The Jailhousejailhouse

Port Tobacco has had at least three jails. The first was built around 1730 with the construction of the first courthouse. It was replaced around 1812, followed by the third jail which was completed in 1860. In 1896 a jail was built in the new county seat of La Plata, ending the use of the one in Port Tobacco. During its tenure the jail in Port Tobacco saw several breakouts by inmates, lynchings, and incarceration of two leaders of a local slave revolt. The photograph on the right shows the gap between the two wings of the Court House that survived the 1892 fire. Just behind (indicated by the red arrow) is the only known picture of the 1860 jailhouse. In 2008, the Port Tobacco Archaeology Project team uncovered part of the jailhouse foundaton (see below).excavation of jailhouse

foundation plan view

Of course, this is the foundation of only the latest of three jails. When it was completed in 1860, the County Commissioners authorized the demolition of the 1812 jail house. Clearly its remains are somewhere near our excavations.