The Old 1840s St. Joseph County Infirmary & Cemetery
At one time, the awesome building pictured below was once the St. Joseph County Infirmary, and later a private residence known as the Froh Home.
This building – and its adjoining cemetery – has quite a history.
The land was owned in the 1840s by F. A. Tisdel, who built a tavern/inn for weary travelers. After selling out to merchants Hewitt & Randall, and a landlord named Mr. Latta, the building carried on for another few years. However, Mr. Latta thought it necessary to begin making his own counterfeit money. His crime was discovered, and he fled in 1857 to escape prosecution and arrest. Upon his leaving, the building was taken over by the county and used as a Poor Farm.
Over the years, it acquired the name St. Joseph County Infimary, housing and taking care of the poor and ill. When patients passed away, their remains were taken two miles south to the Fawn River Cemetery. Years later, township officials decided it would be a good idea to bury the future dead closer to the infirmary. The earliest known burials in this location were around 1913 and the last in 1947.
It's curious to see that most of the buried were men, along with several babies, including a set of twins who were stillborn. At the time, all who died were buried with lone numbers, not names. Recently, a group is attempting to rectify that by searching records and giving the dead back their identities.
The infirmary closed in 1947. It was purchased by Clifford and Alfred Froh in 1948 as a private residence and became known as The Froh House.
Currently, the cemetery has a sign that says “St. Joseph County Infirmary Cemetery” and is also called the “Froh Cemetery”.
Even though it may be out of your way, it's not hard to find. The old infirmary and cemetery are located on the North side of U.S. 12 about 4 miles east of Sturgis. On the other side of the road is the old Freedom schoolhouse and Freedom cemetery.
This is a privately-owned building. Don't trespass. Respect ownership, the land, and neighbors.
PHOTOS: ST. JOSEPH COUNTY INFIRMARY & CEMETERY
St. Joseph County Historical Society