Wilson Eidson walked through the gate that day and heard it clang shut behind him. He was in prison to serve two years and 45 days for a Greene County grand larceny conviction. Eidson had plenty of room because he was the first inmate to enter the Missouri State Penitentiary that day in 1836. Thus began a long and generally unflattering history for the penitentiary, sometimes called the worst in the nation.

AOWM – January 16