The Prince William County Jail at Brentsville, Virginia has a colorful and tragic history. Construction of the Jail began in 1820 and was completed by 1822. A large percentage of the jail population during pre-Civil War days consisted of African slaves awaiting sale to plantation owners. Captured runaway slaves also made up a large percentage of the jail’s population. Runaway slaves attempted to burn their way out of the structure in the 1840s. The jail also housed male and female debtors and common criminals, segregated by race and gender.
The Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation is currently raising money to create a museum exhibit and interpretive services for the Jail, which is the final building to be restored at the 29 acres Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, which includes the 1822 Courthouse and Jail, an 1850s log home, an 1870s church, a traditional one room school house, an archaeology trail and a nature trail.
The Brentsville Jail Museum when completed will house a number of period rooms such as the Jailor’s Office, Maximum Security Cell, Debtor’s Cell, Victorian era dormitory (reflecting the building’s history as a school), and a Korean War era master bedroom (reflecting the building’s history as a private residence).
The Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation invites you to help preserve history for the enjoyment and enlightenment of generations to come.
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