BURLINGTON COUNTY PRISON
|CLICK ON FRONT DOOR FOR SITE INFO!!!
|CHECK THE WINDOW TO THE RIGHT
BURLINGTON PRISON SITE HISTORY
Burlington City ,
founded in 1677, was the first settlement in Burlington County , the capital of the Province of West Jersey and the county
seat until 1796. The first jail was located in the basement of the courthouse. This was replaced in 1767 by a separate stone
structure that was used until 1811 when the Burlington County Prison in Mount Holly was completed and ready for use. When
the county seat was moved to Mount Holly in 1796, the federal-style courthouse was built in the same year. It took another
fifteen years, however, to purchase land for the prison site and have plans drawn up and approved by the freeholders. The
purchase price of the land was $2,000 in 1807 and, when finally completed, the new prison's construction cost a grand total
The outside of the building has changed very little. The massive front door, the large hinges and the lock
are original. The interior vaulted ceilings of poured concrete, and brick and stone construction is also much as it was when
the facility first opened. The interior is whitewashed, as it would have been when first occupied. The cell doors are also
original and many were fabricated in place.
As formidable as the prison seems, it was not
escape-proof. The walls were scaled and the roof penetrated numerous times in its history. The preferred routes to freedom
seem to have been through the roof of the jail and the passageway to the warden's house next door. One notable escape occurred
in 1875. A hole was punched through the ceiling of an upper corridor cell to gain access to the roof and the escape of four
men was made good by climbing down a woodpile next to the prison yard wall. A fifth accomplice, too large to fit through the
hole and incensed at being left behind, reportedly sounded the alarm. Despite a quick response by the warden, it seems that
at least some of these escapees were never caught.
Many criminals were destined to spend their last days on earth in the Burlington County Jail. State
law mandated that criminals convicted of a capital crime were to be executed in the County in which they were found guilty
and Burlington County was no exception. Numerous public hangings were conducted in the prison yard on a gallows erected for
each occasion. The last such execution was the double hanging of Rufus Johnson and George Small. The two men were convicted
of murdering Florence Allinson of Moorestown, an English-born governess at a refuge for homeless children. Solved within days
by the celebrated Burlington County detective Ellis H. Parker, the men were hanged on March 24, 1906, two months after the
The sound you hear was recorded in March of 2009 an is an actual EVP from the prison. It is
the sound of someone "chopping vegetables" and if you have ever done this yourself, you will instantly recognize
this sound. It was recorded in the baseent of the prison, in the kitchen area when no one was around.
click here to play BURLINGTON PRISON
Remember, ghosts were people too!
Robert Mills (1781-1855) was born in Charleston , South Carolina to a well-established Scottish family that settled
there in 1770. One of six children, Mills was singled out early to follow a professional career and completed his classical
course of study at Charleston College in 1800. His interest in architecture was probably developed and influenced by his architect
uncle, Thomas Mills of Dundee , Scotland and his contact with the noted English architect James Hoban, who lived in Charleston
during Mills' college years. In fact, Mills began his formal training as a draftsman under Hoban who was then working
on the Capitol building in Washington , D.C.
In 1803 Mills drew
the attention of President Thomas Jefferson who asked him to assist in the design of Monticello , Jefferson's plantation
home in the foothills of Virginia 's Blue Ridge Mountains . He resided there for two years during which he developed a
very deep friendship with Jefferson . With letters of introduction from Hoban and Jefferson, Robert Mills began practice in
1805 under Benjamin Latrobe, the celebrated English-born architect responsible for, among other projects, the interiors of
the U. S. Capitol. Mills continued under Latrobe until 1808 when he struck out on his own in private practice.
During this period (1808-1830) Robert Mills married and
moved to Philadelphia , Baltimore , Charleston and finally settled in Washington , D.C. It was during his tenure in Philadelphia
that Mills was awarded the commission to design the Burlington County Prison that was constructed in 1810-11. The building
was one of Robert Mills' first designs as an independent architect and is a fine example of his ability to identify and
solve some of the most difficult structural, safety, and utilization issues of the day.
1836 President Andrew Jackson appointed Mills to the position of Federal Architect and Engineer. During his 16-year tenure
he played an essential role in this country's early development including directing the design and construction of the
U.S. Treasury Building, U.S. Patent Office, and the U.S. Post Office. He also designed numerous churches, houses, and monuments
along the eastern seaboard. Two of the most renowned are the Washington Monument in Baltimore and the National Monument in
Washington , D.C. The latter was an engineering accomplishment of international acclaim and the tallest single edifice in
the world at the time.
The original "GALLOWS where men were hung up until the 1960's!!!!
Joel Clough brutally stabbed his girlfriend to death with a knife. Sentenced
to death, he escaped from the prison but was quickly recaptured. He spent his final days in the death row
cell known as "the dungeon". Clough was hanged in 1833. Shortly after his death, guards
and inmates heard moaning and the sounds of rattling chains from the empty cell. They
also claimed to see apparitions and items levitating in the cell. During the restoration of the building
in 1999, workers reported strange events such as loud noises, voices, and quick temperature changes. Missing items turned
up in rooms the workers had not even entered. These and many other inexplicable events have drawn dozens
of paranormal and ghost research teams from across the county to the museum to investigate.
GO TO PRISON WEB SITE, Click HERE
the sopranos theme