No one really knew who set the fire that burnt down the original Carrollton Courthouse on November 16, 1876. But everyone blamed Henry Wells, a rowdy black man who lived outside of town. The sheriff arrested him and held him in the attic of a building that was to become the new courthouse. One afternoon in February 1878, a lynch mob gathered in front of the new courthouse and demanded that Wells be turned over to them. As a violent thunderstorm approached the town, Wells peered out at the crowds through the garret window at the top of the building. Suddenly, a lightening bolt struck the roof, killing Wells. The flash of brilliant light etched his defiant expression into the window pane, and no amount of scrubbing or solvents in the decades since has been able to erase it. And on those when thunderstorms roll through Pickens County, it is said the ghost of Henry Wells stares out from the garret window of the old courthouse. (Carrollton is 30 miles west of Tuscaloosa in Pickens County, at the intersection of Hwys 17 and 86. The face of Henry Wells can still be seen in lower right-hand pane in the garret window of the Pickens County Courthouse.)
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