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Harry Tracy takes food and clothing from the Fisher family, north of Ravenna, on July 4, 1902.
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On July 4, 1902, escaped convict Harry Tracy (1877-1902) enters the Ravenna home of farmer August Fisher, and orders Mrs. Fisher to cook him breakfast, Afterwards, he regales them with stories of his exploits, and leaves with a sack lunch and a new set of clothes. He opts not to tie the Fishers up, as they had a baby who needed to be cared for. Tracy had escaped from the Oregon State Penitentiary one month earlier, and was currently being pursued by a posse throughout King County.
Hungry as a Bear
Tracy spent the night sleeping in a cemetery. At 7:00 a.m., he showed up at the home of August Fisher, who operated a small ranch a few miles north of Ravenna. Fisher was working in the garden, and his 15-year-old son Paul was near the back porch. Tracy carried his gun across his left arm and called the rancher over.
"I am Tracy, and I want you to get me something to eat, and do it quick. I am hungry as a bear." Tracy ordered the man and son into the home, and threatened to kill them if they made any fast moves. Inside were Mrs. Fisher and three young daughters. Mrs. Fisher spoke no English, and Mr. Fisher acted as translator.
Tracy told her to cook him some breakfast, and then proceeded to look around the house for clothing. He changed into some of Mr. Fisher's wardrobe, but paused at a black hat he favored. "I guess it is a Sunday article," he told Mr. Fisher, "and as you appear to be a poor man, I will leave it." He also left the clothing that he came in, which he had stolen the day before.
Returning to the kitchen, he wolfed down a plate full of bacon and eggs, all the while his rifle resting across his knees. At one point, a dog barked a quarter mile away, and Tracy rose to his feet gripping the gun. When told that it was the dog of a neighboring rancher, Tracy relaxed and continued with his meal.
Packing a Lunch
After breakfast, Tracy asked Fisher for a pair of shoes. None met with his approval, until he was given a pair of logging boots which laced up to just below the knee. Donning them, he sat in a corner where he could look outside through two windows, and asked Mrs. Fisher to make him some sandwiches for the road.
While his food was being prepared, Tracy told the family -- with no remorse -- how he had killed two men near Bothell and two men near Fremont the day before. He also praised the workmanship of his stolen rifle, pointing out how easy it was to accurately aim, shoot, and kill.
Later, Mrs. Fisher would tell authorities that she was hoping to slip poison into Tracy's sandwiches, but never had the chance. Even though he was animated in his storytelling, he kept a watchful eye on her at all times. Begrudgingly, she handed the desperado a gunny sack filled with non-lethal bacon sandwiches and a few boiled eggs.
From Fisher to Fisherman
Before Tracy left, he told the Fisher family that he would have to tie them up. He admitted that he was reluctant to tie up the mother and the little girls, but had no other option. Then, realizing that the youngest was only 18 months old, he had a change of heart. "No, I will not tie you people up, because somebody will have to attend to that baby."
Instead, he made them promise that for the next 48 hours they would not tell anyone that he had been here. He took Fisher's name, and told him that some day he'd send the family some money for his pilfered food and clothing.
With that, he left the house and climbed over the back fence. For the rest of the day, the Fishers stayed inside, afraid to leave their home. It wasn't until a neighbor stopped by the next day, that the Fishers told their harrowing tale.
The neighbor contacted police, but by then Tracy was long gone. Unbeknownst to officials, Tracy had already left King County on a stolen fishing boat headed across Puget Sound.
"Think Tracy is Located, is Near Bothell," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 6, 1902, p. 1, 2; "Fatigue May Win," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 6, 1902, p. 1, 2; "Tracy Changes his Clothing," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 6, 1902, p. 13; "Tracy Definitely Once More Located Near Bothell," The Seattle Times, July 5, 1902, p. 1, 2; "Calls on the Fisher Family," The Seattle Times, July 6, 1902, p. 1, 2.
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