Kaufman County Poor Farm

Texas Highway 34 and FM 1388, Kaufman, Kaufman County

In 1869, the State of Texas directed the responsibility for the care of its poor residents to the counties. Many county governments created poor farms where the residents could live and work to support themselves. Today, efforts by historians and genealogists have identified poor farms in various conditions. In Texas and across the nation, interests in family history have sparked a renewed enthusiasm in the history of these institutions. For the last 30 years, the Kaufman County Historical Commission has tirelessly worked to preserve the remaining 27 acres, various 19th and 20th century buildings, and vintage farm implements of the Kaufman County Poor Farm.

Located a few miles from the courthouse square, the Poor Farm was established in 1883 by Kaufman County to provide housing for its poor and indigent population. From the beginning, the Poor Farm offered opportunities for its residents to farm and raise farm animals. The Poor Farm also provided barracks for jail inmates, it housed an epidemic camp and, in 1931, it was used in the Farm Demonstration Program. Originally over 408 acres, the farm was usually filled to capacity and operated into the 1970s.

The size and complexity of the Poor Farm property have overwhelmed the efforts of volunteers as financial and human resources are scarce. PT hopes this listing, will bring statewide attention to the efforts of Kaufman County and other local communities struggling to find a way to preserve the history of an important institution of Texas history.