Last updated: 10/28/2022
Schuyler Jail Museum
Rushville, Illinois
Street Address
200 South Congress St
Rushville, IL 62681
Mailing Address
200 South Congress
Rushville, IL 62681
phone: 217-322-6975


(April - November)
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
12 PM - 4 PM
(January - March)
Monday, Saturday
12 PM - 4 PM


Free. Donations Accepted.


Marian Fretueg, Vice President

Historical museum and genealogy.


The first jail in Schuyler County was built on a lot set aside in 1827. The original structure was replaced in 1838 and the present structure was built in 1857 by Jeremiah Stumm for the sum of $6,445.

This building served as a County Jail until 1902, and has been used as a Youth Center and a meeting place for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H Clubs at various times since. In 1968 a group of Historic Conscience people "saved" the jail from destruction by signing a lease with the City which requires a fee of $1.00 per year and continuous upkeep.

Additions have been made (Heritage Room 1 and 2 and Museum). All of this by private donation and hard work on the part of the pioneers of this project. You will notice as you tour the facilities that the original jail was built of hand quarried sandstone blocks from McKee Branch, north of Rushville. These blocks are approximately 24x20 inches and 2 to 5 foot long. Tools similar to those used will be found mounted on the right hand side of the entrance to the Jail proper. The lower cells were for the men and for those who were considered dangerous. A ring in the floor kept them confined. The upper floor was originally reached by a circular iron ladder and housed the women prisoners and the Sheriff's family.

A story told is that even though there had been several escapes the most famous was when two men were quartered in the southwest cell, one of them would play his Jews-harp while the other scraped the mortar from around a block. When this had been completed, they slid the block out and slipped through the opening and were far away by morning.

The burled walnut carved desk was built in 1882 and was discovered at the county house in terrible condition. When the Museum was opened, it was restored and put to use again. The lights in the new additions were from the old Post Office. The drapery material is a reproduction of the fabric used for drapes hung in General Phillip Schuyler's home in New York. Curtains made from the original fabric were hung before his daughter's wedding.

Copyright 1999-2007 Schuyler County Historical Jail Museum; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

Artifact Collections

China, farm related items, old jail cells, military, etc.

Research Collections

Newspaper archives, Illinois and other state research materials, family files.


What's available at the Museum and Genealogy Center:

Schuyler County early marriage records from 1825 - 1907

Births, Deaths, and Obituaries from 1856 - 1900

Tax, School and Military Records

Census Records from 1790

Cemetery Records

Histories of Schuyler County and surrounding counties

Family Records

Published Genealogies

Research & record books from other states

Land abstracts

Microfilmed copies of local newspapers: Rushville Times 1858-2007, Astoria Searchlight 1887-1998, Vermont Union 1859-1976, Mt. Sterling Democrat Message 1881-1990, Augusta Eagle 1920-1987, Illinoian Star (Beardstown) 1899-1999.

Appointment required: No

The Schuylerite is published in two issues...Spring-Summer and Fall- Winter.

This is all historical and genealogical information! Back issues contain marriage indexes, probate records, cemetery records, schools and class attendance, local and social events from early records, obituaries, family histories.....



This information, including business hours, addresses and contact information is provided for general reference purposes only. No representation is made or warranty is given as to its content or the reliability thereof. User assumes all risk of use. Stories USA, Inc. and its content suppliers assume no responsibility for any loss or delay resulting from such use. Please call ahead to verify the dates, the location and directions.

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