On August 27, 1931 the Graham County Commissioners rented land located approximately 7 miles west of US 283 highway on what is commonly called the red line road, from John Debolt, and furnished it with milk cows, chickens, hogs, and a large garden spot.
Any resident unable to provide food and shelter for themself or family was eligible to live on this "poor farm".
Everyone who lived on the "poor farm" was required to help with the operation of the farm. This of course enabled the "poor" to be able to provide food for their families, which was impossible any other way. There were absolutely no jobs to be had anywhere, no matter what price one would quote to work for. Asking for a job to work all day long for a meal proved to be impossible to find.
Jim and Leita Pruitt were
named as the first manager or Poor Commissioner, as the title later became
known, and lived in the large stone house shown below.
There were at least four or five associated "shacks", and one larger building that housed people besides the main house, which housed the "Poor Commissioner" and also served as the dining room and meeting room for the entire colony.
Several of the families that lived there had children which attended school at the Leland School, reportedly at one time serving 30 to 35 pupils with only one teacher.
H. S. Patterson was appointed as the "Poor Commissioner" on July 2, 1934 to replace the Pruitts who moved back to Hill City.
The exact closing date of
the Poor Farm is not known, however it is known that the advent of the
W.P.A. made jobs available which made it possible for the families to leave
the Poor Farm, and migrate back to the towns. It is believed that the Poor
Farm closed sometime around 1935.