What ever happened down on Poor Farm Rd.?
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Thread: What ever happened down on Poor Farm Rd.?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Ken Bora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Burlington, Vermont

    Angry What ever happened down on Poor Farm Rd.?

    What ever happened down on Poor Farm Rd.?

    I have explored just about every corner of my home state of Vermont. In at least one but as many as three towns in every county is a road named Poor Farm Rd. Or Town Farm Rd. The town farm was a part of every community of the state. They were working dairy farms but could also have gravel pits, wood lots, Maple works, Mills and creameries. They were town owned businesses. Often when a family was behind on property taxes, or did not want to pay cash. They would send a son or two to cut wood at the town farm. If a families house burned down they would stay at the town farm until it was rebuilt. If a barn burned cattle could be milked at the town farm until the new barn was raised. When somebody was passing through and needed a week of temporary employment, they could stay at and work on the town farm. The one room schoolhouses in the town would get it’s firewood cut split and delivered by the town farm. The barter system used to be alive and well in Vermont and folk could use goods and services, through the town farm to pay municipal needs. If you were unemployed and homeless the town farm was right there. Nobody sat on their backside and collected a government check. There was always work, always something to do. The town farm employed folk as well. My Grandfather Oliver worked his caterpillar tractor (He never said bulldozer) in the gravel pits of the Hinesburg town farm for years.

    What ever happened to the town farm? When did we (collectively, not you and I reading this) decide it was better to have folk sit at home and get a check instead of working? I hear the President use the term “Everyone who wants a job!” when talking about unemployment. But I personally see so many who do not want jobs at all and are content to sit on their bottom and collect. If they want more cash they pop out another kid and the welfare benefits increase and they get to move into a low income apartment with more bedrooms than they just had. Don’t want those poor kids double bunking do we?

    When did we chose to phase out the poor farm, and why?

    "So what is big is not always the Trout nor the Deer but the chance, the being there. And what is full is not necessarily the creel nor the freezer, but the memory." ~ Aldo Leopold

    "The Greatest Obstacle to Discovery is not Ignorance -- It is the Illusion of Knowledge" ~ Daniel Boorstin

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  3. #2
    Senior Member road kill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    New Berlin, WI


    It's demeaning to make people work for their (our) money!!

    Stan b & Elvis

  4. #3
    Senior Member Hoosier's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008


    One of the kids probably twisted his ankle while on the farm, and the family sued for 3 million, and won, driving their liability insurance up so high it was no longer feasible to operate the poor farm. Now cheaper to just give them the money.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member MarkyMark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    It's odd as times change. My friend owns the Springfield town farm and still works it. It's a nice old house full small rooms. He's tried to keep the history of the old town farm. We see everywhere we go people wanting to help others. But at the end of the day no one wants to man up and do it the way they did back in the day.

    Little read about VT

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