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Vladislav Pakhomov
Vladislav Pakhomov

Stonewall Penitentiary

The original prison building was soon joined by a number of other buildings, as a period of rapid growth commenced. Structures such as stables, schoolhouse, staff quarters, hospital, chapels, forge, and slaughterhouse were built. By 1885, some 44 cells were in use. Growth tended to be decentralized and the buildings came to occupy a large area.[4] In 1885, over 35 people involved in the North-West Rebellion landed in the penitentiary.[2]

Stonewall Penitentiary


There it was, the crime that had sent Stonewall Shacklett to prison. I had been wrongabout both the location and the time period. It wasn’t in the town of Shawnee, and itwasn’t in the 1910’s. It had happened in the town of Frisco before the turn ofthe century. According to the article, James Overstreet and Stonewall Shacklett had met atthe Post Office to settle a debt owed to Shacklett. The money had been paid and the twowere getting along quite well, when unexpectedly a noise was heard by patrons of the PostOffice. They turned around and saw Stonewall holding a club and standing over Overstreet,who had sustained a mortal blow to the head. Finding more information at the Oklahoma StateHistorical Society’s newspaper section, I discovered that James Overstreet had got upafter the attack, went to his horse, and rode home. Barely making it, he told his wife henever saw who had hit him over the head, and died the next day. An autopsy later revealedthe blows (multiple) to his head had caused his skull to be partially crushed, and he diedfrom a brain hemorrhage. All newspaper reports at the time; including the Daily Oklahoman,were quick to place the guilt on Stonewall Shacklett due to the number of people who wereat the scene of the crime. The motive could never be established because the two had beenon good terms just moments earlier. One newspaper had interviewed Bertha Shacklett abouther husbands motives. ( Click here for Articles Pulled from‘History of Richland Oklahoma’ ) In the article, she said that Mr.Overstreet had insulted her the day before the incident, but the account was quick to addthe ‘excuse’ sounded flimsy at best. The community was so outraged at the murder that-unusualfor those times-the trial was moved to nearby Blaine County. The first trial in early 1898resulted in a hung jury. In the second trial in March, Jesse Stonewall Shacklett was foundguilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison at hard labor. At the time, neitherOklahoma Territory nor Indian Territory had a penitentiary, so I wasn’t sure whereShacklett was sent once he was convicted. There was a reformatory in Granite, OklahomaTerritory, that could have been where he was incarcerated. So where was StonewallShacklett sent?

As I said earlier, I had ran into an information dead end and decided to go the route oftrying to establish where Stonewall Shacklett had served his time; rather than goingthrough local newpapers and records. The place I looked first was the research section ofthe Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. A research assistant had told me that theydidn’t keep the records for the Department of Corrections, but gave me a tip. He saidthat prior to 1909, Oklahoma didn’t have a penitentiary, and had been shipping theirconvicted prisoners with long sentences to the Kansas State Penitentiary; to be housed for.25 cents per day. Then he said, “Sure hope your relative wasn’t one of thoseconvicts”. I asked why, and he said that in 1908, Kate Barnard, the OklahomaCommissioner of Charities and Corrections had made a surprise visit to the Kansas StatePenitentiary, and had found the treatment of prisoners from Oklahoma to be horrendous.They were being used as slave laborers in an on-site coal mine and a brick-making plantduring the day, then kept behind bars in deplorable conditions the rest of the time.Brutal punishments, including water torture were common, and many convicts were found verymalnourished. In short, the authorities in Kansas were taking advantage of the fact thatnobody from Oklahoma was overseeing the treatment of its prisoners. In January of 1909,the last of Oklahoma’s prisoners in the Kansas State Penitentiary were removed andemployed to build Oklahoma’s own penitentiary in McAlester. Coal Mine at Kansas StatePenitentiary

In 2007, I bought a guide to the U.S. Census, whichincluded a chapter on finding individuals who were incarcerated. Using that information, Ilooked up census records on for the year 1900, and within ten minutes foundStonewall in the district of Delaware, county of Leavenworth, at the Kansas StatePenitentiary (sheet 17). Here it was; proof that he had been incarcerated there in 1900,but offering no information as to when he was sent or when he was released.I got back on the internet, hoping to find more information on Stonewall during this timeof incarceration. The Kansas penitentiary system has a website today which includeshistorical information. One line captured my attention. It stated “All records of theKansas State Penitentiary are kept at the Kansas Historical Society”, and gave anaddress. So I wrote to the historical society, requesting information on Jesse StonewallShacklett, and included a check for $25.00 as well as a picture of Stonewall for theirrecords if they wished to keep it.

His son, Norman Ivor Fogleson was married in late1910 or 1911 to Maude Mae Davis; though we don’t know the exact date or place of theceremony. They had four daughters together; Bernadine, Dorothy, Omega, and Jeraldine.Sadie Shacklett lived with her parents for many years; beyond her father’s death. Shenever did marry, and lived the last three decades of her life in a hotel in downtownOklahoma City before passing away in 1984. His father, Jesse S. Shacklett, died onJune 18th, 1910 in Yukon, Canadian County, Oklahoma. In his later years, Jesse’s(Stonewall’s dad) fortunes had improved and he was the owner and operator of a hotelin Yukon. Stonewall’s mother, Susan Mary (Easton) Shacklett, passed away on January22nd, 1939 after years of failing memory that was listed as dementia on her deathcertificate. Last known photo of Stonewall Shacklett, taken in July, 1935 Stonewall and his wife, Bertha remained together forthe remainder of his life. 35 years after his release from the penitentiary, JesseStonewall Shacklett passed away on October 10th, 1940. He was laid to rest at YukonCemetery; just a stones throw away from his parents gravesite, and only a few miles fromwhere he grew up as a child. Twelve years later, Bertha Shacklett passed away on October21st, 1952 at the age of 81. She was buried between Stonewall and their daughter, Sadie.Their plot is next to the burial place of country singer Garth Brook’s grandparents,and near his mother’s gravesite. Also buried in this cemetery is his sister Birdie(Shacklett) Stafford, and brother Thomas C. Shacklett.

Pg. 103:There began a rash of bank robberies. Stonewall, which would for some yearsbe the unofficial bank robbery capitol of the county, had two and Allen one.The last involved Whitey Walker, of whom more later, but so dangerous thata veteran federal officer told the author, 'I'd rather meet an angry bearin the open than Whitey Walker.' It was on November 21, 1927, that robbersfirst struck at Stonewall, hitting the First State Bank. T. L. Gibson,cashier, was alone. Locked in the vault, he used a secret combination toget out and spread an alarm. The bandits fled south and escaped a posse,but in a few weeks three men were in the state penitentiary for their part.Turn of the Stonewall First National Bank came the Following April. Threemen found Roy Whitlock alone. They escaped in a roadster, taking Whitlock. They fled through the Allen oilfields and forded the Canadian River.When they stopped, Whitlock helped them divide the money, $691.70 in all.Each gave him $5.00, and they released him after dark to walk into Sasakwa. Before long the three were in the state prison. Unlike Walker, Pretty BoyFloyd and others, the first half dozen were minor, local area offenders.Pg. 120Even through the worst of the depression, which bottomed for Ada in 1933,life moved on, the schools met, East Central grew despite severe handicaps,the county entered its busiest time of highway development, and a countythat had been an oil producer since 1913 hit the big time with the FittsField. There was weather, one of the two worst winters on record here anddire droughts. For added excitement there were bank robberies and dealingswith famous outlaws, including Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, his pal GeorgeBirdwell, and others.Page 134For sheer drama, bank bandits, their escapades and, for five of them, theirviolent deaths, made for many lively headlines in the early Thirties. Headed by the fabled Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd and pal George Birdwell,they also listed such notables as Whitey Walker, Bob Brady and WilburUnderhill.In the late Twenties and early Thirties Pontotoc County banks suffered sevenoutlaw visitations. Stonewall had four, Roff two and Allen one. The Allenventure and the third Stonewall hold-up began some sensational developments.Whitey Walker was disposed of by Texas officers after he escaped the Texasprison at Huntsville. Bob Brady, also known as "Big Boy," grew up in southeasternPontotoc County but seems to have started his depredations after leavingthis area. He escaped the Oklahoma penitentiary in a box of overalls. In1931 a warrent was issued for him in connection with a Roff bank robbery.Twice he escaped the Kansas state prison but was killed by pursuing officersin 1933. Underhill, accused of bank jobs in Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas,set off an intensive search in the Ada area after he robbed a Coalgate bankin 1933. Clyde Kaiser, then sheriff, later recalled covering the Lula areabut even more clearly an embarassing moment east of Konawa. Underhill, finallytrapped in a house at Shawnee, was fatally wounded by officers. Before he died he told Kaiser where the money from the robbery was hidden,and sure enough, there it was, cached in a field. By 1932, Floyd andBirdwell had established their reputation as bank robbers. Pontotoc county'sturn came April 21 that year when they hit the First State Bank of Stonewall.In June, on a tip that the bank robbers were at a farmhouse a mile northof Stonewall, officers moved in to flush them out. The pair, in the barnloft, jumped into their car and fled up a long lane. Another escape....In October, 1934, Pretty Boy Floyd was gunned down in Chicago and ended hiscareer in an open field. 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