By Peggy Smith Hake

Aged and indigent people, considered paupers, were taken care of in the late 1800s and early 1900s in a county "poor farm". Private individuals were hired by the county court to run the poor and to take care of those who could not take care of themselves.

In 1884, a farm of 214 acres was bought by the county court which was located about a mile downriver from Tuscumbia on the south bank of a bluff overlooking the Osage River. Wesley A Hackney was appointed by the county court to serve as the 'poor farm's' first superintendent, followed by James E. Walker in 1880.

In 1930, the county court levied a 10c tax per $100 valuation for a period of one year to secure money to buy property to erect a county home The same year the court bought l98 acres about 21/2 miles southeast of Tuscumbia on Highway 17 and built a two-story brick building at the cost of $23,000.It was 92 ft. by 32 ft. and later had other additions. This county farm was used for several decades until a new, more spacious home was constructed nearby. The old two-story building has been demolished and the replacement is now the Miller County Nursing Home which is funded through a tax levy and is one of the county's political subdivisions.

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