Squillace follows up poorhouse and farm book with blog

June 18, 2019 | 4:05 PM

Dr. Joe Squillace, associate professor in social work at MacMurray College, has followed up his 2017 book, “The History of the Morgan County Poorhouse and Farm,” with a new blog called “Poor Farm Stories,” which details people, pictures and stories that have been discovered since the book was published. 

“These are predominantly stories of murder and mayhem,” Squillace said. “My book demonstrated the positive presence of the poor house and farm in Jacksonville as a self-sustaining, multi-use service center to the community. However, by combining some unused data from the book research with old newspaper stories, some of the darker and sadder sides of people’s lives are revealed.”

Stories such as an Irishman that froze to death, suicide in the poorhouse, infanticide and drunken fights when walking to town can be found in the new blog. “It shows the dynamic of varying characters that the staff and superintendents had to deal with,” Squillace said. 

One blog post shows pictures of the poor house and farm from both outside and inside the building. Squillace said that many of the people in the stories are believed to be buried at the poor farm cemetery out on the Baldwin Road and Poor Farm Road in Jacksonville. 

The “Poor Farm Stories” blog can be found at www.macmurraysocialwork.com/poor-farm-stories.html. Some posts are very straightforward short stories, and in some cases, Squillace provides light interpretation or commentary. 

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