William Pearce Prison File

William Pearce, No. 493

In March of 1909, notorious outlaw William “Driftwood Jim” Pearce was about to be released from Leavenworth at the expiration of his sentence. A prison official sent out a letter warning the Kansas City Chief of Police of the desperado who might soon be walking his streets. The official described him as “a skilled house and Post Office burglar and gun shooter of national fame…He is a bad egg.” Indeed, Driftwood Jim was the leader of the first successful escape from Leavenworth in 1898. He and three other men took two guards hostage and used them as shields during their escape. Pearce remained on the loose for two years until he was arrested for robbing another post office. He was returned to Leavenworth to serve out the remainder of his sentence.

-- description by Stephen Spence

Number of pages: 77
File size: 18,579 KB

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