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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

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On the 12th of March 1814, a new jailer was assigned to the Kingston jail and to the chained and shackled prisoner, Henry More Smith. Henry gave him 2 weeks of relative quiet and then apparently decided to break him into the routine.

On the 24th, the jailer sent a desperate message to Sheriff Bates claiming that the prisoner was attempting to break out. The Sheriff arrived with a half dozen men only to find to his astonishment that Henry had shed all of his irons. He had fashioned a sword from a lathe and was busy performing all the thrusts, parries and flourishes of the sword exercise. Hanging on nails in the partition was his neck collar, broken in three places and his handcuffs broken in four. His chains were broken into various lengths and tied together with strips of cloth torn from his clothing.

Henry was subdued and secured by another leg chain firmly stapled into a new position, stiff handcuffs and a new neck chain fastened to the floor. This held the Lunar Rogue for four days after which he was loose again. The Sheriff took stronger measures. He had new handcuffs fitted and fastened them to the chain between Henry’s neck and feet so that standing, he couldn’t reach in any direction. This time, it took Henry only 3 days to get loose.

As Henry lay unconcerned on his bunk, his chains all separated, Sheriff Bates puzzled over the fact that no links appeared broken or twisted to show how they had been parted. A thorough search turned up a bunch of links tied up in a piece of Henry’s shirt. Incredibly, the links were broken, not cut.