Southern Belle's History

History from a southern belle.

Covington County Jail

Hank Williams Sr

Hank Williams Sr

Added to the National Historic Register in 1989, the Covington County Jail sits behind the newest court house in Andalusia, Alabama. Mostly used from 1900-1949, this jail housed inmates from one nighters to the most seasoned murderers.                                                                                                                                                          

One of it’s visitors was Hank Williams Sr., the famous country music singer.  According the the Andalusia Historical Society, Williams was playing at a local bar in Andalusia and left his son, Hank Williams Jr. in the car while he did his show.  Apparently, someone called the police and Williams Sr. was taken into custody for Drunken Disorderly and Williams Jr. taken by the child protective services for the night.                                                             

Covington County Jail was also involved in one of the few cases of Marshall Law in the State of Alabama.  December 6, 1901, Sheriff Bradshaw and Governor Jenks contacted the Greenville National Guard and warned them of a pending riot totalling about four hundred men on the jail after twenty five black men were arrested for the murder of a merchant and a US Marshall in Opp, Alabama, Andalusia’s sister city. The mob never made it to the jail, but they left four men dead in their wake, killing three black men in Opp and tying another to a tree and setting him on fire.                                                           

It seems as though this jail housed many killers in the early days and at least three of those instances, a law enforcement officer was killed. One of these men, Reuben Alford confessed to a murder of a Forest Ranger Will Turbeville September 1, 1934. Forest Ranger W.E. Jordan was already serving a twenty five year sentence for the crime along with two other men.  These three were released after this confession and two other men arrested and charged along with Alford.                                                                             

Covington County Jail was riddled with whispers of intolerable cruelty to inmates as well as corruption in the ranks of the County Sheriff’s office over the years.  There have even been claims of murder of inmates trying to tell their stories.   (There were never any formal charges brought on any ranking official in Covington County.)                                                                                         

 The jail now sits quietly hidden away with the courthouse to the left and a cemetery to the right. Its lead based paint is peeling away and the black mold is just beginning.  The floor is riddled with old crime scene photos and boxes of old cases, tucked away from prying eyes of the public.  There is a looming sense of something remaining, a wisp of something walking by you in the hall. Perhaps it is the ghosts of the past, too tied to this place to leave -or too scared. Or perhaps it is just the creepy feel of an empty jail with rusty stairs.  Either way, the Covington County Jail is fading away and, without intervention, will soon be a forgotten piece of the past; taking its misery and murderers with it.


May 7, 2009 - Posted by | History | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I don’t know why, but I enjoy reading about things like this. 😕

    Comment by Zaeriuraschi 11098 | May 23, 2009 | Reply

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