Tales from a Century-Old Courthouse: New Madrid County, Missouri
In 2015, New Madrid County in Missouri celebrated the centennial of its historic courthouse building. To help commemorate this event, I focused on stories about this distinguished Classical Greek Revival style white sandstone and glazed brick building which dominates downtown New Madrid.
I started with the county’s beginnings in the early 1800s, in the American frontier world of judges sitting in unheated or stifling log cabins to mete out justice. I also speak about later judges sequestering all-male juries on cots in the courthouse attic when trials dragged on. A sheriff tells of reluctantly hanging two men. He had to do it: he had asked for the office and was obliged to carry out the sentence. Along with these stories from the past, the courthouse of today is described, and County officials talk candidly about their current roles.