Brief History – Before the first settlers arrived in what is now Virginia, the Native Americans called the Eastern Shore by the name Accawmacke, (meaning the “across the water place”). Accawmacke was settled very early by the English. The original shire of Accomac, created in 1634, covered the entire Eastern Shore. The name of the shire was changed to Northampton in 1642. In the year 1663, it was decided that the area should be divided into two counties. So, the northern half got back its original name, Accomac. Then in 1670, Governor William Berkeley nullified the law that created Accomac County. But, in 1671, the General Assembly re-created Accomac County. In 1940 the County of Accomac officially became Accomack County (spelled with a “k”).
Home to Debtor’s Prison – (located on Courthouse Avenue across from the Administration Building) Debtor’s Prison was built in 1783 in one corner of the jail yard to serve as a residence for the jailer. The building served in this capacity for 41 years. Iron bars, oak batten doors and locks were added in 1842, when it was converted into a prison for debtors for the County of Accomack.