Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

073-0007 Debtors Prison

Debtors Prison
Photo credit: Jana Bean, 2017

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 08/15/1972

NRHP Listing Date 09/22/1972

NRHP Reference Number 72001412

The present day settlement of Worsham was founded in 1745 and served as the Prince Edward County seat until 1872, when the court moved to Farmville. The 1855 Old Prince Edward County Clerk’s Office and the solid little structure authorized in 1786 to serve as the “Gaol for Debtors” are the tiny community’s only remaining public buildings. Constructed by Richard Bigg using square hewn logs for its walls and closely set squared logs for both floor and ceiling, the jail was built with security in mind. Debtors generally were jailed separate from criminals. The jailing of debtors was abandoned in the early 19th century, and by 1820 the jail had been converted to a residence. The Debtors Prison was acquired in 1950 by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia), which restored it and deeded it to Prince Edward County in 1976.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: February 2, 2022