? A men who has lived in twenty seven jails.
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A men who has lived in twenty seven jails.

The story of Peter Lanscot born about 1837 in Alabama lived in twenty seven prisons in 14 differant States..

The story of Peter Lanscot, just discharged from prison.

"Yes" he said. " Warden Will discharged four of us at a lick, and now I just feel like a fish out of water. I'm lost when I'm out of jail, and I guess after a stay out long enough to get fresh air and a cause of vietmals. I'll tramp it to some other county and stay thirty or sixty days with "em". The middle-aged man who spoke the above words was discharged from our jail a few days ago, along with four others. He had been committed for thirty days on the charge vagrancy. Said that this proper name was PETER LANSCOT , altough he was accustomed to giving out of names that he hardly knew sometime what his real name was. He was a tall man, pale and not healthy looking. He was thirty eight years of age, nearly twenty of which he said were passed in jail. He was born in Alabama, and his first offence was theft for which he was sentenced for one year in the Montgomery jail. He served his time, and for good conduct was allowed computation. His next adventure was stealing a horse in Charlotte, NC and he was sentenced two years. Between the first two imprisonments he was out of jail not quite two months. When his time was out, he went to Tennessee, thence to Missouri, thence so far up as the copper mines of Lake Superior, thence to Michigan, and back through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and New York. In all these states, LANSCOT went under the name of Roiline, and was imprisoned in seven differant jails for various offences.

"One thing I can say and which I kind of feel proud of, I never did anything to hurt anybody, I never stole much that the owners did not get back again, and want people lost by me, obiy want to keep me when I was not in 'hock'. I've been in the Boston jail and the Portsmouth jail, but so far I've kept away from the New York Tombs or Blackwell's Island or Sing Sing. There's bad company there, and as long as there is other jails to go, why. I keep away from there. I was in the Norristown jail last year for vagrancy. I think that is the best charge to get sent up for. Most sentence you get is sixty days, and that is long enough to stay during the summer in any jail. In summer I like to travel around. I tramp it from one city to antoher. I like the Berks county jail; it reminds me of the Joliet prison. People here are kind enough, and the "grub" is solid and so is the work. It's the quietest jail I was ever in, and I've boarded. in twenty-seven differant ones in my time. I don't think there's a man in the country that has a better record than that. If there is I never heard it. But that's not all, I ain't done living yet. I'll bounce around pretty heavily before I pass in my checks. I used to get sent up for three years, but that's played out now. I've learned five traces in my time. Am a weaver, shoe maker, brush and troom maker, learned cigarmaking in the Hartford, CT ; jail one year ago, and can lay bricks with the rest of them. That is I could.. I worked with my father who was also a bricklayer. fact was my first trade. I've got to go .. to livin in jail, that I get tired of livin outside. I get disguested. I don't like to talk to people and I'm surprised at myself that I've talked to you so long as I have. I can do no good by reformin, and that's why I keep going to jail.I earn enough to pay my board; people needn't be afraid. I'll ever harm'em. Stea in's played out with me now. No more for me. I'm goin' over in the next county town, and as soon as i get tired of being out, why up I'll go. I'd rather be in jail than out of it, when i know I've only got a short time to serve".

The above is the substance of an interview an Eagle reporter had with a sincere looking traveller, as he sat on a neighbering door step last evening eating a supper. Chief Cullen came along and recognized the man who was committed thirty days ago for vagrancy. This story is undoubtly true. - Reading Eagle

New York NY Evening Telegram 1875 Apr - 1875 Jul