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Located on the Tallapoosa River, the Penitentiary Farm was later to be known as Number Four Prison, Number Four Spot, and finally as Red Eagle Honor Farm.With the completion of rebuilding the rail system, leasing convict labor was turned toward developing Alabama's industrial expansion in mining of coal and iron, and in timber and turpentine production.The convict population had also changed from the previous 99% white to the postwar 90% black.In 1873, the 2,000 acre Williams Plantation was puchased for ,000.This disappointing drain on the tax coffers did not go unnoticed by the "home rule" public. Graham became the first private sector contract warden. Except for a few hardened criminals, most convicts were pardoned for the war.On February 4, 1846, an act was passed which permitted private individuals to lease WSP's facilities and convicts. In 1850 the first female convict was admitted after receiving a ten year sentence for murder, and she was kept in virtual solitary confinement in a single room of the prison's hospital. Ambrose Burrows was killed by a convict and the state resumed control of the prison with Dr. In the spring of 1865, the Federal Troops released all convicts, except one who remained voluntarily at the Walls.
The prison industry of hand manufacturing of wagons and buggies, saddles and harnesses, shoes, and rope did not produce the capital necessary for self-sufficiency. Warden Moore used the convict labor for the war effort making wagon wheels and caissons, paying into the State Treasury about ,000 Confederate dollars.
Surprisingly, especially when contrasted with today's way of thinking, the people of the 1820's and 1830's did not want a prison system.
As a general rule of the early Alabama frontiersmen, the administration of justice was best left in the hands of the local citizens, or when available, with county officials.
Even in the county seats, justice was swift and harsh, as the towns vindictively encouraged their sheriffs to stage hangings in the public square.
These festive spectacles attracted large crowds from miles around, eager for the entertainment atmosphere created by the settlement's merchants.