THE STABBING OF JAMES HOLDEN
Researched and Transcribed by
Daily Gazette, Wednesday Morning, November 18, 1868, page 4.
A MAN DISEMBOWELED IN A SALOON!
He is not Expected to Live!
A DESPERADO AND MURDERER ARRESTED!
Yesterday afternoon the steamer Key City landed a gang of as
desperate-looking men as ever murdered in night time. They had not
been here long before they commenced quarreling among themselves.
This was on Front street, near Brady, at about 5 o'clock. The strife
settled, the party adjourned to Cope's saloon, corner of Brady, to
take a drink all around. Here two of the party, named Mike Clancy
and James Holden, renewed the quarrel and soon came to blows. Cope
stepped up to separate them, no one else venturing to interfere. As
he put himself between the men, Clancy out with a big handled,
long-bladed knife, and with lightening-like, motions, stabbed Holden
in two places. Once in the neck, just below the ear, a bad cut, and
again in the abdomen, on the left side, a deep and frightful wound.
Holden shrieked "I'm murdered! I'm murdered!" and the lookers on
were horror-stricken to see his bowels protrude from the orifice of
the wound. The wounded man fell to the floor and Clancy fled out
doors. Cope followed him, took the knife from him, and intended to
deliver him up to the police. Clancy shook him off and escaped up
Officer Carstens then made his appearance at the saloon, and taking
Cope with him went in search of Clancy. At last they went to the
ferry boat, and Cope saw Clancy coming towards the dock, accompanied
by two roughs, with his hat low down, his collar up, and his body
bent so as to conceal his face. He was recognized, however, and
Carstens out with his revolver, and told him to surrender. He
demurred at first, but the sight of the barker quelled his
rebellious thoughts, and Carstens took him to jail, where he was
safely locked in a cell.
In the meantime Doctors
French and Baker, having been sent for, arrived at Cope's saloon,
and proceeded to dress Holden's wounds. The cut in the neck was not
dangerous, as it was only a deep flesh wound. But the hole in the
abdomen was a sorry affair. The surgeons put back the entrails, and
did all they could to relieve the man, who seemed to be in great
agony. Late in the evening Marshall Kauffman removed the man to the
Mississippi House, where he grew worse. It was feared that his
intestines were cut, and that he would not live till the morning.
During the night he became flighty, and imagined himself mate of a
steamboat, giving orders. At two this A. M. he was in a very
Clancy is evidently a
savage among his class. One of the men who got off the boat with
him, informed Carstens that Clancy murdered a man in Cairo less than
a year ago. About ten o'clock last night, two of Clancy's companions
were also arrested and lodged in jail.
Clancy will be examined
before Justice Peters to-day.
The Davenport Democrat, November 18, 1868, page 1.
Terrible Fight Between Desperadoes.
A terrible tragedy occurred about dark last night at Cope's
saloon, corner of Front and Brady streets, one man receiving a wound
which will probably end his life. The facts in the case are these:
The steamer Key City arrived yesterday afternoon from Savanna, on
her way to St. Louis. She had on board as hardened and reckless a
set of deck passengers as had been seen for many months. They were
villains and roughs from the North; who had been up there all
summer, and were going home to the South. They were represented to
be the very worst class of blacklegs and men of evil deeds, who had
dark and bloody stains upon their souls. Rumor said that many of
them had taken human life more than once. The Key City landed them
about the middle of the afternoon. They had not been long on shore
before the natural element of demon-ism manifested itself in their
actions, and they commenced to quarrel and use hard words towards
each other. At about 5 o'clock in the afternoon they appeared to
have settled their quarrel and adjourned to Cope's, to take a drink
and be friends. Two of the party, named Mike Clancy and James
Holden, went in together and stood by the bar. Soon they commenced
an altercation, and came to blows and scuffling about the room. Cope
went to them, separated them and put one out upon the sidewalk, when
he discovered the villain had a large knife. He compelled him to
give up the weapon, and then tried to arrest him, but he broke loose
and made off. Cope returned to the room and ordered the other one
out, but he said faint, "I am hurt--he cut me." Cope immediately set
him in a chair and took off part of his clothes until he discovered
that Holden had a fearful gash in his left mid near the abdomen,
though which the bowels protruded.
At this juncture Constable Carstens appeared, and, after sending for
medical assistance to aid the wounded man, he and Cope started after
the villain Clancy.
They found him near the
ferry dock, apparently waiting a chance to escape across the river.
He at first showed fight, but was speedily brought to terms by the
sight of a revolver pointed at his head. He was taken into custody
by Carstens and marched to jail, where he was at once safely
quartered in a secure cell.
Dr. Roundy had in the
meantime arrived at the saloon and proceeded to care for the wounded
man. He had a flesh wound on the neck, which was not dangerous; but
the fatal stab was in the side. He was suffering intolerable agony.
The wound was dressed with all the possible dispatch, and relieved
him for a time. During the evening, he was, by direction of Marshall
Kauffman, removed to the Mississippi House, where he grew rapidly
worse. He has been for the most part out of his head and talking
wildly. The physicians fear there is a probability of inflammation
setting in at the wound, which would speedily close his sufferings.
The would-be murderer,
Clancy, is spoken of as a most desperate character. He has openly
boasted of killing men for a slight provocation. Late last night two
of his companions were arrested and lodged in jail.
Clancy was brought up
before Justice Peters this morning for examination, and the annals
of our police court fail to show a harder looking case than he was.
His bail was fixed at $5,000. If the wounded man Holden should die,
of course, there would be no necessity for bail, and there is strong
probability that he will not recover. The villain Clancy accordingly
goes to jail there to await the fate of his victim.
The Daily Gazette, November 19, 1868, page 4.
Holden, the man who was
stabbed by Clancy, as detailed in the Gazette yesterday morning, is
alive yet. At the hour of this writing (midnight), he is very low,
and his physicians have little hopes of his recovery. He has been
removed to the Infirmary on Iowa street.
Davenport Democrat, Saturday, November 21, 1868
The End of the Tragedy.--
James Holden, the man who was stabbed by Clancy, died to-day. A
post mortem examination revealed the fact, that the blade of the
knife had penetrated though the abdomen clear to the backbone. From
all the information that has thus far been brought to light, it is
almost opinion that it was a cold blooded, deliberate murder, and it
is to be hoped that the full measure of the law will be meted out
without stint to Clancy, the perpetrator of the deed.
Gazette, Saturday Morning, November 21, 1868, page 4.
ADMISSION.--When officer Carstens was taking the pickpocket Owen
Jones to jail, night before last, the prisoner asked "What did they
do with Clancy?" alluding to the rough who all-but murdered Holden
the other night. "Oh, the Judge sent him up for ten years!" "Did
they?" says the thief, "that's tough on the boy. I saw the whole
affair from beginning to end. Was near the parties all the time!"
Jones was mightily astonished yesterday, to find himself in the
court room for the purpose of hearing the Judge tell him to enter
into recognizance in the sum of $300 to appear as witness in the
trail of Clancy, or lay in jail till next February, the time of the
trail. The fellow is one of the most thick-headed "Bufe-nappers" in
the "profession." He's a regular "bottle-head." The "blokes" will
disown him, and that's worse than receiving ten years in prison.
Gazette, Saturday Morning, November 21, 1868, page 4.
THE WAGES OF CRIME.
Michael Clancy was arraigned for assault with intent to kill. He
plead not guilty. Con. Harrington, John Taylor and Owen Jones were
required to enter into recognizance in the sum of $800 each to
appear as witnesses at the next term of the District Court. The four
were sent back to jail. A more villainous-looking quartet never
stood before the court in this county.
The Court adjourned sine dis.
Daily Gazette, November 23, 1868, page 4.
STABBING OF JAMES HOLDEN.
Death of the Injured Man.
Testimony at Coroner's Inquest.
James Holden, who was
stabbed by Mike Clancy, during an affray in Cope's saloon, on the
corner of Brady and Front streets, last Tuesday evening, died at the
Infirmary on Iowa street, at 7 o'clock on last Saturday morning. In
the afternoon a Coroner's inquest was commenced by Dr. Tomson,
Messrs. C. H. Kent, W. F. Kidder and W. A. Remington serving as
The first witness examined was Joseph A. Cope, who, after speaking
of the entrance of the men into his saloon, said the first he knew
of any disturbance, was when the men took hold of each other. He
parted them, sat Holden in a chair, and put Clancy out doors. The
latter ran back, and was going to put Holden out, when Holden said
"I am cut." The witness then detailed Clancy's arrest, much as given
in the Gazette the morning after. He said the large blade of the
knife Clancy used was five inches in length.
Owen Jones was sworn. He pretended he knew nothing about the affray,
and denied ever having told officer Carstens that he knew all about
John Taylor testified
that he had known the deceased about three years, had steamboated
with him, and never knew him to be drunk or in a quarrel. The two
had been working on the Addie Johnston for about a week. On Tuesday
about 5 P.M. witness, Holden, and another deck hand went to Cope's
saloon to get a drink. After drinking, conversation was had about a
fight in a lumber yard between Clancy and a man named Harrington,
during which the latter received a black eye. Holden told Clancy
that he was too big a man to be fighting with so small a man. After
a quarrel of words, Clancy and Holden clinched. Witness saw Clancy
strike Holden on his neck, then saw the knife, and saw the blow on
Holden's body with the knife. Witness caught Clancy by the collar,
and saw him shut up and drop the knife in Harrington's hands.
Cornelius Harrington was sworn. He said he had been steamboating and
rafting for three or four years--his home being in Buffalo, New
York. He and Clancy quit the boat last Monday evening. At the time
of the stabbing affray he was drunk, and cannot recollect much of it
now. Clancy was not drunk.
John Buckley testified that he had called to see Holden after he was
cut. Holden said, "There was a fight at a lumber yard,, and a man by
the name of Clancy was hunting for a knife to cut a man by the name
of "Red."" Holden continued, "I asked Clancy, in the saloon where I
was cut, if he found that knife. Clancy says, 'What knife?" I said
that knife to cut "Red" with. 'No,' he said, 'but I've got a knife
to cut you with.'"
J. C. McCullough testified that Holden told him that Clancy struck
him with the knife.
Dr. French testified as to his being called to dress Holden's
wounds. He detailed the condition in which he found him on the floor
of Cope's saloon, and said he considered it a hopeless case from the
Dr. John Hall and Dr. Middleton, testified that they had made an
autopsy of the body of James Holden. They found a wound in the left
lumbar region penetrating through the walls of the abdomen. There
was no lacerating of intestines, but a deposit of lymph was there,
the abdomen being full of clotted blood. Upon removing the
intestines a wound was found running posteriorly toward the spine,
in the muscles of the back. It was about 1 1/2 inches in length. The
witnesses gave it as their opinion that the wound caused Holden's
death, as they found no disease of the heart or other vital organs,
and that Holden died from internal hemorrhage.
The inquest was then adjourned till this morning.
Daily Gazette, November 24, 1868, page 4.
THE HOLDEN MURDER.--
The Coroner's inquest over the remains of James Holden was concluded
at the infirmary yesterday forenoon. But one additional witness was
examined, and he was the bar-keeper in Cope's saloon. No new facts
were elicited. The jury returned a verdict that Holden's death was
caused by a wound in the abdomen inflicted with a knife in the hands
of one Patrick (Michael) Clancy, the date of the stabbing and death
The evidence before the jury showed that the killing of Holden was
one of the most unprovoked crimes on record. There seems not to have
been one word on the part of the deceased to provoke an affray. And
so it remains a rather mysterious affair.
Clancy is to be examined before Justice Peters to-day. We understand
that he has retained J. D. Campbell, Esq., as his attorney.
A James Holden is listed on page 283 of the Tombstone Records of
Scott County, Iowa. He is listed as having died on 11-24-1868 res.
Davenport. (Dav. Gazette 11-14-1868.) There is no cemetery listed.
Daily Gazette, November 26, 1868, page 4.
The examination of Michael Clancy who killed James Holden, occurred
at Justice Petis' office yesterday. Gen. Leake for State, and
Messrs. Campbell and Hubbel for the defense. The evidence was the
same as that taken before the Coroner. The Justice committed the
prisoner to jail, to answer to the charge of murder.
THE MURDERER, MICHAEL CLANCY, ESCAPES FROM JAIL
The Daily Davenport Democrat, Friday, February 19, 1869, page 1.
Six Prisoners Dig Though a Twenty-inch Wall.
And Make Their Escape in Daylight.
Full Particulars of the Chase.
Yesterday afternoon at about 4 o'clock one of the most daring and
successful jail deliveries that has ever occurred in Scott county,
took place, resulting in six of the toughest cases crawling through
the wall and taking to the prairies.
The place where they got out was a very weak spot, but, until now,
has been considered as secure as any part of the walls. To give a
correct idea of the affair, it must be known that the first floor is
divided by a wall running north and south, the back part being the
jail and the part fronting on Ripley being used for Sheriff's
sitting-room and parlors. Though this wall, built of small stone and
mortar, and 21 inches thick, the prisoners proceeded in making a
hole which let them though into the parlor, fronting on Ripley and
It is supposed that they commenced operations on the wall about 9
o'clock, A. M., when they know that the Sheriff and his assistants
would be very busy at Court. With the aid of a pump-handle and some
sharp instruments to, to pick out the mortar, they met with very
little difficulty in getting though the wall. Once in the parlor to
reach the street was much less difficult. They raised a window on
the Fifth street side, jumped into the yard, climbed the fence and
lit out for liberty.
As soon as they reached Fifth street they were discovered by Mr.
Ott, who was assisting in loading a car with lumber near by.
Surmising who they were, he started for the jail, and from there
went to the Court House and gave the alarm. There was a grand rush
for the jail, while only, two, Deputy Sheriff Fold and the janitor,
started after the fleeing prisoners, who had by this time reached
Gaines street, and, while one, supposed to be the counterfeiter, B.
F. Newell, took off down towards the river, the five others struck
for the prairies. It was a daring attempt and a bold push, made in
open daylight, with a hundred men within call, and the Court in
session, ready to sentence most of them to the penitentiary, the
conditions of the streets and the heavy fall of snow which continued
until eight o'clock alone favored them.
The following are the names of the liberated prisoners:
Michael Clancy, indicted for murder, who was probably the
Michael McCoy, found guilty of assault with intent to rob; was
John Harvey, who had plead guilty to larceny and burglary of Mr.
Corkin's jewelry store, was waiting sentence.
B. F. Newell, one of the St. Louis counterfeiters-pal of Alsopp and
Mrs. Julia Britton, now in jail. He was waiting trial at the April
Term of the United States Circuit Court at Keokuk.
Chaba Buckner, the horse thief who sold J. S. Smith the team, stolen
at Maqueketa. He had plead guilty to obtaining money under false
pretenses, and was also waiting sentence.
Pat McCann, who had plead
guilty to larceny in a hotel room, was awaiting sentence.
There were other
prisoners who might have availed themselves of the opportunity of
escape, but did not. Some were only in trifling offenses, and as
witnesses, and preferred to remain. Alsopp, the counterfeiter,
refused to go, fearing he should be caught, and his term in the
Penitentiary lengthened on account of the act.
The news was soon known all over the city, and several parties
started out into the country to look for the beauties. Adolphus
Schultz, who had formerly been turn-key, ran to the Sheriff's
stable, saddled his horse, and started out towards Locust St. Near
the Fair Grounds, he came upon McCann, and saw three others at a
little distance in the fields. Securing McCann, he took him back
until he met a policeman, to whom he delivered up his prize, and
started back, but was unable to find any of the others.
Buckner was also seen taken, and although it may seem a little
strange, by the same man who went to Michigan and brought him here.
As soon as Mr. Pearce heard of the escape, he mounted a horse and
started in pursuit. Taking Gaines St., he soon passed the city
limits, and came upon a man walking along side of a wire fence. As
soon as he saw Pearce he jumped the fence and ran. The horse broke
the fence and a lively chase ensued, each fence giving the prisoner
a new start. He came up with him several times but he was determined
not to be taken. A revolver finally quieted him so as to allow of
handcuffing. Several attempts were then made to escape. There was
much cursing and holding back on the part of the prisoner, until Mr.
Pearce got out of patience with him, and so putting the handcuffs on
to one of his hands and fastening it to the stirrup he trotted into
the city. It is perhaps needless to say the prisoner arrived at
about the same time.
Unfortunately for Sheriff Schnitger, he has been lame for a few
days, and was unable to join in the pursuit of his boarders. Deputy
Sheriff Fied and officers of the police force went into the county
last night, looking after them, but were unable to come up with any
of them in the vicinity of the city. It is to be hoped that they
will be taken, and especially Chancy, the murderer, who is a
desperate fellow. Whoever takes him wants to be on their guard.
We learn from Mr. Dave LeClaire, who lives in the western part of
the city, that two of the runaways stopped at this house about 8
o'clock last evening. They came in without rapping, evidently not
expecting to find any man about the house, but seeing their mistake,
immediately left. Their tracks this morning showed that they went in
the direction of Black Hawk. The probabilities are that they will
keep close to the river, and make their way to Muscatine, or they
may still be skulking about the city. Up to 4 o'clock this afternoon
nothing further has been learned of their whereabouts.
Daily Gazette, Friday, February 19, 1869, page 4.
Six Prisoners Dig Though a Stone Wall and Escape.
Two of them Recaptured.
A MURDERER, COUNTERFEITER, BURGLAR AND ROBBER AT LARGE.
Exciting Chase--Full Particulars.
At a quarter before four o'clock yesterday afternoon occurred the
boldest escape of prisoners ever recorded in the annuals of the
Scott County jail. Six of the worst characters in the prison--a
murderer, a burglar, a counterfeiter, a horse thief, a robber, and a
thief--bid the premises good by, and went over the hills and far
away. The following are the particulars of the escape of the gentry,
commencing with the
DISCOVERY OF THE AFFAIR.
At the hour named above, Wilhelm Ott, an employee in French & Davis'
lumber yard, was assisting in loading a car when he saw three men
jump over the picket fence on the north side of the jail and cross
Fifth street. They halted on the side walk opposite the jail for
several minutes. Ott supposed they were loafers who had been talking
with female prisoners at the upper windows and were driven away. But
when three other hard looking chaps also leaped the fence and ran to
the others, he at once knew that they were escaped prisoners, and he
put for the jail. The ex-prisoners rushed down Fifth street to
Scott, up Scott to Sixth, down Sixth to Gaines, and thence up the
bluff. Ott ran to the Sheriff's office in the Court House, and told
of the escape. The news was heard in the court room and there was a
universal rush for the jail. Deputy Feid and Janitor Tischner went
on the trail of the fleeing villains, but all the rest of the
hundred men stopped at the jail. The sheriff was suffering with a
lame ankle, and could not do more than hope for the catching of his
stray boarders. A few persons were admitted into the jail, and they
HOW THE ESCAPE WAS EFFECTED.
To get at a correct understanding of the delivery a knowledge of the
apartments of the jail is necessary. The first floor of the front
portion of the building is divided into a hall, which leads into the
jail proper, and two rooms, the south one being a reception room or
office, and the north one constituting the parlor of the Sheriff's
residence. These apartments are separated from the jail by a stone
wall twenty-one inches in thickness, which forms the eastern
boundary of the hall in front of the south side range of cells. In
the southwest corner of the hall is an iron pump, the handle of
which is of wrought iron and about three feet long. The prisoners
broke the fastening of the handle with some implement or other, and
went to work to dig a hole through the wall which separated them
from the parlor. At what time this operation was commenced is not
known, but it was near noon. And now it may be said that the wall is
an astonishingly weak affair. It is composed of rubble lime-stone,
just such as is put into ordinary cellar walls, none being large and
square. The interstices are filled with mortar or cement. Manifestly
it could not have been very difficult work to pick a hole though the
wall. Using a knife or a similar tool, the prisoners dug out the
mortar and with the pump handle as a lever, pried out the rock,
which they carried to the privy vault at the other end of the hall.
Having made a hole large enough to permit the passage of their
bodies, the six prisoners crawled through into the parlor, raised a
window on Fifth street side, jumped into the yard, scaled the fence,
and went off as related above.
It was a bold deed for a broad-day light one. Yet they chose the
very best time possible. The Sheriff, his deputy and other
assistants were all in attendance at court, being unusually busy
yesterday in subpoenaing witness; consequently their opportunity was
an excellent one--far better than it possibly could have been at any
other period. The street, too, was entirely deserted, the miserable
weather and the mud and slush keeping everybody within doors who was
not obliged to be out.
of the escaped prisoners, and the crimes for which they were
committed, are as follows:
First, and worst, was Michael Clancy, indicted for murder. He opened
the bowels of James Holden, in a fight in a saloon, corner of Front
and Brady streets, last November. Holden died two or three days
afterwards. Clancy looks like a murderer. Has a bullet head, reddish
face, and brutal physiognomy. He was probably the leader in the
plot, as he has been in jail many a time before.
Michael McCoy was another of the gang. He was tried for an assault
with intent to rob, on last Monday, was found guilty, and was
awaiting his sentence. He, with a man unknown, knocked a stranger
down on Front street, one night last July, and robbed him of his
Benj. F. Newell, the counterfeiter, was also with the party. He was
brought here from St. Louis with Alsop, last week, and was awaiting
the April term of the United States Court at Keokuk for trial.
John Harvey, the burglar, who entered Corken's jewelry store on the
night of the 31at ult., also went with the party. He had plead
guilty to larceny and burglary, and was awaiting sentence.
Elisha Buckner, the
horse-thief, who had plead guilty to obtaining money under false
pretenses, also escaped. But he is now in his cell again, as will be
Pat McCann, who had plead
guilty to larceny, having slept in a hotel room last summer, which
he robbed, also got away and--got back again.
OTHER PRISONERS DIDN'T GO.
Half an hour after the
delivery, Mr. A. L. Pearce, of Smith's livery stable, Commercial
Alley, heard of the affair--he it was who followed Buckner to
Jackson, Mich., and arrested him and brought him back to
Davenport--and mounting a saddle horse he put in the direction the
jail birds had flown. Away out on Gaines street beyond the city
limits, he saw a man walking alongside of a wire fence. The man
turned and looked at him, leaped the fence and put for a corn field.
He had three hundred yards the start, but Pearce had a horse. The
animal broke down the wire fence and fell. Soon righted again,
Pearce gained on the fellow till he recognized his old friend
Buckner. Over another fence went the fleeing thief, and the horse in
attempting to clear it went down again. Buckner gained time reached
a knoll and went into a valley and laid down in the brush. Pearce
came up, Buckner says, "Pearce,-----you shall not take me again,"
and was upon his feet and away. Three hundred yards or more, and
Pearce again came near the gent, pulled a revolver and said, "Come
to me!" Buckner shouted, "Don't Point that at me!" "Come to me I
say!" and Buckner came. So his friend Pearce had the darbies on
"him', and started him on ahead. Buckner stooped down, wet his hands
with snow, and slipped off one hand cuff, Pearce fixed them so he
couldn't repeat the feat. Then Buckner cursed him till the air was
fairly blue, and swore the most terrible oath that if ever he should
get out of prison he would have Pearce's "heart's blood, every drop
of it." Then he commenced getting backward about coming forward, and
Pearce dismounted, released one of Buckner's hands, and fixed the
wristiet in the stirrup, mounted again, and Buckner had to come. He
commenced his threats again, and the horse trotted--so did Buckner,
through mud and slush until threats creased. And so on down Harrison
street to jail, where the Sheriff was very glad to welcome him, and
iron him and cell him. Pearce deserves great praise for his arrest
of Buckner, and no doubts the county will give him substantial
tokens of appreciation for his successful efforts.
As soon as he heard of the delivery, Adolph Schultz, an ex-bailiff,
who was in the court room, ran to the Sheriff's stable, mounted a
horse, and followed after the jail-birds. Out on Locust street near
the Fair Grounds he came up to McCann, and saw three others in the
corn field. He took McCann to the corner of 16th and Harrison, put
him in charge of a policeman--who brought him to jail-- and went
back after the others. But they had disappeared. Important duties
required his presence in town, and he could not continue the hunt.
He also is entitled to praise for his alacrity in chasing and
securing one of the prisoners.
Deputy Feid, Officer Delancy and several others went into the
country last night searching for the fleeing convicts. The region
north of the city was roused by them, and if the birds escape
entirely they will have to be smart. One of them, Newell, it is
supposed, turned on Gaines street, and put towards the river.
THE PUMP HANDLE
served a jail breaking
purpose one year ago last summer, when it was used to wrench off
bolts and other fastenings of iron doors.
THE PLOT WAS DEVISED
some weeks ago, Buckner
says, and was broke to him in two days after he was lodged in the
jail. He blowed a great deal as to his knowledge of the whereabouts
and intentions of his escaped companions, and threatened to die
rather than divulge. Nous verrons.
We hope to learn of the capture of the other scamps, Clancy
especially, before our next issue.
Daily Gazette, Saturday, February 20, 1869, page 4.
THE JAIL BREAKERS.
The Funny Part of the Affair--The Drinks--The Treat--Stuck in the
Hole--A Bold Counterfeiter--
Whereabouts of the Uncaptured.
The jail delivery day
before yesterday, was not wholly a serious affair. There were some
humorous features connected with it, which caused the fleeing scamps
themselves, in a hurry as they were, to stop and laugh. Owing to
repairs in other rooms, the Sheriff had been using the parlor into
which the prisoners entered from the jail as a sleeping room. In the
room was a jug which contained a half gallon of good brandy. Clancy
was the first man through the hole, and he spied the jug. He seized
it, and as his partners put their heads though the aperture he
placed the jug to their lips, and treated them. After all had got a
good sup the jug was passed though into the jail for the remaining
prisoners, who drank to the success of the enterprise upon which
their departed companions had entered.
STUCK IN THE HOLE.
McCoy is a broadly built
fellow, and did not get though the hole easily. In fact he stuck,
and for some time could get neither one way nor the other. Clancy
and Harvey pulled him, and Buckner and McCann pushed him, but he
couldn't stir. It was a nice fix to be in at such a time. Clancy
grew desperate at last, and stuck a pin into McCoy, who gave a
sudden and desperate twitch to his shoulders, loosened himself and
went though. But he tore the coat and shirt off his shoulders in so
doing, and bruised his shoulders considerably.
Another thing about Alsopp, the counterfeiter. He was connected with
the escaping gang, but was the last to try the hole.--Just as he had
placed his head into it, the front door bell was rung. He was
alarmed and drew back. In a minute more it was all up with him. The
alarm had been given. The next thing he knew he was ordered to his
Alsopp's pal, Newell, who
escaped, did the boldest thing connected with this very bold
delivery. About six o'clock, two hours after he had escaped, he
entered the saloon at the corner of Fifth and Harrison streets, and
sat there a full half hour, enjoying a beer and lunch as
unconcernedly, to all appearances, as though he was an innocent
citizen, and as if the dozen men who were doing their best to find
him were not in existence. From what direction he reached the saloon
is not known, and what direction he took when he left it is equally
unknown. But that he was there, the Sheriff feels certain.
THE IMPLEMENTS USED.
Yesterday the Sheriff
discovered that one of the iron bars which form a casing to one of
the entrances to the jail halls had been broken off from the bottom,
and used in loosing the rock. The prisoners had cut a bolt which
held it at the bottom, and broken it off at a rivet above, thus
securing a bar three feet long. It bears evidence of having seen
good service in stone and mortar business. A piece of rod iron,
resembling a coal stove poker, was also found, which had been used
in the hole business. One of the prisoners says that an adze was
among the implements employed, though the tool has not been found
yet. How the rod, the adze, and the knife, mentioned yesterday, came
into the possession of the prisoners, is a mystery.
of, or rather search for
the freedom loving criminals was maintained with vigor all day
yesterday. What became of Baker and Newell is not known, as no trail
of them has been found. But Clancy and McCoy have been tracked to
the vicinity of Buffalo. Upon leaving Gaines street they went
westwardly, across Mitchell's bluff, though the grounds of Messrs.
Davenport, Dillion, Fejervary and Glasbell, and into Wrights woods,
where they tramped about considerably. About eight o'clock two men,
answering their description, were at the house of Mr. David
LeClaire, merely entering and leaving immediately. Between 9 and 10
o'clock they crossed a bridge near Mr. Sower's in Buffalo township,
having wandered along the river bank, as tracks seen yesterday
morning show. They slept in a barn near Buffalo the rest of the
night. Just before dawn they were seen in a skiff trying to cross
the river this side of Buffalo. The ice caused them to put back,
since which time no trace of them has been found. Thus ends the
second chapter of the Jail Delivery.
THAT OUTSIDE HELP.
Was expected by the
prisoners is evident from the following note, found concealed in the
drawers of Michael Manahan, who was released from the jail on
Friday, after having been held on a charge of forgery, the Grand
Jury failing to convict him. Fanagan, to whom it is addressed, was
discharged from jail last December, and was in town this week:
Burn this note.
Davenport, Feb. 16, 1869.
James Flanagan Dear friend I wish you would do what you said you
would and right away as mike McCoy got tried yesterday and got
convicted and he is certain he will go down but he don't know how
From your friends
MICHAEL CLANCY & MICHAEL MCCOY.
Gazette, Saturday, February 20, 1969, page 4.
J. S. RICHMAN, Judge
M.D. SNYDER, Clerk.
Sentencing of the prisoners:
Elisha Buckner, who hired a livery team at Maquoketa, and sold it in
Davenport to Mr. J. S. Smith, and who had plead guilty to an
indictment of obtaining money under false pretenses, received
eighteen months in the penitentiary.
Patrick McCann, who robbed a room mate in a hotel last summer, got
two years in the penitentiary.
These parties were among
the scamps who broke jail, day before yesterday, and the Judge
alluded to the expectation that that act would insure them greater
punishment than they would otherwise have received. He said that
breaking jail was not taken into consideration in sentencing them.
They had not been tried for the act. Furthermore it is the duty of
the county to provide a secure place for the confinement of
malefactors. If prisoners saw an opportunity for escape, it was but
natural that they should seize it, and get away if possible.
Daily Davenport Democrat, Saturday, February 20, 1869, page 1.
TWO MORE PRISONERS CAUGHT.
CLANCY AND MCCOY
Lost in a Snow Storm.
About noon, to-day, G. J.
Halbert, constable of Buffalo township, Daniel Stapleford, and Erie
Dodge of Buffalo, came into the city, bringing two of the escaped
prisoners, Clancy the murderer, and Michael McCoy, the robber, whom
they had captured some eighteen miles down the river, near the Dr.
Merry place. They had tracked them though the fields and timber and
came upon them last evening about dark at a place kept by a man
named Far, a kind of burglars retreat--a half way house between this
city and Muscatine. When taken, McCoy was in bed, and Clancy was
just preparing to retire.
They made no resistance, probably, because they did not like the
looks of certain instruments of death in the hands of Mr. Halbert
and Stapleford, who looked like men with whom it wouldn't be safe or
pleasant to trifle under the existing circumstances. When captured
they seem to take it very coolly and laid their mishap all to the
snow storm. On the night of their escape they were lost in the storm
and after wandering about all night, found themselves in the morning
within a mile and a half of the city. Righting themselves, they
again started down the river.
Yesterday, Mr. Ed Mills
and Policeman Seirns notified Constable Halbert to be on the lookout
for them. With the add of Mr. Dodge he found their track and
captured them as above.
We visited the jail this
afternoon and saw the beauties. Sheriff Schnitger has given them
some substantial jewelry to wear, besides giving them the executive
use of a room each. Their diet will also be somewhat modified.
Clancy was exceedingly
desirous, when captured, of getting back in time to have his trial
at this term of court.
They admit that they were
the two principals in the escape and were the first to go through
the opening in the wall. They had their plans all well matured and
knew just when to put them into operation to make them successful.
McCoy, it seems, is the author of the plan and would have put it in
operation some time ago if Davenport, the forger, had favored the
project. Parties are in pursuit of the other two prisoners, and we
hope to be able to announce their capture in our next issue.
Daily Gazette, Sunday, February 22, 1869, page 4.
THE MISTAKE OF THE NIGHT!
Clancy and McCoy Again in Jail.
How They were Caught--A Wakeful Snorer--Interesting Incidents.
Those very precious wanderers, Michael Clancy, the murderer, and
Michael McCoy, to have and to hold whom is of so much importance,
just now especially, and at any other time when life and property
are worth caring for, are safe in jail again. They were captured
late on Friday night by Messrs. G. J. Halbert and Erie Dodge, of
Buffalo township, in the house of the "Fox family," nine miles south
of the village of Buffalo. The worthies had been tracked by them the
whole distance from Buffalo, hardly a rod of the distance being on
the public thoroughfare, but some distance off across fields,
through sloughs and woods, up hill and down hill, till they reached
the hole of the Foxes, where the two chappies proposed to enjoy a
night's rest before pursuing their flight from justice.
It seems that when the pursuers reached the place, McCoy, utterly
worn out, had retired but Clancy had taken a notion to step out and
survey the premises before following his companion's example. He
opened the door and revealed himself before the light within, and
then walked down towards the gate. Just then Halbert sprang to the
gate and pointing a shot-gun at Clancy told him to go back into the
house. Clancy assumed an air of astonishment and commenced parlying,
when the ominous click of the hammer, followed by another warning,
caused him to about face instanter, and start back to the house with
both Halbert and Dodge only a gun's length in the rear. Clancy would
have shouted a note of warming, but a stern, "Not a word." from his
captors silenced him. McCoy was an astonished individual when the
party entered the house.
Clancy was put in bed
with McCoy, and Messrs. Halbert and Dodge kept watch by turns. Both
prisoners were terribly sound asleep in five minutes, snoring so as
to be heard all over the house. That game didn't win. The guard sat
in a chair with weapons handy. Every once in a while his head would
drop upon his breast, as if asleep, but with half-closed eye
directed towards the bed. Suddenly Clancy's bazoo would crease its
music, the covering would rise gently from his head, and in a few
minutes more the head would rise too, with eyes bent on the
supposed-to-be slumbering watchman. Then the latter's head, with
open eyes, would jerk back--down Clancy's head would go, and the
bazoo would commence its bass again in a second. Thus the guard
amused themselves twenty times during the night. Tired and foot sore
as he was, Clancy was not once, during the night, so sound asleep
but that he was wide awake the instant the guard pretended to
After day-light the prisoners were placed in a wagon and brought to
the city, accompanied by their captors and Mr. Daniel Stapleton.
Sheriff Schnitger gave his truant boarders a cordial welcome--was
very glad to see them again, promising them more secure quarters, if
not just as agreeable a bill of fare as formerly.
Clancy and McCoy tell an
interesting story of their wandering. On Thursday night they nearly
froze. After walking and wading below Rockingham, they became
confused, and took a back track towards the city,--never knowing
their direction till when within two miles of the city they
recognized a house they had passed before. They then went west
again, and at dawn tried to find a boat with which to cross the
river. They got into one, but dared not cross, and then went away
from the road into the back country, and walked to Fox's. Clancy
says McCoy was a great hindrance, and gave up half a dozen times. If
he had not waited to assist and encourage him, he thinks he would
have eluded pursuit and made good his escape. Clancy confirms
Buckner's statement that the plan for escape was concocted months
ago, and would have been consummated weeks ago since had the other
prisoners been courageous enough to make the attempt. At last the
court opened, and all noticed the absence of the jail officials,
caused by duties outside, so they tried and succeeded and--then
Harvey, the burglar, and Newell, the counterfeiter, are still at
large. Nobody knows the direction the latter took. The former is
very weak with disease, and it is thought he is not far away.
All the recaptured
criminals now wear anklets and bracelets, decorations of which they
seem to be proud, though they are not envied by their fellow
prisoners on that account.
Daily Gazette, Friday, May 7, 1869, page 4.
Mike Clancy Goes Through Two Stone Walls.
A REMARKABLE AFFAIR.
Michael Clancy, the
murderer, escaped from jail at some hour between eleven o'clock
Wednesday night and six o'clock yesterday morning. At the later hour
the jailer opened Mike's cell door, and was astonished to see day
light pouring into it as if from a side-window. He saw on the bunk
what appeared to be Mike's legs, but upon examining the same, he
only found Mike's pants stuffed with straw. At the north side of the
cell, a foot from the floor, was a hole in the wall, big enough for
Mike or any other man to crawl through. Under Mike's bunk was the
solid block of stone which once filled the opening. And through the
wall which separates the corridor from the parlor of the Sheriff's
residence was another hole through which Mike had forced himself.
Once into the parlor all the fellow had to do was to raise a window,
a feat which he practiced last February, jump to the ground, scale a
fence, and go where he pleased. All this he had done, and was
probably miles away from the jail, when the jailer discovered his
Clancy must have been days, if not weeks, in loosing the heavy stone
in his jail cell wall. The stone was 24 inches long, 22 inches in
width, 11 inches thick, and weighted about three hundred pounds.
Layers of just such blocks form the walls of the cells. The cement
in which they are laid is one-third of an inch thick. Mike
manufactured the tool for removing the cement out of the lower hoop
of the slop bucket in his cell. The level which he used to pry the
stone from its place after he had loosened it, was procured by him
weeks ago, probably, and was formed from a thick bar of iron, which
he removed from its place in a cell occupied by him some weeks ago.
It was bolted into the rock at the side of the door, the bolts being
held by nuts, and was the brace against which the cell door closed.
He removed the nuts, pulled the top of the bar forward until it
broke near the floor, leaving as handy a lever in his hands as ever
man had for jail-breaking purpose. How he procured the bar, after
being removed into his new cell, is a mystery. But procure it he
did, and it served him well. The mortar which he dug out of the wall
was probably thrown into his slop-bucket, and by himself thrown
thrown into the vault at the rear of the corridor. It would be
interesting to know how long he was at this difficult work. The
prying out of the heavy block of stone must have been a very
difficult operation. Indeed,it seems almost impossible for it to
have been done, without assistance from the outside. But it was
removed, sure, and to go though the hole it left was easy enough.
The hole in the outer wall referred to above, was already made for
him by stone masons, who are engaged in facing the wall with plates
of iron to prevent any more such deliveries as occurred in February
last. The wall is twenty-one inches in thickness. The hole made by
the masons is ten inches high by twelve inches in width. In the
center of it a projecting stone lessons the space by a couple of
inches. It is four feet and a half from the floor, and almost fronts
his cell. Beneath it stood a carpenter's bench, without which it
would have been impossible for Clancy to have poked his body into
the hole. But though the place he went somehow, and in doing so he
must have received a squeezing like that which Baron Trench
experienced in his renowned chimney ascent. The room into which this
allowed him was vacant, the furniture having been removed on account
of mortar dust. He raised the window at the north side of the room,
was upon the ground and over the fence in a minute and--liberty was
his. Where is he now the Sheriff would like to know.
The jailer examined Clancy's cell between ten and eleven o'clock
Wednesday night, and discovered nothing wrong. On the wall outside
of the cell pictures had been posted by Clancy or some one else, and
from them hung a paper, which nearly touched the floor, covering the
stone upon which he had been operating. The jailer raised the paper
but saw no signs of the removal of mortar. In fact Clancy must have
left a mere shell of mortar at the exterior, and punched it out when
ready to leave.
Day before yesterday the Grand Jury visited the jail. Clancy
complained to them of a want of air in his cell at night, and one of
them became excited over the matter, and denounced the closing of
the plate-iron door at night as a barbarous act. Clancy has air
enough now. Yesterday the jury were in the jail again, and not one
of them could begin to lift the stone that Clancy took from the
All in all, Clancy's escape forms a remarkable adventure--as much so
as any other that has ever allowed a jail bird to go free.
Yesterday several men were dispatched in pursuit of Clancy, but up
to a late hour last night no tidings of the fellow had been
Daily Davenport Democrat, Thursday, May 6, 1869, page 1.
DICK TURPIN IN DAVENPORT.
A MURDERER LOOSE.
Another Successful attempt to Break out of Jail.
It is but the other day (in fact, the last term of court) that we
had to chronicle the escape of six desperate characters from our
county jail, among whom was the notorious Tom (Mike) Clancy who was
committed for the murder on Front street. He was recaptured and has
since been confined to his cell and heavily ironed, and suspicion of
his being able to quit his lodgings would have been laughed at as
absurd.--Early this morning, however, on going his rounds Sheriff
Schnitger, to his extreme astonishment discovered that the bird had
flown. To understand how he accomplished this almost impossible
feat, it is necessary to describe affairs at the jail.
To ensure the safety of the prisoners (after the recent escape) it
was necessary to line the outer wall of the jail property, which is
the inner wall of the official residence, with plates of iron, and
for the purpose of securing these with bolts, masons were employed
in cutting boltholes though this wall.
One of these, some ten inches square, was at a distance of four feet
six inches from the floor, immediately opposite to the escaped
prisoner's cell. Doubtless during the day he had watched through the
grating of his cell with extreme interest, the progress of this
work, and though from certain evidence, he had contemplated trying
to escape, yet the sight of so desirable an outlet stimulated those
exertions which were crowned with success. At what hour in the night
it was accomplished remains unknown, nobody having been alarmed by
any unusual noise.
On approaching Clancy's cell whom the Sheriff had seen perfectly
safe the evening before, he found that it was empty, a large oblong
hole through the thick wall showing the way through not the manner
of his going. It appears that he had by some means or other
possessed himself of two pieces of light iron looping, from a pail,
and which he had transformed into rule saws, these he left in his
cell as souvenirs of his flight. With these he had succeeded in
removing the mortar (a mere sandy mass of little adhesive power)
from the jointing round a stone measuring 22 inches in length, 23
inches in breath and 10 inches in thickness, and by some
inexplicable process, had managed to lift this mass of rock weighing
over 200 pounds, from its resting place in the wall, and lodging it
in the interior of his cell.--Though this hole he crawled and then
impossible as it may appear, succeeded in forcing himself through an
irregular aperture made by the masons, about ten inches square in
the exterior wall, leading into an unoccupied sleeping room attached
to the prison. This hole was four feet six inches from the floor,
and how he got into it and out of it is more than an acrobat could
tell, though a bench on the inside might render some trifling
assistance. Once in this room escape was easy, as he had but to
cross the room and taking a leap thought a second story window, he
was free. His tracks could be traced across the garden, but of
course when he gained the highroad nothing could be seen. It was
only yesterday that the Grand Jury visited the jail and recommended
less close confinement for the prisoner, asking the Sheriff if he
would not be perfectly safe without the closing of the iron door of
his cell, as they thought it impeded thorough ventilation. Although
Major Schnitger did not follow the advice of the Grand Jury, the
prisoner did, and succeeded in obtaining certainly a more extended
ventilation than they were prepared for. It appears that the
prisoner was an expert at removing his frogs, and told the Grand
Jury he had got them off before. Whether this be so or not, one
thing is certain, he has carried them off with him, either of
necessity, or from a partiality formed by an intimate acquaintance.
When he was captured after his previous escape, he said that he
should try it on again, and that he would not then be taken had it
not been for the fall of snow, which compelled him to take refuge in
The Sheriff has sent his men out in all directions in pursuit, but
as there is not the lest clue to the road he has taken, the chances
of his capture seem very remote. Looking at the circumstances in all
points, a more wonderful escape has never been recorded, and its
performance justifies our entitling him the Dick Turpin of the West.
Daily Gazette, Monday, May 10, 1869, page 4.
Report of the Grand Jury.
Grand Jury Room, }
May Term, 1869.}
To The Honorable Judge of the District court:
The Grand Jury respectfully report that they have visited the jail
of the county, and found it clean and in good sanitary
condition--excepting, however, an insufficiency of towels for male
prisoners. Of it security they cannot speak favorably, since lately,
a large, well-fitted stone, 25 by 21 inches and 10 inches thick,
extending quite thought the wall of a cell, was removed from its
place by a prisoner confined therein, possibly aided by some person
in the corridor, but, so far as ocular evidence reaches, unassisted.
It appears that the particular stone was not secured in its place by
dowel pins or clamps, and it is probable that the other stones are
alike unfastened. It appears to the jury that it would not be
difficult for a person in the jail yard, easily accessible to convey
tools through the windows to prisoners having the run of the
corridors. They would suggest an armed guard in the corridors of the
male department, each night, at which time the prisoners are, or
should be confined in their cells and one or more lights placed to
show the parts of all the cells, or, as an alternative, the lining
of two or more cells with iron.
We would call attention to the fact that a man confined for six
months past, as a witness, was at the time of our visit locked in a
cell with alleged criminals, and in all particulars treated as a
criminal, as acknowledged by a turn-key--a treatment, in the opinion
of the Grand Jury, unjust and barbarous.
Foreman of Grand Jury.
Davenport Gazette, Monday Morning, January 8, 1877, page 4.
HE TURNS UP IN INDIANA
And it is Asked Whether He is Wanted or Not.
It is eight years ago
last November that Michael Clancy became famous in this town.
Hundreds of our city readers will remember Clancy. A cooler, bolder,
more desperate villain never appeared in the criminal annals of
Iowa. He was a short, thick-set, low-browed, red-faced,
bullet-jawed, cruel, dare-devil, who had some good points in his
Clancy was a roustabout on a steamboat; he arrived here about the
last of October, 1868. On the 18th of November following, he and
another rooster known as "Reddy" had a fight in a lumber yard in
East Davenport, which ended when Clancy drew a knife, "Reddy" taking
to his heels. Next afternoon Clancy was in a saloon at the northwest
corner of Front and Brady streets, when a deck-hand named James
Holden entered. He and Clancy got into a quarrel right away. Holden
asks, "Have you that knife yet?" "What knife?" queries Clancy. "The
knife you pulled on Reddy, d--n you," replies Holden. "Yes, I have."
says Clancy, "and it is sharp enough for you"--and he whips out a
long knife and slashes Holden across the bowels with it. Holden's
intestines protrude and he falls to the floor crying, "I'm killed."
while Clancy flees, but is caught not long after at the ferry dock.
Holden lived for three days, and then died.
Clancy was placed in jail, where he remained one of the quietest of
prisoners till the 19th of February, '69, when he and six other
prisoners made their escape by means of a hole which they dug though
a privy vault. All were recaptured, however, but one--that one was
not Clancy, who was caught near Buffalo three days after; he refused
to forsake a fellow prisoner named McCoy, who was lame, else he
would have escaped.
After Clancy was back in jail he was kept in close confinement, but
somehow he procured tools, and on the 6th of May, 1869, he escaped
again. He removed a stone 24 inches long, 22 inches wide, ll inches
thick, weighing 300 pounds from his cell wall, got into the
corridor, crept through a hole in the jail which was made by the
masons who were about to sheathe the wall with boiler iron, got into
the Sheriff's parlor, raised a window and was free. Two years after
he was heard from--he had killed a steamboat engineer in New
Orleans. In the spring of 1868 he had killed a man in Cairo.
Saturday last Chief Martens received this telegram:
Crawfordsville, Ind., Jan. 5.
Do you want Michael Clancy, who killed Cody (Holden) four years ago.
H. P. Enminger.
Chief Martens had no doubt that this Clancy was the escaped
murderer, so he telegraphed to hold Clancy for a requisition. Mike
has probably learned that there is no capital punishment in Iowa,
and so wants to return to Davenport, and get sent to the
penitentiary for a living.
The Davenport Democrat, Monday, January 8, 1877, page 1.
AN ESCAPED MURDERER
His Arrest at Crawfordsville, Ind.--A Requisition will be Made by
our Authorities for his Return.
During the sheriffalty of Gus. Schnitger in the fall of 1868, a row
occurred in Joe Cope's saloon, corner of Front and Brady, in which a
fellow named Michael Clancy stabbed another man named Jas. Holden,
from the effect of which he died two or three days afterward. Clancy
was arrested, lodged in jail, but made his escape in February
following, with six other prisoners. He was recaptured a few days
afterwards, put in close confinement, but effected his escape in May
of the same year, and has avoided this section of the country ever
since. Chief Martens, this (Monday) morning, received a letter from
the Marshall of Crawfordsville, Ind., together with a photograph of
Clancy, informing him of the arrest, and asking if the Chief
recognized the likeness. In his letter the Marshall states that
Clancy confessed to him that he had "killed a man in Joe Cope's
saloon some four or five years ago, in Davenport, Iowa." The chief
telegraphed back that Clancy was wanted here for the murder of
Holden, and to hold him until he could get a requisition on the
governor of Indiana. Thus, another murderer, after years of
wandering is in a fair way of being brought to justice. The murderer
and his victim were steamboat hands, and the assault upon Holden was
a cold blooded one.
Davenport Gazette, January 9, 1877, page 4.
Chief Martens has
received a letter from Marshall Enminger, of Crawfordsville, Ind.,
containing further information concerning Mike Clancy, mention of
whose career here as a murderer of Holden and escaped prisoner were
given in yesterday's Gazette. Clancy was in jail at Crawfordsville,
and confessed to the Marshall that he killed Cody--meaning Holden,
as Cody was the man with whom he fought in the lumber yard. In the
letter was a photograph of Mike--a change being, thin-faced, dull
looking and broken down, not at all like the stalwart, fat-cheeked,
bold, ugly-looking man he was when in jail here. He is evidently
nearing the end of physical decline. Whether he will be brought to
Davenport or not, is a question. He is probably past power of doing
further harm, and he may as well be allowed to remain where he is.
The Davenport Democrat, Tuesday, January 16, 1877, page 1.
CLANCY, THE MURDERER.
Chief Martens is a little anxious about Clancy, the murderer of
Holden, who was arrested in Crawfordsville, Ind., some days ago. The
details were published in the Democrat some time since. The Chief
wrote to the Marshall of that city, giving a minute description of
Clancy, and asking the Marshall to telegraph him if it corresponded
with the man in arrest. Although plenty of time has lapsed for a
return letter, the Chief has not heard a word, and is fearful that
Clancy has broken jail, as he is known to be a desperate villain.
Yet this seems hardly probable for it was upon his own confession
that the Marshall of Crawfordsville was able to notify Chief
Martens of his arrest.
The Davenport Democrat, Wednesday, August 20, 1879, page 1.
A MURDERER'S FATE.
A Old Ruffian Turns Up After Years of Absence--and Tells What Became
Killed Holden--His Confession--A Bloody Villain.
A former and very hard citizen of Davenport turned up at the Fifth
street station last evening, brought in by officer Flint. It was no
less a person than Joe McClune, who was a ruffian here eight to ten
years ago, and gave the police any amount of trouble. His last deed
was to cut a man's throat in the bar-room of the Sigel House (now
Washington House)--eight years ago. For this he was jailed, but the
man recovered enough to be hired to skip, and when the case was
called for trial there was no prosecuting witness. When released Joe
left the city, and never returned till yesterday. A couple of years
before the cutting affair, he attempted to get out of jail one
evening by knocking the turn-key down; but the other prisoners
refused to join him and he didn't get the keys.
Thus much for Joe. He brings information concerning one of the most
desperate murderers ever known in this section. Many readers will
remember Mike Clancy, who murdered James Holden in the fall of '68.
The two got into a quarrel in the saloon at the northeast corner of
Front and Brady streets, and out on the sidewalk Clancy out with a
Bowie knife and slashed Holden across the stomach with it, and put
for the ferry. But he was caught by Joseph Cope and surrendered to
the police. Clancy staid in jail till February,'69, and one day in
the month, he, with six other prisoners escaped, and fled in all
directions. All were caught except a counterfeiter who was very
badly wanted by the U. S. authorities. Clancy was captured some days
after in Blue Grass township; he and another prisoner were nearly
exhausted, and they surrendered themselves. It was because Clancy
stood by his pal, who had hurt his foot on the way, that he was
captured. Then Clancy was shut up in a strong cell by Sheriff
Schnitger; but in less than a fortnight he was out again--dug a big
stone which helped form the wall of his cell from its place, crept
though, then got outside just as he did before, by means of a hole
dug in the east wall by the prisoners before. This time he wasn't
caught. Two years ago his photograph was sent to the Chief of police
from Michigan, with the statement that he could be captured, but the
prosecuting witnesses were nearly all gone, and it was better to let
Clancy remain away. McClune says that Clancy died in a ranch
twelve miles south of Leadville, Colorado, last January. Before he
died he confessed that he had killed five men with knives, and
wounded three others with the intention of killing them. He had a
face that was as near like a bull-dog's as a human face could well
With McCune was arrested one Charles McCarthy. It is believed that
both men have been guilty of a bad deed lately; they were so anxious
over their arrest. They were held till this afternoon, when, nothing
appearing against them, they were released on condition of their
leaving town immediately. And it was seen that they left, too.
Daily Gazette, Thursday Morning, August 21, 1879, page 4.
intelligence is received from what may or may not be a reliable
source that Mike Clancy, the man who murdered Jas. Holden in a
quarrel at a Front street saloon some 11 years ago, died last
January near Leadville, Colorado. Before his death he confessed to
having killed five men with knives.