Thursday, September 11, 2014

What Does a Penitentiary Record Look Like?

After discovering Ephraim P Bennett in the Missouri State Prison on the 1900 census, I emailed the Missouri State Archives about his penitentiary records. First of all, they were incredibly helpful and emailed back within hours. And, they explained how to order his two-page record. The cost: only $1!

I had never seen a penitentiary record before and wasn't sure what it would contain. It is actually quite interesting and helpful! The record book is obviously a large book as I got two 11x17 pages. I don't have a scanner that can scan that will scan those, so I'm going to share 4 images which are really a two-page spread.

I thought the physical descriptions were really interesting. My favorite columns were the "length of foot", "whiskers worn", "habits of life", and "education."

  • Register No: 12163
  • Name; Ephraim P Bennett
  • Age: 53
  • Nativity: Tenn[essee]
  • Trade: farmer
  • Height: 5 ft 10 1/4 in
  • Length Foot: 10 1/2
  • Hair: Dark
  • Eyes: Gray 

  • Complexion: Dark
  • Whiskers Worn: Full Beard
  • Religion: None
  • Habits of Life: Temp[erance] [everyone on the page says the same thing]
  • Education: R & W [Reading & Writing]
  • Former Imprisonment: None

  • Marks and Scars: 
    • Single Parent Compton Mo. [Missouri] 
    • Scar left side neck
    •   "     muscle left arm
    •   "     back first finger left hand
    •   "     inside right wrist
      • Wright 172 [everyone on page says this & I wonder if it is a mark for whoever is describing the person]
  • Offense: T. C. - Murder 2nd Deg.  [everyone else says "P. G.", not "T. C." but I don't know what these mean... maybe it relates to the offense?]  
  • County: Dallas
  • Sentence: 10 Ten Years from Oct 16 1894


  • Term of Court: Oct 1894
  • When Received: Oct 20 1894
  • Expiration of Sentence:
    • Full Time: Oct 16 1902
    • Three-Fourths Time: April 16 1902
  • Discharged: [stamped] Discharged under 3/4 law [not all readable] [stamped] APR 15 1902
P.S. I am new to doing citations and have both looked in Elizabeth Shown Mill's "Evidence!" and searched the internet and cannot find an example of a way to write this source. Any help would be appreciated!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at drleeds@sbcglobal.net

6 comments:

  1. Hi,

    I want to let you know that your wonderful blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/09/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-september.html

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Terrific info - thank you! I re-posted on my blog Genealogy: Beyond the BMD

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  3. These are great records! You can learn a lot from these records. I found one record listing the color of an inmate's undergarments!

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  4. This is another great find Dana. I've never seen a penitentiary record. I have a little bit of bias interest in anything relating to law enforcement, justice or crime because both myself and my husband are retired law enforcement.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  5. If it were today "T.C." would be a conviction under the Transportation Code [of laws] that he killed someone in a motor vehicle or train accident. I don't know if Tennessee had a set of laws entitled "Transportation Code" in the 1890's but it could be something to look into.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Jo. I found out more about the murder & it didn't have anything to do with a vehicle or train. But, it's something I do need to look more into.

    ReplyDelete

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