This poor farm was closed 40 years later in February
1939. It had become an expensive drain on the county's budget. The 92 acres and
buildings were sold in 1941 for $1,900.
There are no voices now to speak for the paupers, of their lives and times;
how life was on the poor farms, how the paupers were treated. Were they treated
like human beings with dignity and respect, or was it with indifference and less
than minimum care?
After the poor farm
east of Dover was closed in 1885 and the paupers committed to the "keeper
of the poor" -- how were their lives and treatment then?
Something must have
appeared very wrong at one time for in 1892 an investigation was launched
against the then "keeper of the poor." The case, titled "In the
Matter of the Investigation of the Poor House" and styled "State of
Arkansas vs. F.M. Taylor," was heard in Pope County Court in October 1892.
No record of the specific
allegations against Taylor have been uncovered yet in old county records. There
is no transcript of testimony from the 18 witnesses, or a list of which ones
testified for the prosecution and which ones for the defense. Then County Judge
G.W. Berryman presided over the County Court hearing. He ruled that the
allegations weren't supported by the evidence and dismissed the case. The names
of the 18 witnesses are listed in the County Court Record Book with the judge's
order to pay $1 in county script to each of the 18 as a witness fee.
Pope County Court Record Book
I, Pages 409 and 410, October 20, 1892:
"In the matter of the
investigation of poor house ... State of Arkansas use of Pope County vs. F.M.
Taylor .... and the court having heard the testimony for plaintiff and
defendant, the court is of the opinion that the charges are not well founded and
doth find for the defendant. It is ordered and adjudged that this cause be
dismissed at plaintiff's cost and the court doth allow the following claims as
cost in the above case."
S.H. Rye, deputy sheriff
fees, $12.60; 18 witnesses to receive $1 each -- Jacob A.J. Vaughn (keeper of
the poor in 1890 and a son of Edward Vaughn who bought the poor farm property in
1885); Maggie Vaughn (probably wife of Jacob A.J. Vaughn); Ed Vaughn (possibly
the Edward Vaughn who bought the poor farm property for $100 in 1885); H.L.
Bowers (keeper of the poor in 1891 and 1894); Mrs. Will Halley, A.D. Lindon
(Linton), Ida Landers, M. Taylor, E. Taylor, J.W. Donnelly, A.J. White, Mrs.
Will Hicks, Mrs. Dave Worthen,