Sunday, August 26, 2012

Tried to Escape

From the New York Times, February 3, 1892:

Two life prisoners make a bold attempt at Denver.

Denver. Feb 2 -- "Pegleg" Watson, the Rio Grande robber who was recently sentenced to imprisonment for life, was prevented by the merest chance Sunday night from adding another victim to his list.  With Bert Curtis he made a desperate effort to escape from the county jail and for a time the wildest excitement prevailed.  "Pegleg" was provided with a weapon in the shape of a razor, but Curtis was without any.

Since they were sentenced they were incarcerated in the east wing of the jail, with the other United States prisoners.  They were told to be ready in a day or two to go to Detroit to the United States prison.  They evidently did not like the idea of leaving the West, and the plan of escape was formed.  The men are allowed a certain time each day to exercise, and are given the privilege of walking up and down the corridors.  After they are locked into their cells the guard examines each cell to see that all is right.

"Pegleg" and Curtis concealed themselves in the corridor after the prisoners were ordered to their cells, and the instant the guard opened the door to enter the corridor they sprang upon him.  A sharp-edged razor was placed at his throat and he was told if he uttered a word it would be his last. The man's face paled, and he felt the hands of the train robbers feeling for the keys.  He shouted at the top of his voice.  The guards in the office heard it.  There was a rush of feet across the tiled floors, and the guard, knowing aid was coming, struggled with the two robbers.  They knew as soon as he did the game was up, and they released him just as the other guards dashed into the corridor.

They were hustled into separate cells, and the razor was taken from "Pegleg".  Where he got it is a mystery which will call for an investigation.  Both robbers were defiant, but disappointed.  They will be closely watched until they are taken away, and everybody in the county jail will breathe easier when they are gone.  This is the second time these men have attempted to escape.  Both are desperate and have no intention of remaining in prison for life if they can help it.

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