Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

 

EASTHAM PRISON FARM
The Eastham Prison Farm is located at FM-230, 5 miles SW of Weldon, Houston County, TX.

 

The Eastham family purchased a 12,790 acre plantation in 1891.  Property was leased soon afterward to the Texas State Prison System for farming on a shared basis.  The landowner supplied seeds, machinery, tools and mules, while the State provided labor to plant, tend and harvest the crops.  The state received 60 percent of the cotton and 50 percent of the sugar cane.  The State bought the land in 1915 after the death of Mrs. Delha Eastham.  Eastham Prison Farm was among the first to construct a maximum security building in 1919.  The State Ferry, erected in 1920 by convict labor, crossed the Trinity River into Madison County.  Prisoners used picks and shovels to cut into the steep river banks to build a road wide enough for wagon travel.  Unrest among the prisoners was curtailed when noted penologist O.B. Ellis, General Manager of the prison system including Eastham, ushered in more progressive treatment of the inmates.  Advancements included improved living and working conditions, introduction of a library, gymnasium, craft shop and chapel, and an education program.  Eastham continues to be a major part of the State's prison system.  Community benefits include improved roads and a source of employment.

Source: Texas Historical Commission


Click on the photo's below to view a larger Picture. 
 
 
Guards - 1918
Submitted by Carolyn Williams Freeman
 
Eastham Prison Unit - 1918
Guards - Irvin Wilson "Wils" Williams & Steve Bynum
Submitted by Carolyn Williams Freeman
 
 

Old Plantation Cemetery
Eastham Prison