Calhoun "Lifer" Escapes from Pen in 1914


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 1/22/1914.

Hendricks Escapes from Pen

Moundsville, Jan. (illegible), - Two white life-term murderers made a successful break for liberty from the Moundsville Penitentiary early this morning.  They were Lewis Hendricks, aged 30 years, sent up from Calhoun county in 1905 and Grover Smith sentenced from McDowell county less than one year ago.  This afternoon no clue to the fugitives had been unearthed, though police of a dozen cities within a radius of 200 miles have been furnished with descriptions and are maintaining the closest surveilant over all strangers.  The usual reward of $50 dollars for the capture of each fugitive is offered.

The men occupied adjoining cells in the upper tier of the southern wing.  The escape was made by drilling through the steel ceiling, through which the two drew themselves up into the attic. From the attic they gained the roof.  The ground was reached with the aid of a roughly fashioned ladder made of bedclothes and bits of rope. Evidently their plans had been carefully laid, for they managed to elude the vigilance of the guards who made a round of the outside of the prison walls every thirty minutes.

The drilling could have been done only after long and painstaking effort.  The drill was found in Hendrick's cell.  The brace was fashioned of a piece of gas pipe, evidently secured in the machine shop where the two were employed.  The drill had also been taken from the shop.  Small holes were drilled in a circle in the ceiling.  The circle was just large enough to permit the passage of a mans body.  The plotters very likely finished the job yesterday afternoon, for of all the prisoners in their tier they were the only two who did not attend the prison league services.


Lewis Hendricks was sent up from this county in 1905 for the murder of Henry Blackshire.  He made application for a parole several months ago but it was not granted.  He has no relatives living in this section.