OCR Interpretation

The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922, March 22, 1912, Image 6

Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010270504/1912-03-22/ed-1/seq-6/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

Explosives Used to Open Prison Gates
Mutineers Escape After Des
perate Slaughter Storm
Prevents Pursuit.
The men who died and men wounded
at their poets of duty.
Tho wounded:
1 Thomas J. Doody.
Warden JamoB Dclahunty, Deputy
Warden Henry Wagner and Uahor E.
G. Hellman aro dead, and ThomaB J.
Doody, woBt cell Iioubo kooper, Ib badly
wounded as tho rcBult of a battle with
Who Was Killed by Escaped Convicts.
throo convicts at tho stato poniton
tlary at 2:15 Thursday afternoon, and
tho thrco convicts who committed tho
murders blew tho lock off of ono door
and mndo tholr oscnpo.
All of tho mon killed died at tholr
posts of duty and fought to tho end
in an attempt to provont tho oocapo
of tho convicts. Doputy Wardon
Vagnor was tho first lclllod, being
nhot ns ho stood in his ofllco. Mr.
Hellman, tho second man killed, was
hit ns ho ruBhod out of tho warden's
ofllco at tho (h'st report of tho shots.
Warden Dclahunty wub killed In tho
door of his ofllco after firing throo
shots at tho onrushlng men. Ho wus
Htruck first In tho right 'hip, but con
tinued to fight until a second shot
utruck him In tho right breast, when
ho Bank to tho floor nnd soon expired.
Thomas J. Doody, tho wounded
man, has good chances of recovery,
though it Is posslblo that ho may loso
lils log. Ho was shot twlco, in tho
loft arm and right leg, during tho
first part of tho attack whon tho throo
mon conoontratod tholr shots on him
whllo In tho chapol room of tho
prison. f
Thp mon wlo escapod aro Charles
Taylor, alias Shorty Gray, alias
Murray, alias Rogei'B, who Is a throo
termor, loader of a gang of bank
robbors nnd was oontouccd from
Aurora to twouty-olght years' im
prisonment for robbing a bank at
Glltnor; John Dowd, rocontly sen
tenced from Cass county to twenty
years for burglary with high explo
sives, huvlng robbed a Jowolry storo at
Louisville, Neb.; and CharleB Morloy.
aontonccd from Omaha to flftoon yearB
ior highway robbery.
Immediately after tho5 oscapo of tho
prisoners tho governor's ofllco wns
notiflod and Shorlff Hyoro with rt
po-so and most of tho Lincoln pollco
forco ruohod to tho scono, Later com
pany F, Socond reglmont, of tho na
tional guard arrived,
i Shorlff Hycra took chargo of tho
lrlBoncra upon his arrival and nftor
' Bwoarlng In deputies and tinning
them stationed armed mon at tho
doors to guard whllo tho prisoners
wero marched to their colls, Tho
uhorlff, accompanied by ono deputy
and ono guard, all unarmod for fonr of
bolng ovorpowcrod and losing tholr
wenpons, then ontored tho prlBon yard
nnd ono by ono tho Bhops wero
emptied and tho prlsonoiB marched to
tho coll Iioubo and looked In tholr
Whero Convicts Taylor, Down and
Morloy socurod their weapons, ammu
nition and oxploBlvos is unknown, but
tho gonoral supposition among tho
guards Is that thoy wore smuggled In
on tho "underground" routo by tniB
tlos from pals of Gray and Down on
tho outsldo, All threo wero fully
armed nnd plentifully supplied with
ammunition. Although no ono knows
how many rovolverB tho mon hnd, it
la probablo that from tho numbor of
nhota flrod by thom thoy wero sup
plied with two each.
Turnkoy Clnus Pah! waB unarmod
whon ho heard tho shots. Rushing to
grab his revolver ho returned to the
window botwoou his room and tho
chapol. Thero ho waB covered by ono
jrnn, who shot as Pahl dodged and ran
to tho door, whoro ho was again cov-
ercd, and forcod to hug tho wall for
protection. Tho explosion then fol
lowed and tho thrco rushed In and
forced tho turnkoy Into a corner, whoro
thoy struck him. Taking his keys they
ran to tho only locked door between
thom nnd liberty.
Tho attack mado was evldontly woll
planned,. Thoy crossed the yard with
in tho walls and thero was nothing In
their attitude to warn tho guards that
they meant trouble. As each ncared
tho chapol guard, stationed In tho bal
cony abovo tho south door of tho
chapel, ho raised his hand tho rec
ognized signal of n prisoner on peace
ful errand. Entering tho chapel, tho
mon covered tho negro trusty, Thomas,
who stood with his hundB raised dur
ing tho encounter. Ono convlot then
wont to tho ofllco of Doputy Wardon
Wagnor and shot him twlco In tho ab
domen. r
Hollman, on hearing tho shooting,
rushed from tho warden's ofllco and
looked through tho doors toward tho
chapel, Ho was struck In tho left sldo
bolow tho heart by two bullets, and
otaggored back to tho office, where ho
waB aflslHted to a chair by Dookkeepcr
T. J. Ward. Wardon Delahunty had
rushed to tho door of his ofllco and
opened flfo on tho onrushlng mon.
Thrco shots wero fired by him, none
taking effect. Ho wns Htruck In tho
hip, but continued to flro until an
othor bullet pierced his breast, when
ho fell and almost Immediately expired.
Rcwardo Offered.
State Towards aggregating $2,100
wero offored Friday morning for tho
capturo of tho convict murdorors, dead
or allvo.
Tho stato law limits tho roward to
h nnn ii i Hi i it i wmuppir iiiiiiniiiiiiminwwiirwimmr-iTnmn ir
Clrouml floor of tho stato penitentiary, showing chapel, turnkey's room, cor
ridor nnd atllccs In which tho tight took placo.
A Whoro Doputy Wardon was killed.
H Ouurd Doody during tho lualllado.
C Convict Orny.
D Convlot Dowd.
K Convict Motloy.
K Ciibo door blown open by convicts.
O Turnkny l'ahl during (uslll.ido.
$200 for tho crime pf murdor, but tho
board of public lands and buildings
hold a mooting and decided to ask tho
govornor to offor $200 for each of tho
threo mon killed.
ThlB ho did later in a special proc
lamation. Each of tho trio of es
caped dcBpcradocB Ib held roBponalblo
for killing all threo of tho prison of
(IcIalB. Tho roward on this account,
thorcforo, will aggrcgato G00 for any
ono of tho murdorors, or $1,800 for
all of thom.
Tho Btato law also pormlts tho war
don of tho ponltontlary to offer a ro
ward of $100 for tho roturn of an
oscaped convict. R. W. Hyors, ns
acting wnrdon, has announced this ro
ward, upon n suggestion from tho
board of public lands and buildings.
The Woman In the Case.
A most interesting dovolopmont is
tho discovery that Mrs. May Wood
worth of Kansas City, frlond of
"Shorty" Gray, aB Charles Taylor was
known when ho was tho lcador of tho
most dospornto band of bank robbors
that Infested tho mlddlo west, was in
Lincoln during tho past wook.
Mrs. Woodworth, who called horsolf
Brown whllo In Lincoln, wont to tho
ponltontlary to soo Taylor last Suu
day. It Is said that she was refusod
permission to visit him. Somo, tlmo
Wednesday Bho received a mosaago, aa
a result of which aho told Mrs1. Parka
that eho had to go homo.
iaf - ' "
1W e J
Feed Men In Ceils.
Attorney E, J. Maggl arrived at the
prison soon after tho affair became
public. Ho talked with tho govornor
and wns placed by him In chargo of
tho kitchen. At first it had been de
cided to allow tho convicts to go un
fod that evening, -as it was thought
to bo unsafe to allow them to leave
tho co'ata. Maggl finally secured ar
rangements for feeding tho mon In tho
cells, tho only ones to eat at tho table?
being tho help on tho farm and In the
kitchen, a number of tho officers at
tho prison and tho guards.
May Dreak Up "Trusty" 8ystem.
Tho material used In blowing up the
door, whothor dynamite, nltro-glycer-ino
or fulminating caps, and tho re
volvers wero smuggled Into the prison
from tho outaido by trusties, accord
ing to tho statemont of the prison of
ficials. It Is possible tho outbreak
may result in tho abolition of the
"trusty" system, at least to tho ex
tent of stopping all communication
with tho outsldo world.
When tho first news of tho affair
reached Lincoln it was rumored that
from one to thirteen mon had been
killed, that 300 men had escapod, and
a general mutiny had occurrod, and
othor alarming features were added.
Many of tho officers who hastenod to
the scene went undor tho impression
that they might encounter an entire
prison In arms. ,
Arc All Desperate Men.
Convicts Taylor. Dowd and Morloy
Wero considered nmong tho most des
perato men confined in tho prison. All
had served provious sentences. Con
vict CharleB Taylor, probably tho
leader of tho desporato attempt to
escapo, Ib considered as ono of the
most dangerous criminals operating
H Whero turnkey bent on and robbed.
J Door leading Into corridor.
IC Whero Warden Delahunty was killed.
L North door of penitentiary.
M South door of prison.
N nostrum In tho prison chapol.
O West cell house.
In tho mlddlo west. Ho Is bettor
known undor tho name of "Shorty"
Gray and hnd othor aliases of Murray
and Rogors. Gray was rocelvod at
tho penitentiary AuguBt 22, 1911, from
Aurora, on a twonty-olght-year sen
tonco for blowing tho bank at GUtner
last summer. Ho Ib about forty-four
years of ago, flvo foet four Inches in
f e . in n ;&t
?'i'f i k
hoight and weighed 135 pounds. Ho
waB of light comploxlon, had brown
hair and bluo oyos.
Taylor, In company with Harry
Porboa and John Martin, wns nrrcstad
on an Island In tho Plntto river a
few days following tho Glltnor bank
robbory. Tho mon at tho tlmo wero
unarmed and had no monoy with thom,
but tho sheriff's posse traced thom
from tho robbery to tho bcouo whoro
thoy wero captured
Thoy wero conllnod In tho Aurora
jail, but nfter nrralgnmont wore
brought to tho Btato penitentiary to bo
hold for safo kooplng until tho trial.
In August thoy wero sentenced by
Judge Cochran to twenty-eight years.
Knowing that tho threo wore dangor
ou,i, nil posslblo precautions woro
taken by tho officers in bringing thom
to nnd from tho penitentiary.
Taylor haB 'sorvod provious Bon
toucos at tho Nobraska, Mlnnosota and
Iowa stato prisons,
John Dowd, tho second of tho trio,
Is a bank robbor from Cass county.
Ho waB rccolved at tho renltontlnry
tho 3d of last month on an Indetor
mlnato Bcntcnco of from twenty years
lilf wJu iNIIf
J to llfo. Ho is six feet and ono-elghth
of an inch in hoight, weighs 109
pounds, is of light complexion and has
light brown hairs and brown eyes.
Dowd gavo his homo as Aberdeen, S.
D whero ho has brothers and sisters
now living. His paronts aro dead. Ho
Is twenty-flvo yoars of ago.
Dowd Ib thought to bo ono of a gang
of bank robbers operating over the
state, with headquarters at Omaha. Ha
waB arrested in Omaha last fall and
wao arraigned on tho chargo of blow
ing tho safo of a Jowolry storo at Lou
isvlllo, Neb. Tho night provious to
tho Louisvlllo robbery, bank robbors
made an unsuccessful attempt to blow
tho bank safo at Wabash. It was
thought that Dowd waB ono of the
men implicated In this robbery. Tay
lor and Dowd wore cell mates at tho
prison and no doubt tho plan to es
capo was worked out by thom and
Morloy, who was later taken Into tho
Bchomo. '
Charles Morloy, tho third ono In the
trio, was sout to tho penitentiary De
cember 14, 1910, from Omaha on a
flftoen-year sontenco for highway rob
bery. Ho has served a provious sen
tonco at tho Missouri ponltontlary.
Morley is, between thirty-five and
forty yoars of ago, Ib flvo feet cloven
and one-fourth inches In height,
Mmtm&Smmmr mm
Veteran Usher Who Was Shot Down
by the Mutineers.
weighs 148 pounds, of medium light
complexion and has black hair and
oyos. Morloy's homo is In Kansas
City, whero ho has a wifo now living
at 530 Holmes avenue. Ho has other
relatives living at Knoxvlllo, Mo.
Well Armed With Modern Guns.
Tho superior marksmanship of the
convicts over that of tho officials Is
due, according to some at tho prison,
to tho kind of guns tho men had. At
least ono of tho prisoners, thought to
have been Dowd, waB equipped with
tho latest typo of automatic pistol,
and it was bullets from this gun that
probably killed Wagner and wounded
Doody In tho leg. Much of tho shoot
ing by tho convicts waB done by
Dowd, it ia said.
Tho prison officials woro equipped
with short old-fashioned "bull dog"
rovolvers, whllo Gray, tho second of
tho convicts and probably tho leader,
had a long single loading high pow
ered targot gun, which ho used with
deadly offoct. Morley is said by somo
of tho mon who camo out of tho fray
allvo to havo beon equipped with two
Alleged "Finds" During Search.
Twenty knives and a complete kit
of burglar tools aro reported to havd
been found in the colls of prisoners at
tho ponltentlary, when militiamen,
nssigted by tho prlBon guards, con
ducted a thorough search of every
convict's coll. Although tho discov
ery wns denied by Adjutant Goneral
Pholps, it Is a matter of common gos
sip among tho guards who conducted
tho search.
All Quiet Saturday.
With a hundred militiamen, carrying
guns loaded and bayoneted, on tho
walls, in tho corridors and In tho cell
housos, all was quiet at tho prison
Saturday morning. All prlsonors wero
kept In tho cells nnd oven trustlos
woro not allowed to bo about. Guards
men paraded In front of all ontrancoa
loaUlng to tho prison, marchod contin
ually over tho walla and lounged In
numbers in front of tho cells in tho
cell rooms.
" 1 9I
-y .UJZf
History of Nebraska Compiled In 1882
Gives an Interesting Account
of Two Previous Attempts
to Break Out.
Two provious attempts havo beon
mado to break through tho walls and
guard linos of tho penitentiary by des
perate criminals provious to tho trag
edy of Thursday, according to tho fol
lowing: About 4 o'clock p. m., of January 17,
1875, tho only notable mutiny broko
iout among the prisoners. Tho Insti
gator of tho troublo was McWaters,
who succeeded in enlisting Bohanan,
Worroll, McKcnna, C. W. Thompson,
Gerry, and Elder. Just beforo tho
afternoon round of tho deputy wardon,
C. J. Nobes, they surprised ntnd over
powered tho guard in the workshop.
On entering tho shop, not knowing tho
stato of affairs, tho deputy too was
seized, overcome, bound, robbed of his
koya and stripped of his clothes, Mc
Waters putting them on. Nobes was
loft in care of threo of tho mutineers,
whilo tho others, armed with Iron
crowbars, started for tho main build
ing. Blacking tho sides of Ills face to
represent tho warden's whiskers, Mc
Waters marched tho four up to tho
main door in usual prison regulation
Btylo, bo that tho door guard thought
It was tho wardon with a fllo of men
and opened tho door; as Boon as tho
door swung open, they rushed up
stairs, making tho guard a prisoner,
and proceeded to break open tho arm
ory and soizo guns and ammunition.
Fortunately, tho deputy succeeded In
loosening his cords unobserved by his
captors, and suddenly seizing a hoe
that lay within reach, by a few rapid
blows, compelled tho convicts to lleo,
whereupon thoy joined their com
panions in tho main building.
Mr. Woodhurst, the warden, and two
of tho guards wero in the hands of
tho mutineers. As tho peoplo from
Lincoln began to nrrlvo and ap
proached within gunshot of tho north
windows, Mrs. Woodhurst appeared at
ono of them and waved her hand, cry
ing out, "Keep back! Keep back!"
Just beforo dark sho appeared at an
other window, In tho chapel near tho
main entrance, and said that the plan
of tho mutineers was to put the im
prisoned guards beforo thom and
mako a rush to escapo through tho
board wall by tho s"outh gate. This
information waa doubtless tho means
of frustrating their plan, as it was not
carried out. In both instances she
auickly disappeared from tho window
by orders from her captors. These
communications contained no solici
tudes for herself, but concerned only
iho safety of others and the responsi
bility she felt for tho Institution with
which sho waB associated.
A llttlo before 1 o'clock the next
morning, Company I, Twenty-third
United States infantry, arrived from
Omaha, under tho command of Major
Randall, and at onco proceeded to
guard the walls until morning.
Grave feara held possession of the
citizens until 6 o'clock, when to tho
Intenso Joy and relief of all, Mrs.
Woodhurst again appeared at the
southwest window of tho chapel.
Especially comforting was her ap
pearance to her husband and two sons,
who were out of tho building at tho
commencement, and consequently
could not go to her relief. Sho as
sured them of her safety, and that sho
thought tho mutlnoers would soon sur
render to her, but to her alono.
Tho troops, who wero nearly all
Indian fighters and celebrated shots
.In tho army, In tho meantlmo wero
making preparations to assault tho
building from the south, force opon
tho door and face tho conspirators in
tholr fort, compelling submission at
all hazards. But before tho attempt
was mado, McWaters and tho others
laid aaido their arms and agreod to
surrender to Mrs. Woodhurst, stipu
lating against oxccsslvo punishment.
It was a grand eight to see those des
porato mon, but a fow hours beforo
determined to risk life against tho
chanco of obtaining tholr liberty, and
willing to take n hundred lives if need
bo to Becuro a few more years of tholr
wild llborty, now led by a slnglo
woman, who, whllo at tholr mercy,
had so fearlessly demanded their sub
mission. But without tho least ap
penranco of self-consciousness the
bravo woman delivered modestly her
.prisoners Into tho hands of tho law.
Upon tho arrival of Mr. Woodhurst,
McWaters said: "Warden, thero Is no
uso of mincing matters. You are an
old prison officer and know hew it is,
I havo no ill will towards you. You
havo treated mo well, but I am llko
othor men I want my liberty; I
thought I Bnw a chanco to gnln it and
I improved It. I got tho better of you
at first, but tho fates aro against me.
I lost my chanco; you havo now tho
ndvnntago and I -glvo up nnd sur
Thus ended ono of the most excit
ing Incidents In tho history of the
prison and n revolt, which for bold
nesB of design nnd persistent effort
In nttemptlng Ub execution, has but
fow parallels In tho annals of prison
Tho story of tho horolsm of Mrs.
Mary A. Woodhurst Is worthy of
preservation. Left alono during thai
night or alarm, Bho manifested that
raro quality of command which needs
but to bo asserted to bo obeyed. Not
only did Bho protect herself from
harm, sho oven forced into subjection
to her will tho desporato band of In
surrectionary mon, who fearod hor
moro than they did the officers, and
who surrendered to her, whllo thoy
still defied the representatives of tho
At tho tlmo of tho revolt, Mrs
Woodhurst was in her apartmonts,
which woro separated by but ono
room from tho wardon's office. When
tho convicts hurried to tho armory,
Mrs. Woodhurst's attention waB at-'
tracted by the confusion. Hastening
to tho office, she realized that a revolt
had taken placo, and that tho arras
of tho prison wero In tho hands of ro
bolllous prisoners. Ab Bho nppoared
at the door, sho was decisively but
courteously directed to return to hor
own apartments.
Sho at onco repaired to a room
opening from hor own, with a north
ern exposure, from which sho could
seo tho northwest turret. Sho called
to tho guard and directed him to
alarm tho guards In the other turrets,
who alone were then free, and pro
vont them from coming to tho build
ing, as ono of thom was then doing.
This timely movement, besides, doubt
loss, saving tho llfo of tho guard, pre
cipitated matters, and materially
changed tho situation by tho covering
of tho door with tho carbines of the
guards, thus defeating tho plans of
McWaters. This Illustrates a pros
onco of mind seldom met with In men,
and more rarely In the gentler sex,
whose lives are such as generally ex
clude them from startling sltuatipns.
Yet it is tho moro commendnblo for
Ub bravery. They wero desporato
men, and wero determined to achlevo
their liberty at all hazards. But sho
faltered not, oven whllo sho realized
that they had taken their Uvea In
tholr hands to defeat the course of
Mrs. Woodhurst had, on two previ
ous occasions, faced mobs in her hus
band's absence that were Intent upon
lynching prlsonors in his charge, and
in ono instance saved tho prisoner's
life. Tho mobs in both cases woro
defeated by her prompt nnd fearless
defense. In spite of this determina
tion and force of character, sho has
nothing of masculinity about her, but
has tho grace of a lady, tho dignity of
' matron and tho kindness of a
The Second Revolt.
On May 27, 1875, a second revolt
headed by Convict McWaters was at
tempted after a note from ono pris
oner to another, giving details of tho
plan had been dropped and fallen Into
tho hands of a guard. McWaters,
again a leader In thp insurrection,
was killed by Guard Hugh Blaney.
The letter which had been dropped
stated that tho object was to first kill
tho keeper of tho wash house, then
tho deputy warden, after which thero
was to bo a general rush to gain pos
session of the prison. Eight men had
agreed to take part in tho plan and It
was thought that eight moro would
assist. '
On the da to named in the letter tho
prisoners were kept in tho cells, but
the following day thoy wero marched
out to work in their regular formation
as though nothing was suspected.
Tho guards, however, had been noti
fied to keep close watch and to shoot
at tho first sign of mutiny. John
Geary and McWaters had asked per
mission to leave the main body of
prisoners at work In the yard and mot'
In the entrance way to tho yard. Mc
Waters made a threatening remark,
but whether it was addressed to Guard
Blaney, who was standing near, or to
tho other convict was not certain.
Blaney, however, took no chances and
raised his gun ready for an emergi
oncy. t
McWaters picked up two stones, but
beforo ho could throw at the guard,
Blanoy fired, hitting tho convict In tho
Jaw, tho bullet taking a diagonal
course down through tho body. Mc
Waters did not speak again. Ho
reeled a few feet away and dropped
dead. Geary, who was making somo
demonstration, wns easily quieted by
tho guard, who pointed tho gun
toward him. Blaney gavo the general
alarm by ringing the big bell In tho
yard, and within a few moments all
tho officers woro out. I
The prompt action of tho guard and
other officers quieted the mutiny and
although tho men wero kept at work
thero was no further disturbance.
Thoy woro marched back to their cells
within a few minutes and placed
under tho watch of two extra guards.
R. W. Hyern Temporary Warden.
Governor Aldrlch has appointed ox
Warden R. W. Hyers warden of tho
penitentiary to servo temporarily.
Tho appolntmont was mado by tele
phono by the governor, who was snow
bound nt Auburn. Mr. Hyers is now
doputy stato gamo warden. Ho wns
wardon of tho penitentiary many
years ago and thoroughly understands
tho workings of a largo prison. i
Steward Robb requested tho gover
nor to relievo him of tho duties of act
ing warden because ho has enough
work as steward to occupy his entlro
tlmo. It Is understood that Mr. Hyers
will remain In chargo of tho peniten
tiary only for a short time.
Count Francis Luetzow, the Bohe
mian nobleman who visited Lincoln
two weeks ago, haa presented Chan
cellor Avery of tho Btato university
with two books, "History of Bohemia,"
written by hlmseir, and an English
translation of Komensky's "Tho Laby
rinth of tho World," tho count bolng
the translator. '
i rt

xml | txt