Johnny Cash should have written a song about it. In March 1934, a guy named Clarence couldn’t wait to drop a line from Paintsville, Kentucky to his girl Mary. “I have just got out of jail,” he wrote, “and was sure glad to get out.” Some ex-cons might have been thinking about finding a good meal, or a good night’s sleep, or a good woman, but Clarence had only two things on his mind: catching “the first big, black thing that comes along that looks like a freight train” and then getting his old job back. He was tired of being chased by the law.
Clarence’s letter has recently been added to the collections of WKU’s Special Collections Library. A finding aid (and an “arresting” image of the letter itself) can be downloaded here.