And Now You Know: Multiple escapee Lon West captured, again

Published 3:13 pm Saturday, February 23, 2019

By Mike Louviere

Lon West, alias Ed Brown, alias Frank Smith, was in the Orange County Jail September 22, 1908, once again, awaiting the arrival of an officer from Emory in Rains County. West is charged with the crime of seduction and at least two charges of jail breaking.

Orange County constable Milo Stark, assisted by a Calcasieu Parish deputy in the capture of West near Vinton, Louisiana.

West, also known in Orange as Ed Brown, had previously made a daring escape by jumping from a second story window of the Lawson Building in Orange when he was being pursued by City Marshal B. A. Stephens and county jailer E. M. Davis.

He was captured and placed in the Orange County jail awaiting the arrival of the sheriff from Rains County. West escaped from the jail and had been on the loose for several months.

Since his escapes from the Rains County jail, West had been in Orange two or three times but had not been recognized by law officers.

Constable Stark had traced West to the Vinton area and had located him about two miles “out in the country” from Vinton where the arrest occurred. West was helping build a farmhouse. Law officers disguised themselves and were able to get near to West before he discovered who they were.

West began to run to evade capture and was chased by Stark and the Louisiana deputy. Stark outran the deputy and was gaining on West. Stark finally decided to “drop a shot” near West. When mud flew on West from the shot, West stopped.

He turned and shouted, “who are you?”

Stark shouted, “you know who it is.”

“Well, if I would have known it was you, I would not have run,” said West.

Stark then placed handcuffs on West and they boarded a freight train and returned to Orange about 5 p.m. West was then placed, once again, in the Orange County jail.

West had assumed various names in the past and had a record surpassing almost any “ordinary criminal” in Texas for escaping from both custody of police officers and jails.

After committing the original offense of seduction, he had been arrested and released on bond.

West jumped the bond and moved from Rains County to Harris County.

In the meantime, the injured party had moved from Rains County and refused to return to testify against West. Jumping bond made him eligible for re-arrest.

West assumed another name and married.

He moved to Orange where he was arrested and returned to Rains County. At Rains County, he was bonded out with the assistance of relatives of his wife. Once again, he jumped his bond.

It was evident that he had the chance to beat the insignificant case, but he continued to escape from the law. He had been on the run from the law for four or five years, never being far out of the reach of the law.

The reward offered for the arrest of West had only been $10.

English Common Law defined “the crime of seduction” as “a felony committed when a male person induced an unmarried female of previously chaste character to engage in an act of sexual intercourse on a promise of marriage.”

The penalty for the crime was punishable by a prison sentence and/or fine at the discretion of the presiding judge.

“And now you know.”