 win over Royall.

  • Archives