Tuesday, December 2, 2014

52 Ancestors: #48 Samuel Kimmel and the Stark County Infirmary

I don't know much about my 5th great grandfather, Samuel Kimmel, but I do know how he died... and it is a sad story.

Samuel was born in 1787 in Pennsylvania to Joseph Kimmel and Nancy Anna Stoner.  He married Catherine Mory, a Maryland native. They had six children, including my 4th great grandfather, Jacob Kimmel. Samuel moved with his family to Stark County, Ohio sometime before 1820 and lived there for the rest of his life.

Stark County Infirmary, Canton, Ohio
On September 15, 1869, Samuel and Catherine were admitted as paupers to the Stark County Infirmary, formerly called the county poorhouse.

Those eligible to live at the county home are homeless persons who are unable to care for themselves.  They may be recipients of old age pensions, if the amounts so received are not sufficient for them to take care of themselves. Likewise if relatives are unable or unwilling to care for a needy person, the latter is eligible.  Many patients have no friends. City residents who are unemployed single men are likewise eligible. Relatives will take care of women before they will men.  (Stark County Story, The Suburban Era in Stark County Ohio 1917-1958 Vol. 4)

The infirmary register listed both their ages as 81 and their former residence as Osnaburg, Stark County, Ohio.  Four of the Kimmel children had left Ohio and were scattered across several states by this time. One son, William Kimmel, died in 1865 from the black measles, along with much of his household.   However, Samuel and Catherine's youngest child, Margaret, still lived in Osnaburg with her own family in 1869.  I wonder why Margaret was unable to care for her elderly parents.  Did the other siblings even know that their parents were destitute and living in a poorhouse?

Samuel Kimmel died in the infirmary on March 18, 1871, at the age of 84.  He was not buried in a cemetery; I assume this was because no one could pay for his burial expenses.  Following his death, Catherine Kimmel was discharged.  I don't know why she had to leave or what happened to her afterwards.


  1. Brenna, Samuel and Catherine are my fifth great-grandparents through their son Jacob (1821-1910) who moved to Richland County, Illinois. Where did you find the infirmary records? I see they were enumerated there in the 1870 census.

    1. I came across the infirmary records on Ancestry; someone had posted it to their tree, saying the original records are located in the McKinley Presidential Library at the Stark County Historical Museum, Canton Ohio. Since you're also descended from Samuel's son Jacob, you might be interested in the blog I wrote about him, if you hadn't seen it already. Glad to connect with a Kimmell relative!