|Mary C. Thornton|
Valuable to genealogists and history buffs, this guide provides records of the crimes and criminals plaguing Washington, DC, in the mid-19th century and of the penitentiary constructed to house them. As Washington emerged as the nation’s capital, it faced many problems, one of which was crime. Created from land ceded by Maryland and Virginia, the new federal district operated under the criminal codes of both states. From 1829-1831, the newly constructed U.S. Penitentiary remained vacant until, in 1831, Congress enacted a criminal code specifically for the District. The author combines an interesting historical narrative with lists of convicts taken into the penitentiary during its 33-year operation between 1829-1862. The lists generally include full name, birthplace, race and gender, crime (including details when available), and sentence. In addition, the text includes the names of victims, judges, wardens and other law enforcement personnel, Civil War soldiers, doctors, ministers, etc. associated with the criminal justice system at the time. A surname index provides quick reference to those names. Every entry has a source footnote.
2003, paper, index, 280 pp