Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

D.M. Short to Governor Oran M. Roberts, July 19, 1879

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D.M. Short to Governor Roberts, July 1879


and universally expressed themselves satisfied with
the fare and said it consisted of bacon[,] corn and flour
bread[,] sometimes beef—soup, beans—grits—dried apples,
molasses and also vegetables when they can be procured,
pure coffee for breakfast—flour three times a week
and molasses at one meal every other day—
and an abundant [sic] of food and it well prepared—also
2 onz [oz] of tobacco to each convict. The sick are fed
from the guards [sic] table with such suitable
food as the cook can prepare from the materiel[.]
The convicts are never overworked; their tasks being
for the best choppers ¼ cords [sic] of wood per day[.] During
the recent hot weather the choppers have not been
tasked and have scarcely average a half a cord
a day[.] [T]here has [sic] been four deaths in the camp within
the last three months, one from disease and three
killed in attempting to escape, to wit Wm Freeman
Ed Johnson and Robert Johnson—the killing of whom
was the prime cause of this investigation. Wm Freeman
was shot be guard Peguer [?] on May 31st and
died June 4th. [T]he grand jury of Wood county was in
session and found no bill of Indictment[.] Ed
Johnson was shot by guard Carlisle and died
June 23d 1879. Carlisle has been arrested and bound over
to answer the charge of the killing of Ed Johnson at the
next Term of the District Court. Robert Johnson was shot
& killed June 26th by Guards Kennon & Roe who are also bound over
to answer the charge[.] [W]e forbear to comment on these cases
as they are now pending before another tribunal. The
parties charged have agreed to resign pending investigation.

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D.M. Short to Governor Oran M. Roberts, July 19, 1879. Assistant Superintendent/Inspector, Reports, Records Relating to the Penitentiary, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: February 10, 2016