Clermont County Genealogical Society


The First One Built in 1800

Curious Customs of Those Early Days
in Which the Whipping Post was
the Dread of Evil-Doers.
The County has had Five Jails - A complete List
of all the Sheriff's From the Year 1800 up to
the Present Time. - An interesting Account
of Whippings, Etc., Etc.

The first jail in Clermont county was a log building, situated in Williamsburg, just between the old log court house and log hotel, all really connected together and under one roof, and built and owned by Thomas Moms.

This was the jail legally made so on the 4th day of February 1801, and so continued for some time until the authorities built one - still of logs, but larger and slronger - on a site by itself; concerning which, the records and history are silent as to the precise time of its construction. It contained at various times many luckless debtors, for in those days it was the custom, as well as the law, to imprison men for failure to pay their debts. The principal violators of the laws in those early days were horse-theives, the terror of early settlers, whose homes were often miles apart and whose farms were largely covered with dense forests. On these offenders the law had no mercy, and was applied to them sternly and promptly. Occasionally one would be imprisoned for assault, petit larceny or burglary.

In front of this jail stood the whipping-post, or rather posts. Two pieces of oak about six inches square were set in the ground about five feet apart and projected the same distance from the earth. To the top of these the culprit was tied by extended hands, while the "cat-o-nine-tails" was applied on his naked back with cruel vigor. This was the most common way of punishing horse-thieves.

At the October term of Common Pleas Court in 1808, John Clark, for stealing a horse of John Gaskins, was found guilty, and sentenced to be whipped twenty-five stripes on his naked back that afternoon at three o'clock; pay saidGaskins fifty dollars (the value of his horse) also a fine of ten dollars and costs; to be imprisoned three days in jail, and not to be let out until the restitution, fine and costs were all paid. The hour for the whipping soon came and the Sheriff, Levi Rogers, or rather his deputy Win. Stout (the name is very suggestive), administered the judical whipping to the complete satisfaction of the court, bar, public officials, townspeople, and in short all save the down-cast and back-sore offender.

At one time two horse thieves named Killwell and Joseph Knott were confined in this old log jail, where Killwell slipped off his handcuffs and escaped.

Pursuit being instituted, he changed his appearance as much as possible in a successful disguise, and joined the pursuers in their efforts to recapture him, asking every one he met as he went through the country, whether they had seen anything of Killwell, the nortorious outlaw and horse thief, and succeeded by his coolness and daring, in fleeing the country for good.

His accomplice in crime, Joseph Knott, had his trial and escaped thus: When the jury returned their verdict, "Joseph Knott (not) guilty," his attorney, taking advantage of the play on words, exclaimed, "Joseph not guilty! Pert Joseph!" and before the court recovered itself or the Sheriff had collected his wits, Joseph had "put" for the woods and made good his flight, but was afterwards shot on Stonelick by a posse of citizens who had suffered from his depredations.

Another whipping by judicial decree in front of the old log jail was that of one William Thomas. At the August term of,-~ court in 1810, he was found guilty of horse stealing. The court then asked the prisoner if he had anything to say why sentence should not be pronounced against him, and having nothing to offer, the court said: "William Thomas, it is your sentence that as seven o'clock to-morrow morning you receive seventy-five stripes on your naked back, pay a fine of $500 and costs of prosecution and be imprisoned twenty days." The records show that on the next morning the Sheriff, Oliver Lindsey, administered the judicial flagellation and charged it up promptly in his fees, which the county had to pay, as the execution against Thomas was returned "nulla hona": (no good) but a sore and stiff back.

Finally the old jail had become an eye-sore on account of its inefficiency, many persons escaping therefrom, so at the March meeting of the Commissioners, in 1809, it was decided to build a new jail. The new structure was to be of stone instead of logs. On the 17th day of October of the same year the contract for building the jail was let to John Charles for $2986, who gave bond and security for the faithful performance of his contract. This jail was two years in building and was not completed until December, 1811. The first man whipped in the new jail yard was one James Lewis, who was found guilty of an assault with intent to murder, by a jury composed of the following well-known citizens: William Mergrue, John Ross, James McCall, Jesse Fee, Samuel Wardlow, George Little, John Kite, William Ross, James Ralston, Stephen Medaris, William Judd, and Allen Woods. Many of these names are still familiar in the county. Thomas Morris ably defended the prisoner, but with all his ingenuity and eloquence he could not secure for him a new trial. So James Lewis was sentenced to be whipped at 4 o'clock that afternoon on his naked back with fifty stripes save one, be imprisoned in the county jail 65 days, pay a fine of $500. and the costs of the prosecution.

In December, 1825, the county seat having been removed from Williamsburg to Batavia, the Commissioners found it necessary to erect a suitable jail at the latter place. Therefore, on January 2, 1826, Ezekiel Dimmitt was awarded the contract for $949. and entered into a bond for the construction of the same with Daniel Duckwall and John Mitchel as securities. This jail was located on that part of the public square where the county buildings now stands, cornering in the alley and now occupied by the county treasury. It was completed January 12, 1827. The fourth jail the county ever had was built in 1837 where the present jail now stands, and on the same site that the new one is to be erected. It was built by John W. Robinson and cost the county about $3000. Edward Frazier was the first Sheriff to occupy this jail.

In the spring of 1841, the jail was burned down, and on June 18, 1841, the commissioners began the arrangements for a new one. On July 24, 1841, the building of the new jail was sold out to William H. Robinson and Alexander Stark, the lowest bidders, for $1349. The contract called for the side walls of the new building to be built up two thicknesses of brick above the upper joists. January 10, 1842, the rebuilt jail was received. Michael Cowen, elected Sheriff to occupy the rebuilt jail, which, with various improvements and repairs, has remained the common jail until the present time. It never has been a suitable or safe place far keeping prisoners, as has been demonstrated by the frequent escapes from within its walls. Just a half century ago it was built and has contained hundreds of desperate characters within its dismal cells.

Work on the new jail will be commenced April 1st, and it is to be completed by October 1, 1891. It will be modern in all its appointments, the jailer's residence being situated in front, and the jail proper, containing ten iron cells, in the rear.


1800- William Perry, Wiiamsburg Township

1801- Peter Light, Williamsburg

1802- John Boude, Pleasant

1804- Joseph Jackson, Washington

1805- Daniel Kain, Williamsburg

1805-7- Levi Rogers, Williamsburg

1809- Allen Wood, Pleasant

1809-11-Oliver Lindsey, Williamsburg

1813- George Ely, Williamsburg

1815-17- Oliver Lindsey, Williamsburg

1819-21- Holly Raper, Williamsburg

1823- Daniel Hankins, Williamsburg

1825- Robert Tweed, Williamsburg

1825-27-Holly Raper, Williamsburg

1829-31-William Curry, Washington

1833-35-William Thomas, Union

1837-39-Edward Frazier, Tate

1841-43-Michael Cowen, Batavia

1845-47-Samuel Walraven, Ohio

1849-51-Joseph Kyle, Union

1853- George W. Richards, Franklin

1855-57-W. W. Perkins, Franklin

1859-Nicholas Gatch, Union

1861-James Crosson, Wayne

1863-James W. Hill, Tate

1865-James Crosson, Wayne

1867-69-Win. H. Picklelheimer, Wayne

1871-John R. Woodlief, Miami

1873-75-Stephen Cramer, Franklin

1877-79-Lemuel Teasdale, Batavia

1881-Thomas Brown, Batavia

1883-85-William B. Lloyd, Tate

1887-J.C. Tatman, Batavia

1889-George A. Keen, Franklin

Only nine out of the entire number are now living to wit:

Perkins, Crosson, Pickelheimer, Woodlief, Cramer, Teasdale, Lloyd, Tateman and Keen.

From the March 4, 1891 Clermont Sun,


Birth Records
Early Clermont Co. Births 1856-1857
First Presbyterian Churches of Monroe
At Nicholsville & Bantam
Baptisms of Children
Anderson Township Births 1906-1907
Old Bethel Church Baptisms
Old Bethel Church Baptisms 1894-1908
Early Births 1856
Early Marriages 1800 - 1808
 Marriage Book 13 1874-1876
Goshen M. E. Church

Funerals Conducted by Rev. Hezekiah Hill 1862-1908
The Old Village Graveyard

Deaths of Residents Over 75 in 1875

Infirmary Discharges That Mention a Burial Place

Death Dates from I.O.O.F. Lodge #313

Early Clermont Deaths from The Ohio Sun
Obituaries From the Clermont Sun 1890-1891

Early Deaths from Clermont Sun 1855
More Deaths 1857-1859
Stirling & Moore Funeral Records 1888
1880 Mortality Census
Goshen 1875 Quadrennial Census
Quadrennial Census, Batavia, 1847

Quadrennial Census, Batavia, 1855

Incidents in The Early History of Clermont County
Stonelick Historical Notes
Vacation of a Road in
Union Township

Brown and Clermont County Families Mentioned
in the 1880 Clinton County History
Day Book For Clarke & Frambes Mills 1838
Early Naturalizations from Common Pleas Minutes
Citizenship Papers 1844-1900
Names of New Found Naturalization Applicants
Veterans in Various Cemeterys
Revolutionary War Soldiers

Clermont Courier Ads November 18, 1863
Mexican War Veterans
Revolutionary War Veterans
Post Office
Post Marks of Clermont County
Clermont Postmasters 1800 - 1930
Early Unclaimed Letters

More Unclaimed Letters Unclaimed Letters 1855
Bible Records
Manning Bible
Banister Bible

Bible Records of James McKinnie 1830

Bible Records Index Volume Two

Bible Records Index Volume Three
Old Bethel Church and Cemetery

History of Old Bethel Church 1868

Calvary Church and Cemetery Washington Twp
Edenton Church 1861


Perin Mills in 1863
Goshen- Land Of Milk and Honey

First Settlers of Jackson Township

Legal Voters of Goshen Township 1855

Batavia in1847
Poll Book Goshen Township 1853
1840 Account Book, Laurel Ohio

Edenton School # 4 Pupils


Pensions 1890

More Pensions 1890
Indentures 1825 - 1831

Index To General Store Account Book 1816-1819

Vital Statistics From An Old Record Book

Items from Clermont Courier 1836
Clermont Pensioners 1883

Ohio Pioneers That Moved to Texas

Persons on the Petit Jury 1880

Jails and Sheriffs
Items From Early Clermont Courier 1852
Meeting of Patriarchs 1882
Surrender Records From Childrens Home
Gazetteer 1882

Articles From The Clermont Sun 1889
River Boatmen
Sale of Delinquent Lands