Bio: Hill, Joe (Escape from County Jail – Dec 1918)

Contact: Ann Stevens

Surnames: Wilson, Hill, Dodge, Hewett, Griffin, Olson

----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 12/12/1918

Hill, Joe (Escape from County Jail – 4 Dec 1918)

On Wednesday evening of last week, a jail delivery was effected in which three prisoners in the Clark County jail made their escape and are still at liberty. The three prisoners who escaped are Tom Wilson, Joe Hill and Frances Dodge. The two latter were in jail from Colby for minor offenses and would have served their terms within a few days. Wilson was brought here from Peoria, Ill., by Sheriff Hewett several days ago and was suspected in having a hand in the killing of Fred Griffin, marshal of the village of Owen, six years ago in July. Wilson had a jail and penitentiary record and went under a half dozen different aliases. He was a tough customer and there is every reason to believe that the jail delivery was made by friends of Wilson who came here for the purpose of getting him out of jail.

On Wednesday evening, the prisoners were locked up in the cages by Sheriff Hewett and Deputy Oluf Olson. Wilson, Hill and Dodge were locked in one of the lower cages and at the time of locking up Sheriff Hewett discovered that the lock to the cage would not work properly. He therefore secured a brand new lock and he and Olson put it on, tried it out and were certain that the lock was holding perfectly. The jail delivery was effected before 11:30 Wednesday evening. It seems possible that a pal of Wilson’s had sawed a bar out of one of the windows on the east side of the jail, broke into the jail himself and then in some manner opened the lock which held Wilson and the other two prisoners in the cage. The three prisoners walked out into the corridor and then evidently left the jail through the window which had been sawed out by Wilson’s accomplice. It is also understood that Wilson had been seen working at the barred window a few days before, so that it is more probable that he made a saw from some instrument and sawed the bar out himself. Examination of the bar showed the use of soap to cover the sawing so that it is very possible that Wilson did the job himself. At any rate, Wilson, Hill and Dodge escaped and having had plenty of time in which to make good their escape, have not been apprehended. A careful search is being made for Wilson, but the other two prisoners are not so badly wanted.

Later—Wilson and Dodge were arrested at Pittsville Monday night and Sheriff Hewett went to Grand Rapids yesterday to bring the two back to Neillsville. The men had broken into a saloon and a store at Pittsville and after imbibing freely of the wares had crawled into a barn to sleep. They were found there the next morning and arrested and taken to Grand Rapids.



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