Wooden Guns Terrify (1910)


Convicts Make Escape With Dummy Weapons.


Desperadoes Board Engine In Yard of Leavenworth Penitentiary and Force Engineer to Back Out Through Iron Gate–Farmers With Shotguns Help Recapture The Men

Special to The Washington Post.

Leavenworth, Kans., April 21.–Arthur Hewitt, Thomas Keating, Bob Clarke, John Gideon and Frank Grigware, life—termers, and Theodore Murdock, a ten—year counterfeiter, escaped from the Federal penitentiary by capturing a switch engine and crew this morning. The engine backed a load of lumber into the yard, when the desperadoes ran from the tailor and carpenter shop and jumped on the locomotive. They had dummy revolvers painted so that it was hard to detect them from real ones, and these were presented to the heads of the engineer and fireman.

The engineer was forced to run his engine out of the prison yard, knocking down a heavy gate in doing so. The desperadoes then made the engineer run the locomotive 6 miles to a place where a bridge was jacked up so they had to stop, when the convicts separated and started to make their way across the country.

Men Soon Captured.

Bob Clarke was captured first, and an hour after Gideon was made to surrender by farmers with shotguns. Hewitt and Keating were found hiding in a clump of bushes by three guards, who made them surrender. None of them had real guns, so they could not put up a fight.

Deputy Warden Lemon, with 40 guards and many farmers are out scouring the country 11 miles west of here, and expect to capture Grigware and Murdock before morning.

Three of the prisoners were sent to prison for holding up a Union Pacific train.

Source: Wooden Guns Terrify, The Washington Post, Washington, District of Columbia, 22 April 1910, p. 5.

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