In April, 1857, the county court, finding it necessary and expedient to establish a poor-house in the county of Benton, ordered that Samuel Woods, James Jackson and Dysert Woods be appointed to act as commissioners to select a proper site for such building. At the following October term of the court two of these commissioners, James Jackson and Samuel Woods, reported that they had not been able, as yet, to select such a place as in their judgment would be suitable for such purpose, and asked for further time, which was granted until the next regular term. The court then ordered its clerk to make or draw a warrant upon the treasurer of the county, in favor of the commissioners, for the sum of $1,200, provided they or a majority of them call for the same, to enable them to purchase a farm or site for a poor-house. It seems, however, that this order was not called for. In January, 1858, the commissioners, all joining, reported to the court that they had selected a site for the poorhouse on forty acres of land lying north of Bentonville, owned by William Clements, together with five acres off of a tract owned by William McDaniel, including a spring or interest in the spring, and had made a contract, therefor, at the sum of $300. They further reported that there was a log house on the same without floor, ten acres in cultivation, and about four acres in wheat, and recommended the place as the most eligible site they had been able to select, and asked the adoption of their report.

The report was adopted, and a warrant for the $300 was ordered to be issued and paid to the said Clements upon his making, to the commissioners and their successors in office, a warrantee fee simple deed for the lands aforesaid. The court then authorized the commissioners to enter at the United States Land office at Fayetteville, forty acres of land lying due north of the forty-acre tract already purchased. Afterward, in April, 1858, Jacob Candill, county surveyor, in obedience to a former order issued to him, made to the court a survey of the poor-farm, showing that it embraced the east half of the southwest quarter, and four and a half acres out of the southeast corner of the southwest one-fourth of the southwest quarter of Section 20, in Township 20 north, Range 30 west, as surveyed by him February 26, 1858. As soon as the neccessary buildings on the poor-farm were put in order, the paupers of the county were removed thereto and placed under the care of a superintendent engaged for that purpose. In November, 1875, the court appointed Zach. Baker commissioner to let the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, after giving ten days’ notice, for the removal of the old frame court-house to the poor-farm, and for repairing the same so as to make it suitable for a poor asylum. In January following Commissioner Baker reported in full to the court, whereupon it was ordered that a county warrant for the sum of $330 should be issued. payable out of the public building fund, to William Stewart and J. V. Lee, for removing the old court-house to the poor-farm, and for materials for fitting it up and putting it in order; and that another warrant for the sum of $120.50 should be issued to James Haney for materials furnished and work and labor performed by him in fitting up the same building.

The pauper inmates of the poor-house average from eight to ten in number. The method of keeping them is by letting or renting the poor-farm to a superintendent, who takes care of them for a stipulated price. Temporary relief is also administered in a limited degree, to a few persons not confined in the poor-house. by small appropriations from the county treasury.

Back to: Benton County, Arkansas History

Source: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago, IL, USA: Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1889.