Thanks to James Crocker, I am now the proud owner of an early day post card, which contains a picture of the construction gang at work on the new jail here in town. The post card was sent from here on June 22, 1910, to Mrs. L.E. Davenport in Crowell, Texas. In the event any of you knew her, please contact me so I can fill in a little more history.
Those of you who are in my age group and older probably remember that structure was next to the first courthouse and faced Aber St. It was an impressive building that served as the jail and the sheriff’s residence.
The residence contained a basement, and two floors above that. A covered walkway connected the upper floor to the second floor of the courthouse so prisoners could be taken directly into the courtroom there. The upper floor also contained a bedroom, bathroom, and cells for female prisoners.
You can just imagine how frightening that Gothic-like building was to a 5-year-old kid, who moved with her family from their half-dugout in the canyons at lma. Just looking at the building with its turrets, barred windows and barred outside door to the jail caused me to want to run away.
I was fine as long as I was outside, but once inside, I could not be more than a few feet away from some family member. The new sounds alone scared me silly and the different activities around the house caused me to long for the canyons.
Of course, we got off to a bad start because a fellow had provided a couple of the prisoners with saw blades, and they staged their escape the first night. Very early the next morning, a prisoner who hadn’t been able to escape began pounding on the metal door and announcing the break. That caused the nerves to shatter and to remain edgy from then on. Dad and the deputies had the escapees back in their bunks in a day or two, and our life continued in that residence until the new courthouse was completed.
Just looking at that post card has revived many memories and has caused more digging into our history. Our town and county surely share interesting stories and a rather colorful history.
Now that our state is preparing to celebrate her 100th birthday, we can be proud of our past and our territorial buildings that were already in place when our state entered the Union in 1912.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your offerings of sympathy for the loss of my dear Aggie. She is also a part of our history.