History of CCRC
Based on the information and research of Mr. Ed Annable
1892 – 1946 – The beginnings of the County Farm started as the county government “poorhouse” founded on the property where Community Care now sits. During this period there was a poorhouse, insane asylum, prisoner work house and pest house. On January 6, 1891, an agreement was reached that the county work house should be included in the plan for a self-sustaining “county farm.” By January 4, 1892, it was reported to the county court that acreage on the Jack Wade place had been purchased and the self-sustaining county farm was started. Mr. J. A. Carlton was the superintendent also a minister and for $540.00 per year he had a job description as follows, “feeding and waiting on the paupers, then burying the dead, free of charge to the county.”
On April 2, 1901, a committee was appointed to build a pest house. In the early 1900’s the state of Tennessee endured many diseases such as flu, cholera, smallpox, dysentery, and the worst being yellow fever. Two separate houses were built, one for black patients and one for white patients. Dr. J. B, Murfree, Jr. was employed as the pest house physician at $3.00 per visit.
By the 1930’s the Great Depression affected the county farm in many ways. The cost for seed caused a reduction in the food supply and the population of the county farm increased. One interesting fact was the increase in “inmates” at the farm. In 1930 the inmate average population was 66, in 1931 it was 68 and then in 1932 it had climbed to 73, this compared to the average population in 1925 of only 49 inmates.
By the 1940’s, writes Mr. Ed Annable, it appears that the notion of a “rest home” began to formulate. On October 12, 1959, the court voted to build a new county rest home according to the standards of the state licensing board. By January 9, 1961, a 50 bed nursing home was nearing a reality. This would become the Rutherford County Rest Home and then later in the 60’s the Rutherford County Nursing Home.
While most of the buildings at the county farm built during the early period with the bars and the cells are gone, there are still remnants. Pictures from this period show the harsh living conditions of the times. Several of these pictures can be found in the Historical Society documents that are referenced. One such picture shows a house with cells and a wood stove at one end, another had space with the wood stove within bars so those housed would not get burned. The superintendent’s residence is still standing and thanks to the hard work of Jeremy Warren and Jim Delaney, has been restored to a livable home. Artifacts have been found periodically that indicate Civil War troops had been on this land and research continues.
The pauper’s cemetery has been located and through research several names of those buried have been found. Future plans include finding more names of those buried and then placing a plaque at the cemetery to remember some of the men, women and children, both black and white, who lived and died at the county farm.
The information and documentation for the County Farm history can be found in the Rutherford County Historical Society Publication No. 30, published in the winter of 1988. Thank you to Mr. Ed Annable for his research and writing about the history of the farm.
Community Care of Rutherford County was established in 1987, new additions have been built. Future plans have begun to be put on paper to accommodate culture change as we move away from institutional living and begin to create homes for our elders. The staff, current residents and family members hope to continue to add to this rich history.