Montgomery County, Ohio
Research by Carolyn Johnson Burns
Return to Montgomery County OGS Home Page
They called it the Infirmary.
Whatever the Infirmary was called, many of our ancestors lived there, children were abandoned there, and people died and were buried on the grounds there. Aside from the hardships and illnesses that had befallen them, they not only deserve a place in history, but they deserve a place in our hearts.
But it was also the Poor House, the County Home, and the Insane Asylum.
Entrance to the Infirmary Grounds
Aerial view of County Home (1976-77)
Click pictures to enlarge views.
Many thanks to Donna Hixenbaugh, Superintendent,
Montgomery County Country View Manor
for providing a copy of this picture.
History of the Infirmary
Very little history has been written about the Infirmary--more than likely because historians did not want to expound on the misfortune of these people. This is evident in the newspaper article that I have reprinted below. Records that exist today are scattered, and I have attempted to bring them together here. Genealogists and historians often overlook these records, thinking "my ancestors wouldn't be there." Many of us have unanswered questions in our research. Maybe your answers can be found within the walls of this institution.
Although the Infirmary was located reasonably close to the National Soldier's Home, the two were not connected.
The Infirmary was established December 6, 1825. The original site of 160 acres was purchased April 10, 1826 from Dr. James B. Oliver for $10.50 an acre, according to several history articles. The site was located in the northeast corner of Jefferson Township, approximately five miles west of the City of Dayton.
The Infirmary began operation July 23, 1826 with the admittance of seven inmates. The first inmate entered in the record books was Jesse Roberts who was fifty-four years old, single, and admitted for idiocy. The six other inmates were admitted for a variety of conditions including being sick, old, or orphaned. The Infirmary grew from the original seven inmates in 1826 to 1,417 by 1876. Inmates were admitted for a variety of reasons including pregnancy, epilepsy, insanity, dereliction, and unemployment.
Additional land purchased later increased the area to 244 acres. Over the years, the original building was enlarged and other buildings were added. The Administration Building was added March 12, 1915. The address today is 601 Infirmary Road. In recent years, the site was converted to a nursing home and is now known as the Country View Manor. The current facility maintains no records of the Infirmary.
History of the Infirmary
Read the history of the Infirmary as documented by W. H. Beer
in The History of Montgomery County.
Surnames referenced in this history article are:
Darst, Ehrstim, Folkerth, Haynes, Munger, Negly, Oldfather, Oliver, Troxell, Waymier
Map of Jefferson Township
See Evert's Combination Atlas Map of Montgomery County, Ohio - 1875
showing the location of the Infirmary (upper right corner of map). This map also shows the names of the landowners in Jefferson Township.
Newspaper Articles about the Infirmary
The following extensive 1889 article, addressed to the editor of the newspaper, was written by a correspondent who was evidently disgruntled with the way the Infirmary was being run.
The Daily Journal, January 21, 1889
The basis for the following newspaper articles was an explosion that occurred at the Infirmary in September 1895. This one incident warranted three front page stories on three different days. It is unknown as to what prompted a newspaper writer to reiterate the event 37 years later.
Surnames referenced in these articles are:
Bryant, Butonhorne, Corbin, Hoolan, Johnson, Marshall, Meyers, Rhodes, Ulmer, Wolf
The Evening News, September 21, 1895
The Evening News, September 23, 1895
The Evening News, September 24, 1895
The Dayton Daily News, December 11, 1932
Pictures of the Cemetery
The inactive cemetery is located on the grounds behind the former Infirmary. The Montgomery County Parks Administration is the agency that maintains the cemetery and it is accessible from the Arthur O. Fisher Park on Dayton-Liberty Road. The easiest way to reach the cemetery is from I-35 in Dayton. Take Infirmary Road south from I-35, turn right on Dayton-Liberty Road and enter the park. Park your vehicle close to the tennis courts and take the footpath near the tennis courts, which leads directly into the cemetery.
Some burials were recorded in journals that were kept at the Infirmary. Three of these original journals are now archived at the Montgomery County Records Center and Archives in Dayton, Ohio.
Records of the Infirmary
Records from the Infirmary are currently held by the Wright State University Special Archives and the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Main Branch. These are described in detail below.
Infirmary Records at Wright State University
Wright State University
Special Collections and Archives
Paul Laurence Dunbar Library
Dayton, OH, 45435
phone: (937) 775-2092
Records available to the public:
These records are available only on microfilm.
- Birth and Death Records, 1886-1969
- Census of Disadvantaged, 1892
- Commissary Record-Scattered, 1922-1957
- Daily Movement of Inmates, 1977-1978
- Daily Record of Inmates, 1879-1904
- Death Records, 1905-1969
- Employment Records, 1907-1943
- Hospital Register, 1916-1917
- Index to Register of Sane Inmates
- Infirmary and Insane Record, 1829-1890
- Insane Record-Scattered, 1829-1906
- Pauperism Statistics-Scattered, 1891-1900
- Register of Inmates, 1888-1892
- Register of Members, 1930-1978
- Register of Sane Inmates, 1892-1908
In addition to the above records, Wright State also has available a thesis titled The Montgomery County Home 1816-1876, The Law, The Home and The Inmates. This thesis, written by Frederic Eugene Roth, Jr. was submitted in 1982.
Infirmary Records at the Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library
Dayton Metro Library
215 E. Third Street
Dayton, OH 45402
phone: (937) 227-9500
Records available to the public:
The Dayton History Room at the Main Branch of the Library houses records that pertain mostly to the maintenance and financial aspects of the Infirmary rather than lists of names:
- Minutes of the Board of Directors, 1826-1890
- Report of the Infirmary Directors, 1897-1902
- Report of the Infirmary Directors, 1884-1888
- Report of the Infirmary Directors, 1889
- Index to Montgomery County Infirmary Book #1 1829-1890,
compiled by the Montgomery County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society. This index includes last name, first name, and page number.
Documents held by the Dayton Metro Library that have been transcribed:
Infirmary Records Inventoried by the Ohio Historical Records Survey Project
In 1941, the Ohio Historical Records Survey Project made an inventory of Infirmary records. These records were excerpted and transcribed by Joan Huecker for the Ohio Historical Records Survey Project and the inventory list is published on their web site. Please keep in mind when you view this web site that the information under Housing, Care, and Accessibility of the Records is historical information that was transcribed in 1941. There are currently no records at the old Infirmary buildings or in the Courthouse. Those records are now housed at Wright State University, as described above.
Ohio Historical Records Survey Project - Montgomery County, Dayton, Ohio
Census Records of the Infirmary
Following are transcribed census records only for the Infirmary of Jefferson Township, Montgomery County, Ohio.
1910 Census Records for the Infirmary