Lee, Harper: 1926 - 2016

Monroeville - Jail

  • A retired local teacher, Mary Tucker, recalls, "This building, used as a jail in the 30s, was still used into the 50s to house criminals. When the jail door was open, you could see the landing on the iron stairs with the trapdoor. They left the hanging rope over it for a long time after the electric chair took its place in 1927, I guess, as a deterrent to crime."
    Mr. A.B. Blass remembers, "At the jail, the windows on the outside had these screens on them over the bars. One day a lady came into my store, and she said to me, 'Do you have any hacksaw blades?' And I said, 'Yes, we have some.' She said, 'Do you have any real good ones?' I said, 'Certainly, we have some very good brands,' and I showed her some. She asked me if they would saw through jail bars. I said, 'Sure, they will.' She said she'd take three. The next day, the sheriff came to my store, and said, 'A.B., have you ever seen these blades?' I told him I sold them to a lady yesterday. He said, 'What did she ask? Will they saw through jail bars?' I said, 'Yes.' He said, 'Well, they did.' He said they escaped from the other side and went down a sewer pipe."

  • Information and picture courtesy The Monroe Museum
    From their book: Monroeville - The Search for Harper Lee's Maycomb; Charleston, SC, 1999.
    Order the book from Amazon (France, Germany, UK, USA)