Women's History Trail Banner
Home Button

Kennebec County Court House

Continue down State Street a short distance and you come upon the Kennebec County Court House.

The building at the intersection of Winthrop and State streets is the third in a line of county court houses in Augusta, which became the Shiretown of Kennebec County in 1799 when it divided from Lincoln County.  The first court house was in Market Square (begun in 1790 and first used for court in 1791) and the second (built in 1801/02) was where the present jail now stands.  It was moved to the corner of Winthrop and State, near where the Gardiner Savings Bank is located, when the jail construction began.  The old court house was ultimately turned into a concert hall, then in later years it housed a restaurant.  It succumbed to fire in the 1980’s.  The present-day court house was constructed in 1830, enlarged in 1851, then in 1909.  During the Civil War, the Augusta Ladies’ Aide Society met here, as well as at other locations.  One of the more intriguing trials at the court house in the early twentieth century was that of Rosie Corson.  Rosie was reputed to have run a gin mill somewhere near the Togus Veterans’ Hospital, but her association with the court house (and the jail) was for a different reason.  She was charged with the murder of her husband, but the jury found her to be innocent.  Her ire about her treatment was evident when she set fire to the cot in her jail cell while awaiting trail.  Too late to be any assistance to Rosie, the first woman lawyer in Augusta was Iola S. Kearney, admitted to the Bar in 1920.

 

Site #26.1 Sources:

 

 

Agger, Lee. Women of Maine.  Portland, ME: Guy Gannett Publishing Co., 1982.

Augusta Conservation Commission, Kennebec Historical Society, and Augusta Recreation Department. “Historical Walking Tour of Augusta Maine” (pamphlet), no date.

 

Cline, Patricia, The Murder of Helen Jewett: the Life and Death of A Prostitute in Nineteenth-Century New York. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 1998

 

Douin, Anthony. Interview and conversations with Phyllis vonHerrlich, 18 October 2001, Augusta, Maine.

 

North, James W.  The History of Augusta Maine. Somesworth, NH: New England History Press, 1981. New forward by Edwin A. Churchill.  Originally published in 1870 by Clapp and North of Augusta, ME.

 

 

 

 

The University of Maine