Great Grandpa Thomas Rogers was born 1 Aug 1847 in England and died (of influenza it is said) on 15 Jan 1908 in The Delaware County Poor Farm in Delaware County Iowa. His family was notified after he was buried. They were told that he was buried in Earlville.
His life and death are a bit of a mystery to us now. He was married to Alice DeEtte Scott on 8 Dec 1877. They had four children, and then they divorced at some point. As you can read at the bottom of the photograph at the left, he was in and out of the Delaware County Poor Farm from 1893-1895, living with his son intermittently as well.
Why was he in the County Home? Was he poor? Was he depressed? Where is he now?
I have visited the Fairview Cemetery in Earlville, Iowa several times and found his parents Thomas & Jane (Box) Roger’s gravesite. Next to it is a slab of stone lying flat on the ground with no inscription on it. My Grandmother Irene Marie (Rossow) Cook, (his granddaughter), had also been there several times and wondered the same thing. I know this because of the movies she took while visiting the site. (At that time the slab of stone stood upright although at a bit of a slant.) She wrote notes to go along with the movie as a narrative, and she posed the question “is that leaning stone supposed to be grandpa’s?”.
Finding the stone on the ground next to his parent’s headstones I was pretty sure that it must mark his gravesite, that is, until a recent development.
I recently worked on a research project for the Delaware County Genealogy Society. There is a man interested in the histories of the local Poor Farms, and he was looking for information about the Delaware County Poor Farm, which is now called the Penn Center. Well, I talked to the Administrator there and read through the old newspapers and even watched a webinar about the insane asylums of the past. I found much interesting information. In the back of my mind, I was hoping to find out what the Delaware County Poor Farm did with their inmates in the past when they passed away. The person I spoke to told me that they thought that that the body would go back to the family, but they didn’t seem to be sure. So, I passed this information on to my client with the phone number of the past administrator.
A couple of days ago I got a letter from my client about his conversation with the past administrator. It read, “I just got off the phone with the . He tells me that the dead were all buried in the same location, “Potter’s Field” at the cemetery. I plan on visiting with him in the spring when we can walk the cemetery and listen to his stories. I’ll keep you posted so you can join us.”
Potter’s Field? Where is this? Could THIS be where Grandpa is?