Submitted by: Bob Chada
© Guthrie Daily Leader, December 5, 1976, page 10.
When people speak of the "poor farm" it is usually in a light vein. All kinds of jokes and connotations are visualized in connection with the poor farm.
But the poor farm was a reality in the earlier days of this county. Before the days of welfare, some people, mostly old people, had little choice but to go to live at the poor farm.
The Logan County poor farm, also known as the County Farm, was willed to the county about 1907. It consisted of 160 acres, located just slightly west of the town of Seward.
The first structure on the farm was a two-story barracks type building. Meals were provided and a little health care.
"We got a kick out of the old people," Mary Ellen Little, said. "I would estimate there were about two dozen out there at any one time."
Mary Ellen Little has been in the Seward community since 1919. She was one of five children and she and her brothers and sisters used to do work at the county poor farm.
"We used to pickup potatoes, pick cotton, pull weeds and chop Johnson grass," Mary Ellen said. "I remember the weeds being so think in the cotton patch that when we pulled up a weed, the cotton plant would come with it. We'd just stick them back into the ground." She laughed.
Mary Ellen was 15-16 years old when she helped out at the farm. She said that a Mr. And Mrs. Paul ran the form at the time she and her brothers and sisters worked there. The Paul's are now deceased.
"The first barracks they built finally fell down and was replaced by another," Mary Ellen said.
The building is still standing. The house the Paul's lived in was sold and moved to the east side of Liberty Lake where the Jefferson Family now lives.
"They were all old people," Mary Ellen said. "That was the days before nursing homes, and those old people just didn't have anywhere else to go."
We knew every time somebody up there died," she continued. "An old black hearse would come through town and head up that way."
When the poor farm closed in approximately 1938, all of the old people who were residents there were moved back into town.
"I remember one old couple that got married." Mary Ellen said. "Of course, we kids thought that was real funny."
Lonnie and Mary Ellen Little have one daughter who also lived in Seward.
"My daughter's grandmother and granddad used to work for the poor farm," Mary Ellen said. "The grandmother did the cooking and the granddad did the chores. They lived out there on the farm."
Since the closing of the poor farm in 1938, the land has been rented on an annual basis for farming. The county is now in the process of selling the farmsince it is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was willed.
The "poor farm" is a reality of past generations which fortunately is no longer a necessity.
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