Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What Happened To Joseph Morgan?

One story that had basically been overlooked prior to my researching and documenting Preston's history, due to it being buried in the archives, is the death of Joseph Morgan. Morgan was a ward at Preston back in July of 1899. 

Sketch of Joseph Morgan (Newspaper Clipping)
One evening, Joseph Morgan and another friend Louis Siminoff escaped from Preston. Their plan had worked and they had made it as far as Sheldon, located near Elk Grove. When the staff realized that the pair was missing, Superintendent Hirshberg sent a group of men out to “fetch” the boys. H.H. Budd and Raphael Blair met up with James Carroll, James Kelly and a dog that tracked the escapees down to the farmlands. When the men approached the land where Morgan and Siminoff were hiding they all split up.

James Kelly and Raphael Blair found the boys behind a haystack. Siminoff freaked out and remained hidden while Morgan tried to run away. H.H. Budd hollered not to shoot the boy, which testimony from Siminoff confirms this. Yet, both Blair and Kelly shot with their Rifle and Pistols. One of the bullets from the gun James Kelly was using, hit Morgan through the chest and into his lungs.
He was fatally injured, bleeding to death while Kelly handcuffed him a second time. You see, when Morgan had escaped he was handcuffed. He managed to get one of his hands out of the cuffs but one was still attached to his wrist. As he lay there on the ground, coughing up blood until he died, they still had the audacity to cuff him again.
An inquest was held in Elk Grove, and witnesses were questioned. The newspapers headlines read “Unwarranted Killing Of The Reform School Lad-Bitterly Denounced.” District Attorney Baker filed murder charges against Kelly and also held Major Raphael Blair accountable as well. This would be the first time that someone would actually be held accountable for the wrongdoing they did to a ward from Preston.

To read more about the death of Joseph Morgan, and the rest of the Preston School of Industry's history, please check keep reading this blog and check out my book, "Behind The Walls" today!--

(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, on my Facebook Page or in the book “Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

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