THE WETMORE CALABOOSE

The Wetmore Calaboose in Wetmore, Kansas       The Wetmore Calaboose was started November 20, 1882 and completed July 7, 1883 for a total cost of $263.40 which included the price for purchase of Block 22, Lot 20, from Elvin Campfield.  The walls are 15' thick native stone.  The inside ceiling and wooden door are covered with metal sheeting.  The original jail had an earthen floor, but a concrete floor was laid many years ago after a prisoner attempted to dig his way out.  The first prisoner in the newly erected calaboose was John Martin who was arrested Aug. 31st, 1883 for disturbing the peace and quiet of the city of Wetmore by getting drunk.  He pleaded guilty and was fined $1.00.  The total fee, including court cost, was $3.00.  The Wetmore Police Log records the last arrest and incarceration on June 22nd, 1942.
 
      The defendant was charged with disturbing the peace of the city of Wetmore and its inhabitants by appearing on the streets in a drunken condition and using vile and obscene language and did resist the arresting officers by cursing and striking them.  The felon's fine and court costs totaled $6.50.  A.W. Dickson was Police Judge and Wm. Porter was City Marshal.  Several names have been given to later prisoners, but to date no written account later than June 22, 1942 has been found.  Two anecdotes supplied by local citizens were about John Rucker, City Marshal for several years.  One told of a time during the depression years when many men who traveled "the rails" seeking work would seek out Mr. Rucker.  Mr. Rucker would unlock the jail, let the traveler go into the jail and he would then lock them in so they wouldn't be robbed.  The other anecdote concerns a time when Mr. Rucker was trying to arrest a reluctant drunk and the culprit wouldn't cooperate.  Mr. Rucker always carried pliers in the pliers pocket on the leg of his overalls, so he simply took out his pliers, pinched the culprit on the cheek with them and his prisoner moved right along.
From a sign beside the jail in Wetmore
 
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January 29, 2002 · John & Susan Howell · Wichita, Kansas · howell@kotn.org

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