By Bob Heafner © 1983-2012
Issue: June, 1983
By the time Patrick County got around to building a new jail in the late 1920’s, it was well overdue. But, for folks like Cyrus Taylor, it was a downright inconvenience. Cyrus was no stranger to the jail’s interior, especially to that portion of it behind the bars. He would get out carousing or get caught bootlegging and end up in jail regularly. Before the new jail, it didn’t bother him much, but when the new jail was built, it slowed him down considerably.
The sheriff would lock Cyrus up and go home. In those days the only ones spending the night at the jail were the ones that didn’t have the keys. Things were slower paced and there was no need for the Sheriff to stay there all night. Cyrus would wait until the Sheriff had gone, then he would take a few loose bricks out of the wall, crawl out and go home for the night. Next morning, he’d be back before the Sheriff, crawl through the wall, put the bricks back in the hole and settle back and wait for the Sheriff to come in.
Time has really changed in Stuart since then. The inmates can’t open the wall and go home for the night and the old jail’s been gone for years, but those times and people were special. The Sheriff probably knew old Cyrus was going home and Cyrus probably knew he knew, but people were friends back then and too much to drink or selling a little bootleg didn’t end friendships.
The old jail didn’t survive, Cyrus and the Sheriff are both gone, but around here, friends are still friends.