Washington County Poor Farms and Cemeteries

Old County Farm

The Washington County Court Minutes contain information on the County Poor House or Poor Farm. In the January 1895 term of County Court, the sale of the county farm was approved and a committee appointed to look into the matter. 1 April 1895 the committee reported the farm was approximately 11 miles from Jonesboro, containing 230 acres. “The soil is thin but will produce worth $12.00 per acre.”2 The old County Farm was divided into 3 sections for sale. Thirty acres on the east at $8.00 per acre, 25 acres on west at $10 per acre, and 175 acres remained intact. 3 October 1896, Commissioners authorized the sale of the Old County farm.4 Mr. H.A. Dickerson from Pulaski, VA bought 178 acres, Mr. J.A. Keys bought 40 acres which bordered land owned by F.H. Cockran, heirs of Wm. McClackin, Jas. McMackin and heir of N. Harrison. Another part was purchased by Lewis Cooper. 5

1Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court January Term, 1895, p. 83.

2 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court April Term, 1895, p. 127.

3 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court July Term, 1895, p. 184.

4 Washington County [Tennessee] Deed Book, Book 73, p. 83.

5 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court October Term, 1896, p. 513.

Source: Information found by Donna Briggs and Betty Jane Hylton who were in the Jonesborough Courthouse looking for a list of people who died at the County Farm (Poor House).

Old County Cemetery

Mr. Bud Cox helped the team locate the Old County Farm Cemetery in the 17th Civil District off Glendale Road. [GPS location: 36.19.19N 082.36.48W] 7 Nov 2002

Entrance to Old Cemetery at Poor Farm

Old Cemetery at the Poor Farm

Map of Poor Farm Old Cemetery

Diagram of Old Cemetery at the Poor Farm

Apparently there are 38 graves. The cemetery is 81’x77’x26’x65′. The fence is no longer standing. Livestock and wildlife have trampled the area. Mr. Bill Rector owns the land surrounding the cemetery. His father bought the land from the Keys heirs. Mr. Key’s father had owned the land before him. The deed has the cemetery area set aside.





New Washington County Poor Farm

(Greenfield Farm)

July 1895, a new tax levy was set at five cents per $100 of property for the New Asylum for the Poor. Commissioners appointed to locate new property and take bids for a suitable building were Dr. J.L. Clark, Geo. M. Farnham, Geo. E. Clark.6 In October 1895, the committee recommended the purchase of the M.H. P. Panhorst property, formerly owned by John Simpson, deceased. The property was priced at $20.00 per acres and was located 3 miles south of Jonesborough in the 15th Civil District.7 Plans for the new building were approved with revisions during the January 1896 term.8 During this same term, the building committee for the New County Asylum reported that seven bids were received. Lyon & Cooper contractors bid $2275, which was approved 9 October 7, 1896, the building is completed.10

6 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court July Term, 1895, pp. 195-196.

7 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court October Term, 1895, p.245.

8Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court January Term, 1896, p.282.

9Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court January Term, 1896, pp.290-291.

10 Washington County [Tennessee] Court Minutes, Book L, County Court October Term, 1895, p. 508.

Tennessee Death Records for residents of the Washington County, TN Poor Farm, 1908-1958

1919/186Aiken, William191922 yrsCounty Farm
1954/06699Barkley, Viola23 Jan 1954County Farm
1936/127Barlow, Susie04 Apr 1936Not statedCounty Farm
1940/420Bishop Andrew29 Sep 194013 Dec 1867Poor Farm
1953/30398Bishop, Hannah28 Jan 195375 yrs.County Farm
54/23505Burgess, Jim11 Oct 195477 yrs.County Farm
1949/634Chambers, Alice S.08 Dec 194976 yrsCounty Home
1922/82Cutshaw, Sarah192250 yrsCounty Farm
1924/87Daniels, Perry192477 yrsCounty Farm
1921/411Dockery, Lizzie192172 yrsCounty Farm
1922/87Gammon, Charley192280 yrsCounty Farm
1939/68Goad, Nathaniel31 Mar 19391874Poor Farm
1946/614Gray, Clarence26 Dec 194602 Jun 1906County Home
1922/35Gray, Melissa192277 yrsCounty Farm
1914/37Greenlee, S.30 Jan 191456 yrs.County Farm
1945/395Griffin, Williams06 Sep 194577 yrsCounty Farm
1924/73Hale, Jake192469 yrsCounty Farm
1923/482Hale, Mark192365 yrsCounty Farm
1948/514Hale, Retta03 Oct 194864 yrsCounty Home
1924/38Hammer, Mary192472 yrsCounty Farm [buried at Fishery Cemetery, Erwin, TN]
1915/165Helton, Robert13 Apr 191585 yrs.County Farm
1918/505Henson, Elia191958 yrsCounty Farm
1927/14189Hicks, Bob192773 yrsCounty Farm
1921/293Higgins, Wm192160 yrsCounty Farm
1928/27437Houck, Bertha192835 yrsCounty Farm
1914/35Irwin, George18 Jan 191470 yrs.County Farm
1939/415Jarvis, Mary E.23 Oct 193920 Mar 1869Poor Farm
55/21586Johnson, James02 Aug 195544 yrsCounty Farm
1944/361Kennedy, John D04 Sep 194469 yrsWash. Co. Farm
1949/248Kidd, James R.21 May 19491880County Home
1951/90Leffew, Anna08 Feb 195190 yrsCounty Home
1927/14193Leonard, Robert192743 yrsCounty Farm
1935/222Lewis, W.M.02 Jun 1935Mar 1871County Farm
1942/134Light, Samuel L.15 Mar 194216 Jul 1885County Home
1928/27438Littleton, Mary192846 yrsCounty Farm
1919/512Lyons, David191948 yrsCounty Farm
1928/30899Mabley, Carney192880 yrsCounty Farm
1923/386Matson, John192352 yrsCounty Farm
1928/27439McCrocin, Jeff192885 yrsCounty Farm
1929/28276McKee, Bob192962 yrsCounty Farm
1926/10936McPherson, Maggie192635 yrsCounty Farm
1934/62Miller, Fanny18 Mar 193475 yrs.County Farm
1935/Miller, James15 May 193569 yrs.County Farm
1918/382Miller, Lon191845 yrsCounty Farm
1919/525Mills, James191970 yrsCounty Farm
1924/172Morton, Lincoln192451 yrsCounty Farm
1916/434Murray, Frank12 Nov 191646 yrs.County Farm
1914/34Neatherland, Monroe15 Jan 191422 yrs.County Farm
1942/328Rainbow, Bill30 Aug 194270 yrsPotter Field
1929/28278Ramey, Hugh192950 yrsCounty Farm
54/25827Ray, John03 Oct 195476 yrs.County Farm
1931/28249Salts, Henry20 Nov 193193 yrsPoor Farm
1915/266Salts, Sarah28 May 191553 yrs.County Farm
1918/61Slocum, Joseph191864 yrs.County Farm
1928/27437Spade, Lizzie192885 yrs.County Farm
1926/13307Taylor, Hattie192681 yrs.County Farm
1951/705Unknown Baby02 Dec 195102 Dec 1951County (found in woods)
1947/127Webb, Ida25 Feb 194764 yrs.Poor Farm
1916/36White, George11 Jan 191646 yrs.County Farm
1954/06698Wilkerson, Adeline15 Jan 195475 yrs.County Farm
1944/426Williams, John07 Dec 194470 yrs.Wash. Co. Farm

Death and Obituary Notices from the Jonesboro Herald and Tribune.
Volume VII, #24, 9 Mar 1876
Died: Daniel Coleman, well known by everyone in this place, died at the Poor House last Tuesday.

Vol. XXXI, #49, Wed. 28 Mar 190)
Death to a Mrs. Curtis at the County Home.

In 2004 the Washington County Farm closed the doors. It was the last operating County Poor Farm in the state of Tennessee. Throughout the Court Minutes, it is found that the County paid individuals to keep the poor in their homes.

New Washington County Cemetery

New Cemetery at the Poor Farm

Approximately 141 graves are in this cemetery.


Prior to 1986, burials were in a cow pasture (with no markers) at the County Farm, 330 County Farm Road, Jonesborough, TN. The cemetery was surveyed by Donna Briggs, and Betty Jane Hylton on December 30, 2002. Evidence of one hundred and forty-one graves was found. There could be more undetectable graves. Not all residents were buried at the County Farm Cemetery. Several were taken to family and church cemeteries.

Update: 8 November 2014, Gordon Edwards, Robert and Betty Jane Hylton surveyed the cemetery. An area has been fenced but approximately 36 feet or 4 more rows of graves are to the east of the fence. No additional graves were found north or south of the fenced area. There have been stories about Blacks being buried in a separate cemetery. Northeast of the fenced cemetery is a rocky knoll with graves. This could be where the Blacks were buried or it might be a family cemetery used by previous owners of the property.

Cemeteries on Greenfield County Farm 2014

Cemeteries on Greenfield County Farm

Present Washington County Cemetery

After 1986, residents were buried at 116 Frank Hardin Rd., behind Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Section 3 of the Mt. Zion Cemetery, Jonesborough, TN.

Source: U.S. Census Records of Washington Co. Poor Farm Residents, 1850-1930 

Surveyed, photographed and contributed to the Washington County, TNGen Web Site by Bud Cox, Donna Briggs, Dawn Peters and Betty Jane Hylton, Sept. 2005.

Posted 1 Oct 2005. Updated June 2008, July 2014, and November 2014