Newgate Prisons in the United States

face of a prisoner

A prison called Old Newgate Prison was located in present-day East Granby, Connecticut. The prison was built upon the site of the Simsbury Copper Mines that had been in operation in the first half of the eighteenth century. The prison received its first prisoner in 1773. Some prisoners were kept in the underground tunnels that remained from the copper mine. Old Newgate Prison became Connecticut’s state prison in 1790. It closed in 1827.

The first New York State prison was called “Newgate State Prison” or “The State Prison at Greenwich. ” This Newgate Prison from its beginning was specifically designed for penal use:

Newgate’s massive buildings, surrounded by high stone walls, were designed by Joseph-Francois Mangin, later the architect of City Hall (1802-11, with John McComb, Jr.) and (old) St. Patrick’s Cathedral (1809-15) on Mott Street. Prisoners were transferred there from the old Bridewell Prison in City Hall Park.^

Newgate Prison in New York was located about a mile and a half north of the New York City Hall. It received its first prisoner in 1797. Thomas Eddy was the director of the prison from 1797 to 1801. There were seven unpaid inspectors that the Governor appointed.^ Prisoners in Newgate were moved up to the river to the new New York state prison at Ossining (Sing Sing) from 1828 to 1829. Newgate was then closed.

The namesake of these U.S. Newgate prisons is almost surely the infamous Newgate Prison in London. That prison dates back to the twelfth century. The Newgate Calendar, pamphlets, and broadsides disseminated widely stories of prisoners in Newgate and their executions.

Leave a comment (will be included in public domain license)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *