Unlocking History

1903 log books discovered, turned in to SQ

Log books for San Quentin and Santa Clara County jail were recently found and turned in to San Quentin (SQ).

SQ intake log book cover
CDW Oak Smith conducted his own investigation, finding the books date back to 1903.

San Quentin Rehabilitation Center (SQ) received information from the daughter of a former CDCR employee who recently passed away. While cleaning out an area of his home, she found two century-old log books.

One was for the Santa Clara County Jail while the other was from San Quentin. She insisted on bringing both books to San Quentin’s East Gate.

After making arrangements, the books went to the Warden’s Office where staff carefully reviewed each one.

Chief Deputy Warden Oak Smith conducted his own investigation, finding the books date back to the early 1900s. The County book covered arrestees with numbers ranging from 1208 to 1603.

Smith contacted the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and explained to Chief Nikolai he had a county book dating back to the early 1900s. After arrangements were made, two Deputies arrived at SQ to retrieve the book.

“The book will be added to the internal museum for generations to see and appreciate,” said Undersheriff Ken Binder.

Smith received four patches as a sign of appreciation for returning the historical treasure.

At the Santa Clara County Jail, John Abron was given number 1208. When he was convicted of rape and sent to San Quentin in 1903, he was logged as John “Aborn” and assigned number 20095.

County sheriff’s offices maintained their own log books of people convicted of crimes and sentenced to state prisons or other county jails.

State records for Aborn, or Abron, show he received a life sentence. His occupation is listed as a hod carrier. Carried over the shoulder, a hod is a long-handled box usually used for transporting mortar or bricks to construction crews.

Story submitted by Guim’mara Berry, AA/PIO
San Quentin Rehabilitation Center

Additional historical information by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

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