BY JENNY GOLDSBERRY, JENNIFER JONES, AND LYNN ARAVE
There used to be a farm at about 2700 West and 5600 South in Roy. It was known as the Poor Farm. The Salt Lake Herald stated, “The purchase is intended to furnish a self-supporting home for unfortunates who may be thrown upon the public charity.” Many people were buried at what was called the “Poor Farm Cemetery.” Sometimes, it was called the “Poor House Cemetery.”
If the name doesn’t sound familiar to you, you’re not alone. It’s a cemetery no longer in existence. According to records, roughly 25 people were buried there; however, now they rest in unmarked graves in an unmarked cemetery.
First, it was the Weber County Infirmary, but it didn’t officially take on that name until decades later. Built in 1888, it was a place where people could be medically treated, even though they didn’t have the means to pay. There was even a cook on the farm who prepared meals for them. These residents could pay the infirmary back for their treatment and their lodging by working on the farm. There were vegetable gardens, orchards, cows, and chickens there. On June 6, 1911, reporters from the Ogden Evening Standard visited Weber County and the Poor Farm in Roy. Then, they challenged county leaders to eat the same lunch as the farm workers. They reported that the Poor Farm cook was excellent, and no one went hungry.
Many people came alone. As a result, when they passed away, the Infirmary had no next-of-kin to contact. So, they buried them there. Remember, this was a time before Roy even existed. At this time, it was just called the “Sandrige” and was lumped together with modern-day Hooper and Syracuse. There wasn’t even a post office nearby.
People likely died of the illnesses they came with. Yet, there are also reports from that time that show it was the rigorous farm life that killed them. The Ogden Standard Examiner recorded one such death on January 24, 1924. Frederick William Robins was 72 years old and worked on the farm. He’d had trouble walking all his life. On the afternoon of his final day, he walked into the corral. The superintendent of the farm found Frederick in the manger of the corral. A bull had bunted him there, and he died of his injuries. Fortunately, he had many living brothers and sisters who gave him a proper funeral. He was subsequently buried in Ogden City Cemetery.
Around about the time that Frederick died, the Weber County Infirmary, as it was then known, had just been remodeled. It would eventually be known as the Weber County Chronic Disease Hospital and, ultimately, the Weber Memorial Hospital.
In 1980, city officials placed a plaque at the site of the Poor Farm Cemetery. It read: “In remembrance of the forgotten 20 to 30 souls buried in and near here 1881-1906. All that are in the graves shall hear his voice. – John 5:28.” However, when you see the marker at the Roy Public Works building, you’re seeing it since it’s been moved from the actual site. The bodies remain in the original site, but the land has been sold off for various uses. Now, the hospital is Heritage Park Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services.
Hey kids! Do you have ancestors buried in Roy? Do you know their stories? Ask your oldest relative to tell you the story of someone buried there and submit it at www.connectionpub.com. We just might feature it in the magazine!