If you love a good scary story then you’ll love everything about the Historic Lawrenceville Jail. Here’s everything you need to know about this historic site’s haunted history.
The Historic Lawrenceville Jail was built in 1832 and sits just west of the courthouse square in downtown Lawrenceville. It is a small building situated at the end of an alley and was still used as a jail up to 1940. While the building was outfitted for electricity at some point in its’ history, it never was updated to include indoor plumbing. If not for the compelling story that happened there, it would surely go unnoticed amongst that modern buildings off the square.
Legend has it that the jail is haunted by the ghost of a former slave named Elleck. As the story goes, Elleck and his wife Betsy were having dinner one night when their master, Colonel James Austin barged in drunk and belligerent, demanding access to Betsy. Elleck fought him off as Betsy fled, and accidentally caused his death as Austin fell backwards from the top of a ladder that he was chasing Elleck to the top of. Elleck went straight to the courthouse and waited all night for it to open so that he could confess the incident, hoping his honesty would keep him from being executed. The courts, however, found him guilty and sentenced Elleck to be hanged. But before he could be executed, Elleck attempted escape by chipping away at his cell wall with a piece of metal from his bed. The guards were alerted to his attempt and chained him to the floor by the wrists and ankles, where he sang a mournful song for his beloved Betsy until a month later when he was finally hanged.
It is said that you can still hear Elleck singing for his wife in his old jail cell. Patrons of local ghost tours have claimed to hear an extra someone singing when they sing in his old cell and gaze upon the chipped spot on the wall where an innocent man once tried to break free. Local shopkeepers also experience strange events, claiming to have seen books fly off the shelves of their stores in the nighttime.
About Your Visit
If you plan to visit the Historic Lawrenceville Jail, consider booking a local ghost tour which will allow you nighttime access to the jail, along with spooky facts and other exciting haunted sites along the tour. The jail is located off of Lawrenceville Hwy. behind McCray’s Tavern.
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