28 December 2010

Who is "Old Tom Allen?"

Another interesting old news article. Any descendants out there claim him?

Macon Telegraph, Bibb County, Georgia
1 May 1909
(Viewed online at GenealogyBank.)


Convicted, He Refused to Make Known His Identity -- Mysterious Prisoner

ATLANTA, Ga., April 30 -- "Old Tom Allen," an inmate of the state penitentiary, and one of the most interesting characters at the state farm, will probably be given a pardon by the state authorities soon, because -- well, because he fought under Lee and Jackson in Virginia and was a tattered soldier boy at Appomattox. He not only fought under the great Confederate leaders, but is so proud of that service that he refuses to make his real identity known, having insisted upon serving in the penitentiary under a nom de plume.

Tom Allen was convicted of home stealing at LaGrange, Troup county, in 1906. The trial was conducted by Judge Freeman. Before sentence was passed the judge was called away, and Judge L. S. Roan, of the Stone Mountain circuit, completed the term. The latter judge imposed sentence -- the minimum, four years -- for the offense.

Allen was a mysterious prisoner. No one knew from where he came or how he got there. When sentence was imposed the court tried to draw him out as to his identity. He declared that he was masquerading under an assumed name and refused to give the real one or to tell of his previous whereabouts.

"I served under Lee and Jackson," he said, "and I refuse to disgrace my old comrades by making my identity known," is what he said in effect.

He was sent to the prison farm, where his life has been one of comparative ease. But, according to the records of the prison commission, he has been far from an ideal prisoner. The restrain has palled upon him, and he has missed no opportunity to try and escape. Two such attempts are charged against him. It is also declared that he has been guilty of such unsoldier conduct as trying to stir up mutinies among the prisoners at the state farm.

Despite these bad marks against his record, it is probable that he will be pardoned -- because he is aged and he wore the gray.

Judge Roan, who very seldom recommends a pardon for any prisoner he sentenced, has written the governor and the prison commission urging that the old man be pardoned. In the letter he tells of the old man's heroic conduct at the trial.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He's not mine, but I kinda wish he was!