Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

160-0009 Debtors Prison

Debtors Prison
*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 debtor’s prison until 1849. The debtors prison was built in the southeast corner of the ten-foot-high 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. The building has since undergone renovation and now serves as a local history museum.

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

Updated August 7, 2018