Location: Carrolton, Alabama
On November 16, 1876 Carrolton Courthouse burned down for the second time. It had burned for the first time during the American Civil War when it was burned by the Union Army. Carrolton Courthouse was the pride of Pickens County as they had rebuilt the courthouse during the Reconstruction Era, a time difficult time when money and resources where scarce. The local people where outraged and humiliated after the 2nd courthouse burned to the ground. Though nothing was ever proven, people had their eyes set on a local thug named Henry Wells as the culprit.
Henry Wells didn’t have a chance at defending himself. Hae was a black man during a time when racism ran rampant which made him a rather easy target. He was accused of burning down the courthouse, a source of pride for the local people in Pickens County. He was arrested in 1878 and charged with arson, burglary, carrying a concealed weapon and assault with the intent to murder. He was taken to the new jailhouse located inside the newly constructed courthouse. As word traveled that Wells was being held in the courthouse, an angry mob came looking for him.
As the angry mob at the base of the courthouse grew, Wells became afraid and shouted at the mob: “I am innocent. If you kill me, I am going to haunt you the rest of your lives.” As they were about to break through the door, lightening struck, killing Wells instantly and imprinting his face permanently on the window pane. No one seemed to notice the mark on the window until the next day when walking past the courthouse, locals looked up and saw Henry Wells face looking down at the town. This piece of glass is still in the window to this day and no amount of washing or scraping can remove the stain.
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