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The prison mirror. [volume] (Stillwater, Minn.) 1887-1894, December 31, 1891, Image 3

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86063465/1891-12-31/ed-1/seq-3/

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Jgfe* prison fpiimrr.
THURSDAY. Dec. 31. 1891.
EDWIN DUNN. President Kyota.
JAB. 8. O’BRIEN Stillwater.
F. W. TEMPLE Blue Earth City.
M. O. HALL Duluth.
F. H. LEMON Deputy Warden.
JOHN 8. GLENNON Ass’t Dept. Warden.
H. E. BENNER Steward.
jl. J. MERRILL Physician.
FRANK H. HALL Hospital Steward.
F. M. BORDWELL Storekeeper.
MRS. H. A. WALKER Matron.
ALFRED GILMORE Supt. Twine Factory.
J. C. COVELL Supt. Tub & Pail Factory.
R. F. JONES Engineer.
J. H. ALBERT Protestant Chaplain.
CHARLES CORCORAN Catholic Chaplain.
T.W. ALEXANDER Day Cell house.
W. W. HALL Captain of Night Watch.
BEN. CAYOU Tub & Pail Shop. Ist floor.
ORLANDO M’FALL.. .Tub & Pail Shop. 2nd floor.
JOHN MEALEV Twine Factory 2nd flooor.
ROYAL C. ORFF Soft Wood Shop.
J. C. COVER Machine Shop, Ist floor.
M. C. COLLIGAN Machine Shop, 2nd floor.
JOHN 8. MAY Wagon Shop.
ARCHIE PARKER Blacksmith Shop.
AMOS ROWE Paint Shop.
T. L. O'MARA Foundry.
P. J. MURPHY Asst. Gate.
J. H. STILKEY.. Engine Room.
JOHN WINDOLPH Night Turnkey.
CHARLES. P. AUSTIN Night Cell-house.
HENRY FROST Night Cell-house.
O. S. CRANDALL Day Solitary Keeper.
L. B. GOLDSMITH Night Solitary Keeper.
—Not a fish came to our net this week
—Four men were released during the week.
—Mr. J. T. Arthur, of Dunbar, Wis., was in last
Saturday and left us a subscription.
—Manufacturing operations have started up in
earnest in the Thresher company’s shops.
—New Year’s Day will be observed in the prison,
but whether it will be anything more than a day
of rest we have not learned.
—Statement of population Dec. 30: Working for
Thresher Co., 187; working for state, 133: sick and
infirm, 17. Total population 337.
—The health of the prison is good, there being
but one patient confined to his bed in the hospi
tal and he is on the road to recovery.
—The primer boys of the Charlestown (Mass.)
prison have our thanks for a pair of their pretty
1892 calendars. THE MIRROR will try to recip
rocate next year.
—Storekeeper Bordwell had a world-embracing
smile on his face Christmas morning; and well he
might look benign, for he had found a line gold
watch in his sock.
—Misses M. I.eahy, Beatrice King, Hannah
O’Hare, of St. Paul, and Mr. M. E. Sullivan, of In
dependence, Wis., were shown the prison Monday
by Foreman Sullivan.
—All Stillwater passed up Main street by the
prison Tuesday to view the passenger train wreck
up in Dutch Town. This is the first railroad
wreck that ever occurred in this city.
—There are, no doubt, some very mean and de
praved men in prison, but there has not one thus
far in the season shown himself so lost to intel
lectual pride as to send in a “beautiful snow"
—THE MIRROR lost its “devil” Monday morn,
ing. If he will be as well behaved and half as in
dustrious outside as be has been inside be will
flourish, and the world will bave gained a good
—We are greatly indebted to the "Dutch Wiz
ard” of the hospital for putting new life into our
long winding and short winded office clock of the
Waterbury variety. It is right on time now like a
faithful creditor.
—We thank the management of the Pennsylva
nia Reformatory for a program and a ticket of ad
mittance to the Christmas entertainment, and we
regret very much that our condition was such that
we could not travel the great distance.
—The new leather belt for the main drive wheel
has arrived. It is a large one being 38 inches wide,
90 feet long, }4 an inch thick and weighing 670
pounds. The belt now in use was badly damaged
in the fire of 1884 and has begun to show signs of
giving out. Should it happen to break great dam
age might result.
—Our new "devil” 'thinks that part of his duties
is to represent himself as a poet laureate. He
has dedicated the following four-by-four lines to
the horticulturists “Texas” and "Innisfallen,”
whose “hanging gardens of Babylon" he has so
much admired:
O gardners! tell me the secret
Of thy flowers so rare and sweet!—
“We have only enriched our gardens, sir.
With the black mire from the street.”
—A Wisconsin Central passenger train was
wrecked at 8 o'clock Tuesday morning on the St.
Paul & Duluth road a short distance north of the
prison. Engineer Jay Leighton lost a foot, and
was the only one seriously hurt in the accident.
The engine ran down a fifteen-foot embankment
without turning over.
—Supt. Coveli of the tub and pail factory did the
handsome tbing by his boys Christmas Eve by set
ting up the cigars. He did not forget Guard
Cayou’s faithful assistance, but with a neat little
speech he presented him also with a cigar. It is
said that tears of gratitude trickled down the
cheeks of the modest guard.
—THE MIRROR office can boast of another
improvement. On Monday the prison electrician
extended the electric light system to our estab
lishment, and now it is as magnificently illum
inated as any other office between the two oceans.
Short days, special work and a scarcity of print
ers have combined to make it necessary for the
present force to work evenings for a few weeks.
—We will begin the new year to-morrow morn
ing. Let us each drop some bad habit and begin a
good one. If we will do this and then religiously
avoid the one and adhere to the other through the
whole year, we will, all other things remaining
equal, begin 1893 better satisfied with ourselves
than we are at present, for there is nothing gives
a person such genuine satisfaction as the con.
sciousness of having been true to promises made
to self.
—To late arrivals. You are permitted to send
your copy of this paper home or to your friends.
Put the address plainly on the margin above the
heading of the paper and then place it between
the bars of your cell door Friday evenings. The
guard will take It up, and it will be put in an ad
dressed wrapper and mailed free of cost. There
must be no other writing than the address on
the paper. You must keep the paper reasonably
clean, otherwise it will not be sent.
—lf one wishes to see a scene of lively industry
he should visit the foundry about three o'clock in
the afternoon when they are “pouring off.” Not
withstanding the hard work, the foundry has al
ways been a favorite place with a large number of
the boys. We have known of men asking to be
changed from light, clean jobs in the wood work
ing shops to the heavy and dirty work in the
foundry. This is the case with young fellows es
pecially, and may perhaps be attributed to the
boyish love of shoveling sand and playing with
—The last piece the Stillwater brass band
played for us Christmas was a scurvy trick. Just
about the time we bad got through shaking hands
and exchanging the compliments of the season
and were about ready to open the dance, the bAnd
sneaked off by a side door. Some of the boys
were so unappreciative as to say that when the
band found that the music didn’t kill any ot us or
cause a riot it went down town to fill a conditional
engagement. Others said it went outside to shake
hands with itself over its good fortune of having
escaped mob violence.
Chapel Service*.
Catholic services were conducted by Rev.
Father Corcoran. The gospel read was from St.
Luke ii., 1-14 which is the story of the birth of
the Savior. The sermon was appropriate to the
season. He said that the records of Clod's visita
tions to men all agree that those visitations came
in a way to strike terror to the hearts of the peo
ple. So in olden times whenever a miraculous
sign was given, the people became troubled and
were sore afraid. We find that they had reason
to be afraid. God had visited the earth with His
wrath; He had manifested His displeasure by vis
iting mankind with plagues, famines and wars;
But God in His mercy had always given them
warnings. So the people had come to look upon
any sign from God as a forerunner of impending
calamity. But God in His mercy was to give the
people a manifestation of His supreme goodness.
That manifestation was to be the Christ, their
King and Redeemer. A time had come when the
people were greatly in need of something to
awake them and bring them back to a remem
brance of God. The world, to all appearances,
was satan’s kingdom when John the Baptist pro
claimed the kingdom of heaven to be at hand.
To the simple shepherds was first announced the
birth of the Savior. They were humble men liv
ing in the simplicity of nature. It was to these
simple men that the angel said, "behold I bring
you good tidings of great joy.” There were no
prophets in those days to tell them how the Sav
ior was to appear. So the question in the minds
of the Jews was. How will the Savior come? Will
he come as a mighty conqueror or as a great king
or in any of the ways the world considers grand
and noble? In some such way we might have ex
pected Him. But he preferred to come as a child
announced to the humble shepherds to whom the
angelic host sang "Glory to God in the highest:
and on earth peace to men of good will.”
Carl Pretzel’s Philosophy.
Don’t put on many airs vhen you vas go sailing
der shtream of life along, it may upsot your boat.
Vhen death ofertooks a feller he dond did gif
him a receet for vat he dook nor ask for any reffer
Each day, each week, each month, each
year, is a new chance given to us bv God.
A new chance, a new leaf, a new life—this
is the golden, the unspeakable gift which
each new day offers to you.—Canon Farrar.
In Palestine there are now 78,000 Jews.
Christendom’s Greatest Day and How
We Observed It.
The great festival of the year has come and
gone, and it will be six long months before we
celebrate another holiday. The day was pleas
antly spent. We arose at the usual hour of 6.
Breakfast, consisting of biscuits, butter and cof
fee, was served at 7 o'clock. (Those biscuits!
There was never a more villanous lot in the peni
tentiary, and if the baker had come out from
under the house before noon he certainly would
have been mobbed. However, the excellent
quality of the buns and cake served at dinner
won his pardon.) The Catholics attended mass
in the chapel from 8 to 8:45 o'clock.
Promptly at 9 o’clock the “liberty” bell rang
out, the band played, the boys cheered, the bars
rattled, the doors flew open and the striped pro
cession made for the exit. As we passed out each
one received two apples from large baskets at
the door. We were not long in getting to the
paint shop, which had been cleared out and put
in shape for the occasion. After announcing the
program for the day and giving a few directions,
the Warden ordered “Break ranks,” and ranks
broke. The band began to play, and there was a
great shaking of hands and wagging of tongues.
The band got rather the worst of it in the first
round. The musicians occupied a platform on one
side of the room. They gave us some music
during the hour and a half they remained with us.
The spirit of good will was universal, and if every
one did not enjoy himself his face belled his feel
ings. The two and a halt hours were spent pleas
antly, and when the “dinner whistle” screeched,
everybody said, “Pshaw.”
Before leaving the hall the Warden thanked the
boys for their excellent deportment. Owing to an
obstruction inside the door the procession was a
long time getting back into the cellroom. But
each man, as he passed in, carried away a por
tion of the obstruction until the last of it disap
peared altogether with the last man of the pro
cession. The said obstruction was the dished-up
Christmas dinner; and we will say here that it
was a credit to the cooks. It was bountiful. This
is what we bad: Boast pork with apple sauce;
mashed potatoes with gravy; buns and cheese;
suet pudding; pound cake, and coffee with milk
and sugar. Cigars—three to the man—were pass
ed around during dinner, and later each man re
ceived four apples.
After dinner nearly everyone took advantage of
the extra privilege and wrote a Christmas letter
to the folks at home. It was a pleasantly spent
day, and all who thought of its origin must have
felt thankful that the Son of Ood had had an
earthly birthday.
The officers had a fine spread in their dining
room and all who were not required to be on duty,
were given the afternoon off.
The case of William A. Bridgeman is, we
think, deserving of consideration at once
more thoughtful and more charitable than it
seems to have received. There is much un
godly laughter and in certain quarters not
a little exultation over the discovery that a
young man holding high place in a Chris
tian church and in the favor of its pastor
and people is suddenly discoverd to be an
ex-convict, and for no other apparent of
fense is arrested by the police and lined by
a justice of the peace, with every prospect
of being sent again to prison. We do not
find in such a case occasion for either
laughter or exultation.
The good people of the Central Christian
church are said to think harshly of their
pastor, Mr. Black, and to be thoroughly
chagrined at themselves. Yet we do not find
that the Rev. Mr. Black has done anything
more reprehensible than to receive into his
church a young man professing belief in the
gospel of Christ which Mr. Black preaches.
Nor do the members of the Central church
appear to have committed any greater indis
cretion than to welcome the new comer (as
by the gospel of their church they are .bid
den to do) and to accord to him the place in
their society which his accomplishments and
talents easily won. To be sure, the young
man proves to be an ex convict, but we are
not willing to believe that even if the pas
tor and people of the Central church had
known this fact, they would have permit
ted it to infiuence their treatment of Bridge
man. The mission of the church of Christ
is to succor the weak and needy. Who, it
might be asked, is in greater need of the
counsels of a pastor and the sympathy of
the church than a man, still young, begin
ning the arduous, the herculean task of re
habilitating his character? Theie is said to
be great joy in heaven over the return of a
penitent. The same rule, we feel confi
dent. obtains in the Central Christian
But interest in Bridgeman’s case will not
be confined to the Central Christian church.
Here is a man against whom nothing has
been proved except that he is an ex convict.
The testimony of the police who arrested
him shows not even a probable case of guilt.
The police swore that Bridgeman was
found late at night in a position suggesting
to the police mind an intent to commit
burglary. But this intent Bridgeman de-
nies. and his word is at least as good, as his
explanations are as reasonable, as the word
of the police in any matter involving an ex
convict. It would probably not even be
pretended that another man could be con
victed of any offense on such evidence, but
the sapient justice who heard the case did
not hesitate to impose a heavy fine. The
charge was “disorderly conduct,” which, as
everybody knows, means much or little, as
the police choose. It is the same charge
under which Justice Woodman fined the
Greif’s Hall “anarchists.” It is the same
under which a noisy drunkard is sent to the
bridewell. It is the favorite device by
which the police railroad to prison innocent
persons against whom they have personal
grievances. It has started many an ex con
vict, anxious to reform, back to a career of
The attitude of our police toward ex-con
victs is well illustrated in Bridgeman’s case
and it will deserve an investigation. Has
an ex-convict no rights which the police are
bound to respect? Are the purposes of our
prisons, which are corrective as well as
penal, to be defeated by the fanatical and
wrongheaded persecutions of ignorant men? -
Who, for example, is the real offender in
this present case —the young man striving
for a new character or the police officer and
justice of the peace who conspire to pervert
the law in order that the young man’s laud
able purpose may be defeated?
We submit to the good people of the Cen
tral Christian church, and to all good citi
zens, that here is a case calling for the ex
ercise of all the Christian virtues and all
the impulses of patriotism.—Chicago Even
ing Post editorial.
Criminals and Religion.
A peculiar feature in the history of crime
is the few infidels found among criminals.
Almost all claim some religion when ex
amined on entering the prison. What is
surprising to the casual thinker is that
criminals should profess to believe in the
church which represents what is holy and
pure. Why does he hold to his religion
when all else is taken from him? I am sure
it is not from any hope of ameliorating hie
condition in prison. Does he think that by
claiming his religion he has a key to heaven,
which he wishes to carry him through
a sinful life hoping that when the time
comes he may gain admittance through a
side door? 1 need not confine these re
marks to the criminal alone, for I may say
the same of many who do not wear the
insignia of crime. Reader, look through
the best of your acquaintanases. How
many can you honestly say are living up to
the religious principles they profess? I can
imagine you saying, “Very few,” including
.yourself perhaps. I have known a religious
man to go home from church —where he
had prayed for charity and 1 brotherly love
to all mankind, as he would wish it from
his Heavenly Father —take off his coat and
threaten to take the life of his next door
neighbor it he did not keep his chickens out
of his back yard. As to some female re
ligionists, who look so seraphic in church,
that one almost mistakes their high should
ered sleeves for wings—but 1 will not give
you my observations of these. lam afraid
that many professors of religion will be
terribly surprised when the conducting
angel deposits their whitewashed souls at
th 6 door of hades.
But to return to the criminal. There is
some hope of the criminal reclaiming him
self for a better life. Let him examine
this peculiarity of his, and try to infuse
new strength and hope into the religion a
good mother taught him during his innocent
and pure childhood. You do not need the
wisdom of a Solomon, or the riches of a
Gould to accomplish it; all that is necessary
are these two little words, acted out, which
are. “I will.”
While penologists are devising systems
for our reformation, let us be sincere in our
religion, and follow out the rules of con
duct it lays down, and then there will be no
need of help from any save the Founder
Himself. It is not ignorance that produces
the majority of criminals: it is rather a lack
of interest in religion, and a carelessness of
morality. The criminal will tell you, if
you ask the question, that he believes in his
church, and that he knows its teachings aro
good, that to live according to its teachings
is the only happy life. Yet if you ask him
why he does not live that life he will say:
"Well, 1 think I will after a while —when
1 get better fixed.” Many would call it ig
norance, but I would call it heedlessness of
the consequences attending a wicked life.
A movement has been started in St.
Petersburg to establish workshops for crim
inals who have served their term in prison.
Such criminals, in some instances strong
and able men. cannot easily find employ
ment when they regain their liberty, be
cause their records are marked in their
passports, and employers are loath to en
gage a man who had served a term in
prison. The philanthropists of St. Peters
burg wish to provide employment for them,
and, if they have no trade, to train them as
carpenters, turners in wood and metal*
shoemakers, and so forth.

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