Saturday, April 9, 2011

1896 Tramps in the Lock-Up

A Pretty Close Shave~~As is the custom in nearly all villages, tramps are allowed to sleep in the lock-up. On Thursday evening of last week, two wandering willies were allowed the use of the jail and they made themselves very much at home. They took the bedding out of the cells and piled it down by the stove and had a real nice time. Early in the morning, one of them built up a rousing fire and sought his couch and soon a great uproar came from the jail and the noise and smoke coming from the building attracted the attention of Cal. Price, who lives nearby, and taking in the situation, he ran up town after the night-watch, as the tramps were locked in and the key was in Mr. McCarty's pocket, who heard Price coming and knowing something was the matter, ran to meet him. As Price could run faster than McCarty, he took the key and ran to the building, where he found both tramps almost suffocated and, dragging them out, put out the fire. The bedclothes had taken fire and the place filled with smoke and they had a pretty narrow escape.

This account was found in The Fowlerville Review, published early in the spring of 1896. In an 1875 map, which can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, a "lock-up" is shown on the west side of South Ann Street, about where the first house behind the gas station now stands. In later years, when the firehall was built on the corner of Power Street and North Grand Avenue, the jail would be relocated there.

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