January 2, 1909
Prisoner With a Record Who Escaped From Central Station Holdover.
The monthly change list showing the assignments of police for January was posted yesterday. The changing of a jailer, as a rule, is of little not, but the list shows that Jailer Philip Welch has been removed from headquarters and made relief jailer, and jailer William Long, who was relief jailer, is stationed permanently at headquarters. Welch has been at headquarters over one year. In that time there were two jail deliveries on his watch.
On Decmeber 22 Patrolman J. D. Brown arrested James Douglass, alias Ryan alias martin. He was wanted in Boston for forgery and officers were notified to come for him. Douglass had the freedom of the corridor and gave little trouble. In fact, he made himself useful and gained the confidence of some of his keepers.
Last Tuesday, Chief of Detectives Thomas Sheehan and Detective Patrick J. Gaddis of Boston arrived here at 4 p. m. and at once went to headquarters and had a heart to heart talk with the prisoner. Of course he was willing to go back. He was very accommodating, even offering to stand half the night guarding himself on the way back and let the officers sleep.
At 9 o'clock Wednesday morning the Boston officers went to the station preparatory to taking their prisoner back. He was gone. So were four other prisoners, three city cases and a safe keeper.
The story then came out. Douglass had taken French leave of the city bastile about 2 a. m., leaving no future address. He had taken the lock from the main door leading into the holdover by removing the screws. Some say he took the lock with him -- just as a joke, it is supposed. Anyway, two officers have been guarding the opening ever since.
One of those who was taking advantage of the open door made too much noise about it as he ascended the iron stops, and in that manner Jailer Welch was aroused. He generally rested in a tilted chair right at the head of the stairs, but the prisoners went out a door leading from the first landing into the areaway back of the city hall. B. C. Stevens, the man taken back to Texarkana, Tex., Thursday, had an opportunity to gain his freedom, but refused. A new lock was being placed on the door yesterday.
On December 14 a man named Frank Madison was arrested by officers at No. 2 station on complaint of the Royal Brewing Company. He was sent to headquarters and the brewery people were on hand the next day to prosecute him. But he wasn't there. Somehow he was among the missing.
The police got Madison again in a few days, and asked him, "What became of you that time we sent you to headquarters and you weren't there the next day?"
"Oh, I just side-stepped the jailer," he said with a smile.
Some months ago there was a general free-for-all delivery. Twenty-three men got out. Saws were passed in from the outside and two lower bars were sawed and broken. Two desperate Greeks who were being held here for highway robbers and assault with intent to kill for Cripple Creek, Col., authorities, were believed to have been the instigators. They were afterwards recaptured, but it cost the Colorado authorities two trips here to get their men, they having arrived just after the delivery. A negro wanted in Alabama for murder was never recaptured and no attention was paid to the city cases that got away. Several plain drunks and safe keepers squeezed through the hole.
The two deliveries which occurred on Welch's watch are the only real jail breaking since the city holdover was built in 1886. One very small man, years ago, got into the air shaft which led to the top of the building and made his escape. How he did it no one has ever been able to explain. Others tried it after that but found their way blocked.
The man, Douglass, who removed the lock and left his compliments is said to be wanted in other places. On November 7 he was arrested at Twenty-second and Madison streets by Patrolman J. D. Brown and Jailer William Long. A saloonkeeper on the Southwest boulevard accused him of passing a bad check for $20.