1859 Jail, Marshal’s Home & Museum – Independence, Missouri This two-story 1859 Jackson County Jail, with its barred windows, double iron doors and leg chains, once housed Frank James, Jesse James notorious brother.
In 1859, construction was completed on the new Jackson County Jail and Marshal’s Home. As the twelve new limestone jail cells were opened hostilities between free state and pro-slavery forces were reaching a boiling point in the area.
In the spring of 1882, Jesse James was murdered. His older brother, Frank, began negotiations with the Missouri governor to surrender because he feared assassination. Frank James spent almost six months in the Jackson County limestone jail.
In 1901, a brick jail was added to the back of the limestone jail to house chain gangs. Chain gangs were used to build roads, sewers and other tasks assigned them. They left six days a week at sunrise and returned at sunset. One inmate spent a year on the chain gang for stealing a cow.
You can see the Marshal’s home from Main Street, but the two-story limestone jail and the 1901 chain gang jail joins the rear of the home. Take a self-guided tour of the jail and museum for a first hand look at frontier justice. Tour the beautifully decorated home where the wife and children of the marshal lived. Guided tours are available upon request in advance.
Monday—Saturday, 10—4 Sunday 1—4 (March through October)
Adults $5 Seniors $4 Youths 6-16 $2 Children 5 & under FREE
Location: 217 North Main Street