Old Webster County Jail, Circa 1856, Preston

This wooden jail was built soon after Kinchafoonee County became Webster County and served that purpose until 1910. It’s among the only antebellum jails still standing in Georgia. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett writes: This is the jail in which Susan Eberhart and Enoch Spann were housed from 1872-1873, when they both were hanged for murdering Spann’s invalid wife. This is a tragic tale of justice, mercy, ignorance, poverty and mental illness. 

It was unheard of for a white woman to be executed in 19th-century Georgia, and many, though aware of Eberhart’s guilt, were opposed to it. The case was a media sensation, prompting former Confederate vice-president Alexander Stephens to opine in his newspaper, the Atlanta Daily Sun: “the most interesting case of crime that ever occurred in Georgia, and which is certainly one of the strangest in history of crimes.”

Dr. Burnett has just published a book about this case and you can contact her here for information on ordering.

National Register of Historic Places

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8 Comments

Filed under --WEBSTER COUNTY GA--, Preston GA

8 responses to “Old Webster County Jail, Circa 1856, Preston

  1. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett

    Readers of “The Hanging of Susan Eberhart,” might also find further reading of interest. Donald Eugene Wilkes, Jr. (Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia School of Law), has written a very insightful review of the book with further information from a legal aspect. If you wish to read it, Google “Flagpole, Athens, GA.” and then put “Susan Eberhart” in the search bar.

    Also, for anyone wishing to research historic Georgia newspapers digitized online, go to Google, and put in a search for “lavavored”………it will take you to the 1873 article about Susan Eberhart, and also to the database (free) of these old newspapers. From that page, you can put in your criteria in the search bar. There is much fascinating information to be found!!

  2. James Flournoy

    What a building! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett

    This is the jail in which Susan Eberhart and Enoch Spann were housed from 1872-1873, when they both were hanged for murdering Spann’s invalid wife. I have just published a book, true story, on this case, titled “The Hanging of Susan Eberhart,” available on Amazon. This is a tragic tale of justice, mercy, ignorance, poverty and mental illness. I first became aware of this story last year, while researching my Great-Great-Grandfather George Lawson Stapleton Jr. from Jefferson County, Ga.
    Dr. Fay Stapleton Burnett, Winder, Ga.

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