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  • Town Historian

The Scottsville "Pokey"

During the late 1800s and early 1900s Scottsville had its own jail. It was located on the south side of Main Street near the Clydesdale and Kelly building, recently occupied by Six Month Smiles. The 40’ x 40’ property on which the jail was built was purchased in 1885 from Samuel McConkey, who had a blacksmith shop there. The cells were built of 2 x 4 studs laid flat on top of one another. The heavy batten doors were held in place with wide iron straps. A Wheatland Constable was on duty in the jail when was a prisoner was housed there. This 1904 photograph shows the Scottsville Citizen’s Band seated in front of the jail. As far as we know, it is the only existing photo of the building.

In 1916 the building was moved from Main Street to a site behind the firehouse. Both buildings were on the lot that is now occupied by the Municipal Building. An article published in the Caledonia Advertiser on July 24, 1918 was headlined, “Inspector Gives Report of Village Lockup.” The Monroe County jail inspector was George McLaughlin. He described the jail as “a small, detached, well-constructed wooden building.” He reported that 12 x 24 inch windows had been installed in the three cells, which were barred and screened. Each cell had a bunk provided with a mattress and blankets, which were in good condition, according to the report.

The inspector commented that the lockup “is not much used, no more than six times a year.” No lodgers had been housed during the past year. When it was decided to give up the local jail, George Richardson moved the building to 2 Wyvil Avenue, where he used it as a woodworking shop. It survives today, but has been incorporated into a house and is no longer recognizable. Bobbie Richardson Dunn inherited the keys to the jail from her father and has graciously given them to the Wheatland Historian’s Office to be preserved as part of our history. Interesting statistics included in the county jail inspector’s report stated that Scottsville’s population in 1918 was almost 900 and the Town of Wheatland about 2,500. John H. Gatenbee was the Town Supervisor, I. W. Salyers resident justice, and W. E. Vokes, chief of police.

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Website Revision 6.48 September 22, 2020