The local tavern frequently substituted for a jail in Northampton County as early as 1645. It was almost two decades later before the county prison consisted of a house known as the "new store", belonging to Capt. William Jones and standing near the site of his residence, was used. And for its use, the court allowed him 600 pds. of tobacco from year to year. A change was apparently made before the end of 1664, since a part of the court-house was serving (at that time) as a jail. However, there was no permanent custodian chosen to prevent prisoners from escaping and it was necessary for the sheriff, being held responsible, to appoint a special guardian. Source: Northampton County Records, Orders Nov. 7, 1645; vol. 1657-64, p. 19.
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