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RhinoVP

The Poor Farm

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RhinoVP    3
Wasn't the poor farm next to the nut house? ;)

I'm still searching around to see if there actualy was a "Funny farm"! :D

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.

Now, this really had me thinking. Were these places honestly such a bad idea?

Would society benefit from having poor farm's and houses, right now?

Personaly I feel that with limitations,,, it might not be such a bad thing. They sure would fill up fast though! :o

(maybe a poll is in order)

Regards,

Rhino

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WestUNative    6

silverartfox wrote: 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.

As some may know and note from my moniker, I was born and bred in West University Place on University Blvd. "Poor Farm Ditch" runs north/south through the city and Southside Place just east of Edloe Street. We grew up knowing about the actual Poor Farm that was no longer in existence. Our take on the farm was a sad place to end up, but not a brutal one. The ditch mostly had no water in it unless we'd had heavy rains, its function as a drainage ditch only. We were admonished severely to never climb down into it, but everyone did at least once. It was concrete lined to avoid erosion.

One can only drive over it at University, Sunset, Bissonnet and Bellaire Blvd. There are foot bridges at other streets. If you check mapquest for University and Edloe, you will note that the east/west streets do not go through except as noted, this because of the ditch. I have no idea of its age, but I was born in 1941 with it in place and I am sure it has existed since the actual Poor Farm was set up.

In the 1876 Texas Constitution, a provision was made for each county to set up "a manual labor poor house and farm." Most subsequently did this.

While we are in the old, old neighborhood, is everyone aware that the Burnett-Bayland Orphans Home on Bissonnett was originally established as a home for Confederate War orphans?

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Vertigo58    18

Sure is great to hear from you again WestUNative! You always provide such genuine and factual info for all. :D

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FilioScotia    112
While we are in the old, old neighborhood, is everyone aware that the Burnett-Bayland Orphans Home on Bissonnett was originally established as a home for Confederate War orphans?

Hey WestU...nice to see your name in these spaces again.

You're right about the history of that orphans home, but it's a somewhat complicated history, because today's Burnett-Bayland Home is the result of several relocations, mergers and ownership transfers over more than a hundred years. Here's some information on that from the archives of the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. (HCJPD)

Here's a direct link to the full archive. http://www.hctx.net/cmpdocuments/20/findin...uvenilecr43.pdf

On May 19, 1914, Harris County Commissioners Court approved the construction of a girls' home in Bellaire, to be known as the Harris County Training School for Girls1. Ethel Claxton and Mary Burnett were hired to be the school's Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent, respectively, on August 1, 1914. On September 26, the home was opened and ready for occupancy. The home filled rapidly. During the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration, Claxton noted that the institution cared for 200 girls in four houses. The school was originally intended to educate both dependents and delinquents, but by 1952, only delinquent girls were living at the facility.

The Bayland Orphans Home, founded as a private entity on September 24,1866, as a home for dependent boys and girls, was turned over to county control in October, 1918. The transfer was problematic, with the original Bayland Orphan Home board members charging that the County failed to fulfill its obligations to the home. By 1922, however, settlements were reached, and the Bayland Orphans Home was fully under County control. The County transferred all the girls in the home to the Harris County Home for Girls, and the Bayland Home became a home for boys, exclusively.

The Harris County School for Boys, which served delinquent boys, was founded at Seabrook in 1910 and relocated to South Houston in 1914. In 1924, the home moved yet again, to Clear Lake on property adjacent to the county park. Beginning in 1936, Bayland and the Harris County School for Boys were consolidated into one institution at the Clear Lake location. After a small fire in 1951 which required moving the boys to the Girls School, the HCJPD realized the benefits of a co-ed home in keeping siblings together. The two homes were merged to create the Burnett-Bayland Home in 1952. The Harris County School for Boys (at Clear Lake) was refurbished and reopened in 1955. In 1972 the School was re-named the Harris County Youth Village.

Edited by FilioScotia

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isuredid    21

This was the approximate location of the Poor Farm up until 1921. In 1921 Harris County decided this land was too valuable for a poor farm and sold it for $78,000

Poor_Farm_1921.jpg

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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.

Marmer, I ran across a post (#56) from Texianjoe, under Tour De Telephone, where he talks of an old construction office on Mykawa at Dixie. Describes it as being old. May be the one I am thinking of.

Update: I drove Mykawa yesterday, and confirmed the construction company @ Dixie & Mykawa is where I remember the old structure as sitting. Only thing that triggered my memory was the old rectangle ground sign closer to the road. The actual bldg. sat way back off the road. Was barren then, unlike today. It's all developed now.

Simms Bayou is very eerie along that road.

Edited by NenaE

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WestUNative    6
This was the approximate location of the Poor Farm up until 1921. In 1921 Harris County decided this land was too valuable for a poor farm and sold it for $78,000

Poor_Farm_1921.jpg

Fantastic, isuredid! I have never known exactly where it was before, just grew up with the ditch. I am amazed the location was so close to us and right where Montclair Center, now Weslayan Plaza resides. Funny to think that Randall's Flagship high end store in on land where the literally dirt poor used to toil.

Thanks for the welcome back, Vertigo58 and Filio, I've been busy with stuff and sadly neglected this site.

Ta-da, there is my house on the map. University Blvd at Community Drive. We were the third house down from Community on the north side of University Blvd, 4226!

Oh, and thank Filio for the full history of Burnett-Bayland, I find it fascinating. Went there once in the 1950's with my Aunt, a real do-gooder (57Tbird, if you read this I'm speaking of Mac's mother, Helen Lou Childers, legendary teacher), she had sponsored an orphan living at the home. We took her Christmas presents that day and sometimes she went on excursions around town with us.

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Poor Farm or Paupers Cemetery #1

Located on the banks of Buffalo Bayou beyond the San Felipe graveyard, away out in the county on the San Felipe Road.

Ca. pre-1866-1890's

Poor Farm or Paupers Cemetery #2 (Poor Ditch) (Poor Farm Ditch)

Harris Co. Cemetery #1

1894-1937

8300 Magnolia, Edloe at Bissonet. West U.

All graves that (could) be found were moved from original site, with most reinterred in a common grave as there was no names etc. Graves were moved to Harris Co. Cemetery #2.

Jesse Baker, Died Apr. 18,1906, age 35 years, at 18-19 streets. Physician: Dr. G. H. Mallison, Buried April 19,1906, POOR FARM, Occupation: Hotel Porter

Sam Archer, Died June 18,1906, at Live Oaks Street, Age 24 yrs. Physician: Dr. S. M. Lyons. Married. Occupation: Laborer. Buried June 20,1906. POOR FARM.

Poor Farm or Paupers Cemetery #3

Harris Co. Cemetery #2

1937-present

5439 Oates road

About 15 acres. Very nice for what it is.

Records on computer beginnning Aug. 1937.

Cemeteries and History of Harris Co.,Texas

www.freewebs.com/boneyardwolf

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Downtown    0
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.

There's still a JAIL there on Mykawa. I think they just built a newer building over it??

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FilioScotia    112
There's still a JAIL there on Mykawa. I think they just built a newer building over it??

Actually, that "jail" is just a temporary holding facility inside the HPD Southeast Command Station, which now occupies some of the land that was once the City of Houston Prison Farm. People arrested and taken there for processing are transferred to the County Jail as soon as it can be arranged.

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The POOR FARM was a cemetery for Harris Co.,Texas. 1894-1937. In 1937 all remains moved to the newer Harris County Cemetery in one mass grave. I am going through death cert.'s and making a list of those buried here. It would state burial at POOR FARM or COUNTY, P. F. Most are black, some white and hispanic. Large number of stillborn and young babies buried here also. Very sad. Being poor really sucked. Most names are lost forever.

Hope to have a list soon.

GEW

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RhinoVP    3
The POOR FARM was a cemetery for Harris Co.,Texas. 1894-1937. In 1937 all remains moved to the newer Harris County Cemetery in one mass grave. I am going through death cert.'s and making a list of those buried here. It would state burial at POOR FARM or COUNTY, P. F. Most are black, some white and hispanic. Large number of stillborn and young babies buried here also. Very sad. Being poor really sucked. Most names are lost forever.

Hope to have a list soon.

GEW

Cemeterywolf,

Are you saying that The poor farm was a cemetery only, and not some type of working farm or house?

Regards,

Rhino

Edited by RhinoVP

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Cemeterywolf,

Are you saying that The poor farm was a cemetery only, and not some type of working farm or house?

Regards,

Rhino

It was used as a farm area for the poor but mainly to bury the poor. On death cert.'s it states that the person is buried (Poor Farm, or County, or P. F.) I went thru death cert.'s 1910-1912 and already have 500 persons buried there. The cemetery was in use 1894-1937. There were a lot of people buried there. In 43 years that would be a lot of burials and a large area would be needed. Guessament of 43 years X 200 burials a year = 8,600 graves?

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It was used as a farm area for the poor but mainly to bury the poor. On death cert.'s it states that the person is buried (Poor Farm, or County, or P. F., Potterfield, Poor Farm Ditch) I went thru death cert.'s 1910-1912 and already have 500 persons buried there. The cemetery was in use 1894-1937. There were a lot of people buried there. In 43 years that would be a lot of burials and a large area would be needed. Guessament of 43 years X 200 burials a year = 8,600 graves?

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MWBoyd    0

I lived in Garden Villas from '65-'68 and not but a couple blocks from Sims Bayou.

Some friends and I took a Saturday morning to walk along the bayou hunting for pet turtles. Now this was before flood management and the stream was plenty wild.

We headed east from Swallow and were to end up near the P-farm on the other side of Mykawa. One of the other kids had been there before and knew how to get through the fence and he said we could grab some carrots and strawberries.

 

I didn't score any turtles that day but our little clandestine operation into forbidden territory for some ill-gotten booty was pretty scary fun.

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Lou    4

The Mykawa Pea Farm had several hectares (5 to 10 acres) of farmland around it. In the summer there would be rows and rows of peas growing.  Sometimes there would be inmates in stripes picking the peas, with a shotgun toting guard watching.

The building was far back off of Mykawa.  I saw this this about 1965 to 1968.

The thing I remember most was Honda Hill.  It was on the northern edge of the Pea Farm, and back from the road about as much as the building.

It was a hill of dirt about 3 stories tall.  I thought it was either soil that was removed from the fields, or topsoil that was to be put on the fields.

We found Honda Hill was the perfect place to ride our bicycles and minibikes.  I heard stories of guards running the kids off, but I never got caught.

I had a minibike that was not much more than a lawn mower engine on a bicycle frame.  Centrifugal clutch, so it was very primitive.  No lights, no horn, and the only brake was a joke (a paddle that pressed against the rear wheel).

Honda Hill had a steep side (straight down) and a not so steep side.  I had to push my centrifugal clutch up one side and then try to build up enough speed to fly off the steep side.  Big thrill.

Sometime after I moved, the Pea Farm was closed down and a city jail opened south of Bellfort.

I thought that the Pea Farm was north of Bellfort.  Somewhere near Donoho.  I remember reaching Honda Hill from the back, not the Mykawa side.

Does anybody have the address of the original Pea Farm.  Please tell me I was not crazy enough to drive that totally not street worthy minibike several miles down two lane blacktop Mykawa.
 

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sevfiv    1344

Do you remember this being near the Hi-Nabor Drive In Theater on Mykawa, just south of Donoho/Dixie?

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Lou    4

I looked at the 1955 map and it does show a prison farm south of Bellfort.  Thanks.

I do not remember any drive-in on Mykawa.  I do not remember anything on Mykawa.  I must have taken back roads and crossed Bellfort before reaching Mykawa.

But I do remember the drive-in on South Park at what would become I-610.  It is interesting that all of that was there in 1955. And Kelso Elementary only had 2 wings.  They had 5, plus shacks for the 6th graders, by the time I got there.
 

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FilioScotia    112

****Does anybody have the address of the original Pea Farm?****

The old P-Farm, short for Prison Farm - not Pea Farm - was on the property now occupied by the HPD Southeast Sub-Station and Municipal Court at 8300 Mykawa. The city held on to the land when it closed down the P-Farm, but found a use for it some time later when HPD started opening sub-stations around town.

Edited by FilioScotia
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The Harris County Poor Farm, known as the Harris County P Farm was located, just off the north side of Mykawa Road and the entrance was where the Junior Golf Course entrance is now. It was located behind the HPD Southeast Sub Station. The house you were interested in, was located on the southeast side of the P Farm and  was a white wooded structure and was where a family lived. The father was a Guard or the Warden for the P Farm. There were no other homes that I recall on the P Farm. There was also a wooded garage next to it, with a fence in between the home and garage  where the family had geese. The family had 2 children, 1 girl and 1 boy living in the house when I was there for a sleepover, with their daughter. Sorry I don't recall their names. The prison was small 1 store structure, if I recall correctly, was made of Concrete Blocks and with Iron Bars. It was northwest from the home further down the road. The P Farm was on the north side of Sims Bayou. I never saw a farm there but I never saw the far west side of the prison.. I lived nearby there since the 1960's. There Prisoner were transported in a white buses marked "Harris County P Farm Prison Bus" in black letters, to different place to work. There was no fence or gates like a normal prison with barbwire. North of the P Farm was a open field, with Mykawa Road on the east side, Vasser Road on the north side, a ditch that ran down to Sims Bayou, on the west side and the P Farm on the South side.  As a child, my brother and I, with other kids in the neighborhood , would play there. There was also a big hill called Hondo Hill made of dirt on the Mykawa side of the field, that we road our Bikes on. When they closed down the P Farm, late 1970's or early 1980's, they demolish the hill, and planted several trees there. They then built, what is now Law Park on the Vasser Road side of the field, and the HPD Southeast Sub Station on the Mykawa Road side of the field,  which was first Houston Police Academy. I know this because my brother went there, to train to be a Houston Police Officer. I never went into the area where prisoner were held and do not know what kind of prisoner were held there. I did see the P Farm Prison Buses numerous times driving down Mykawa Road. The P Farm was  south of Vasser Road and on the north side of Sims Bayou, off Mykawa Road. I also never saw a cemetery there. 

.      

Edited by Kathleen Acres

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As for a Drive- In Theater on Mykawa Road It was at Mykawa Road and the north side of Wayside. They tore it down and put up warehouses, one of them being UPS. I went there may times as a child with my family and on dates as a teenager. I was sad to see it torn down. The Rath  Meat Warehouse was at Dixie and Mykawa.         

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