Sunday, August 9, 2009

Black Sheep Sunday

The old Buena Vista Jail, built in 1882. Now school administration offices.

Today is Black Sheep Sunday with GeneaBloggers. Since many of my posts have to do with my great-great-uncle outlaw, Ernest Christison, I haven't participated. However, today I thought I'd reveal one of Ernest's "black sheep" moments. And it's my last post about last week's trip to Buena Vista and Salida.

On January 27, 1884 Ernest escaped from the Buena Vista jail with 10 other prisoners. A fire in the town the previous night seemed to have distracted the guards and the prisoners removed bricks at the back of the jail and made their break. Ernest and another man headed to Salida and were captured the next day in Thomas Cameron's barn. Another escapee, Thomas Neinmyer (or Ninemyer), was the man who shot Salida Marshal Baxter Stingley and killed three other men on Memorial Day (read
Baxter Stingley, Salida Marshal). Neinmeyer was never captured.

I visited the old jail and the old Buena Vista courthouse which now houses the
Buena Vista Heritage Museum for the first time last week. As Bev and I walked around the building, I pointed out where the sheriff's office and jailer's office were in the front of the building from a diagram I have of the jail. Then the cells were in the back of the building. We turned around the back as I explained how the men removed the bricks and escaped. Then I stopped in wonder when I saw the place where the bricks and been removed and replaced! I never dreamed you would be able to see the exact spot the prisoners escaped through.

Then we went into the museum. Wendy Oliver, the museum manager, was very helpful and let me look at some of their manuscript and book collections. I had some great finds! The museum is wonderful and it was fun to see items from families whose names I recognize from my research. I look forward to having more contact with the Heritage Museum and their staff.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Pretty cool to see the replaced bricks on the building. I spent some time in an old prairie museum in Illinois for background on a historical novel, and found more written material, old equipment and tools, and drawings and photographs than I ever imagined would be available. I could have spent days in that place.

Gayle Gresham said...

Museums are great for research. And, of course, the ones the furthest away are the ones that have the most info we need.