Old Jail House

Old Westminster Jail, Westminster Maryland
Old Westminster Jail

Every small town has to occasionally deal with the rare misdemeanors, public nuisance, or even a criminal. Small jailhouses have been a part of American history since the beginning. They also are popular historical spots for spirits to roam.

The old Carroll County jail was built in 1837 in Westminster. It became the place of an infamous tale told today 7 years later. On Christmas Eve of 1844 a man named Tom Parkes, or Big Tom as he was known as, was arrested for public intoxication, something he was frequently arrested for. Tom was a polite man when he was sober but when he was drunk he was hostile and they would usually need multiple officers to deal with him. That night the sheriff was worried about holding him in such a small jailhouse and talked about moving him to a bigger penitentiary in Baltimore. Tom apparently overheard these discussions which lead to his suicide. There are two different versions of how Tom killed himself. One tale says he got a hold of something sharp and slit his throat. Another version is he managed to hang himself and his weight caused his head to separate from his body while it was hanging.

After Tom