DuPage County Poor Farm Cemetery

  • Wheaton, DuPage County, Illinois, USA
    Latitude: 41.86805, Longitude: -88.14792
  • 12 Memorials added

The DuPage County Poor Farm "residence" was located at 400 N. County Farm Road, in the building now known as the "DuPage Convalecent Center".
The DuPage County Poor Farm Cemetery, is located next door to the DuPage Convalecent Center, and "BEHIND" the DuPage County Juvenile Detention Center, at 420 N. County Farm Road (between Evelyn Street and Manchester Road), in Section 10 of Milton township, on the West edge of Wheaton, DuPage County Illinois.
Note: Even though this cemetery is located in Milton township, it is not under the jurisdiction of Milton township. It is under the jurisdiction of DuPage County.
The three-story brick building which was built in 1888, started out as the Almshouse, also known as the DuPage County Poor Farm, and was on a 217 acre parcel of land, which the residents farmed, with a herd of dairy cattle.
They supported themselves and provided additional food for the county jail inmates. The DuPage County Poor Farm was in existence for about 40-some years, from 1888, to the 1930's. There were 32 "inmates" listed as living there at the time of the 1920 census, with the couple in charge of the home (in both the 1920 and 1930 census), listed as Rollin Standidge-Superintendant, his wife Martha-Matron, and their daughter Hilda-Bank Clerk. The DuPage County Poor Farm residence became a nursing home in the 1930's, and the large parcel of land became known as the DuPage County Government Complex.

The following article was published in the "Daily Inter Ocean" newspaper, in Chicago, Illinois, on Aug. 18, 1888, page 10:

An important transfer of land has just occured in the county of DuPage, the County Commissioners buying for $9,000.oo, 120 acres of land, three quarters of a mile from Wheaton on it's southwest boundry for the purpose of establishing a poor farm and insane asylum, a home for incurables. The property is a portion of what is known as the "Old Ballou Farm", and was sold for the Ballou estate by Gus Ballou [their son], and Mrs. Ira Brown [their daughter].
The Commissoners will build handsome improvements on the property right away.
Note: The parcel of land that the DuPage County Poor Farm was built on, was formerly part of the farm of Levi J. Ballou and his wife Mary (Marble) Ballou. After their deaths, their son Augustus (Gus) Marble Ballou, and his sister Mary Ellen (Mrs. Ira Brown), sold off part of their parents farm (in 1888), to the County of DuPage, for a poor farm.
Augustus ("Gus") M. Ballou lived on the remainder of his parents farm, until he died in a train accident in Wheaton, on Nov. 27, 1892. One article states: "Remains of Gus Ballou identified by his brothers".
The Rockford, Illinois "Morning Star" newspaper states on Nov. 30, 1892, page 7: Augustus M. Ballou, a wealthy farmer, living near Wheaton, Illinois was run over by a train, while driving across the railroad tracks at Wheaton. [Note: Augustus ("Gus") M. Ballou, his sister Mary, and their parents Levi and Mary Ballou, are buried in the Wheaton Cemetery.]
An article published in the Suburban Chicago's "Daily Herold" newspaper, on Jan. 20, 1996 states "in part": "Pauper's graves may hold up expansion of county youth home".
Another newspaper article states that "some" of the graves had to be moved, to make way for the addition to the DuPage County Juvenile Home.
An article published in the Chicago Tribune newspaper, on Nov. 25, 1996 states "in part":

A single memorial marks a long-forgotten graveyard where some of DuPage County's unremembered poor are believed to have been buried.
County workers have placed an antique metal arch [formerly used at the DuPage County Poor Farm], and a new granite stone, in a small clearing that fronts a wooded area West of County Farm Road in Wheaton, near the county-owned nursing home, and behind DuPage's Juvenile detention center.
The site is believed to have been a cemetery for indigent residents of what once was DuPage's Alms house or "Poor Farm". The county's director of capital plant said the engineering survey [done in late 1995], found what appear to be 136 graves.
There is a reference to the cemetery in a 1981 county memo, and a photo in County Archives of a small round disc, with the number 60 on it, that is believed to mark one of the graves.
Architects are preparing detailed plans outlining options for enlarging the juvenile detention center. Donald Zeilenga, county administrater, said it is possible the cemetery might some day have to be moved. It is a cemetery, and we felt it was appropriate to identify it and mark it off, Zeilenga said, to give it a certain amount of dignity. The memorial stone and arch, are to be dedicated in ceremonies Tuesday morning.
The metal arch reads "DUPAGE CO. FARM". It was rescued from storage and refurbished by county workers. It is believed to date from the 1800's [1888], when the property that is the county government complex on the west edge of Wheaton was an Alms House for the county's homeless, disabled and elderly poor. The Alms House evolved into a county operated nursing home [in the 1930's], now the highly regarded DuPage convalescent center.
The arch fell victim to progress about 17 years ago, when it was removed to make way for an expansion of the convalescent center.
An article published in the "Chicago Tribune" newspaper on May 31, 2000, states "in part":

County Home Exec. Bows Out.
Convalescent Center Director
Retires After 37 Years.
Ronald Reinecke insists he wasn't around when the metal arch reading "DuPAGE CO. FARM" was installed along the road named for the county poor farm, the historic forerunner of the convalescent center. He does acknowledge however, to being in charge when the simple 19th century arch was restored, near the county-owned nursing home that he has managed for a period that has spanned five decades. Reinecke said the antique arch marks a graveyard where some of DuPage County's elderly poor, homeless or disabled were buried adjacient to what was then called the County Alms House founded in 1888. Early residents of the Alms House worked on the county farm he said. As times and medical needs changed, however, so did the mission and the name of the Alms House.
2012 UPDATE: The metal arch and the granite stone (which marks the cemetery), are located "next door" to what is "now" known as the DuPage Convalecent Center, and "BEHIND" the Joseph Academy.
The metal arch reads: "DUPAGE CO. FARM".
The granite stone states that the cemetery was established in 1888 (the same year that the "DuPage County Alms house" was built).
There are four concrete posts, which are presumed to have marked the corners of the cemetery. (Some of them were possibly moved to make way for the expansion of the DuPage County Juvenile Detention Center).

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GPS Coordinates: 41.86805, -88.14792

  • Added: 22 May 2011
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2403051