Photos of Leon and Clovis Blevins. (The Western Star didn't identify which mug shots were of which man.)
The quick witted perception of Ernest Wood, Wilmore cafe owner and a German prisoner during World War I, and the publication in the Star of the pictures of Leon and Clovis Blevins, escapees since July 14 from the Missouri Penitentiary at Jefferson City led to the capture and jailing of the two convicts Monday afternoon of this week.
The men were in a group of three who escaped from the Missouri pen and the third man was captured. He told the officers that the Blevins brothers were receiving their mail at Coldwater, Kansas, in care of the Kelly Wilson ranch, which is located 23 miles south of Coldwater, a few miles over the Oklahoma line in the rugged hill country.
The men were seen in Coldwater by several before their pictures were circulated here. They had a tire changed at Ted Frederick's service station in this city and the Star editor saw the men walking across the highway at 6:30 a.m. one morning when he came to the office to work. But that was before it was known the brothers were wanted. Monday morning several strangers went to the Wilmore Cafe to eat breakfast and buy some pop, Ernest Wood noticed two of the men and identified them as the brothers whose pictures were in the Western Star on October 11. He investigated further and noticed that they were with a party which were riding in a large school bus and two cars.
Ernest notified the sheriff's office in Coldwater, and the sheriff being out at the time, County Attorney Frank Daily was contacted.
Mr. Daily and deputy sheriff George Williams went to Wilmore and investigated, meeting a school bus and some cars south of Wilmore. When the officers were told of the fugitives being in a school bus, the whole thing sounded more like a joke, for men who are being hunted don't usually travel in that manner.
Mr. Daily called the sheriffs at Greensburg and Medicine Lodge and the officers there, also got a laugh out of the tip but said they would investigate.
Sheriff Carl Stranahan of Barber county, assisted by officers from Pratt and Comanche counties, found that in the school bus group were 15 people, including the wanted convicts, and the whole group was arrested about 2 p.m. and lodged in the Barber county jail. One brother, Clovis, was located about 4 p.m. in some bushes east of Medicine Lodge. Planes from that city helped locate the missing man.
Four generations of Blevins were in the group, including the father and his 80 year old pipe smoking mother, their four sons, another man, several women and five children. It was found later that the Blevins owned all of the vehicles and no charges were placed against the 14 members of the tribe, except Leon and Clovis Blevins, who will be taken back to prison.
About two weeks ago Comanche county officers and other Kansas officials joined with eight Woods county, Oklahoma, officials in a round up of the Kelly-Wilson ranch but the brothers were not in the county that night.
The photo-engraving made by the Star for the local officers on short notice late one night and published the next day in the local paper paid off big, the Comanche county officials state.
Among Our Boys, The Western Star, December 6, 1918. (Ernest Wood rumored to have been killed in World War I.)
Obituary: Ernest Clifton "Ert" Wood, The Western Star, October 20, 1977.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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