Prisoners Escape Jail in 1919

(08/31/2001)

Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 6/26/1919, 7/3/1919 and 7/31/1919.

6/26/1919

Broke Jail and Went to Ireland

Yesterday at high noon, while the people of the town were quietly partaking of their mid-day feast, John Burrows and Clyde Haskins, who were confined in the county jail awaiting a hearing on a charge of stealing a horse, sawed the locks on the inner and outer doors and made an unmolested escape.  About 15 minutes before 12:00 Deputy Sheriff S.T. Waldo stepped out to the back door of the Court House to see about them and they waved (goodbye, perhaps).  When he returned from dinner the prisoners were gone and, despite a heavy rain, not a footprint could be found.

They left three letters under the mattress of their bed.  One of them was written Monday and stated that they were leaving that day.  They complained that they should have had a hearing before they decided to go.

The letter written last is here reproduced:

"Mr. Board:  We bid you goodbye, thanking your and your family for kindness you all showed to us.  By the time you find this we will be out of this state with a bunch of good men.  Should we not meet on this earth again my it be God's will that we may meet in heaven where we should all prepare to go.  We shall both live Christian lives from this day on and shall not return to cause trouble with anyone.  I (Haskins) came to this county on the 12th of December, 1918 without a mark against my reputation and tried to do right, but everybody was against me.  But I have no hard feelings and pray to God they have none against me.  My country welcomes me back to her dear old mother earth and I shall return to dear old Ireland to spend my days till our heavenly Father calls us to a better home.

Will bring this to a close.  Hope we will all meet in heaven.

                                                                    Clyde Haskins,
                                                                     John Burrows.

7/3/1919

Caught Prisoners

John Burrows and Clyde Haskins, who broke jail here last week, were captured by the Ritchie county authorities Tuesday and returned to this place, after having entered, and removed stuff from, several houses between here and Smithville.  The local authorities were first put on their tracks Sunday, but with the aid of relatives the men evaded the officers.  On Tuesday they were discovered enroute to Smithville and the Ritchie county officers were notified.

In addition to the charges of stealing a horse and breaking jail, the men will be arraigned for carrying three .22 pistols which were found on them.

7/31/1919

Wanted Fresh Air

Clyde Haskins and John Burrows, who are confined in the jail here awaiting the coming term of our Circuit Court, accused of horse stealing and other infringements of the law, tried to "make way for liberty" one night last week.  They demolished their iron bed and taking a piece of the wreckage, fashioned it in the shape of a wrench and unloosened the taps on the bolts which held an upright heavy iron piece on the casing of the door to their cell, and using this as a leaver they had the door just ready to tumble down when the discovery was made by sheriff Board.  In their efforts to liberate themselves they disfigured the interior beauty of their cell in a frightful way.  They now sleep on the floor and all buttons and toothpicks taken from but will still bear watching as this pair once before escaped from this prison and was rearrested in Ritchie county.


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