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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Frank Bonham Ferrell ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Frank Bonham Ferrell
BORN: 27 Jun 1867 DIED: 9 Jun 1902 BURIED: 11 Jun 1902
BIRTH PLACE:  Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
MARRIAGE - "Frank Ferrell, over 21 & Silvia M. Simpson, over 18, m 10 Mar 1895 at house of David Simpson by P. S. Knight, M. G. Congregational Aff: Wm. Buck. Wit: Minnie Ferrell & Julia A. Simpson. #4818 pg 99".
1900 OR CENSUS - Frank B. Ferrell, age 32, occupation shop guard at prison, b. June 1867 in Oregon, is enumerated with his wife of 5 years, Sylvia M., age 27, b. Mar 1873 in Oregon, they have no children.


Armed Convicts Shoot Down the Turnkey and Two Guards
Three Members of the Force Killed and for a Time a General Break Was Feared
One Thousand Dollars Reward Was Promptly Offered for Recovery of the Murderers who Escaped Into the Timber South
Tracy and Merrill, two desperate criminals at the Oregon  state penitentiary, affected their escape from the prison at 7 o'clock this morning, after killing three guards, Viz: F. B. Ferrell, B. F. Tiffany and S. R. T. Jones. The break was the most daring in the history of the penitentiary, but the capture of the two excapes is more than probable, since the country is being scoured by a large posse of men, armed with Winchesters.
The Murderous Convicts
Tracy and Merrill are among the most notorious criminals of the Northwest. They are desperate men, and were members of the "hole-in-wall" gang of desperadoes that operated in Utah, and are the supposed murderers of a sheriff at Salt Lake.
The men were convicted of highway robbery in Multnomah county about three years ago, and were given long terms in the Oregon state penitentiary, Merrill receiving 33 years, while Tracey got 20 years. Tracey and Merrill are young men, being only 24 and 28 years of age, respectively.
The Break for Freedom
Frank Girod, one of the shop guards, says the break had evidently been pre-arranged. The men had been lined up and marched to the foundry. The convicts had all been counted, and Girod says he had just reported to Ferrell the number of men in the line, when he heard a rifle shot, and Ferrell fell dead, shot through the back. So close was Girod standing to Ferrell at the time, that his hat was discolored by the powder.
Tracey Shot Ferrell
Girod says Tracey was the man who shot Ferrell, for he saw him deliverately aim and fire. Both Tracey and Merrill were armed with rifles that appeared to be newly purchased. After murdering Ferrell they turned thier attention to Girod and Stapleton, other shop guards, who successfully dodged the half-dozen shots that were intended for them, and sought shelter within the prison.
Ferrell was well liked by all the prisoners, and the theory is that he was only killed as the first step toward freedom by the man who did it.
Fellow Convict Interferes
Frank Ingram, a life prisoner from Linn county, seized the rifle held by Tracy and attempted to prevent the assissination [assassination] of Ferrell, but he was too late. Merrill fired a shot through Ingrams knee, and he will lose the limb.
S. R. T. Jones Is Picked Off
Before passing from the foundry building, the men riddled the extreme southeast and northwest posts without injuring a man, and with a single shot aimed at the north post struck and killed S. R. T. Jones. In order to defeat any further opposition to their escape from the guards in that section of the prison walls, the desperate prisoners took several shots at Guards Tiffany and Duncan Ross, who were in charge of the extreme eastern post. One of the bullets pierced Ross' hat, and grazed his scalp. Ross had just been assigned to a post as substitute in the absence of Albert Seiner.
The Men Scale the Wall
Seizing a ladder from the shop, Tracey and Merrill, in the midst of a terrific fire from the guards at more distant points on the wall, rushed to the east wall of the prison enclosure, and, in an instant, had scaled the wall.
Guard Tiffany Murdered
Tiffany kept up an incessant fire on the escaping prisoners but failed to be effective. With ammunition about exhausted, and in the great excitement of the hour, Tiffany leaped from the prison walls, almost simultaniously with the murderous convicts, and pursued them. When he had used all his ammunition, Tracy and Merrill took him as prisoner, and marched him about 100 yards up the mill race, where they deliberately placed a rifle to his breast, and the bullet pierced his heart. The men then continued their way up the mill race.
$1000 Reward Offered
Prison Superintendent Lee at once announced a reward of $1000 each for the capture of the two men. Several posses were organized, and a search instituted for the convict-murderers. The incident has served to emphasize the practicability of having blood hounds with which to accomplish, expeditiousy, the capture of such convicts. There is some agitation that some legislation covering the need be enacted by the next legislature.
Did Not Attempt Escape
Of the 159 other prisoners within the foundry at the time of the escape of Tracey and Merrill, none attempted to excape, although, under the circumstances, a practically wholesale delivery could have been effected. The regular fusilade that was indulged in between the guards and the escaping men had a quieting effect on the balance of the prisoners, who exercised good judgement, and kept under cover. By the time the wholesale exchange of bullets had subsided, ample reinforcements had arrived, making any further escape entirely impracticable.
Whence Came the Rifles?
Warden J. T. James says he is satisfied that the two rifles and ammunition that were furnished Tracey and
Merrill were provided by outside parties, and he hahs [has] every reason to suspect an ex-convict, Harry Wright, of having smuggled the ammunition and rifles into the shops some time Saturday night or Sunday night. The supposition that the rifles were carried into the prison and left there by any of the excursion visitors Sunday is discredited by Superintendent Lee and the other prison officials, since no opportunity was presented for the delivery of any fire-arms to the prisoners yesterday.
Frank Ferrell
Was born in Salem about 32 years ago, and had been employed at the pen about six years, succeeding Harry Minto as inside day guard. As a young man he worked as a packe in the Salem flouring mills. He was a very popular young man about town, and was married about six years ago to Miss Sylvia Simpson, of this city, granddaughter of David Simpson, of this city, with whom they made their home. As inside guard at the foundry he had at times as high as 200 convicts. The position he held permitted him to carry no weapons whatever, although the way he was shot it is doubtful if he could have defended himself. He was a very athletic man, and under ordinary circumstances, could have defended himself. As a matter of fact, he carried his life in his hands every morning from the time he went on duty until he quit at night, and died at his post of duty, as much as any hero in the army or navy. he leaves a mother and four brothers, Newton, George and James, of Salem, and Charles, at Reno, Nev., and a sister, Mrs. Minnie Vibbert, of Celilo.
B. F. Tiffany
Was about 25 years of age, and his parents reside in Boston. He was married about a year ago to Miss Edna Goodell, by whom he is survived. He bravely sacrificed his life at the post of duty.
S. R. T. Jones
Was nearly 50 years of age, and had been employed at the penitentiary for some time. Before accepting an appointment at the prison, Mr. Jones was a farmer and lived near Hubbard. He was the victum of a bullet from a cowardly assassin.
Guards Become Careless
Constable John Lewis, of this city, who was a guard for nine years, says that no guard should be kept on duty over one or two years. He says at the end of that time quards grow careless, while a new guard is always on the alert to watch every move of a prisoner. Mr. Lewis says the trusty system is a mistake - they are only trusties in so far as they will take care of themselves.
Stop the Excursionists
There is a strong feeling that the passing through of large crowds of Sunday excursionists as visitors must be stopped. If the prisoners got no help from the outside, and they might have got a rifle over the walls, woing to insufficient wall guards, then the musteris is all the deeper. But is tradgey will stop crowds visiting the prison.
Sheriff Durbin's Posses.
The sheriff of Marion county was called by the prison authorities, and soon had posses of armed men out in  several directions, covering the roads and scouring the fields for the two escapes. Messages were sent in all directions to head off the fugitives. The nearest that any of the posses came to covering the tracks of the convict murderers was by the force headed by Chief of Police Gibson, who went south past the Davidson place. Just half an hour behind them they found a man who had got a glimpse of the fugitives, hatless, but each armed with a rifle, passing the Coleman hop yard at 9:30. They tracked them on south into the timber, when the convicts seem to have made west for the river, keeping in the heavy timber. Mr. Bittner and another man saw and recognized them, but they had got to cover. The men with Gibson were Albert Disque and Jos. Moyer, carrying Winchesters. Chief Gibson says he thinks the convicts will keep hid until night, and then steal a skiff somewhere and drop down the river. Points on the river have been notified to keep a lookout.
Chance for Rifles
Jesse Macy, who was a guard two years under the Gilbert administration at the prison, says there is opportunity for the trusties to carry in rifles on Saturday night when they return from work in the timber or at other institutions. They carry blankets,and could not be seen unless the bundle were searched. It appears that no wall guards are kept at night, and only one yard guard. This has been the general practice under all administrations.
May Have Been Wounded
The rifle that was take from Guard Tiffany was found by Jay McCormick on the mill race, some distance beyond where Tiffany was murdered, where it had been discarded by the fugitives. Where the gun was picked up there was found a pool of blood, which leads to the belief that one of the men was wounded.
Supt. of Stove Works
R. B. Fleming superintendent of the stove works says the men will never be taken alive, if they can prevent it, as "they shoot to kill." The shops are shut down, and will remain so until after the funeral, and the work will not be resumed until the governor authorizes it. Mr. Fleming thinks some of the convicts must have slipped the armes into the prison yard, and that possibly the whole thing is the result of the exursion here Sunday.
Superintendent Lee Talks
Prison Supt. Lee was on the ground a few minutes after the shooting, and assisted in the care of the injured. He says this is the first attempt at a break under his management of three years. Governer Geer is in Eastern Oregon, and will be notified at the first point he can be reached. "We keep but one guard at night in the yard and around all those big shops, and there was plenty of time while he made his rounds for some one to have climbed the walls and got inside to cache those guns," said Lee. "There is no evidence that there was any ill-will on the part of any convict toward the men who have been killed. The crime is an awful one, and there may be the further disgraceful sight of executions witnessed at Salem. I am satisfied the killing was all done by the men who got away, although any convict  who is found to have had anything to do with it will be treated as a principal. We have increased the reward for Tracey to $1000 and $500 on Merrill. As soon as we can see the governor we shall increase the reward to $1000 on each.
An Inquest Being Held
Coroner D. F. Lane caused the remains to be removed to W. T. Rigdon's Court street undertaking parlors, where an inquest is being conducted this afternoon.
The Daily Journal 9 Jun 1902, pp 1 & 4
[note - Tracy is spelled both as Tracy and Tracey throughout the original article]

Frank Bonham Ferrell 
June 9, 1902 
Aged 34 years, 11 months, 12 days
DAR pg 4
Marion Co. Oregon Marriage Records, 1894-97, Vol VIII, pg 8
1900 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., Salem ED 132, sheet 1B)
DJ 9 Jun 1902, pp 1 & 4

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