The first County poor farm was located four miles west of Keytesville and 2 1/2 miles northwest of Dalton in section 11-53-19. It contained 180 acres of rich bottom land and "hill" land.The cost of the land and the original building erected in 1868 was about $35,000. The main building was a long structure with six rooms on each side divided by a long hall and with a large room on each end. A heating stove located at each end of the building provided heat. Other out buildings made up the "poor farm."
One person was hired to help with the farming, and the inmates, as they were then called, did their own cooking, cleaning and washing. The farm was never overpopulated and when a person died they were buried on the grounds without a service and with only other inmates present. The farm was well-stocked and highly improved with all operating expenses paid for by the county which received all revenues from the sale of products and stock from the farm. In 1896, the superintendent, F.M. Davenport, was responsible for providing for the care and treatment of the poor, mentally ill, and disabled of Chariton County.
The location of the second Chariton County Infirmary built in 1915 was located about 2 1/2 miles east of Keytesville. It consisted of a large brick building, the residence of the Superintendent, a large barn and numerous well-kept farm buildings. There were one hundred twenty acres of fine farm land, extending from the old Chariton River, south and west. The purchase of this land by the county was made in 1912. The superintendent from 1916-1933 was John Rogers who was a most efficient manager and who employed the most up-to-date methods of farming.
The County continued to control operations of the Infirmary which was later known as the Keytesville Rest Home when operated from 1950-November 1967 by Jasper and Mildred Tillotson Coy. In June 1971, the County signed the deed over to Mildred and her son, Dr. Tom Coy, and the business became known as the Coy Rest Home.
The two story brick building changed hands several times oftentimes setting vacant. In 1997 an attempt at a B&B was made. The old brick building is in decay now with windows broken and the yard overgrown. Just to the south of it is the Chariton County Sheltered Workshop which sets on a donated acre of land. The metal building housing the Thrift Shop, work space and office was completed in February 1980, with the warehouse and dock being built in 1982. The Workshop is governed by a nine-member board. The Chariton County Infirmary Cemetery lies about a 1/4 mile to the east of the Workshop and is visible from Highway 24 when the foliage is off the trees. The graves are marked by small concrete pillars with engraved crosses.
(Sources: History of Dalton, Missouri and Bowling Green Township 1867-1987; Historical, Pictorical, Biographical History of Chariton County, 1896; Chariton Courier Centennial Edition, June 30, 1933)