From the North End: The little cemetery located four miles south of Burke

FROM THE NORTH END: THIS CORNER HAS LONG BEEN INTRIGUED by the little cemetery located four miles south of Burke and a half a mile east along the road near Steffen’s cattle feeding operation. Form any years the little cemetery fell into disarray from time to time. We know that the late Lawrence Witttook care of it for years moving and grooming the little plot of land. Currently, it is quite attractive and well taken care of. Whoever is responsible(perhaps the County) needs a thank you and a pat on the
back.

The little cemetery was part of the County Poor Farm which was located just west of the cemetery.
What was “The County Poor Farm?” The residents of the county decided they needed an asylum for the poor and to employ a responsible person to take charge of the farm upon terms and conditions as the County Commissions decided. At this time the county courthouse was located at Fairfax. A special
election was held on Dec. 14, 1915 to decide on the location and not to allow more than $8,000 for
purchase of the farm and to also allow $4000 for improvements to be known as “The Poor Farm.” The
election was near unanimous and commissioners were to pick out a tract of land near the center of the
county.

On April 7, 1916 the County purchased land located four miles south of Burke from Theo. Johnson . Bids were accepted from Kirves Bros. for $3989 to construct buildings and from Domestic Engineering for $275 to install a light plant for the farm. David Stroup was selected as Supt. at a salary of $60 a month and the name was changed to “The County Home.” The Home also contracted for physician services to care for the inmates, provide medicine and perform required surgeries. The Commission, early on, also took bids on caskets and burial expenses. Henry Anhorn’s bid for the caskets and burial expenses was accepted. Mrs. Stroup was contracted for $10 a month as Matron of the Home and was also allowed $10 per month to secure assistance as needed.

In June, 1918 the Home realized an income of $482.25 from the sale of cattle and a sale of purebred
Poland/China hogs was also made by The County Home in October of 1918. The Home, buildings,
equipment and land were auctioned off on Dec. 28, 1938 as the Home had not been used for a number
of months. Older residents will remember the large house that was used by the residents of the County
Home and stood for years on the Steffen farm. It is an important, but not forgotten part of Gregory
County history. See you next week!