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Essex County (Massachusetts) Prison Records

Essex County (Massachusetts) Prison Records

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Open Finding Aid

ESSEX COUNTY (MASSACHUSETTS) PRISON RECORDS, 1688-1858

Sponsor:

Processing of this collection was funded by a grant from the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission).





Collection Summary

Repository:The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Title:Essex County (Massachusetts) Prison Records
Dates:1688/1858
Quantity:.5 linear feet (1 box)
Abstract:This collection contains materials regarding the jails of three towns in Essex County, Massachusetts: Salem; Ipswich; and Newburyport. This collection is organized into three series by town.
Identification:MSS 341

Series List

SERIES I. Salem
A. Salem Jail
B. Salem Stone Jail
SERIES II. Ipswich
SERIES III. Newburyport
A. Newburyport Jail
B. Newburyport Courthouse

Scope and Content Note

This collection is organized into three series by town. Series I. Salem consists of subseries of the Salem Jail and the Salem Stone Jail. Series II. Ipswich consists of the Ipswich jail. Series III. Newburyport consists of subseries of the Newburyport Jail and Courthouse. Each subseries is arranged chronologically. Document types include legal papers, deeds, memos, construction bills, and receipts for boarding prisoners.


Historical Sketch

This collection contains materials regarding the jails of three towns in Essex County, Massachusetts: Salem; Ipswich; and Newburyport.


In 1811, land was purchased in Salem to replace the original wooden jail, Salem Jail, and build a new stone jail. The building and land that the original Salem Jail stood on was on was sold. The new jail, known in this collection as the Salem Stone Jail, was constructed from 1811-1813, and then renovated from 1844-1845. The complex consisted of three buildings, the jail, the jailkeeper's house, and a barn. The jail was in operation until 1991, and it is now a restaurant and residences.


In 1652, the second prison in the Massachusetts Bay Colony was built in Ipswich. In 1689, overflow prisoners from Salem during the Salem Witch Trials were held at the jail. In 1812, sixteen British sailors were held at the jail after firing upon Plum Island. The Ipswich High School now occupies the land that the original jail was on.


In 1744, the Newburyport Old Jail was erected on Federal Street. In 1824 the Old Stone Jail was built, and the Old Jail was sold, with the proceeds going to Essex County. The building was later converted to residences. The Old Stone Jail, located at 10 Auburn Street, included the jail, jailkeeper's house, and a barn. In 1923 the property was sold and the barn now serves as an antique shop.


Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings.

Dane, Nathan, 1752-1835
Courts
Massachusetts--History--Colonial period--1600-1775
Massachusetts--Politics and government
Prisons
Ipswich (Mass.)
Newburyport (Mass.)
Salem (Mass.)
Deeds
Receipts

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.


Administrative Information

Copyright

Request for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Preferred Citation

Essex County (Massachusetts) Prison Records, MSS 341, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass.

Provenance

The provenance of this collection is unknown.

Processing Information

Collection processed and cataloged by Marissa Szumowski, November 2011.


Related Material

Bennett, Lee. "About Ipswich." Ipswich Bennett. The Descendants of Henry Bennett of Ipswich, n.d. Web. 18 Nov 2011. http://ipswichbennett.com/AboutIpswich.html


Currier, John J. History of Newburyport Massachusetts 1764-1905. 1. Somsersworth: New Hampshire Co., 1977.


Felt, Joseph B. History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton. Cambridge: 1834.


"Historic Salem Jail." Historic Salem. Historic Salem Inc., 31 Jul 2011. Web. 18 Nov 2011. http://historicsalem.org/historic-salem-jail-50-st-peter-street/


Newton, Elizabeth H., Alice Keenan, and Mary P. Conley. 350 Years of Ipswich History. Ipswich: The Anniversary Committee, 1984.


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