Caswell County Home

Caswell County Home (Photographs Sought)
  • First Building Built 1826
  • Second Building Built 1926
  • Located County Home Road

Historical Sketch

In early 1826 Caswell County purchased around eighty acres of land from the Gunn family north of the courthouse to be used as a poor house. The facility required large acreage as it had to include farming operations and land for cattle. The contract was let to William H. Childs for $840 on 10 April 1826.

The house was built in a long row with eight rooms in each row. The rooms were sixteen feet square except for one center room that was to be sixteen by twenty feet in size. The walls and partitions were of brick, well burnt of good bond and to be at least nine inches by four inches by three inches when completed. The floor was to be of lime covered with good pine or oak timber. Each room was to have an outside door with a window on the opposite side. Timber growing on the land was to be used if possible. The roof was to be covered with good ripe shingles. The building was a model for its day and was still in use in 1920.

Annually, the county appointed Wardens of the Poor. A tax was levied for support of the county's poor people. In 1827 the court ordered a kitchen and smoke house to be built at the poor house, the cost being $130. The Presbyterian minister John S. Grasty kept a diary and mentioned weekly visits to the poor house in 1850. In addition to housing the poor, the facility also provided confinement for the county's mentally impaired.

In the 1920's Caswell County built a new County Home of brick construction that stood across the highway (now named the County Home Road) from the first home. In the 1960's it was determined that the use of a county home for the poor was out-of-date and the building was abandoned. For a while it was leased as warehouse space but now has been demolished. The last Resident Manager of the Caswell County Home was Mrs. Arthur William Moorefield (Pearl Virginia Smith).

Source: Article by Katharine Kerr Kendall in The Heritage of Caswell County, North Carolina, Jeannine D. Whitlow, Editor (1985) at 19


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