July 11, 2017
You are reading “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story is about a jail break. Sheriff Peeso had one of the most thrilling events of his career in July of 1904. It seems that Gilbert Mullins, a local thug, had been the leader in a mutiny at the federal prison and killed one of the guards. Mullins had been brought to the Junction City County Jail for safekeeping while awaiting trial. He had made a number of attempts to escape and on one morning in July, Mullins along with several other prisoners concealed a club and attacked the Sheriff, when he stepped into the jail. The Sheriff was up against four or five big men, who were using clubs and chairs to fight him. During the fight the prisoners slipped out of the jail and left one by one. At last, Peeso got the door shut and locked. With blood streaming down his face from a dozen wounds he started for his rig, which was kept in the old stable at the corner of Ninth and Washington Street. The alarm was given and everyone in town was on the manhunt. The prisoners had gone south down the railroad track. William Bicknell, who was then a policeman, was close behind them and they just got across the river as he arrived at the banks. One reporter ran down to the Davidson Hardware Store and got a double-barreled shotgun and was close behind two of the men when they surrendered to Clarence Bell at the Grandview Schoolhouse.
All that night and the next day, officers and every able-bodied man in town were on the hunt for Mullins. Two days later he was found west of town after a couple of shots brought him down. Mullins was sent to jail for life for killing the guard at the federal prison. After serving ten years, he was given parole by President Wilson. He left prison and went to Yale, Oklahoma where he stayed for one year before coming back to Kansas. At Pittsburg he robbed and assaulted a man and was back in prison again. On his release, another battle ensued and he was shot in the neck which left him unable to talk. Mullins then moved in with his sister, who did her best to keep him out of more trouble while he lived his last days in Junction City.
Well, that’s today’s story from the Geary County Historical Society.