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

Minutes of the Texas Prison Board, July 24, 1934

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Minutes of the Texas State Prison Board, July 24, 1934

MINUTES OF THE SIXTY-EIGHTH MEETING OF THE
TEXAS PRISON BOARD

A special meeting of the Texas Prison Board was called by Chairman
W.A. Paddock at 10 o’clock, a.m., July 24, 1934, at Huntsville, Texas, with
the following members present:

W.A. Paddock, Chairman,
Joseph Wearden, Vice Chairman,
F.L. Tiller, Secretary,
E.H. Astin,
J.B.H. Holderby,
S.M. Lister,
W.R. Dulaney,
W.A. Boyett,
Earl Arnold.

The law requires as a quorum six members to be present; and, there
being a quorum, the Board began the dispatch of its business.

Mr. Lee Simmons, General Manager, and Mr. W.W. Waid, Warden, were
present.

PURPOSE OF MEETING:

The meeting was called by the Chairman, on the request of six Board
members, for the purpose of making investigation of the matter of escape of
Raymond Hamilton, Joe Palmer and Irvin (Blackie) Thompson, all three out of the
death cell.

On motion duly made and seconded, the Board went into executive session
and voted to administer oath to each witness in taking testimony. Oath was ad-
ministered to witnesses by Chairman W.A. Paddock, and testimony was taken by
Clyde Watson, Secretary to the General Manager.

METHOD OF ESCAPE:

Upon investigation, the Board found that Blackie Thompson, Joe Palmer
and Raymond Hamilton, all in the death cell, and Charlie Frazier, Whitey Walker
and Roy Johnson, the latter three not prisoners with death sentences, all attempted
an escape; and that Blackie Thompson, Joe Palmer and Raymond Hamilton succeeded
in getting over the walls at picket #7. In attempting to climb over the ladder,
Whitey Walker was killed, and Charlie Frazier and Roy Johnson were wounded by
being shot off the ladder.

MR. SIMMONS’ TESTIMONY:

Mr. Paddock:  - Now Mr. Simmons just go ahead and tell the Board in your
own words just what happened.

Mr. Simmons: “I will state first that this happened about 4:20 P.M.
I was at the ball game and had been there about thirty minutes. I heard
a shot or two and then in a few seconds heard more and left immediately,
got out of the grandstand and ran around to the front of my car. As I
came around to the front I could tell the shooting was over toward the
South or Southwest part of the Walls. I backed my car out and just then
saw Mr. Tennison, the Cashier, coming in a run and waited a second or
two and told him to get in and we left. I drove around to the Southwest
corner of the Walls and when I got there I saw some negroes and a white
man on a horse that I did not know. He said that some prisoners came over
the Walls and just left in a car, that the car was standing right here in
front of this negro house and went west. I drove on inside the gate up
opposite the picket[,] got out and hollered up to the picket man, Mr. Burdeaux
and asked him what had happened. He said they got my guns and some convicts
just escaped over the walls. He said I do not have any guns, so I ran up
the steps and gave him my gun and ask[ed] him a few questions. I looked over
the Wall and saw a man lying dead down underneath the picket that I recognized
as Whitey Walker. I did not take time to question him much, but he did not
know who went out, so I asked him two or three hurried questions and went back
down off the picket. Just as I was getting down on the ground Mr. Waid came
around from the East coming West, he did not know anything and we jumped in
my car and drove back around to the front.

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Minutes of the Texas Prison Board, July 24, 1934. Board of Criminal Justice minutes and meeting files, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 17, 2011