Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

160-0009 Debtors' Prison

Debtors' Prison
Photo credit: David Edwards/DHR, 2022

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/15/1976

NRHP Listing Date 11/07/1976

NRHP Reference Number 76002087

This landmark in the Accomack County courthouse complex is the county’s oldest public building and a relic of the archaic custom of incarcerating debtors. The austere little structure was built in 1783 as a jailer’s residence and was converted to a debtors’ prison in 1824, at which time iron bars and heavy oak batten doors were added. It served as a debtors’ prison until 1849. The debtors’ prison was built in the southeast corner of the ten-foot-high walled jail yard with the north wall of the building forming one section of the wall. The jail and the wall were demolished by the county in 1909, and custody of the debtors’ prison was given to the Drummondtown Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia). The building has since undergone renovation and serves as a local history museum in the Accomac Historic District.

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: June 2, 2022