1913 - TRAPPED BY FLAMES 35 PERISH. NEGRO CONVICTS BURNED TO DEATH IN FIRE AT THE OAKLEY CONVICT FARM. RESCUERS DRIVEN BACK. BY INTENSE HEAT AS THEY ATTEMPTED TO LIBERATE THE FRANTIC MEN - HAD NO FIRE-FIGHTING APPARATUS ON HAND.
(Associated Press Telegram)
Jackson, Miss., July 22. - Trapped by flames in the second floor in an antiquated convict cage, 35 negro prisoners were burned to death at the Oakley convict farm, 20 miles from here last night.
The flames rapidly ate away the only stairway leading to the second floor. The prisoners frantically tore at the heavy bars that covered the jail windows but to no avail. Their screams brought guards and other prison attaches but the flames drove back members of the rescue party each time they attempted to liberate the negroes who one by one fell back into the flames and perished.
Everything was in the fires favor. The building was constructed ten years ago of lumber taken from a discarded penitentiary. There was no fire fighting apparatus at the farm and the first floor of the building was filled with inflammable material.
Farmers living nearby hurried to the jail to help the fire fighters but they were of no assistance as the fire burned too rapidly.
The prisoners all were worked in the cotton fields of the state farm and housed in the cage at night. Among them were desperate criminals with long sentences.
The Oakley farm is the most important in the state, the state prison hospital being located there.
July 22, 1913
Visit Jackson, Mississippi, USA
Discover the people who lived there, the places they visited and the stories they shared.