Old Hampshire County Jail

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Built in the late 1700s, the old jail has a legend attached. It seems that in the late 1800s a sheriff was shot to death by a gang of bandits on the staircase leading between the jail and the attached brick building, which was the jailer’s family home. He was shot at the top of the stairs, and, just like what often happens in the movies, he then fell down to the bottom. Witnesses say the sound of the sheriff’s body falling down the stairs can be heard in the night.

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Geographic Information

66. N High St
Romney, WV
United States

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39.34273027745829, -78.7557232529116
Hampshire County, West Virginia
Nearest Towns:
Romney, WV (0.1 mi.)
Springfield, WV (8.2 mi.)
Burlington, WV (8.7 mi.)
Fort Ashby, WV (11.1 mi.)
Keyser, WV (13.5 mi.)
McCoole, MD (13.6 mi.)
Dawson, MD (13.7 mi.)
Danville, MD (14.5 mi.)
Rawlings, MD (14.9 mi.)
Green Spring, WV (15.0 mi.)


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Comments (6)

  1. It is haunted, I have heard alot more noises than just the sheriff fall ingredients down the steps , I had the experience 20 years ago when I was young and dumb and had to be locked up for 8 days lol . It is a beautiful place tho.

  2. Shaun Steinemann  |  

    My Aunt was the head jailer there when I was a kid. I’d hang out and spend the night with my cousin all the time. This story I exactly what happened to me. Needless to say is walked the block back to my house at 3:30am and didn’t spend the night again

  3. My grandma Dolores was the jailer, I stayed many nights and many hours at the jail as a kid. She could’ve told you all kinds of stories, but from a childs point of view, nothing odd ever went on and my bedroom was right off those steps and never heard anyone “falling” down them ever. My mom and uncle could tell some good stories though!( Chad & Alicia “Hott” Roomsburg).

  4. I worked for the county and my office was in the old jail for some time. Yeah…it’s definitely haunted. Two creepiest experiences included hearing a door open then foot steps coming up the steps (my office was upstairs) but when I’d check no one was there. And then the night I pulled in the back and saw the light on in the small window of one of the old inmate sections. Thinking someone was back there, it was out evidence room at the time, I walked back to see who it was and when I opened the door to the section no one was there and the light was off. No one else was in the building either. I immediately went back out to my car and left. Did go back to the office for several days after that.

  5. Doe’s anyone know who contact if I want to investigate the old jail, I do paranormal investigations and would love to do one here. Also, I am trying to find out who to contact for investigating the old Romney Hospital as I know that it is haunted mostly on the back wing of the old nursing home section.
    If anyone knows any contacts please drop me a line at redhavenparanormal@gmail.com, Thanks..

  6. This legend is partially true, but the details and date are mixed up. This event happened Dec. 18, 1929. Walter Crabtree murdered Asa Wolford and Justice of The Peace Carter Inskeep at their homes and Jailer Ben Miller at the entrance to the old jail with a shotgun when he answered the door. According to newspaper articles from the time, Miller was decapitated by the blast. Walter Crabtree had recently served a six month sentence for possessing liquor. He was arrested at his home a few hours later and hung for his crimes at Moundsville on May 9, 1930.

    I had the opportunity to go inside the old jail about ten years ago before it was renovated. Walter Crabtree’s name was still carved into the wall of one of the cells when I went. I wish I still had a picture of it. The inside of the jail was very cramped, dark, and dingy. One of the employees was nice enough to show me inside.

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. HauntedPlaces.org makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.