Texas Poorhouse
the Poorhouse Story
POORHOUSE HISTORY by state

 
Below is a table (scroll down toward the bottom of this page) of separate pages for each county.   
Above that on the page are several features which will be of interest to researchers seeking information from anywhere in the state. However,  we would encourage you to occasionally browse the links on the table below to see what folks in your neighboring counties have discovered. And we sincerely thank all of you whose suggestions and submissions have contributed to our current knowledge of poorhouses in Texas.  

But the work is not yet complete. 
Please know how welcome your future contributions will be!
 
PHL

CLICK to ENLARGE

"The County Poor Farm System in Texas"
by Debbie Mauldin Cottrell,
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Vol 93 (Oct. 1989), page 169-190.

   Note: This is a very important article covers the history of many of the  poorhouses throughout the state.  It is now available online.

 

MAP of POORHOUSES in TEXAS   
(cross referenced to data from the Cotrell article
and supplemented with other sources )    

"Table   
Showing the Number of Paupers in the State, 
by Counties, how Kept, and the Average Cost per Month of Supporting Them
."
1887-1888  (cross referenced to data from the Cottrell article cited above)

Keeper of the Fannin County Poor Farm  >>>
        click here to see Photos & Notes

 

1880  -- HISTORIC PERSONAL LETTER  
from the Wife of a new Superintendent of 
Grayson County Poor Farm

the Poorhouse Story

Poorhouse history in Texas, 
as in much of the Wild-Wild-West, 
is significantly different than the
history of poorhouses in the rest 
of the country.    PHL   >>>>>
POVERTY vs. THE AMERICAN DREAM:
A Clash of Reality on the Frontier   
(or How Poor Relief was Different in the West)  

the Poorhouse Story

HISTORICAL MARKERS 
designating County Poor Farms in Texas

ANDERSON

EL PASO GALVESTON

KAUFMAN

PARKER WISE
Note: While there seems to be no marker for the Hill County Poor Farm itself, there is a marker for the man who was a Superintendent of that poorhouse. 
Note: While there seems to be no marker for the Navarro County Poor Farm itself, there is a marker for the man who helped establish that poorhouse.  

excerpt from a U.S. Government REPORT summarizing various
state poor laws in 1904

TEXAS:  The County Commissioners have the duty to provide for the support of paupers, resident of their counties, who are unable to take care of themselves, to send indigent sick to county hospitals where such are established, and to bury the pauper dead.  The commissioners may, by contract, bind a county in any reasonable sum for pauper support, and are authorized to employ physicians to the poor, etc.  The almshouses are under the management of the county commissioners.
   Except for these general provisions, there are no special statutes governing in detail poor relief and the management of almshouses.
NOTE:  It can be very difficult to find poorhouse records in Texas. There was no standard practice about poorhouse record keeping, and such records as might be found in specific poorhouse reports in other states may often only be found as scattered items interspersed among county commissioners records dealing also with many other issues under their direction. (Click on this underlined and linked phrase to see an example of current research and transcribing which illustrates this.)    PHL
 

TABLE OF TEXAS COUNTIES

Note: Counties which are not underlined and linked to a separate page are counties for which we  currently have no information other than that provided on the map. Counties marked with an asterisk (*) are known -- by legal documents or published newspaper or journal articles -- to have had a poorhouse. Others may have had one, but we currently have no information (other than anecdotal information from readers) to confirm that. Those highlighted in yellow contain items which may be of interest to all readers!
Anderson * Andrews Angelina * Aransas Archer Armstrong Atascosa
Austin * Bailey Bandera Bastrop * Baylor Bee Bell*
Bexar * Blanco Borden Bosque Bowie * Brazoria Brazos *
Brewster Briscoe Brooks Brown * Buchanan Burleson * Burnet
Caldwell * Calhoun Callahan Cameron Camp Carson Cass *
Castro Chambers Cherokee Childress Clay Cochran Coke
Coleman Collin * Collingsworth Colorado * Comal Comanche  Concho
Cooke * Coryell * Cottle * Crane Crockett Crosby Culberson
Dallam * Dallas * Davis Dawson Deaf Smith Delta Denton *
DeWitt * Dickens Dimmit Donley Duval Eastland * Ector
Edwards El Paso * Ellis Erath * Falls Fannin * Fayette *
Fisher Floyd Foard Fort Bend Franklin * Freestone Frio
Gaines Galveston * Garza Gillespie Glasscock Goliad * Gonzales *
Gray Grayson * Gregg Grimes * Guadalupe * Hale  Hall
Hamilton * Hansford Hardeman Hardin * Harris Harrison Hartley
Haskell Hays * Hemphill Henderson Hidalgo Hill * Hockley *
Hood Hopkins Houston Howard Hudspeth Hunt * Hutchinson
Irion Jack * Jackson * Jasper Jeff Davis Jefferson * Jim Hogg
Jim Wells Johnson * Jones Karnes Kaufman * Kendall Kenedy
Kent Kerr Kimble King Kinney Kleberg Knox
La Salle Lamar * Lamb Lampasas * Lavaca * Lee Leon
Liberty * Limestone Lipscomb Live Oak Llano Loving Lubbock
Lynn Madison * Marion * Martin Mason Matagorda Maverick
McCulloch McLennan * McMullen Medina Menard Midland Milam *
Mills Mitchell Montague * Montgomery Moore Morris Motley
Nacogdoches Navarro * Newton Nolan Nueces Ochiltree Oldham
Orange Palo Pinto * Panola Parker * Parmer Pecos Polk
Potter * Presidio Rains Randall Reagan Real Red River *
Reeves Refugio Roberts Robertson * Rockwall Runnels Rusk
Sabine San Augustine San Jacinto San Patricio  San Saba Schleicher Scurry
Shackelford * Shelby *  Sherman Smith * Somervell Starr Stephens
Sterling Stonewall Sutton Swisher Tarrant * Taylor * Terrell
Terry  Throckmorton Titus Tom Green * Travis * Trinity * Tyler
Upshur Upton Uvalde Val Verde Van Zandt * Victoria * Walker
Waller * Ward Washington * Webb Wharton * Wheeler Wichita *
Wilbarger Willacy Williamson * Wilson * Winkler Wise Wood
Yoakum Young * Zapata Zavala
the Poorhouse Story
We are hoping to build this base of information about poorhouses in TEXAS 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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