Two Saranac Lake police officers had their hands full one summer night in 1948 when they were alerted by officials at Wallkill State Prison near Highland about an escaped convict who may be heading their way.
John Doe, 23, of 56 Neil St., Saranac Lake was one of two men who escaped from the prison; the other being William LeClaire of Jersey City, N.J., who was captured the day after the escape.
Sgt. John Moody, a big man, and his partner Hank Stern, an equally big guy had to "throw their weight around" when they captured the man in a local bar about 10:45 p.m. Following is the Enterprise story of the event:
Stranger than fiction, 1948
"According to police John Doe was hitch-hiking from Tupper Lake to Saranac Lake when he was given a ride by a man who became suspicious and believed he recognized him as the wanted man.
"After leaving Doe on the Main Street near the establishment in which he was found, the driver reported to the police the incident and his suspicions. Moody and Stern went immediately to the bar to check on that report.
"On entering the establishment they found the escaped convict in a booth at the rear of the room and took him into custody. The suspect put up quite a struggle to escape both in the bar and as the police officers took him into the jail.
"Having ascertained his identity, Doe was placed in a cell of the local jail and will be held pending arrival of Department of Corrections officers from the Wallkill Prison.
"He was serving a five to ten year sentence for grand larceny. He was convicted by a Franklin County Grand Jury on a charge of having stolen a taxi belonging to Charlie Smith of the 400 Taxi Service in February, 1946. At the time he was on probation following a conviction for a previous offense when he stole a car belonging to Harold Eby, a local photographer. He was released on probation after appearing before the county grand jury.
"He escaped while on an after midnight milking detail when he and 11 other men were sent to the dairy, a quarter-mile from the prison."
Tucked dies chasing wagon
A couple of years ago when having a conversation about Vermontville and Norman Ridge with Mary Ellen (Goff) Keith the name Bill Tucker came up, who had been a "hired man" on our farm. Mary Ellen, the long- time Supervisor of the Town of Franklin and the doer of good deeds, such as the food pantrysays, "Bill Tucker died in the back seat of my car" and went on to tell me the story.
Bill Tucker is an uncle to Don and Mark Tucker whose grandparents came from Ireland and settled in the North Country with their family of 12. I don't know how many came with them from Ireland and how many were born here
Well, whata' 'ya know there in the archives of the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Library I spot this Enterprise headline: "Tucker Dies Chasing Runaway Hay Wagon." Here is the story:
"William Charles Tucker of R.F.D. 1, died this morning during a mad chase after a run-away team of horses.
"Mr. Tucker, who was employed by Mrs. Thomas Hogan, was proceeding down the Bloomingdale-Franklin Falls Road with the team hitched to a hay wagon and towing a mowing machine when the animals broke away.
'Mr. Tucker, despite his age, set out a-foot in rapid pursuit of the run-away team but it left him far behind.
"At this point he hailed a passing car containing the Misses Ellen Goff, Anna Goff and Margaret Buckley (Tom Buckley's sister). They were driving into Saranac Lake where they are employed. Mr. Tucker and the three girls resumed the chase by car.
"Both the car and the horses reached the Mountain View House at the same time, when the girls noticed Mr. Tucker had apparently fainted.
"When attempts to revive him failed, a doctor was summoned. Also called to the scene of the accident were the Rev. Henry McFadden and the State police.
"The man had apparently died of a heart attack. There will be no inquest or autopsy."