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Further Particulars of the Attempted Escape - 1879


Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 5/10/2016 at 00:14:16

Dubuque Herald –Jan. 4, 1879

Further Particulars of the
Attempted Escape
The Convict Martin Dies of
Wounds Received While
Running Away
Donahue Captured – His Feet
Badly Frozen
Special Dispatch to the Dubuque Herald’;

ANAMOSA Jan. 3 – Following are the particulars, as near as your correspondent could learn of the attempted escape of ten convicts from the penitentiary at this place, yesterday afternoon. Just before quitting time (4 o’clock), ten men at work in the stone shed, in response to a preconcerted signal suddenly dropped their tools and rushed for the outside fence, which is about 40 rods from the shed. The guards saw the movement, and instantly drew their pistols and commenced firing at the fugitives. When about half way to the fence one of the convicts, Harry Hudson was shot and fell dead, and a short distance further on another fell mortally wounded. The others succeeded in reaching the fence where two men fell to the ground wounded. The firing of the guards attracted a number of citizens, who joined the pursuit, and succeeded in capturing four off the runaways half a mile from the prison. The ninth man ran three miles into the country before being caught, and when found late in the evening his hands and feet were badly frozen.

During this time the excitement in town and around the prison was intense and (type is faded) was all the convicts but one (James Donahue) was again in custody, searching parties were again organized to catch him. The country was searched in every direction, but no trace of the missing man could be found until this morning when he was discovered in a barn. He was so badly frozen that it was necessary to carry him to the prison, and he may lose both feet.

About one hundred prisoners were at work in the shed, and the attempted escape caused considerable excitement among them, but they were soon quieted, and if any of them entertained an idea of following their companions it was soon dispelled by the guards who surrounded the building with cocked rifles, showed themselves ready to shoot the first man who should make any such demonstration.

James Hudson, who was killed by Kelsey, one of the guards was sent here about a year ago from Independence on a two year sentence, but last July succeeded in making his escape. All efforts to find him were unsuccessful, and nothing was heard of him until early December last when he was recognized by a fellow prisoner in the jail at Dubuque were he was confined on a charge of counterfeiting. The sheriff of Dubuque County notified the warden of the penitentiary who went to Dubuque and identified him and on the 23d of December, Hudson was again within the penitentiary walls.

Martin who was shot about the same time with Hudson, died of his wounds at 11 o’clock this morning.

The third man shot was hit on the leg and subsequently had to have the leg amputated.

The fourth man shot, upon examination was found to have sustained only a slight flesh wound.

John Donahue, the last man captured is from Scott County and was sent here for a term of three years.


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