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RhinoVP

The Poor Farm

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RhinoVP    3

I can't tell you number of times as a kid groing up, I heard my folks tell me that I was going to put them in the "Poor farm". I never dreamed though, that this may have been a real place! I always thought it to be a sort of figure of speach.

Recently, looking over so many old maps of Houston I came across this. Map

Looking out to the SW side of town theres something refered to as the Poor farm. Was this that legendary place, or just the name of the person who owned the farm? Think I'd change my name!

If there was, what purpose did it serve?

Any info?

Regards,

Rhino

Edited by RhinoVP

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marmer    68

Poor farms and poor houses were run by counties as an early form of social welfare program. There's quite a lot of general info about them on the web. Most were gone by the twenties, as they were pretty horrible places, apparently.

There was a Harris County poor farm; a little searching has revealed:

It was where Southside Place was later developed.

http://www.ci.southside-place.tx.us/Screen...amp;menusubid=0

The road out to it was called "County Poor Farm Road" or "Poor Farm Road." We now know it as Bissonnet, named after a WWI soldier.

There was apparently a "potters field" type of pauper cemetery there, but the graves were relocated when the property was developed.

That's all I can find quickly.

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TheNiche    969
There was apparently a "potters field" type of pauper cemetery there, but the graves were relocated when the property was developed.

I know its OT, but I have a question. Where do the corpses from relocated cemeteries end up?

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marmer    68

Almost always in other cemeteries, usually with some kind of official notice and religious ceremony. According to George Wolf, the Harris County Cemetery at the Poor Farm was moved to the present County Cemetery site south of Highway 90 in 1937, and the remains reinterred in a common grave because there were no grave markers.

Here's a newspaper clipping about it.

HarrisCem9.jpg

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RhinoVP    3

Thanks for the reply marmer.

What I should have asked in the first post, seeing as how this was a real place is - What did a person there do? The word "farm" would imply a working enviroment. Was this an actual working farm, or was it just a farm in name?

Also..

Was this the type of place a person would be condemed to, or rather the "Star of Hope" of its time? A place where people could come and go freely from?

I get this image of police rounding up the homeless, and hauling them off to the Poor farm where they would be put to work in the fields.

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NenaE    116
I get this image of police rounding up the homeless, and hauling them off to the Poor farm where they would be put to work in the fields.

That's what I think of, too. Sure seen that on many an old map.

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memebag    15

Poor farms were a little different from poor houses. If you couldn't pay your debts, you could be sentenced to a poor house, but a poor farm was more like a really nasty, county-run retirement home for the elderly and disabled. Residents had to work, but they weren't worked as hard as prisoners or folks in the poor house. It's one of the social institutions that Social Security replaced.

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Fringe    325

Wasn't the poor farm next to the nut house? ;)

To be honest, when I was a young tad I heard my parents talk about the poor farm but never realized they actually existed. Learn something new every day.

Edited by LunaticFringe

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RhinoVP    3
Poor farms were a little different from poor houses. If you couldn't pay your debts, you could be sentenced to a poor house, but a poor farm was more like a really nasty, county-run retirement home for the elderly and disabled. Residents had to work, but they weren't worked as hard as prisoners or folks in the poor house. It's one of the social institutions that Social Security replaced.

Wow!

So if you were "sentenced" to a poor farm or house, what hope did people ever have of getting out? It's a bit like being banished from society, or exiled even. I can't imagine any way that a person entering here, would not eventualy die here.

I notice from looking at the map, it would have been well outside the city at the time.

By debts, do you mean taxes? It's hard to believe that you could basicly be jailed like this, for failure to pay something like a loan!

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memebag    15
Wow!

So if you were "sentenced" to a poor farm or house, what hope did people ever have of getting out? It's a bit like being banished from society, or exiled even. I can't imagine any way that a person entering here, would not eventualy die here.

I notice from looking at the map, it would have been well outside the city at the time.

By debts, do you mean taxes? It's hard to believe that you could basicly be jailed like this, for failure to pay something like a loan!

Like I said, poor farms and poor houses were different. Poor houses tended to be more like debtors prisons. Poor farms were more like old age homes.

By debts, I mean any debts.

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FilioScotia    112
Like I said, poor farms and poor houses were different. Poor houses tended to be more like debtors prisons. Poor farms were more like old age homes. By debts, I mean any debts.

As abhorrent as we find them today, debtors' prisons served a useful purpose in their day. They were places where people could, through some financial arrangement, "work off" their debt.

They were such unpleasant places people actually worked hard to stay out of them. They were inspired to actually pay their bills. Imagine that. What a concept.

And while we're on this subject, does anybody remember the old City of Houston Prison Farm on Mykawa Road? That was a place where people convicted of misdemeanor crimes were sent to "work off" their sentence. Usually six months or less.

It was closed sometime back in the 70s or 80s, and the city built the Mykawa Multi-Service Center to replace it.

Edited by FilioScotia

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houwest    2

The Mykawa Rd. Prison Farm was known as the P-Farm. I and I'd bet alot of people, though it was the Pea Farm. I got stopped as teen in the 60's for some (alleged) traffic violation. The policeman told me if if didn't shut my smart mouth that he was going to arrest me and my fingers would "turn green from picking peas out at the pea farm".

It wasn't him that was going to make me a convict, but does anyone on here remember a Police Officer namd Tiny Roman? For years, it seemed, he worked andextra job at every skating rink, movie theatre and public dance in town. He was a great big 6'4" + guy and super nice.

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Vertigo58    18
The Mykawa Rd. Prison Farm was known as the P-Farm. I and I'd bet alot of people, though it was the Pea Farm. I got stopped as teen in the 60's for some (alleged) traffic violation. The policeman told me if if didn't shut my smart mouth that he was going to arrest me and my fingers would "turn green from picking peas out at the pea farm".

It wasn't him that was going to make me a convict, but does anyone on here remember a Police Officer namd Tiny Roman? For years, it seemed, he worked andextra job at every skating rink, movie theatre and public dance in town. He was a great big 6'4" + guy and super nice.

It's amazing that someone remembered that name P-Farm! We teens always heard about it but gladly can say never actually saw it or worse went there.lol Somewhere around Mykawa sounds about right.

Otherwise known as "Indian territory" or The Land that Time Forgot. :mellow:

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A small concrete-lined bayou or drainage ditch that runs from Bissonnet through West U - and possibly Southside Place - is referred to as Poor Farm Ditch on older maps. It connects somewhere near Bellaire to a similar ditch, which drains storm water runoff into Braes Bayou.

No doubt someone here will have more information on its history and location.

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isuredid    21

I remember the P-Farm very well. I played baseball in the Southeast National Little League and our baseball fields were right across Sims bayou from the P-Farm. There was wooden bridge at the back of the fields which crossed over to the P-Farm. I used to walk down to that bridge to watch the alligator gars and the various type turtles and snakes down in the bayou.

This 1882 article from the 1882 Galveston Daily News explains a lot about the original "poor farm" operation. The four acres mentioned had originally belonged to the Brashear family. There is still a Brashear street along Washington avenue:

Houston, October 21, 1882 -- To the Honorable Commissioners' Court of Harris county: The undersigned committee appointed by the court to select a site for a county poor-house, work-farm and hospital, and to purchase the same, have a report that they have performed that duty. Quite a number of locations were offered to the committee around and near the city. A personal inspection of the different places was made by the committee, the examination being for the most part made during the rainy weather of September. Opportunity was thus afforded to note the facilities for natural as well as artificial drainage. After a careful examination of all the locations submitted, and a compararison of the places, taking into consideration the cost of improvements, etc, the committeee were of the opinion that the offer of Drs. Stuart, Larendon, and Boyles was the best price and adaptability of the place to the purposes for which it is to be used being considered. This offer embraced four acres and improvements. lately occupied by them for a hospital, and thirty-three acres, lying adjacent thereto and on White Oak bayou, owned by Dr. T.J. Boyles, together with all personal property thereon. The price stated was $9000. Accordingly, on the fifth day of September last, a contract of purchase and sale was consummated, and persuant to this agreement, possession of the property was delivered on the first instant by terms of the agreement of purchase. The contract existing between the county and Drs. Stuart, Larendon, and Boyles was abrogated from and after Octorber 1. Upon taking possession, and inventory of al household effects, furniture, farming implements, stock and other personal property was taken, and is herewith submitted. As will be seen, each item of this property is appraised and the total value is estimated to be $288.80., the original cost being considerably more. The improvements consist of the main building and wing two stories in height, containing twenty-one rooms, besides halls and galleries, a two-story building in the rear of this, about eighty feet in length used for sick wards. Besides these there are two or three small buildings adjacent and a stable and buggy house. THis tract as well as the other, is fenced and in cultivation. There is a good windmill on the place, cisterns, well, etc., and the buildings are supplied with water from the waterworks and connected with the telephone system of the city. The place is located just outside the city limits and is within 200 yards of the Glenwood street car line. On the farm place there is a house containing four rooms, a large barn, a hothouse some thirty feet in length, a cistern, a large elevated iron tank in the field, having a capacity of 610 cubic feet. By means of the windmill this can be supplied with water from the bayou for purposes of irrigation. By building a short dam, a fish pond of about three acres in area and from five to twenty feet in depth can be had on this place. On the farm is a supply of stock and farming implements sufficient for present needs, including a wagon and a large lot of drainage pipe, etc. Some alterations and repairs of the infirmary buildings to hole county convicts sent there, so that the labor may be utilized at once. Some county convicts have already been sent to the farm and ar working satisfactorily. The services of Dr. T.J. Boyles as house surgeon, have been secured until the first day of Janurary next, and an arrangement made by him with the committee giving him the right to use part of the building for the care of his private hospital patients until that time. Beginning with the first of October, the employes of Drs. Stuart, Larendon, and Boyles were continued in their respective positions in the employ of the county until further notice, with the same salaries as heretofore. A competent and experienced market gardener, to supervise the farm work, has been employed. You committee would suggest that if the necessary machinery was purchased, the cost of which would not be great, and cloth, hosiery,etc, necessary for the inmates, and no doubt more could be made and the labor of the female inmates thereby utilized. Pursuant to instructions from the committee, the county clerk has notified all indigent persons now drawing a stipend from the county treasury, that arrangements for their care at the poor-house having been made, such stipends would be discontinued after the present month. It was deemed best to give a month's notice in anticipation of this action of the court, so that no inconvenience should be occasioned them by the sudden stoppage of the allowances. The attention of the court is directed to this matter, as these stipends now amount in the aggregate to $300. Copies of the contract of purchase, etc, are in the hands of the committee, subject to the inspection of the court.

C. Anson Jones, County Judge;

Frank S. Burke, County Commissioner,

Committee

Edited by isuredid

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FilioScotia    112
The Mykawa Rd. Prison Farm was known as the P-Farm. I and I'd bet alot of people, though it was the Pea Farm. I got stopped as teen in the 60's for some (alleged) traffic violation. The policeman told me if if didn't shut my smart mouth that he was going to arrest me and my fingers would "turn green from picking peas out at the pea farm". It wasn't him that was going to make me a convict, but does anyone on here remember a Police Officer namd Tiny Roman? For years, it seemed, he worked andextra job at every skating rink, movie theatre and public dance in town. He was a great big 6'4" + guy and super nice.

A big friendly cop named Tiny Roman? Omigod.. I DO remember that guy. He worked the KILT Saturday night "Sock Hops" at Mason Park for a time, which is where I met him sometime around 1960, give or take. I also saw him a few times at the Broadway Theater, and at that skating rink that used to be on Holmes Road, not far from Telephone Road. And oh yes. Lest we forget. A moment of silence for the Ranger Drive-in, that carhop place on Telephone at Holmes Road.

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Vertigo58    18
A big friendly cop named Tiny Roman? Omigod.. I DO remember that guy. He worked the KILT Saturday night "Sock Hops" at Mason Park for a time, which is where I met him sometime around 1960, give or take. I also saw him a few times at the Broadway Theater, and at that skating rink that used to be on Holmes Road, not far from Telephone Road. And oh yes. Lest we forget. A moment of silence for the Ranger Drive-in, that carhop place on Telephone at Holmes Road.

Now you have me wondering about Tiny Roman. Wonder how long he made appearances at The Broadway Theater? We used to go there around 1968 to its final end and they used to have raffles where some radio sounding guy would announce the winners of new bike's and junk. They did that before or during intermission when we would see double & triple monster extrvanganza's there. I was too small to remember what he looked like but maybe it was this guy? They would roll out the bikes on stage and the kid would run up there all hysterical and stuff.

Wow, now I am soundimg like "the Beave". Chucks! :lol:

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houwest    2

Since I already bent this thread: Tiny also used to work the Garden Oaks and N. Main theatres and the sock hops at Moody Park. I remember there was a picture in one of the three Houston papers

of Tiny standing next to a Crosley car. My sister got his autograph. She also got the manager of our grocery store and the mailman.

With in the past 5 or so years, there was an Obit in the Chron on a Tincey Roman. IIRC, he was 91 years old and lived in Wiemar, Schulenberg, Columbus area. As best I could tell, Tincey was this guys given name. Not sure if it's Tiny or not.

We need more Tiny Romans around today. The worst thing that would have happened when Tiny was around was some kid cutting in line.

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NenaE    116
Now you have me wondering about Tiny Roman. Wonder how long he made appearances at The Broadway Theater? We used to go there around 1968 to its final end and they used to have raffles where some radio sounding guy would announce the winners of new bike's and junk. They did that before or during intermission when we would see double & triple monster extrvanganza's there. I was too small to remember what he looked like but maybe it was this guy? They would roll out the bikes on stage and the kid would run up there all hysterical and stuff.

Wow, now I am soundimg like "the Beave". Chucks! :lol:

I went there too, I remember the announcer guy. I was scared he was going to call me up there. :o:D Didn't see monster movies, too scary. Probably a Walt Disney one. :P I never appreciated those old movie theaters until later years. What I wouldn't give to walk through those again. Too bad the Broadway one was torn down for a non-existent expressway into downtown. Was glad to read the neighborhood people successfully fought the building of it, and won! That would have displaced so many, and ruined so much of what we love in those areas, not to mention the historical aspect. At least the Bob Bailey pics exist. I know, I'm off-topic.

And while we're on this subject, does anybody remember the old City of Houston Prison Farm on Mykawa Road? That was a place where people convicted of misdemeanor crimes were sent to "work off" their sentence. Usually six months or less.

It was closed sometime back in the 70s or 80s, and the city built the Mykawa Multi-Service Center to replace it.

quote/FilioScotia

I do vaguely remember there always being a prison-related facility over there. There is also an old rectangle house, maybe brick, sitting way back off the road, on acreage, on the west side of the road, going south. Might be a business now, rundown, or torn down. Anyone recall anything like that? I'm trying to stay on topic, but it's not working! :lol:

Edited by NenaE

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marmer    68
I There is also an old rectangle house, maybe brick, sitting way back off the road, on acreage, on the west side of the road, going south. Might be a business now, rundown, or torn down. Anyone recall anything like that? I'm trying to stay on topic, but it's not working! :lol:

Would that have been Mykawa School?

http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...showtopic=15939

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NenaE    116

No, but thanks for the tip. I forgot to say it was two-story. Have to travel that road to figure it out. Google flying didn't do it for me. It was a lot like the house in the recent post about a Telephone Rd. house that was located after Pearland. (I just looked it up, you posted it, under Coastal Bay/Prairie & Art Deco House/Apt. not too long ago). The structure looked like that one. Sat way back off the road. Don't think I'm mistaken. Those kinds of things I've always noticed, even as a kid.

Edited by NenaE

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FilioScotia    112
Looks to me, from Live Local maps, that the old P-Farm is now F.M. Law Park and a junior golf course.

Right you are. It's also the location of HPD's Southeast Command Station at 8300 Mykawa. There's also a Satellite Municipal Court office. The City acquired the property way back in the stone age to set up the City Prison Farm.

When the "P-Farm" was closed, it sat vacant for years till those rocket scientists at HPD and City Hall snapped to using the land for the Command Station and a City Park with a golf course.

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