November 6, 1890

Fremont, Ohio


If I was about to address a pioneer meeting I might give an account of the different old jails.  Some of our old residents, now living, can recall the old Sandusky county jails.  This I believe is the fifth.


The first jail in this county was situated on the banks of the river, in the rear of where the store of Krebs & Proctor now stands.  It was built in 1828 or earlier.  I recall the tradition of an attempt to escape of an inmate.  He made a hole in the side of the building with a crow bar.  He could not get through with his clothes on and took them off.  Even then he only got through to his hips.  The weather was bitter cold and he was compelled to remain in his uncomfortable position for some time.


The second jail was on the hill near the Lutheran parsonage.  It was built of logs, twenty feet square, and was built by Judge Howland in 1840. 


The third jail was an underground jail, built by Judge Knapp, where the present courthouse now is.


I also recall an attempt to escape from that jail.  John Strohl, the sheriff, had the prisoners bringing wood and one escaped.  The advertisement was as follows:


“Escaped—John Smith, 5 feet 8 inches high, stoutly built; wore gray overcoat and black seal cap.  He carried an armful of green wood.”


The present jail was then built.


The new jail, No. 5, is to be a good one, and let us hope it shall be built within the appropriation and there will be no crookedness connected with it.  Bad jails have been the cause of much crime during the last fifty years.  They were so built that it was impossible to train young men to be anything but criminals.