Many locals, perhaps even long-tenured county residents, are unaware that Kaufman County possesses an interesting, history-rich venue. The Kaufman County Poor Farm isa hidden historical site right here in our backyard.
The Kaufman County Historical Commission is working on the restoration of a mural located on site in one of the restored buildings at the poor farm. The painting depicts lifeon the farm from a resident’s perspective. Close study of the painting has led project leadership to believe it was done by Robert Morgan, a resident at the farm, in December of 1951. The wall-to-wall painting is thought to portray those who supervised the workers and residents. Multiple men are illustrated on horseback carrying firearms.
The historical commission recently teamed up with Brown Mountain Art Restoration to preserve the historic piece of art. The farm is located behind the county's south campus at 3003 S. Washington St.
Just after the Civil War, in 1869, an addendum to the Texas Constitution established each county now carried responsibility for their indigent residents. In response, Kaufman County joined many other Texas counties in establishing poor farms. Twelve years later, more than 400 acres of land was purchased and construction began to house impoverished county residents. By 1883, the farm was in full operation. Its purpose was to offer families and individuals a place to call home and opportunity to earn wages. Occupants would often work on the farm until some financial stability was gained. Later on, the county jail was erected on site and the farm doubled as a working prison farm. The Kaufman County Poor Farm is thought to be the only remaining farm ofits kind that is still owned by the county.
The Kaufman County Historical Commission (KCHC) is currently working to preserve this historical site. Pam Corder, County Project Manager and liaison for the historical commission, believes this is a way of preserving Kaufman County's history.“Our big picture is to have walking trails, to do as much work to as many as the buildings as we can, and have it open for the public to come and visit at any time, and do special events,” she explained. The hope is to educate youth and county residents on the history of the farm and provide a space to grow vegetables in the community garden, while preserving a small piece of county history.