Universal York

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Christmas Jail Break from York County Prison

York County Prison, built 1853
The December 29, 1857 Gazette reported a Christmas night prison excape at the York County jail, which had been built only four years before. The escapees of 150 years ago used a method similar to that used just recently. The account follows below:
On the night of the 25th inst., two prisoners, names William Cook and James A. Quinland, made their escape from our new jail in a most adroit and skillful manner. They both, it appears, occupied the same cell on the second floor of the prison and were locked up, as usual, at about 5 o’clock in the evening.

As soon as this was done, they commenced their labors and succeeded in cutting through the wall which, we learn, is over three feet in thickness. This was accomplished with a common case knife and an iron key used in the cell to turn on the water. When this part of their work was finished and the aperture was large enough to permit them to get through, they cut to pieces and tied together their bed clothes and in that way let themselves down into the yard. A wall was then to be overleaped before their freedom was secured, and this was accomplished by the means of a plank that had been left there during the day.
As soon as Sheriff Forscht discovered the escape, he took the most energetic means of effecting their capture, and we are glad to say that he, in company with officer Waring, starting in pursuit, arrested them near Safe Harbor, in Lancaster county, and now have them safely lodged in his custody. The promptness and energy exhibited by Sheriff Forscht upon this occasion are deserving of all promise, and we also learn that officer Waring is entitled to a full share of credit for the manner in which the prisoners were re-captured.
Next week the Court will commence its sessions, and no doubt, will summarily dispose of these persons, putting them out of the reach of future temptation in the way of escapes.”
Slick here to read about a the front window escape from the first York jail.