Courthouse Lawn Slave Auction
The first stone Court House in Kentucky was built on this plot, in Washington in 1794, two years after Kentucky was admitted as a state. In addition to the building, the courthouse’s campus supported several auxiliary activities. There were clerks’ offices at the side and a whipping post in the rear. The large front lawn provided a public venue when the expected audience exceeded the courthouse’s seating capacity, or the activity did not enhance the decorum of the courthouse.
Court ordered public auctions are a prime example of such an activity. Then as now, judges often order property sales in their verdicts. Today that property is most often land, vehicles, livestock, and other physical things. Sadly during the era that Washington was the county seat of Mason County, the property being sold were often human beings, that society had labeled slaves.
A marker (the white post on the front left side of the picture above) has been erected to remind us of the horrors that occurred here.