Burial and Remembrance: The Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery

Author(s): Patricia B. Richards; Brooke L. Drew

Year: 2013


Fieldwork in 1992 and 1993 on the grounds of the Milwaukee County Regional Medical Center, Milwaukee Wisconsin, resulted in recovery of some 1600 individuals originally buried in the institutional or "poor farm" cemetery. This paper argues that the conflict inherent in a public policy intended to provide a decent burial while simultaneously discouraging utilization of the service can only be understood within a broader historical context. Milwaukee’s population increased from 20,000 in 1850 to 250,000 in 1900 largely as a result of European immigrants. The establishment of rural cemeteries marked the effort of Milwaukee residents to provide places of burial evocative of a sense of origin as well as a new situational identity. In order to determine what distinguishes the Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery population from that of contemporary rural cemeteries we look at census and burial records, historical documents and Milwaukee County policies.

Cite this Record

Burial and Remembrance: The Milwaukee County Poor Farm Cemetery. Patricia B. Richards, Brooke L. Drew. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428720)

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Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 206