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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Canton in Van Zandt County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Van Zandt County Poor Farm

 
 
Van Zandt County Poor Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, November 20, 2021
1. Van Zandt County Poor Farm Marker
Inscription.  In the early days of Van Zandt County, families, churches and charitable organizations took care of people in need. After the civil war, the high number of indigents forced an addendum to the state constitution making care for the poor the responsibility of each county. In 1877, the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court authorized a search for an appropriate site for a county poor farm. After seven years, in August 1884, County Judge John S. Spinks appointed several men to find and purchase land near Canton to establish a poor farm. The site chosen contained 339 acres about four miles south of Canton. M.V. Burns was the first appointed superintendent paid by the county to oversee the farm, clean up the land and complete improvements to the site. Mr. Burns resigned in 1885 and Hugh Guinn took over to complete his term.

The first known residents of the poor farm were two ladies declared paupers in March 1886 by the Commissioners Court. Other residents included the elderly, widows with children who had no means of support and those convicted of petty crimes who would work at the farm to pay off their fines. In 1901, County Judge John W.
Van Zandt County Poor Farm Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Anderson, November 20, 2021
2. Van Zandt County Poor Farm Marker
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Davidson authorized the sale of the poor farm and bought a larger site in the same area. A 14 by 16 feet calaboose was built on the new site in 1901 for the safekeeping of convicts at night. The structure is still standing. After the poor farm was established, paupers were buried in the poor farm cemetery. The farm was operational until October 1928. The Van Zandt County Poor Farm provided poverty-stricken citizens with shelter, food and a ready means of subsistence for 42 years.
 
Erected 2011 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 16939.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Places. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1884.
 
Location. 32° 32.34′ N, 95° 51.764′ W. Marker is near Canton, Texas, in Van Zandt County. Marker is on South Trade Days Boulevard (State Highway 19) 0.4 miles south of Veterans Memorial Parkway (State Highway 243), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Canton TX 75103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Van Zandt County (approx. one mile away); Hilliards of Canton (approx. 1.2 miles away); The Canton Herald (approx. 1.2 miles away); George Washington Tull, Sr. (approx. 1.2 miles away); John H. Reagan (approx. 1.2 miles
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away); Van Zandt County Courthouse (approx. 1.2 miles away); Site of 1896 Van Zandt County Courthouse (approx. 1.2 miles away); Isaac Van Zandt (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Canton.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 29, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 29, 2021, by Brian Anderson of Atascocita, Texas. This page has been viewed 25 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 29, 2021, by Brian Anderson of Atascocita, Texas.

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Jan. 17, 2022