Cherokee Phoenix

Destruction of the Ga. Penitentiary by Fire.-- On Monday night last, a few minutes after 9 o'clock,

Published May, 21, 1831

Page 3 Column 4a

Destruction of the Ga. Penitentiary by Fire.-- On Monday night last, a few minutes after 9 o'clock, fire was discovered to issue from the roof of the work-shops forming part of the Penitentiary Edifice, and in spite of all the exertions of those having charge of the Institution, aided by the citizens of the town, the flame spread rapidly to the main building and the whole was burnt, together with the wooden house in the yard, and the county Jail, about 60 yards off. The county Court-house was saved with much difficulty, and although the wind was light, the fire caught some houses at the distance of three hundred yards.- The light of this great conflagration was distinctly seen at Eatonton, twenty miles from this place. None of the prisoners escaped, or were burnt-all the books and papers of the Institution were saved. The loss in manufactured articles, raw materials, tools, 'c, may amount to eight or ten thousand dollars.- Temporary arrangements are making for the shelter of the convicts, who are kept at labor within the high brick wall that encompassed the building, and secured at night by being hand-cuffed and strictly guarded. In a short time a part of the cells, the construction of which was directed by the last Legislature, will be in readiness for their reception.

The buildings destroyed cost the State, we believe, upwards of an hundred thousand dollars, but the construction was very bad, and if the system of punishing crimes by Penitentiary imprisonment shall be persevered in, of which there may be some doubt, the demolition of an edifice so unsuitable to the purpose, will scarcely be a public loss. It is not doubted but the fire was communicated by some of the convicts--as yet, however, no discovery has been made that will fix it on any one of them. In the general confusion and anxiety to secure the convicts, a prisoner in the county Jail, of the name of Wilkinson, charged with robbery of the public mail, of which he had been the carrier, made his escape.

Southern Recorder.