Friday, August 11, 2017

Crime & Punishment: Brentsville Jail Break: John Wordier

Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Va)
4 December 1855

BROKE JAIL -- John Wordier, who had been committed to the jail of Prince William County, Va., by the warrant of a Justice of the peace, on a charge of horse stealing, broke jail on Saturday, the 1st instant, at Brentsville.  His flight was not discovered till after dark. The jailor took the night train of cars on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, at Bristoe station, and went up the line to Colvin's where he got off and remained, until the train returned to that place, where he resumed his pursuit by taking the cars to Alexandria, thinking it probable that his late prisoner might come on the train at some intervening station.  When the cars reached Union Mills, they were stopped to take on a supply of wood, and the fugitive came into the cars where the jailor was, and on seeing that he was recognized, tried to escape by leaving the cars in haste, but the jailor pursued and arrested him on the platform, took him into the cars and brought him to this city, intending to return with him on the morning train to Prince William, and place him again in jail.  After arriving in Alexandria, the jailor took his prisoner to S. Catt's tavern, at West End, where he intended to stay until the cars were ready to leave in the morning, and about 5 1/2 o'clock, A.M., the captive again escaped, and could not be found.  The jailor gave notice to the police that the thief was at large in the vicinity of this city.

The Daily Express (Petersburg, Va)
6 December 1855

John Wordier, a horse thief made his escape from the jail of Prince William county on the 1st inst. He was subsequently arrested in the cars by the jailor and taken to Alexandria, but managed to get away again and is now at large.

[John Wordier was eventually caught.  In March 1856 he was again sentenced to jail for "grand larceny and lunacy."  Interesting that the jailor is never named in either newspaper report (which was very likely a relief to him!) ~cgl]

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