Spotsylvania in Spotsylvania County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Spotsylvania Courthouse and Jail
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
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, 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.
(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,
Erected by Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: African Americans.
Location. Marker has been reported permanently removed. It was located near 38° 12.05′ N, 77° 35.339′ W. Marker was in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker was 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. Touch for map. Marker was in this post office area: Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A Case of Negligence (here, next to this marker); Modification, Decay & Preservation (here, next to this marker); An Old Jail...A New Home (within shouting distance of this marker); A Final Journey (within shouting distance of this marker); Legend, Lore and Fact (within shouting distance of this marker); Lee’s Headquarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Amid Shot and Shell (within shouting distance of this marker); Berea Christian Church (within shouting distance of this marker).
Also see . . . Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on May 16, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 15, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 357 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 15, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.