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Guard William H. McLennan County Convict Farm, Texas


William H. "Will" Camp

McLennan County Convict Farm, Texas

End of Watch: Wednesday, June 8, 1892

Bio & Incident Details

Age: Not available

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Drowned

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McLennan County operated a convict farm (work camps) for prisoners convicted of misdemeanors. These farms were correctional facilities. Some operated under the county sheriff and some operated under the direction of a county agency answering to the County Judge and Commissioners’ Court. Many of the work camps for the state and counties leased out the convicts to work for private lessees.

On Wednesday, June 8, 1892, a gang of convicts were chopping cotton on the Steiner farm about 12 miles downriver of Waco, McLennan County, Texas, near the Brazos River. The river was swollen from flooding and the current was swift. One of the convicts, Sam Johnson, made a break for freedom and started swimming across the river. County Guard William H. (Will) Camp and the lessee, George Oglesby, were on horseback and started following the escapee in the river. Oglesby and Camp’s horses became tangled in debris and started struggling. Oglesby managed to make it back to the bank, but was too injured and exhausted to go back into the river to save Camp. Camp had his pistol in one hand and never released it as he struggled in the current. Oglesby offered to pay any of the convicts who would attempt to rescue Camp. Andy Wash went into the river in an effort to save Camp, but both Camp and Wash perished. Their bodies were found two days later floating near each other. The escapee, Sam Johnson, made it to the other side, but seeing the tragedy he had caused, swam back across the river and returned to the convict gang.

No personal information was discovered about Will Camp. The newspaper stated he was well known. His place of burial is unknown. Hopefully, future research will uncover more about this officer.

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Rest in Peace Convict Farm Guard William (Will) Camp. Thank You for your Service and Sacrifice Protecting the citizens of McClennan County, Texas.

I Pray for Peace for your Family and Ancestors. I also Pray that the hounds of hell forever gnaw on the bones of those responsible for your death.


Senior Special Agent B.L. Sherwood (Ret)
Port Terminal Railroad Police Houston, TX
June 8, 2016


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