One of the most notorious of the men who kept a jail and sold people, Robert Lumpkin worked as an itinerant trader before purchasing the property on Richmond’s Birch's Alley (also known as Wall Street, now 15th Street), where he operated a jail from 1844 until 1865. To outsiders, the most notable feature of Lumpkin’s Jail was the fence, "in some places ten or twelve feet in height," that enclosed a series of buildings on about a half-acre of land. The fence, “thickly set with iron spikes,” ensured that the slaves not only could not escape but also that they could not easily communicate with people outside the enclosure. Inside the fence were four buildings: Lumpkin's house, a boarding house for buyers and sellers, a kitchen/tavern building, and the “jail” for housing slaves awaiting sale. Anthony Burns, the escaped slave who was forcibly returned to Richmond under the Fugitive Slave Act, never recovered fully from his four-month incarceration in Lumpkin’s Jail and the horrific treatment he experienced.