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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail

 
 
Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
1. Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail Marker
Inscription. A formal system of adjudication and punishment has existed in this county since the first court was seated in Germanna in ~1722. Through the years, the County seat and court building moved four times until its final location here at the intersection of Courthouse Road and Brook Road in 1839.

The land on which the complex sits was owned by Lewis and Ann Rawlings and offered to the County for the purpose of erecting public buildings. Mr. M.T. Crawford was the contractor and, when complete, the County had a new court house, an office for the clerk, and a jail (above right).

The Court House withstood several key Civil War battles, but was badly damaged. It was used during and after the war as a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers. In the aftermath of the war, it was decided that the structural damage to the Court House was too severe to be renovated.

Escalating costs for red bricks forced the architect and builders to seek materials elsewhere. A quarry in Alexandria, Virginia provided the less expensive ivory-colored bricks for the building. Complete in 1901, it was the sixth court house used on four different sites.

In 1877, Massachusetts photographer W.H. Tipton was on assignment to document the progress of communities impacted by the Civil War. On a tour of Civil War battlefields,
Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail Markers image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
2. Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail Markers
he took the only known photograph of the Spotsylvania County jail in use. Two young African American sisters, Mary D. WaIler and Jennie E. Boggs, had been awaiting trial for almost one year on charges of felonious assault, grand larceny and housebreaking when they posed for him on May 6, 1877. Ten months later, the attorney for the Commonwealth declined further prosecution and the ladies were set free.

(captions)
(upper left) Red brick Spotsylvania Court House after the Civil War, c. 1866 courtesy Library of Congress
(bottom center) Courtesy Spotsylvania County brochure, undated.
(upper right) Spotsylvania County Jail (undated) courtesy Library of Congress
(lower right) Spotsylvania residents Mary D. WaIler (l) and Jennie E. Boggs (r) on May 6, 1877, in Spotsylvania County Jail awaiting trial. Courtesy Virginia Historical Society

The African American Heritage Trail is supported in part by a Preserve America grant administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. This product is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Erected by
Spotsylvania County Jail image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 15, 2014
3. Spotsylvania County Jail
Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail.
 
Location. 38° 12.05′ N, 77° 35.339′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is at the intersection of Courthouse Road (Business Virginia Route 208) and Judicial Center Lane (County Route 631), on the right when traveling north on Courthouse Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Spotsylvania County Jail (a few steps from this marker); Lee’s Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Battle of Spotsylvania (within shouting distance of this marker); Spotsylvania County Honor Roll (within shouting distance of this marker); Spotsylvania Court House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Spotsylvania Court House (about 300 feet away); Booth Hall (about 400 feet away); Confederate Soldiers (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Spotsylvania.
 
Also see . . .  Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on May 16, 2014.)
 
Categories. African Americans
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 230 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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