the Poorhouse Story





Compiled by:

Janet Clayton GARDNER


"This cover was sketched by an inmate at the Texas Department of Correction from descriptive information given me by those interviewed."  Janet Clayton Gardner

The book described above is featured on the TXGenWeb site for BELL County.
It is excellent!  And it is rare for Texas.  

In 1905 the Bell County Commissioners required that a very detailed set of books be kept by the managers or superintendent of the county farm for the purpose of providing monthly reports on the status of the facility. When the County Home closed, the record book was saved. (See note below.) Then, Janet Clayton Gardner discovered during her own genealogical research that her great-great-grandmother (whose personal history was very elusive!) had spent the last years of her life in this poorhouse.  Subsequently, she felt compelled to transcribe and publish these records to assist others who might also be searching for family who had found themselves in similar circumstances.  


NOTE:  Needless to say, I immediately recognized a kindred spirit!  Discovering that my great-great grandmother was taken from a poorhouse as a child provided my own personal  motivation for creating The POORHOUSE STORY website.   PHL

This book includes an extensive history, poignant photographs, interviews with people who recalled 
their time living or working at the home.  There are also maps and an indexed list of inmate records. 

Title Record of Inmates of County Home, Bell County, Texas, 1913-1969
compiled by Janet Clayton Gardner.
Author Gardner, Janet Clayton.
Publisher Huntsville, Texas : J.C. Gardner, 1995.
Paging 98 leaves ; ill., port. ; 28 cm.

"I was just glad that I was present at the sale ... when they closed the County Home and the Superintendent asked what he was to do with the record book, which I didn't know existed at that time, and I latched on to it and put it in the County Clerk's Office. I was not Clerk at that time but later became County Clerk and [was able to see to it]  that this book was taken care of."
Vada Sutton    Vada.Sutton@CO.BELL.TX.US 

the Poorhouse Story

TIMELINE of Bell County Poor Farms & County Home
(page under construction)


First Poor Farm

1886 - 1898

Second Poor Farm

1898 - 1912

Third Poor Farm

1912 - 1969

County Home


the Poorhouse Story

"The farm was located east of Belton near the present 'Bend of the River' on Interstate Highway 35. 
From Belton you travel east on 2nd St to Interstate Highway 35. 
As you cross over the interstate you will see the 'golden arches' (McDonalds) on the right. 
Turn left onto the access road. Not far down the access road is a bridge crossing the Leon River. 
As you cross the bridge look to the right and you will see the bend of the river. 
Just past the bridge is a ranch owned by Ruebin Talasek called 'Bend O' the River.' 
In this general area is where the [third and last] 'Poor Farm' was located." 
[The fourth and final facility for the poor of BELL County was a County Home. PHL ]
      from "Record of Inmates of County Home" (see below)

the Poorhouse Story

the Poorhouse Story



the Poorhouse Story

We are hoping to build this base of information about the poorhouse in  BELL county through the helpful participation of readers. All are requested to submit items of interest by sending e-mail to The Poorhouse Lady.

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