WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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AYCOCK, FLORIDA

 A tragic fire brought national attention to Aycock, a small sawmill community east of Chipley, and to a controversial convict leasing system then practiced.  The fire occurred on October 7, 1905 at an Aycock Lumber Company naval stores camp located 10 miles south of Aycock between Alford and Oak Hill.The leasing system started 1877 permitted the leasing of convicts to private employers.  The arrangement relieved each county of the need for a large jail.The Aycock fire occurred in a wood frame stockade where the convicts had been chained at the end of the day’s work.  The guard on duty and 8 convicts were burned to death with 2 others succumbing to their injuries within days. This tragedy brought about the cessation of the convict leasing system.