Washington County Jail

Washington County Jail (HM39K)

Location: Hagerstown, MD 21740 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 38.751', W 77° 43.24'

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Fugitive Slaves Detained at the County Jail

An African American Heritage Report prepared by the Heritage Resources Group for the City of Hagerstown in 2002 identified the following historical incidents which suggest that the Washington County Jail was a significant site of activity along the Underground Railroad in pre-Civil War era times:

A local petition was sent to the Maryland General Assembly in 1819 asking that the slave trade be halted in Washington County included a complaint that the Washington County Jail was being used to hold enslaved persons which was not the purpose of the public jail.

The County Grand Jury for 1825 complained that the County's jailer was holding enslaved persons in special cells and selling them to their owners for "unreasonably high prices." This 1825 report also stated that the jailer participated in catching slaves. The Grand Jury requested that the sheriff remove the jailer from his position. (Williams 1992:251)

In 1847, a group of freedmen attacked the Washington County Jail on Jonathan Street in an effort to free a number of fugitive salves. The raid was unsuccessful and the freedmen were jailed. (Brugger 1988:267 & Bridner 1971:33)"This exhibit was made possible by the African-American Historical Association of Western Maryland which works tirelessly to preserve African-American history in Hagerstown. It is important that this history, no matter what feelings it may conjure up, be preserved for future generations that may not be aware of what African-Americans endured during earlier period of Hagerstown's history and so that we may learn from our mistakes and create more positive conditions for our future generations."
HM NumberHM39K
Placed ByEach One Teach One African American Historical Association of Western Maryland
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 6:57am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 266552 N 4391989
Decimal Degrees39.64585000, -77.72066667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 38.751', W 77° 43.24'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 38' 45.06" N, 77° 43' 14.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)240, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 201-217 Jonathan St, Hagerstown MD 21740, US
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