Link to news clip.
Several years ago, I had the chance to hear some women who'd lived in Sugar Land for many years reminisce about old times. Here are two stories relevant to the prison farm west of town.
Maxene Gary: "You know, we never locked our doors. We left keys in our cars. We weren't concerned about security. But whenever a prisoner got loose, people went on alert.
"One time Beth and Leroy Mills, who lived on Main Street, had a prisoner hide under their house. She took Leroy to work, and this one got into the house and helped himself to some of Leroy's clothes ... I guess the prisoner swam the creek to get in their yard. Anyway, he put on those clothes while they were gone, and when she got back he was under the house. Somehow he got away and hopped a bus to Houston, where they finally caught him. That incident always stuck in my mind because we never locked our doors."
Dot Harrington: "We always knew when there was a prisoner loose because they'd blow the fire whistle. Of course, they blew the fire whistle for fires, but they also blew the whistle whenever there was an escapee."
Betty Jenkins: "I remember one time Leslie and Maxine Wheeler and another couple went to a Rice football game. They went to Charlie White's restaurant before the game. Dr. Wheeler left his car in the parking lot with the keys in it - I guess he thought it was safe.
"Well, they walked across Main Street to the stadium. When they came back after the game their car was missing. A convict who'd escaped in Sugar Land stole their car. You talk about a coincidence!"