150 YEARS AGO: Fayette preacher’s son makes daring prison escape

Columbia Daily Tribune

ST. LOUIS — Capt. Hampton Boone of Howard County escaped from the upper floors of the Myrtle Street Military Prison, dashing across rooftops in a thunderstorm with a fellow prisoner while sentries kept watch on the street.

Boone was the 24-year-old son of secessionist Fayette preacher William C. Boone. He had joined the Missouri State Guard at the beginning of the war, fighting at Boonville, Carthage and Wilson’s Creek. He was captured in Vernon County and put on parole, then captured again when 1,300 recruits for the Confederate army were surrounded in December at Milford.

When he and Col. Walter Scott, “a noted jayhawker,” broke out, Boone was already “the hero of several attempted escapes from the military authorities,” the St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican reported. In one attempt, Boone dressed in women’s clothing smuggled into the prison and almost got away before being discovered.

Because of his record, Boone was confined to a small room on an upper floor, the newspaper reported. Boone and Scott slipped unobserved through a hallway to another small room, where they loosened a bar and escaped.

“The fugitives must have passed within a few feet of the sentries after they got out of the window, yet they were not observed,” the newspaper reported. “They passed along the roofs of the houses between the prison and Fourth Street, which form a sort of stairway, and about midway let themselves down into an alley leading to Fourth Street, by means of a rope tied to a chimney, which it is supposed had been furnished by outside parties.” Boone was a captain in the 1st Cavalry, 3rd Division of the Missouri State Guard. Before the war, Boone had been a lawyer, editor and Colorado prospector.

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