Pulaski County Poor Farm 2009

Thursday, December 9, 2010

John Robinson, Superintendent of Pulaski County Poor Farm, 1894

The following article was originally published in the February 1, 1894 edition of the Rolla Herald as a dispatch dated January 27, 1894 from Waynesville. It was reprinted in the 1994 edition of the Old Settler’s Gazette and had previously escaped my attention. It is important because it adds another name of a superintendent of the Pulaski County Poor Farm to our timeline roster. It is a sensational story and will need to be researched further. At this time, I do not know Mr. Robinson’s guilt or innocence in this matter, all we have is the information below.

John Robinson to-day shot and mortally wounded James Vaughn and shot William Bates in the thigh. Vaughn meet Robinson in the main street and proceeded to settle an old grudge. Only a few words passed between the men, when Robinson drew his pistol and commenced firing, shooting Vaughn in the jaw and a stray bullet hitting Bates who was only a spectator. Physicians were immediately summoned and they have so far failed to locate the bullet, which entered Vaughn’s jaw, as it ranged upward and probably entered the base of the brain. After the shooting Robinson mounted his horse and went home and has not as yet been arrested. No Justice of the Peace being at Waynesville Prosecuting Attorney Johnson wired to Crocker for Justice Johnson to issue a warrant, which up to this hour, has not been done, no affidavit being filed, as the law requires. All parties are prominent in Pulaski County, and it is greatly deplored that the difficulty has ended in such a tragic manner. Robinson is also a prominent farmer, has had charge of the poor farm for several years and is highly respected by all. Vaughn is also a wealthy farmer and prominent man in Pulaski County. Bates was County Treasurer for four years, is a wealthy farmer and the accident befallen him is deeply regretted by his numerous friends.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pulaski County Poor Farm Awareness Video

Created by Dawnmarie Cecora. Please share this to help raise awareness.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

MS&T Ground Penetrating Radar

Sunday, Sepember 12th, 2010 Neil Anderson and his team of students performed a Ground Penetrating Radar survey of the Pulaski County Poor Farm.

The purpose of this testing is to allow us to know the exact location of each grave in the cemetery, as well as how many burials were performed here. Local folklore has estimated the number of burials somewhere between 100-150.

Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) uses a high frequency radio signal that is transmitted into the ground and reflected signals are returned to the receiver and stored on digital media. The computer measures the time taken for a pulse to travel to and from the target which indicates its depth and location. The reflected signals are interpreted by the system and displayed on the unit’s LCD panel.

In addition to the GPR survey that was done, Mr. Anderson and his team plan to return to perform electrical resistivity tomography testing. This procedure is very time consuming and will only be performed in specific sections of the cemetery.

The team collected extensive data and it will take 2-3 weeks for them analyze their findings.

The video below was created by the Florida Public Archaeology Network and shows examples of GPR technology at work in cemeteries.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean --- Blind Lemon Jefferson

Well, there's one kind of favor I'll ask of you
Well, there's one kind of favor I'll ask of you
There's just one kind of favor I'll ask of you
...You can see that my grave is kept clean

And there's two white horses following me
And there's two white horses following me
I got two white horses following me
Waiting on my burying ground

Did you ever hear that coffin' sound
Have you ever heard that coffin' sound
Did you ever hear that coffin' sound
Means another poor boy is under ground

Did you ever hear them church bells tone
Have you ever hear'd them church bells tone
Did you ever hear them church bells tone
Means another poor boy is dead and gone

Well, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
And, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
Well, my heart stopped beating and my hands turned cold
Now I believe what the bible told

There's just one last favor I'll ask of you
And there's one last favor I'll ask of you
There's just one last favor I'll ask of you
See that my grave is kept clean

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Confirmed Burials at Pulaski County Poor Farm Cemetery

This information was originally posted on Laura Huffman's blog August 23, 2009. Since the original publish date, the Poor Farm Cemetery has been found and the Pulaski County Historical Society is working to restore the cemetery and is conducting further research into the history of the Poor Farm and it's operations in Pulaski County.

In an article written by Adlyn Shelden Willits in History Pulaski County Missouri, Volume II, she states “There is a large cemetery on the grounds where there about a hundred people buried.” Since these people were considered paupers and the County paid for their burial, there are few markers. The exact location of the County Farm Cemetery is being researched (August 2009). The cemetery has been abandoned and forgotten by most residents. The Pulaski County Historical Society published two volumes in 1984. These volumes included recording 124 cemeteries in Pulaski County. The Pulaski County Poor Farm Cemetery was not included. (UPDATE: The Poor Farm Cemetery was included in this volume, on the final page, under "UNKNOWN GRAVESITES and LONE GRAVES".) The following burials in the County Farm Cemetery were determined by searching the names recorded in the Poor Farm Ledger in the Missouri Death Certificates Database 1910-1958. It is doubtful that we will be able to determine burials before 1910, partially due to the fire that destroyed the Courthouse in 1903. Based on the names in the ledger we have positively identified 21 people (UPDATE: We have now confirmed 25 burials) whose final resting place is the County Farm cemetery. Their names are below. The list below only represents 35 years of the Poor Farms 83+ years of operation. Ongoing efforts are being made to determine other burials on the grounds of the Pulaski County Poor Farm. The research is being conducted by Laura Huffman, Terrie Runion, and Jeff Huffman. We wish to Thank Marge Scott and The Pulaski County Courthouse Museum for granting us access to the Pulaski County Poor Farm Ledger. We also wish to Thank Ruby Carter who donated the Ledger to the Museum, Adlyn Willits who authored the 1987 article, and Betty Pritchett who has given us clues as to the location of the cemetery. This list will be amended as we find more people who are buried here. It is our hope that they continue to Rest In Peace and are never forgotten. To learn more about the Pulaski County Poor Farm please visit us on facebook, at www.facebook.com/pulaskicountypoorfarm.

ADMIRE, MARY J. FEB 25, 1820-JAN 11, 1916
ADMIRE, PHILLIP O. SEP 20, 1852-JAN 5, 1916
BALLARD, JESSE FEB, 1843-OCT 27, 1925
BALLARD, LAVINA OCT 1, 1854-NOV 5, 1932
FARR, JOHN ANDREW JAN 21, 1861-JULY 18, 1934
MASON, FRANK APRIL 11, 1872-FEB 5, 1944
McCULLOUGH, JOHN M. OCT 10, 1855-OCT 19, 1929
McREA, E.M. CIRCA 1856-MARCH 27, 1919
PEEL, JAMES JULY 24, 1837-JAN 17, 1916
WILLIAMS, JOHN FEB 12, 1869-FEB 17, 1918

BROYLES, CORA BELLE APR 8, 1871-AUG 29, 1951
GATES, ELIAS H. NOV 13, 1866- DEC 24, 1946



Saturday, August 14, 2010

U.S. Navy Seabee's Clean Up Day

The work at the Pulaski County Poor Farm Cemetery has started picking up. Since receiving permission from the land owner, a new access road has been built, a parking area has been bulldozed, and a new gate has been installed. August 14, 2010, we took a huge step moving forward with this project. The staff and students of Fort Leonard Wood's Navy Seabee's Detachment hand cleared the dense vegetation and growth. Thanks to their effort's we can actaully see the area that we are working with now. All four fences marking the perimeter have been located, and the Seabee's helped reposition the original back fence that had been crushed in places by falling trees. Part of our future plans include plotting the graves that are not visible to the naked eye. We hope to find a local organization that has ground penetrating X-Ray to help us with that phase of the project. We also plan on marking each grave with a cross, filling in the sunken graves with topsoil, burning the two large brush piles, graveling the parking area, replanting the grass in the area between the parking lot and the front fence line, placing a new fence, placing a monument marker for those buried here, placing signage of the site's historical significance, among other things. If you wish to donate money, time, or equipment for this project please contact:

Laura Huffman
Pulaski County Poor Farm Fund
c/o Pulaski County Historical Society
PO Box 144
Waynesville, MO 65583

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Superintendent's Contract (1953)

The following is a transcription of the contract between Pulaski County and Frank Farris concerning his tenure as Superintendent of the Pulaski County Poor Farm. The contract is recorded in full in the 1953 County Court Minutes Ledger, and was located by Dawnmarie Cecora during a research session March 10, 2010.

The County Court of Pulaski County Missouri met on Monday, December 7th, 1953. All officers and members being present and the following proceedings where had to wit:

The Court approved the application of Dewey Finley of Waynesville, Missouri for 5% Beer License.

The Court ordered contract made for lease on County Farm to Frank Farris of Waynesville, Missouri.

County Farm Contract

This agreement made and entered into and between the County of Pulaski, State of Missouri, under order of the County Court of said Pulaski County, made the 1st day of November adjourned term, and the same being on the 7th day of December, 1953, party of the first part and Frank Farris of Pulaski County, Missouri, party of the second part.

Witnesseth that the party of the first part for and in consideration of the terms herein after expressed has on the 7th day of December, 1953, employed Frank Farris, party of the second part, for a term beginning January 1st, 1954 and ending the 31st day of December, 1956.

Party of the first part does hereby hire and employ party of the second part as Superintendent of the County Farm, and as Superintendent and Care Taker of the inmates on said farm, or that may be on said farm at any time during the term of this Contract.

Party of the first part agrees to furnish any needed beds or bedding for the inmates on said farm, and to also furnish stoves and fixtures for the same in the houses and buildings used and occupied by the inmates of said farm.

Party of the first part agrees to pay party of the second part the sum of twenty-eight dollars per month for each person on said farm, as an inmate of said farm and sent there by an order of the County Court of said Pulaski County, for boarding, clothing and taking care of each said person in a humane and suitable manner.

Party of the first part agrees to furnish the inmates on said farm with the care of Physician, when needed, and to furnish medicine needed in the judgement of the party of the first part and it's Physician.

Party of the second part agrees that he will with his wife and family live on said farm and occupy the house for the Superintendent during the entire term of this Contract.

Party of the second part agreeshe will give personal attention to all persons on said farm or that may hereafter be placed on said farm as County charges by order of the County Court of said County, for the sum of twenty-eight dollars per month for each, he will board, cloth, keep and treat in a suitable and humane manner each and all said inmates.

It is understood by and between the parties hereto that the event that party of the second part, or his wife, should die during the term of this contract, then this contract may be terminated at that time, unless otherwise agreed upon by said parties hereto.

Party of second part agrees to keep strict account of all expenses and bills.

In witness whereof, the parties hereto have on this 7th day of December, 1953, set their hands and seals.

Frank Farris
Party of the second part

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 7th day of December, 1953
Rice Farmer
County Clerk

Judes County Court
Oad Long
Arthur Collier
Everett Kissenger