Friday, January 29, 2010

The Escape

Last week I had the urge to visit Buena Vista again. 126 years ago on January 27, 1884, Ernest Christison, my great-great-uncle, escaped from the Buena Vista Jail along with ten other prisoners. You can read more about the jail break on this Black Sheep Sunday post. After breaking jail, Ernest and Albert Sweeny ran 1/2 a mile to the Arkansas River, crossed it and began climbing the hill on the others side.

The two men hid in the pinions and rocks watching the posse form and the search begin. In the photo below you can see the courthouse in the center of the picture viewed from the hill.

Christison and Sweeny walked south along the hills. Below Nathrop they crossed the river again and continued walking to Thomas Cameron's ranch near Salida, where they were captured early the next morning.

Today the area where Ernest and Albert Sweeny crossed the river is a park. There is a footbridge across the Arkansas and hiking trails up the hill. John and I walked up the trail to experience a little of what Ernest did. Can't imagine crossing the river with the ice and cold. My feet would be blue for a week! It was easy to picture Ernest and Albert scrambling up the hill during their get-away. It was 25 degrees when John and I visited on Friday, the 29th. There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground from the night before. Luckily for Ernest and Albert there wasn't any new snow in 1884!