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Henry County Genealogical Services


January 21 1916


We the undersigned, respectfully report to the court that we are the members of the Grand Jury for the January Term 1916 of the Henry Circuit Court.

That on Monday, January 21, 1916, we visited the County Farm of said county and found that there are now forty-six inmates of that institution, consisting of thirty-five men and eleven woman. We found the general conditions of the institution good and commend the superintendent, Mr. Mills and his wife, upon their care of the inmates and recommend as efficient and capable managers of the institution calls urgently for immediate attention, principle among them follows;

  1. There seems to be a shortage of proper bed clothing and men's clothing
  2. The basement under the men's building is a very unsanitary place, it is used as a fuel room, boiler room, wash room and a laundry room. It has practically no ventilation, is dark, damp and in general poor repair. It is dimly lighted at present with oil lamps and like the balance of the building, is poorly heated. The flooring is very rough, part cement and part brick and is very uneven. The ceiling is so low that one cannot stand up straight, compelling those engaged in work there to stand in a stooped position. The washing of dirty clothes is done by the inmates and the steam and dirty water without proper means of escape, give to the basement a very bad and unhealthy odor.
  3. The heating system for both the men's and women's departments is very old and inadequate,
  4. it is an old time steam heating plant with no system or order to the laying of the pipes. The boiler in the basement is so near the first floor that it is very, very dangerous and may at any time be the cause of a fire.

  5. That water and sanitary systems in both the men's and woman's buildings is also very poor.
  6. Water for the boiler must be hand carried from a well on the surface to the basement and water for bathing purposes must also be hand carried from the same well on the surface to the second story of each building. There is but one bath tub in each of the men's and women's sections and it seems that proper bathing facilities would require more than one bath tub for the thirty-five men in the men's section or even the eleven in the women's section. There is an almost total absence of sanitary plumbing and the need for it is evident to even the casual visitor.

  7. There is a total absence of any adequate fire fighting equipment and the character of the old buildings make them a very dangerous fire trap.

We offer no criticism to any one in authority for these conditions and certainly do not believe that either the present or former superintendent is in the least responsible for them. The County Council and Board of County Commissioners are aware of the conditions above set out and are endeavoring to rectify them by the following recent appropriations:

For heating and laundry for County Farm-----------------------------$5800.00

For water supply, electric power and lighting-------------------------$5800.00

Total appropriation -------------------------------------------------$11600.00

All these improvements are badly needed, but we feel and strongly recommend that instead of spending that amount of money on these old buildings, it would be better economy to build a new and modern building for both the men and women and equip it, in addition to the improvements planned, with a proper sanitary and ventilation system and remedy many grave defects now existing and which cannot be relieved in any other way other than a new and up to date building. We believe that Henry County is rich enough and prosperous enough to afford a proper and sanitary home for it's aged and infirm unfortunates and we feel it our duty both as a Grand Jurors and as citizens of Henry County, to call these matters to the attention of the court and to urge the above recommendations.

Copied 2000 U. E. Bush


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