(by Student #26 AMH 2010 1115)
I am the most interested in prisoners out of all the categories we could choose from for this assignment, so I was given a prisoner from Washington in the year range of 1907 to 1912. His name was James H. Holt. He was inmate number 1985. His offense was murder and he was convicted at Seattle, Washington on December 22, 1908. He was sentenced for life, and the date of his sentence was March 8, 1909. He was received at the prison on February 8, 1911. He was 23 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, and weighed 164 pounds. He had brown hair, fair, skin color, and hazel gray eyes. It was reported that he had several scars on his head, a vaccination mark on his left arm, two small scars on his left wrist, and one scar on his right wrist. He also had a bullet wound in the middle of his left thigh, another scar on his lower left leg, a scar on his outer right thigh, and finally a scar over his right knee. I am expecting that the numerous scars James had over his body are from him being either suicidal or some sort of soldier. If it is neither then I wish to learn why he has so many scars on his body and the details of how he was charged with murder.
I searched on ancestry.com for anything to find on James Holt but all I could find was the same information recorded from the file I was given. I did find that the prison he was kept at was the Mcneil Island Corrections Center in Washington, that most of the inmates there were prisoners from a US operated force in China, and that his birthdate was around 1885. Another report says that his birthdate was around 1888. I searched deeper and found another file with a couple more details. He reports that both of his parents are alive and living in Knoxville, Tennessee, but doesn’t list their names in the column he should have. He writes that he is not married. His occupation was a salesman and clerk and he wrote that he has no religious background and doesn’t associate with any religion. He states that he has no property as well. I then researched about white slaves in America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I found some information that might be useful and began to hypothesize.
A term was used in the late 1800’s that was called “white slavery.” This was used to describe Christian slaves that were sold into either prostitution or any other kind of slavery. This also could be a time in American history when the generation of civil rights activists was just coming into the world. People like Martin Luther King Jr could have gotten mild inspiration from such events along with his prioritized goals and inspirations. This was about the same time Franklin Roosevelt was brought into power. The US had aided in the Boxer Rebellion, which was a Chinese revolt against Christianity.
I could gain no solid answers from what I found from James H Holt’s legacy. However, this does leave room to speculate and hypothesize. I hypothesize that James Holt was either part of the American forces that helped in the Boxer Rebellion in China, possibly captured or tortured and later escaped in China. Only to be arrested by United States forces in China for murder and sentenced to prison in the Mcneil Island Corrections Center in Washington, US. The scars and gunshot wounds could be from his battles in China. Another theory I could think of is that Holt was a part of some kind of underground slavery in America, and out of fear of being sent to North African countries to be treated even worse as a slave, he ditched Christianity and became an atheist. He states in his prison record that he has no religion and no property. Maybe once he escaped from slavery, he didn’t have anywhere to go and wound up being arrested for murder and locked away. He had no wife considering how young he was when he was arrested and imprisoned. It was stated that both of his parents were still alive and living in Knoxville, Tennessee, where James Holt is also from. Not much can be said about how James Holt wound up being arrested in Washington because he says that he lived in Tennessee. There are very little logical answers I could find that could support a theory for what happened to James Holt or his family. The only concrete evidence for anything that I could find was the prison reports from his sentencing at Mcneil Island. He is found in no censuses, birth or death records. He wasn’t married and had no property or religion.