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Since Governor Oglesby's pardon of Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab had arrived the evening before the November 11, 1887 executions, there was not enough time to transfer them to the state penitentiary in Joliet before the other four men were hanged. On his way to the gallows, Albert Parsons bade Fielden a last goodbye.

The next morning, November 12, Sheriff Matson granted Fielden and Schwab a visit from their wives and children, whom they warmly embraced. They met briefly with attorney William A. Foster, William Black's associate during their trial, and then they were shackled together for the journey to Joliet. Fielden's left wrist was handcuffed to Schwab's right, and their legs were likewise fettered together.

The sheriff's men searched them one more time, but the only things they found approaching dangerous weapons were the cigars Fielden carried in his pocket. A deputy gave them advice about how to walk together, and, after shaking Matson's hand and thanking him sincerely for his kind treatment of them, Schwab and Fielden were soon in a carriage downtown, followed by reporters, to catch the 1 o'clock Alton train.

Shortly after, Matson prepared the statement on the right, written on the back of an earlier Supreme Court document regarding the disposition of the defendants. Matson states: "I hereby certify and return that the within named Michael Schwab and Samuel Fielden were by me delivered to the warden of the Joliet Penitentiary on the 12th day of November AD 1887. Their Sentence having been commuted to imprisonment for life by the Governor of the state of Illinois."

On arrival in Joliet, the two men were asked their religious preferences, which received a bemused response, and then were stripped and bathed. Fielden had sixteen cents in his pockets, Schwab $1.11. Fielden seemed relatively good-humored and alert, while Schwab looked dazed. After they were fitted in convicts' stripes, their hair was cut short, and their beards shaved off. As revealed by this extraordinary composite of mugshots of Schwab, Fielden, and Oscar Neebe in prison clothes, their trip to the prison barber shop worked a startling transformation in their appearances—Fielden and Schwab are almost unrecognizable.

Fielden was assigned number 8,526, Schwab 8,527. Their processing continued with their being weighed, measured, and put in temporary quarters until they received regular work duties. The warden said that their regimen would be light for a few months, since their long confinement in Cook County Jail had weakened them. Schwab, three inches taller but sixty pounds lighter than Fielden when the two arrived, appeared especially frail.

The two had a brief conversation with their first visitors, George Schilling and State Senator Richard Burke, both leaders of the amnesty movement. Governor Oglesby had given Schilling and Burke the commutation papers to be delivered to Schwab and Fielden, though they in turn honored fellow clemency movement leader Henry Lloyd by entrusting to him the errand of handing these papers to Schwab and Fielden in person.

The fact that three of the anarchists were now in prison and the other five were dead evidently did not end the public perception of Haymarket as a continuing spectacle and drama. The Chicago Daily News stated that "an enterprising museum man" was trying to purchase articles of clothing belonging to the condemned men. Though discouraged, he was not ready to give up: "He will, however, make an effort to procure them through the influence of some prominent politician, whose name he refused to divulge."

There was another story that a like entrepreneur offered the Engel family, which had the care of Lingg's body, a few thousand dollars for the remains of the anarchist. His plan was to put it on view and charge admission. The Defense Committee quickly took possession of the clothes the executed men had worn on the scaffold, and the white shrouds that covered these clothes, so that, another article stated, the families would not be tempted to sell them and no showman would "secure a grip on this desirable material."