The County Asylum was not opened until 1839, it was constructed of logs and was located on the same site that the present county home is located. The first superintendent was a Mr. John D. Fooshee who had experience with paupers. A few years before the county home was opened the pauper children were indentured to others who would promise to feed, cloth and take care of them for the lowest bid, they were called 'Apprentices'. It was called indentured service, which means they owned them until they became of legal age, 21 years old, They actually held an indentured deed for them. Each township had what were called "Overseers of The Poor", in Dudley township they were Elisha Shortridge, John M. Newhouse and John Westerfield they were responsible for the pauper children in there township.
The following Indentured Deed abstract from the deed records at the recorder's office is as follows;
"This indenture between Elisha Shortridge and John M. Newhouse, overseers of the poor
of Dudley township and Thomas Leonard of Henry County, Give unto the said Thomas Leonard all rights, powers and authority over Samuel Nelson Hutchison, a pauper child,age (7) seven years, (1) one month, and (8) days, for the term of (13) thirteen years, (10) ten months and (23) twenty-three days as an apprentice in the business of agriculture, to live with and serve the said Thomas Leonard who shall provide one horse, bridle and saddle worth $50.00 dollars, $10 dollars in cash and one new set of wearing apparel, county manufactured".
This was the way pauper's children were taken care of before it was decided to build the County Pauper's Asylum. County trustees were responsible for them then just as it is today (1998).
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