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Welcome to Mug Shot Monday!  This is the latest entry in a series of posts highlighting inmate mug shots in the records of the Virginia Penitentiary.

Photograph of Bob Addison, #35074

Records of the Virginia Penitentiary, Series II. Prisoner Records, Subseries B. Photographs, box 26, accession 41558, state records collection, Library of Virginia

On 16 May 1936 at 8:15 PM, Bob Addison, #35074, a prisoner assigned to Camp 16 of the State Convict Road Force located in Fauquier County, escaped.  Addison used a fake shackle to fasten himself to the chain that bound all the inmates together at night.  He quickly used an iron bar to open the back cell door, fled into the night and disappeared without a trace.  Addison remained a fugitive for the next 30 years until his past finally caught up with him.

Bob Addison was born in Tazewell County in July 1913.  In May 1932, at the age of 19, Addison was convicted in Tazewell County of assault with a knife and sentenced to four years in the Virginia Penitentiary.  He served 2 1/2 years and was released.

Addison got in trouble again in 1935 in Russell County.  He was arrested for cutting another man with a knife but escaped prior to his trial and fled to West Virginia.  He met a girl, Edna Sanders, whom he married in October 1935.  Addison used his real name during the ceremony and was captured five days later.  He was tried in December 1935 in Russell County and received a five year sentence for malicious wounding with an additional year added for a second conviction.

After his escape in 1936, Addison found his wife and moved to Kentucky and changed his name to Elbert Roy Clark.  For the next 30 years, the Clark’s lived in Kentucky and West Virginia and raised their six children.  In mid-1966 an unidentified person made the connection between Addison and Clark which led to his arrest by the FBI on 27 December 1966.  Addison waived extradition and was returned to the Virginia Penitentiary on 3 January 1967.  After an outpouring of letters recommending clemency, including one from the Governor of West Virginia, Virginia Governor Mills E. Godwin, Jr. pardoned Addison on 27 January 1967.

Next Week:  Benjamin Gilbert

-Roger Christman, Senior State Records Archivist

Roger Christman

Senior State Records Archivist


  • Maddie says:

    This is my great-grandfather! Thank you so much for sharing. I really would love to come to the library and see if I can get anymore information about my scandalous family history!

    • Roger says:

      Bob Addison’s pardon file contains additional newspaper clippings and letters and petitions from friends and associates (Addison pardon file, Records of the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth, Executive Papers, Box 1538, Accession 28080. I only included a small sample with his post. Thanks for reading!

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