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Poor Farms in American Culture

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The United States inherited many of its ideas and laws as transplants from Britain, including the concept of debtors’ prisons, workhouses and poor farms.  Institutions such as the Butler County Home were established by counties in an attempt to reform, rehabilitate, and educate the poor.  Additionally, they helped to support the elderly and the disabled. The conditions of these poorhouses were very harsh to deter all but the most desperate from seeking relief.  Because of these harsh conditions, poor farms and poorhouses became the stuff of nightmares.