Mark in Texas History: Anderson County Poor House

Updated: Oct. 17, 2020 at 2:13 PM CDT
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ANDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - You may have heard the phrase, “it put me in the poorhouse.” And like many figures of speech, it has a history behind it.

An example of a poorhouse still exists in Anderson County. It’s the subject of Mark Scirto’s Mark in Texas History.

The Texas Constitution in 1869 made it law for every county in the state to furnish a poor house and farm for the indigent. It was the precursor to today’s welfare systems.

Anderson County Poor Farm
Anderson County Poor Farm((Source: KLTV))

Records show this poor farm in Anderson County wasn’t purchased until the 1880s. The land included housing for residents and a caretaker, storage barns, a cotton gin and a canning operation. There was also a jailhouse to use for convicted laborers.

The ruins of several wells can still be seen on the property, along with this old rock formation building with a large rusty metal door and bunk beds inside.

The Anderson County Poor Farm received a historical marker in 1986.

The Anderson County Poor Farm is located about two-and-a-half miles south of Palestine on FM 322.

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