Jillian Garrigues

About Jillian Garrigues

Video: Hidden Treasures — Noxubee County Public Library

MACON, Miss. (WCBI) – Inside the Noxubee County Public Library is something you wouldn’t expect to find in a typical library. Old jail cells hold book shelves and windows are covered with bars. The library once stood as the Noxubee County Jail.

“It was supposed to be inescapable, but that wasn’t the case. You can see in one window where prisoners escaped. Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said former library director, Beth Koostra.

Thick brick walls stand strong, bars cover windows, and the trap door and gallows are haunting. In 1982 the Noxubee County Jail was renovated and turned into a public library. It’s now a place for learning and it brings visitors from every state in the nation and countries around the world.

“Some people are delighted that we put a new face on a place of incarceration. Some people are fearful. Some won’t go on the third floor where we have the noose and trap door,” said Koostra.

The historic building shares many stories, but only one prisoner was actually hanged in the jail. Si Connor in 1907.

“People like to say it’s haunted by Si Connor. Si had decapitated his wife with an ax. Two weeks before his execution Si had a visit from the Lord. Jesus told him he’d been forgiven and that he was not going to hell. But Christ told him, Si I want you to see what hell is like so you’ll know how much your salvation means. So Si and Christ went down to hell and Si said there were people from Macon down there that he knew. Part of his psychology worked. It didn’t get him out of hanging. He did meet his death on schedule, but it was public at his own request. Sheriff Dantzler, who was to hang him, couldn’t do it because Si said Jesus looked just like him. So they had a public executioner come in and spring the trap door,” Koostra said.

The library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in downtown Macon. Call 662-726-5461 or visit http://www.noxubee.lib.ms.us/ for more information. If you have any hidden treasures in your area you would like us to check out, send an email to Jillian at jgarrigues@wcbi.com.