from the June 14, 1888 Anamosa Eureka


Anna L. Hower, serving a sentence of eighteen years in the Anamosa Penitentiary for poisoning her husband, made her escape last Sunday night, but was retaken Tuesday night in Anamosa and returned to her old quarters. The women convicts, sixteen in number, are not confined in the cell-house proper but occupy the second story of the building over the dining room, between the chapel and hospital. No guard being stationed in this locality at night, Mrs. Hower cut one of the bars of the window in the female department, attached a rope made from a blanket and descended to the ground. Her next move was to scale the 27-foot wall enclosing the premises, and this she did by means of a guy-rope sustaining one of the derricks used in construction, and made her exit in safety.

Warden Barr instituted prompt measures for her recovery, but heard nothing of her until Monday evening, when Mr. Charles Buckner, one of the guards, who occupies rooms over Sheridan & Hogan's millinery store, saw her walking up Main street after dark. Arriving at Ford street she turned south, and just after crossing First street Mr. Buckner took her in charge, much against her will.

It seems that she had wandered some three miles northeast of Anamosa with the idea of going to Monticello. she interpreted a sign-board incorrectly, however, and losing her bearing or being in expectation of aid from some ex-convict or other party, came back to Anamosa. She was attired in a coat and pants of grey flannel from which convict women's dresses are made for winter use and of course prepared by herself. She also wore a black skull-cap, and was adorned with a black mustache which she twirled gracefully as she meandered up the street.

We clip the following additional facts from the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette:

Anna L. Hower, who five or six years ago killed her husband at their home on Oak Hill in Cedar Rapids, was sent to the Fort Madison prison anad transferred to Anamosa, her sentence being eighteen years for murder in the second degree. She gave her husband a poison which killed him by inches, and while he was in this condition, it is said that she ran off with another man. She pretended she gave the fatal poison by mistake, taking it for medicine. She has served five years of her time and has had the privilege of being allowed to work at the warden's residence.

Mrs. Hower went to Fort Madison Dec. 2d, 1881, and with good time her sentence would have expired Dec. 27, 1896. She received light punishment for breaking the prison rules, but will not necessarily lose her good time of five days per month allowed by law except for this month, and also for any month in the future when she disobeys prison requirements. She had applied for a pardon but the show for executive leniency is now rather unpromising.

Dr. Dietz, the man who furnished the poison and was convicted for the same crime, came here from Linn County March 23d, 1883, for a term of twenty years. His sentence, deducting good time, will terminate December 18th, 1899.