Stoddard County Poor Farm Cemetery

Someone on Facebook asked about the County Farm Home that was located at what is now North County Park. I mentioned that I had taken a photo of the small monument “IN MEMORY OF THOSE WHO DIED IN OUT COUNTY FARM HOME” when I did a story about Memorial Park Cemetery on the other side of the highway.

Stoddard County Poor Farm Memorial

That reminded me that I had photographed the much more touching Stoddard County memorial across from the Bloomfield Missouri Veterans Cemetery and just down the road from the Stars and Stripes Museum and the Stoddard County Confederate Memorial.

Sanctuary of Peace

This memorial has been erected as a tribute to all those men, women and children who were laid to rest in the Stoddard County Poor Farm Cemetery in Bloomfield, Mo.

From circa 1860 to 1967, these individuals were buried in the Stoddard County Poor Farm Cemetery because society deemed them poor, medically or mentally unhealthy. This memorial stands as a permanent reminder of those named individuals and unknown souls. We now recognize these people as our beloved ancestors who were lost but now are found.

May this site serve as their final resting place and a sanctuary of peace.

Gallery of the known

Here are closeups of the names in the memorial. There was one old individual stone in the grove that indicated that a J.R. Barnett had died in 1933.

18 Replies to “Stoddard County Poor Farm Cemetery”

  1. Ken, look at Southeast Missourian November 15, 1923 for an article entitled “Old Man Dies In Misery At County Farm As Board Of Visiters Inspect Home”. Very moving and very descriptive of life at the facility. The copy I have is transcribed from the original and you would surely be more interested in the original.

  2. I’m glad you included photos of the list of names, Ken, which makes the site so much more human. Even the mere list itself tells a story and raises a compelling curiosity, as in the case of Laura Hays, who must have died in childbirth along with her infant daughter. In every burying ground similar stories are told to those who will look for them. I recall a line of three or four headstones in the hilltop cemetery at Neely’s Landing (which when I was there last had been lost virtually completely to the forest; even the approach road was unrecognizable) that raised similar questions about several members of a family who died within a short time of one another in the early 19th century. Merely pondering such names binds us with them, and the line between our stories and theirs begins to blur.

      1. I don’t recall seeing any sign of a mass grave, Ken. The cemetery sits atop a hill immediately next to the road in the village itself (or what’s left of the village). The access road was a very steep affair, hardly more than twin wheel tracks when I last ascended it, that ran up, curving slightly to the right, in a low spot between two adjacent hills. When I was there last, a dozen or so years ago, the road had grown over almost completely, so much so that I couldn’t be certain I had located it.

  3. For Ken and Rich,
    The steamer Stonewall’s captain headed the burning boat toward a place just below the mouth of Indian Creek. It ran aground before reaching there. This would put the boat a short distance south of Neely’s Landing. An account by Rose Lee Nussbaum puts the gravesites on Procter And Gamble property and that the gravestones that existed were later removed and piled in an “unused area”. The Cotter cemetery up on the hill above Neely’s Landing is not large enough to contain the 300 victims. The Grammer cemetery was the more probable location and it’s stones were similarly moved and piled to make way for the railroad bed next to the river.

    1. My paternal grandmother, who was a McLaughlin, lived while a young child “on the banks of the Mississippi” (so the description reads) near the mouth of Indian Creek. That would have been in the years around 1900-1905, maybe extending slightly later. I haven’t found any mention of the mass grave in the family papers, nor have I heard of it in the oral history. Now you have me curious enough to look further.

      1. Rich,
        The McLaughlin and Nolan families figure prominently in my genealogy and I have a section in my book that may have your grandmother’s and her parents picture. Ora Olive McLaughlin married to Silas Neal and her parents John W McLaughlin and wife Ida Alice Noland. This would make you a third cousin (once removed).

  4. Gentlemen, I would be interested in any thing you find at the landing. My Mother’s side of the family had ties to the village and im told at least one or more of my late Aunts were born there. The Family name,s were Shrum,also Hodge among others.

  5. Do you have a Zelma Pruitt or Pruett parents Thomas & Bettie (Smith) Pruitt it Pruett and she had a child . My email address is mcurtis1967@

  6. Mr. Steinhoff, I just wanted to thank you for your research. I live in Stoddard County and never knew we had a poor farm cemetery. Yours is such an important quest. It’s heartbreaking to see our history disappearing. Thank you.

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