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A Battle In Prison

A Battle In Prison image
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Ionia, July 11. - A attempt to escape from the state house of correction in this city was made at 9:80 Monday morning, and as a result Convict Oscar Miller is dead and three more are seriously wounded, one probably fatally. The leaders were five of the most desperate men in the institution, who already have a state reputation for crime. Those who reached the wall were Oscar Miller, from Detroit, serving a seven-year sentence; William Eagan, sent from Grand Rapids for manslaughter for fifteen years; Charles E. Jones, a five-year man from Detroit; Michael Lynch, who has soent a large part of his life in prison, and William Smith, the leader and desperate charncter, a five-year man. Two tinners had been at work on hop 21 on the west side of the prison yard repairing pipes. They had two ladders placed against the roof. The convicts were at work in the furniture shop and Warden Parsell was on the lookout. Deputy W.arden Rowley having been informed at 9 o'clock that something was going to happen. Consequenth', he had sent a guard outside the walls with orders to shoot if it was necessary and had sent Teacher Gourley to the vicinity of the ladders. At 9:30 Convict William Smith left the shop and was followed by four more. They went out and around the building to the west side and took the ladders and placed them against the west wall, which was about 10 rods distant. Teacher Gourley was stationed near the shop. When he saw the convicts acting in this un usual manner he ordered them back. and they not obeying he fired a shot from his revolver into the ground. This did not affect the men, who were bound to escape. He fired twice more without effect. Smith at the foot of the ladder when the shot was fired. The other officers about the yard ran to the scène and a life and death struggle ensued. Warden Parsell and üeputy Rowley were quickly on hand, and as Miller mounted the ladder Guard Thomas Mitchell came up and, after warning Miller to go back, he fired a shot fi-om his Winchester. The shot pierced Miller's heart and he dropped to the ground dead. In the meantime a terrible riot was going on. Sinith, the leader of the uprisers, was all the time urging the convicts on. The prison officials knocked the ladder down and had the best of the situation from the start. Smith, who had a hammer, dealt a murderous blow at Deputy Warden Rowley, who saved his life by dodging. As Rowley dodged this blow he struck Oscar Jones a blow in the head. The wound caused concussion of the brain and he cannot live. Eagan was also badly cut on the head. That the attempt to scale the walls was prearranged was very evident from the fact that five of the leaders were armed with different dangerous weapons. Seventy-five or a hundred conviete stopped work as soon as they saw Smith and his pais loave the building, and it is yenerally supposed that had the first few been successful and scaled the walls the rest would have followed. It was only by prompt action that the wholesale liberation of the convicts was averted. Hall Master Parsell grabbed up the irons used by the local tinners and commenced prodding the convicts who ran back. Gradually the convicts were forced into their cells.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News