The Poorhouse

From History of the Pan-Handle, West Virginia, 1879; page 382.


     The building used at present for the Marshall County Infirmary is on what is known as the poor farm, situated about four miles northeast of Moundsville. The house was not built for this purpose, but was an ordinary farm residence. The farm contains about 130 acres. There are at this time (1878) twenty paupers in the Infirmary, and about as many more that are partially supported throughout the county. The levy made for the support of the poor for the year 1878 was $3400. A number of years previous to this date it has averaged almost $3,000. The present board of the overseers of poor are as follows:
     President----John S. Riggs, Washington district; David Montgomery, Union district; W. A. Knox, Webster district; J. W. Winters, Sand Hill district; M. Dunn, Clay district; Thomas Allen, Cameron district; James Grimes, Liberty district; Henry Mason, Meade district; G. W. McKinney, Franklin district.
      It was customary about half a century ago to sell the paupers of the county (then Ohio) to the lowest bidder. At these sales amusing incidents often took place. The following obtained from an authentic old gentleman, is given as a specimen:
      A pauper standing nearly six feet in height was set up for sale. Being in the prime of life, he looked as though he might be able to do considerable labor, and as a consequence, of course, soon disposed of. During the progress of the bidding the pauper hung his head and said nothing. When the auctioneer cried "sold," the man's head came up erect, his face overshadowed with a melancholy look, and in half- sobbing tones said: "It's darned hard to be sold this way, but I reckon it's all right. But it does make me mad when such a man as I am, must be sold by no better person than W-----(the auctioneer).


Raymond Walton Parriott & wife, Flora Leah Downey, with son, Joseph Downey Parriott at the front of the "Poorhouse" (Infirmary) in Marshall County. The Parriotts held the position of Superintendent at the Poorhouse from April 1939 through October 1946.

[Photo submitted by Joseph D. Parriott.]

Submitted by George & Janet Jones.

  • Poorhouse 1
  • Poorhouse 2
  • Poorhouse 3
  • Poorhouse 4
  • Poorhouse 5
  • Poorhouse 6

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