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Jersey County First Jail
The First jail for the confinement of persons charged with crime was in the original courthouse. There was some changes in the location, made by the building of an addition to the courthouse, but this jail was burned in Janruary 1884, when the courthouse was consumed by fire, and four prisoners, Emile Koehler(charged with horse stealing), Walter Dunsten( charged with murder), August Schultz and James Griggs (both charged with Larceny), were suffocated. During the interim between the burning of the courthouse and jail at that time, and the erection of a new jail, in 1885, prisoners were sent to Carrollton, Greene County, to be cared for. [Source: History of Jersey County - 1919] Transcribed by KPArticle of An Account of the Jails and Poor Houses in Illinois - No. 6
The Jail of Jersey County, at Jerseyville, occupies, very disavantageously, a portion of the first story of the court house, on the open passage opposite the county offices, and as the dungeon and the debtor's room both open immediately upon this, the prisoners are exposed to the most unrestrained communications with any and all whom business or idle curiosity conduct in that direction. The dungeon is apparently quite secure, and may be said neither to be lighted or ventalted, so very deficient is the provision for these puposes, nor can it at any season be warmed or made dry by fire, the doors are double and strongly built; the small apertures in these alone admit light and air; the dimensions of this place are 7 feet by 13, and 10 high. The debtor's room, so called, was clean, well ventilated and lighted, and quite comfortable at the season of my visit (July 10, 1846). It was not provided with the means of being warmed in inclement weather. There was but one prisoner at the time above referred to.
Jersey County has established a poor house, in which were four inmates in July, for whose support over and above teh productions of the farm is paid $225 per annum. The farm comprises of 166 acres, with a good one story brick house, cost of farm, farming implements and furniture, $1281 40, -- which may be considered its fair valuation at this time, as it is stated. One of the inmates of the poor house is an idiot. I have received direct accounts of four insane in the county, whose malady is more or less violent at various times. Two I should judge to be in a condition to be benefitted under hospital treatment, and all might be rendered more comfortable in such an institution.
[Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections, Sangamon Journal, Illinois State Journal, 22 April 1847] Transcribed by KP