The Anamosa Eureka
March 20, 1897

Charles Murphy, a Convict in the
Quarry Gang, Fails to Respond at Roll Call

Charles Murphy a convict employed in the quarry gang failed to tally in the count last Tuesday evening. A careful search of the premises on which Murphy was employed failed to reveal any clue as to the method adopted in his escape.

At present an unusually large force of men are employed at the state quarry and as has been customary when the force sent out exceeds the capacity of the hand cars on which the men ordinarily make the journey from the prison to this scene of operation, a chain gang is made up who walk the distance in charge of extra guards. This chain gang in the evening is made up for the return to the prison some 20 minutes ahead of the main body which follow on the hand cars. In this way the two sections reach the prison gates at about the same time. Last Tuesday evening the count was made as the chain gang left and every man was accounted for. Later as the balance of the crew were gotten in line one man was missing. A closer inspection of the ranks showed the missing man to be Charles Murphy. Several of the guards state positively Murphy had been seen a few moments previous. The warden was immediately notified and a squad of guards sent out to scour the quarry vicinity. Every available nook of the place was carefully investigated but the search proved fruitless. Every cross road for miles to the north and west was watched Tuesday night and descriptions were circulated broadcast throughout the district but no fugitive was apprehended. The search was continued yesterday and last night but without result. It would seem Murphy had laid his plans well and executed them to a nicety.

The condition of the quarries is at present such that the chances for escape are ten fold more inviting than they have been in the past. The situation has been becoming more menacing for three years. Prior to 1894 the railroad company had a contract with the state to remove all rip rap and refuse - chips from building stone - and in consideration of the use of this ruble made the state a reduction in freight rates of from $7 to $3 a car. By and act of the legislature in 1894 the warden was denied the privilege of disposing of this refuse to the company. The waste stone has accumulated in heaps making the work of the guards more difficult and adding to the chances of escape.

Charles Murphy was sent up form Scott county for three years on a charge of burglary. One year was yet remaining on his sentence.