Two military prisoners on Alcatraz island escaped last night, and are believed to have made their way to the San Francisco mainland by turning a newly made dishwashing machine into a boat.
The men are: Joseph F. Gordon, 26 years old, Great Falls, N.Y., and Benjamin F. Myers, 20 years old of Allegan, Mich. Both were confined for long terms for infractions of the military laws.
Word of the escape was given to the police by the guard on the island shortly before 8 o'clock last night. The military authorities expressed ignorance as to the real manner in which the escape was accomplished. Their disappearnce was noted when the rollcall of prisoners was made last night.
A company carpenter at the barracks reported his shop had been broken open and a new dishwashing sink made of two-inch redwood eight feet long three feet wide and eighteen inches deep had disappeared. Investigation showed where it had been launched.
Belief is entertained by prison authorities that the prisoners may have been drowned. The bay was choppy and the craft not of the sort intended to ride the waves well, and far too small to bear up well under the weight of two men.
Source: San Francisco Examiner, 31 January 1921, page 1.
The Commandant of Fort Alcatraz writes, June 22nd, to the Chief of Police as follows:
By some desperate and mysterious means, a man named John D. Wood, of the 2nd Calvary Volunteers, who was sentenced to be shot for attempting the life of his captain, M. A. McLaughlin, and his sentence commuted by General Wright to imprisonment during the War, has escaped. We will pay $30 reward from our own pockets for his apprehension. Wood is a desperate character, and we request your assistance in capturing him. He by some unknown means left the cells last night, and obtained a small boat about 12 o'clock, and with two others, left for purposes unknown.
Source: San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin, 26 June 1862, page 3.