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Every once in a while a prisoner makes his escape from the prison. Altogether one hundred and eight have escaped since its establishment in 1869. The first to escape was James Hogan who made his "getaway" way back in 1871 and was never heard of since. It seems almost impossible that one man could escape three times, nevertheless that was the case of Charles Williams, alias Jacobson. Charley was recaptured twice and was again placed as a trusty in the prison garden after having given Warden Smith his word of honor that he would never again attempt to escape. Charley worked a few days in the garden, then under cover of the fruit trees reached the railroad track and again departed for parts unknown. This time he was not recaptured. This was Charley's third trip to Lancaster and we afterwards learned that


he was wanted in four different places; so could you blame him for taking French leave? During the administration of Warden Smith thirteen, altogether, left without leaving their forwarding address. Of these thirteen nine were trusties, who either scaled the wall or walked off, and four sawed their way to sweet liberty. These four were cooks and flunkies in the guards' dining room and went to work about four o'clock in the morning before any guards were on duty in that part of the building. They would utilize the early morning hours for sawing the bars a little now and a little then. They would carefully conceal the sawing by covering it with soft soap of the color of the bars. On a Sunday morning early, and before the warden and guards were out of bed, they quietly removed the cut bars and jumped out upon the lawn in front of the prison. They have never been heard of since. An hour later a guard came in and wanted his breakfast, but there was no fire in the stove


and no cooks. He promptly gave the alarm and a posse was sent out, but without results. The papers stated that most of the sawing was done from the outside, but this is most ridiculous. During Warden Delahunty's administration five escaped, one from the farm, and one from the warehouse outside the walls. The latter soon came back from Omaha with a ten year sentence for another crime, and when this is finished he will start in and complete his first sentence. The other three dynamited and shot their way out, but one was shot dead by the sheriff's posse, one committed suicide and the third was captured and given a life sentence. During Warden Melick's administration there were no outbreaks. Ten trusties took French leave, but five of these were recaptured within a few hours of their escape.

It is strange, but nevertheless it is true, that these men who have the shortest sentences are the ones that usually escape.


As William Pinkerton, the great detective says: "When a tramp hears the whistle of the locomotive he cannot resist. He must travel." The five who were not recaptured were all floaters or tramps, who had no home anywhere, and whose sentences were very short, several of them having less than ninety days.

During Warden Fenton's administration and up to this day there has been only one escape, and he fiddled his way out. He was turned over to the chaplain, who lives at Tecumseh. He entertained a party of the chaplain's friends one night with sweet strains from his violin. He played until late in the night and wound up his entertainment with the music from the old familiar song "I Am Going Far Away." He made his good night bow to the audience, retired to his room, and when everything was quiet, departed for parts unknown. The next morning the chaplain knocked upon his door to tell him that break-