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Though it was torn down in 1919, the old Charles Town jail was where John Brown was held before his hanging, sitting diagonally across from the courthouse. John Brown was taken by Robert E. Lee and his men on October 17, 1859 and transported to the jail while awaiting trial. He remained there until his hanging on December 2, 1859. In it's spot now stands the Charles Town post office.


  • Old Jail in Charles Town; last photo to be taken before it was torn down in 1919

John Brown and his raiders were taken to the Charles Town jail, which was torn down in 1919. It sat diagonally across from the courthouse, where the post office now sits. Brown was beaten by Lt. Israel Green during his capture and requested a delay for his trial due to injury, which was not granted. He received medical attention while in jail and was carried to court on a stretcher. He refused rescue attempts and spent his time furthering the cause of abolition through letter-writing and interviews with journalists. While incarcerated he also developed a friendship with his jailer, John Avis