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New book out detailing Historic Gaol prisoners

The Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol has released a new book about the history and the people who spent time in the 140 year old jail.

The book is called Prisoner Profiles: Unlocking the Secret Stories from the Huron Historic Gaol and was written by Acting Senior Curator Sinead Cox. Cox says the idea behind the book was specifically to look at some of the people that aren’t one of their famous cases or aren’t a case that you’re going to read about on wikipedia, or that you’re going to come into the jail already knowing. Cox says some of the stories were surprising and some of them quite sad, like the case of May Gibson, who had been committed six times to three different correctional institutions before the age of 18.

“She was in and out several times before the age of eighteen. She was in our jail and at the Mercer Institute, which was a women’s jail and then eventually, Kingston Pen and all for what we would consider today, pretty minor crimes.”

Cox says the book also speaks to the importance of the Gaol as an historic site.

“It really speaks to the importance of the Gaol as an historic site and to our social history here in Huron County and our social justice history, cause that building served so many purposed, it had so many different people in it over the years that if we didn’t have that building, we wouldn’t be looking into these stories at all.”

Books are now available for purchase through the Museum Gift Shop for curbside pickup while the Museum and Historic Gaol remain closed to the public. Books can be ordered, by calling the Museum at 519-524-2686 or email museum@huroncounty.ca and staff will arrange a time for pickup and payment.
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