Old Phillips County Jail

2
City/Town: Barton
Location Class: ResidentialGovernment
Year Built: 1900's
Year Abandoned: 1970's
Status: AbandonedEndangeredNational Register of Historic Places
Photographer: Brandon Phillips

The old Phillips County Jail (Penal Farm) was built by the WPA, and is on the list of historic places. Emmett Roscopf, was the warden, in the 50s and 60s. The Phillips County Penal Farm, and other penal farms in the state, were closed by the Federal Court in the 70s because the structures was falling apart.  Aside from its use as a jail this was considered a home for many years by the warden. There was a living quarters on top of this structure where Emmett Roscopf and his wife lived. Boxing matches on Saturday nights . The place was pretty much self sufficient. They raised hogs, sweet potatoes, chickens, peanuts, and had a big garden. Visiting day on Sundays when the men would ask Emmett how much time they had left on their sentences. They had a pair of mules. There was a barn in the back where they kept the mules, and boxes where the sweet potatoes would cure. Peanuts were dried on the tin roof. A white board fence ran along the road. Some of the inmates tried escaping every so often. The runners were put in leg irons or a ball/ chain.  They’d drag out an outhouse for the visitors on Sundays. The men drug a net through a slough down around Baytown to catch fish for Saturday supper. They’d throw the rough fish up on the bank and save the good fish. Anybody with more history please Contact Us, or comment below.  Any information is great!

2 Comments

  1. nonya dambizness on

    Y'all act like they weren't hang and treating black people bad back then half of them was kids fuck that place and the mufu's who ran it

  2. I am age 69. As a teenager, my friend's uncle was the Foreman or whatever of the County Prison Farm. My friend's Aunt and Uncle had living quarters above the jail. There was a room on the ground floor that was used for guests. That is where my friend and I stayed when I visited her. Her uncle would lock us in so no one could get to us. My parents operated a country store, Gibson General Store and later my mother had a "juke joint" called Wilma's place. Both were located between Poplar Grove and Barton. I recall the prison farm truck stopping and one of the trustees coming in a buying cans of beer for prisoners who had behaved and worked hard that day.

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