NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center
On-Line Library






Visitors to the prison take the car marked "Penitentiary" leaving Tenth and O Streets every forty minutes. The penitentiary is located in a suburb called Lancaster, or rather, Lancaster is located at the penitentiary, for outside of the prison there is but little else at Lancaster. There is a railroad with a signpost but without a depot; there is a post office with a few stamps, but without a postmaster and there is a little store with root beer, but none of that which made made Milwaukee famous.

Lancaster is a little independent kingdom, for its inhabitants upon entering are not subject to the laws of Nebraska, but to the rules and regulations set down by the warden, the uncrowned king, who is a far more independent ruler than any monarch of Europe, he being not only king, but senate and house of representatives all in one; his



word is law, and his will supreme. The present ruler, William T. Fenton, of the Dynasty of Richardson county, ascended the throne on January the eighteenth, 1913, and the inhabitants immediately swore allegiance to him. The Crown Prince is the heir apparent and the regent in the absence of the king; he is also called the Deputy Warden, and his name is N. T. Harmon.

A cabinet of six high moguls assist in the government and they are: Secretary of State and foreign affairs, Mr. James O'Connell, (Chief Clerk); Secretary of Commerce, W. A. Kirby, (Steward); Secretary of War, Dan Kavanaugh, (Assistant Deputy Warden); Secretary of the Interior, Tom Cokely, (Yardmaster); and Secretary of Agriculture, Gus Buchholz. The office of Secretary of the Navy was discontinued by orders from the throne, the present regime being much opposed to ships, especially schooners that pass late in the night and carry forbidden cargoes.



There is also a matron who has charge of all the female inhabitants in the kingdom. At the present writing there are seven, all of dusky hue, and all suffragettes. There is a chief engineer, Mr. McCarthy, who makes the big wheels go around, and makes the lights shine over the land. He is a man of ability, a high grade mechanic and almost indispensable to the state. There is a chaplain, who, with the exception of two hours on the Sabbath morning, when he pilots the sinners toward the pearly gate, is kept busy drawing and expending his enormous salary. Then there are two turnkeys, who have the keys in their custody and are the connecting links between the outside and the inside, or rather, as a sanctimonious old lady mission worker told me once, "they stand between good and evil." There was vitriol in the stare she gave me when I answered: "You are right, Madam, there are so many evil people wandering around here craning their necks to get to look at the good people on the inside.