Nearly one-hundred and ten years of God given time has passed since Granite (Oklahoma) Reformatory Convict #2219 shared "The Convicts Dream" with readers of the Lookeba (Oklahoma) Index.
While working as part of a prison road crew, Convict #2219 wrote, in poetic form, his recollection of a previous night's dream. This after awaking from slumber at a prison road camp just west of Lookeba.
The poetic creation of Convict #2219 was adjudged by newspaper publisher George Goodin to be interesting enough to share with his audience of readers in the April 20, 1911, edition of the Lookeba Index.
Previously, prisoners from the one year old reformatory in Granite had been transported to Caddo County via the Rock Island Railway to construct approximately ten miles of roads through Lookeba. The prison road crew worked their way east and, as well, west towards the Sickles area establishing the foundation of roads that continue to be utilized to this date.
Convict #2219 was one of one-hundred prisoners who arrived by train in the spring of 1911 to work on this particular Oklahoma State Highway Commission road construction project. Convict #2219 penned "The Convict's Dream" from within his incarcerated environment of Oklahoma State Prison Road Camp Number 2. The camp being erected specifically to house prisoners who were being utilized to work on the pioneering construction of new roads in both the Lookeba and Sickles areas.
On August 30, 1911, newspapers across the state published a headline story referencing Oklahoma's very first Highway Commissioner, Colonel Sidney Suggs, visiting Lookeba to inspect the road work of the prisoners from Granite.
Colonel Suggs traveled from Oklahoma City to Lookeba with a specific purpose to inspect and report on the quality and progress of the work done by the prison road crew.
After spending a good amount of time driving over the five miles of road already completed west of Lookeba, Colonel Suggs thoroughly inspected the work and actually watched the convicts move the dirt.
With support and courtesy from Sergeant Ed Green, Colonel Suggs was allowed to make a very interesting and encouraging talk to the prisoners. Among many things stated, Colonel Suggs shared his personal opinion that "road work was the hope of the convict and that it would be only a short time until all convicts in Oklahoma would be placed on the roads under parole."
Colonel Suggs also made inspection of the roads east of Lookeba where, in places, it was necessary to make deep cuts through solid rock hills and in others cut along the side of the canyon in this same kind of rock.
In a late afternoon speech shared with citizens of the community and delivered within the town of Lookeba, Colonel Suggs expressed great surprise at the amount and character of the work done under such adverse conditions.
Author's Note: As a road crew prisoner of life and of mankind, Convict #2219 called upon his memories of the Bible his father had read, and, from within his dire circumstances with a low bowed head, summoned upon his Heavenly Father within a dream from his prison camp bed.
If and when I make it a few days into Heaven, it will be a hope to have visited with and seen ole Ben Wilson, Convict #2219.