Bonnie & Clyde Barrow and the Meade City Park
On the evening of Monday, September 4, 1933, a strange car came into Meade and got stuck on the dirt road just east of the Meade City Park. There were several picnickers nearby from Fowler and the park was full of people picnicking and playing crochet. I will let the following newspaper accounts describe what happened...
The following story is a reprint
from the Fowler News,
Bill Brock Relates Story of Highway Robbery at Meade Park
On Monday a picnic was planned and it was decided to go the Meade Park to eat supper. Mr. And Mrs. Waldon Sargent, Mr. And Mrs. Bill Brock, Mr. And Mrs. Clifford Meyer and Alvin Gerber and Miss Lorine Berblinger composed the group of picnickers. The party went to the park in the Sargent and Gerber cars. We left Fowler about 7:30 for the park and upon arriving, the young people found that all the tables were full and it was necessary for them to find other quarters. They decided to eat their picnic lunch on the road east of the park about 200 yards from the Crooked Creek Bridge. The cars faced each other in order to give the picnickers light to eat their fried chicken.
The ladies prepared the supper and we had started to eat. It was about 8:30 at this time. The group was laughing, joking and having a good time and making plenty of noise when a tall slender man about five foot, ten inches tall, wearing a felt hat, gray shirt and belt trousers came up and said, “Pardon me fellows, I’m stuck in a ditch, will you fellows come up and pull me out. I’ll pay you for it.” So Alvin and I and the stranger got in Alvin’s car and went to pull the stalled car out. This car about 200 yards north of us, was on the west side of the road, just a little southeast of the swimming pool. We drove up to the back end of the car to pull them out backwards. A rope was taken from the stalled car, which consisted of four people. I tied the two cars together and Alvin gave the car a pull and the stranger and I pushed but we were unable to make any headway. I saw that the car was full and looked in the car and said, “If some of you fellows will get out and push, I believe we can get this car out.” So one of them said, “Get out Dad and push. You’re big and stout.”
So a large man, weighing about 220 pounds got out, helping us, but no headway was made and the rope was broken by the strenuous pull. So it was decided that the car could not be pulled unless they got the aid of a wrecker. About that time the man under the wheel got out holding his arm and said, “Boy, I sure hurt myself when I ran in the ditch.”
This man looked to be about 6 foot 2 inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds. He had a round face and short brown hair. Another fellow got out of the car. He was some larger, about 5 foot, 6 inches tall, of good build, round face weighing about 135 pounds. These men ranged in ages from 22 year to 28 years.
One of the fellows said, “Are you acquainted here?” We told them that we were strangers here and one of them went to Alvin’s car and looked in it. At this time and even five minutes before Alvin and I knew that they were “pretty bad eggs.”
We had a hunch that anything could happen at any time. Then the fellow returned from Alvin’s car, looking very suspicious and said, “All right boys,” pointing at me saying, “That fellow saw it all when he looked in the car.”
At this time the bandit with the wounded shoulder or arm stepped back and pulled two guns from his hip pockets and pointed towards me. The other two fellows, one with two guns, the other with one, pulled them on Alvin, so we put our hands up and they said, “Take those hands down as we don’t want this to look like a hold up.”
We both told them that we would do anything we could to get them out and really pleaded for our young lives for those hombres really had blood in their eyes. They then asked if Alvin’s car had a rumble seat in it. Alvin answered, “No, Sir.”
This tall man was commanded to go over where those people were playing croquet and get a bigger and better car, a V-8 Ford, if possible. Before leaving the tall man took the woman from the front seat of the stalled car and as he removed her to Alvin’s car we noticed that her right leg was seriously wounded and hanging loosely and she was moaning, which showed to us that se was suffering terrible. And we could see from the moonlight that her clothing was saturated with blood. She weighted about 115 pounds and had long brown bobbed hair.
Alvin and I were commanded to get into the front seat of the stalled car and the large man was forced to get into the back seat of the same car. This man tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Boy, this is my car.”
The remainder of the picnickers had finished their supper and became suspicious and Waldo and Clifford came up to see what was the trouble. We could see them in the moonlight talking and laughing. The bandits informed us to yell and tell them to go back but the approaching men could not hear the loud voice, which was possibly very weak. Waldo and Clifford immediately walked into the trap. Upon arriving, Waldo said, “What’s the matter, can’t you get them out?”
One of the bandits said, “We need a chain.” Waldo stated, “Oh, well, I’ll get you some barbed wire.” So he crossed the ditch, which was full of water to get some wire. As he returned on of the desperados commanded him not to get so near because he was a desperado and had dodged twenty laws that day. Waldo answered, I’m a school teacher, I won’t hurt you.” He and Clifford were commanded to sit on the running board of the stalled car.
At this instant a screaming or crying was heard. One of the bandits said, “Is that a child drowning?” Waldo said “No sir, that is a woman screaming.” Now the bandits prepared at once to escape in Alvin’s car. One of them covered us with guns while the other carried the high powered artillery from the stalled car. Clifford and I were forced to hold the back door open while the cache and the guns were being moved.
It was necessary to make five trips to move the articles. Two round bundles, wrapped in Army blankets, machine guns and ammunition of all descriptions. The bandit on guard told his partner to take all the ammunition. After the artillery was moved to Alvin’s care we were all commanded to line up on the road. Then we were ordered to walk south and not to run, but Waldo could not resist the temptation and started to run and he said, “Oh that’s nothing but a bunch of kids,” the bandits then drove west through Meade. The bandits seemed to be wounded and scratched and their clothes showed evidence of a great loss of blood.
After the bandits left, the heavy set man stated that his name was Trummel of Wilmore. He stated that the bandits kidnapped him near his home and took his car. All they talked about on the trip was the gun battle they had that morning and also the wreck they had. The woman in the car was thought to be seriously wounded.
This experience Monday evening will never be forgotten as long as we live. While we were in danger during the entire time we had a constant fear that the women would come up and get in the affray. Alvin, Clifford and myself realized that the worst could happen at any time, but we had a hard time keeping Waldo from talking.
In closing, we hope that no one around here will be forced to experience such an ordeal and as for ourselves—one time is enough.
from the Meade Globe News, September 7, 1933
Henry Massingill, Bandit, Was Captured in Meade
Bold attempt Monday night to steal Prather auto at City Park frustrated by the Prathers, Hornings and Dewey Barns--Mrs. Horning struck bandit with croquet mallet--is ex-convict
Mr. Wilson filed charges against Massingill, alias Potter for kidnapping, assault with deadly weapon first degree robbery.
Governor Murray, of Oklahoma, has issued a requisition for Massingill on charge of stolen car. The action of Mr. Wilson will mean a hearing in Governor Landon's office. Unless Oklahoma has more serious charge against Massingill it is likely that Kansas will get the bandit.
Massingill served two years at one time and five years another time. His home is in Oklahoma. Both sentences were served in the Texas penitentiary. He was released last February. Massingill offered to plead guilty to car theft, but the Meade County officers refused to listen.
It was a woman who put a pad bandit temporarily out of commission in Meade City Park Monday, when he attempted to steal the Chevrolet coach of T.E. Prather, principal of Meade High School, it was Mrs. Horning's mallet that induced the bandit to release his gun.
Mrs. Prather was sitting in her car in the park when she noticed a man approach the car and immediately started to roll up the car window as she seemed to sense that he was going to make an attempt to steal her car. The bandit was able to get his hand through the window and commanded Mrs. Prather to get out of the car. But it was the only car the Prather's had and she had visions of walking if she got out.
Instead of getting out of the car, Mrs. Prather bore down on the horn and screamed for help. The bandit became rough and caught her by the throat, but even that did not dislodge Mrs. Prather who "sat" on the horn calling for help. Just as the bandit pulled her out of the car, Mr. Prather and Mr. and Mrs. Anson Horning, and Dewey Barns, who were playing croquet nearby, ran to the car.
Prather Tackled High
Barns Caught Gun
Horning Tackled Low
Kids Got In Fight
Wanted Men To Fire Gun
Thought Had Hitch Hiker
Kidnapped Wilmore Man
Woman Was Wounded
Mr. Trummell is of the opinion that the men were lost and thought they were traveling northwest, but instead got on No 54 and did not realize their mistake until they came into Meade. They sought to circle the city, and turned east thinking they were going west. they turned at the city park south to go around the city where their car stalled.
The woman was lying with her head on the lap of the driver, her head against his gun. In trying to make her more comfortable, he shifted her position and as he did so lost control of the car and into the ditch it went.
Wanted Fast Car
After Potter had been gone several minutes, one of the bandits said he heard a woman screaming, but the little fellow thought it was a baby. They finally recognized a woman's voice--it was Mrs. Prather calling for help--and they immediately transferred the woman from the stalled car into the Gerber Chevrolet and come west by the park. The Fowler young ladies left their coats in the car, and they were carried away.
Waited for his Chance
Bandits May Have Been in Liberal
Bandit Massingill Alias Potter
Sheriff Zurbucken and his deputy E.M. Olson came down from Dodge City Tuesday morning, but were unable to identify Potter. The car contained fingerprints and they were taken as well as Potter's and sent to Washington for identification.
In the afternoon, Sheriff Drinnen and the officers took Potter to Dodge City for Safe keeping. The jail was guarded Monday night by several deputies.
These people were in a running gun fight near Ardmore, later at Enid and again at Alva where they held up a man and took his car. The man was unable to identify Potter from a picture taken after his capture, but went on to Dodge City and positively identified the bandit. The Oklahoma men were positive the bunch did not contain Pretty Boy, Underhill or Kelley, three desperate men.
ALVA, OKLA., MEN IDENTIFY BANDIT CAUGHT IN MEADE
Sheriff Ken W. Greer, Undersheriff Dewey Randall, Deputy Sheriff, Nels Nelson, Constable Bill Deaton, and C. W. Herold, all of Alva, Okla., were in Meade Tuesday afternoon to identify Doc Potter, who was captured at the City Park Monday evening. Mr. Herold was on of the fourteen men who were held up Monday morning by the bandit gang north of Alva. The bandits had wrecked their car (the third one they had stolen that day and were trying to get another. The car went off a washed out bridge and the men who were working a short distance were called by the bandits to assist in getting the car out. When they discovered that it was impossible to get the car out one of the bandits asked where he could get a car to take his wife to a doctor. The lady bandit had been stretched out on the ground and was apparently unconscious. Some of the men and one of the bandits went for a car about a quarter of a mile away. The car was a Ford roadster which was abandoned near Wilmore when A.E. Trummell was held up. When the car arrived the leader of the gang went to the wrecked car and got a machine gun which no one had noticed and told all the men to stand back. The woman then came to life very suddenly and the bandits drove off with the car.
Mr. Harold, when shown the pictures of the bandit captured here, said that he could not positively say that he was one of the bandits, but that it looked like one of them. The men from Alva went on to Dodge City to look at Potter, who had been taken there earlier in the day for safe keeping. According to reports in the Dodge City Globe of Wednesday, Mr. Herold picked Potter out of several prisoners as being one of the men who held him up the day before.
The follow is from the Meade County Press, Sept. 7, 1933
Meade People Capture Man, May be Reward
Identified Thursday Afternoon as Henry Massingill, Texas Convict
Meade's notorious criminal has been identified as Henry Massingill. In '26 he was sentenced to two years and in '29 he was sentenced to five years both terms were served in Texas and were for burglary.
Monday night, what has since been proven to be a part of Harve Bailey gang, invaded Meade and created a commotion which resulted in the capture of one of the desperados, when he pushed a gun into Mrs. T.E. Prather's face and told her to be quiet, that he wanted to take her car. Mrs. Prather started to scream and honk the horn. Mr. Prather who was playing croquet nearby came to her aid and grabbed the man who swung on him with the gun, cutting a large gas over Prathers left eye. Dewey Barns and Anson Horning rushed to Prathers aid when they saw the gun and the three downed the man who still refused the gun. Mrs. Anson Horning came running up with a croquet mallet and struck the desperado on the head twice with the mallet, after which he meekly released the gun and submitted to capture.
During the commotion the three companions of the one man, who called him Underhill, took Alin Gerber's car and fled west out of town.
Earlier in the day the four had kidnapped A.E. Trummel of Wilmore, near Coldwater, and forced him to accompany them in the Trummel Chevrolet sedan. They ran into the ditch near the city park in an effort to dodge around Meade after coming in on highway No. 54.
Alvin Gerber of Fowler tried to pull their car out of the ditch with his car and was unsuccessful. They all then went to the city park to get another car after transferring two machine guns from the car in the ditch to the Gerber car. When the commotion at the park started the three released Gerber and Trummel and fled.
Mr. Trummel said that on his ride they told him they would pay for any damage to his car. Other members of the gang called the one captured here, Underhill; but Mr. Trummel said he thought that the name was used only used as a blind. The woman was wounded in the leg and it is thought that she was struck by a bullet in the fight the party had with officers near Enid,.
The gang transferred two machine guns from the Trummel car to the Gerber car and also two small boxes, thought to contain part of the $200,000 Bailey loot to the car. The Boxes were wrapped in blankets.
Although the woman was wounded no further trace of the car or gang has been received. Daily Papers carried Mrs. Horning's picture and have been loud in praise of her work in swinging the mallet. The stories were sent out to both the Associated Press and the United Press.
from The Meade Globe News,
POLICE OFFICER WROTE POEM ABOUT
|Photo courtesy of Malcolm Clay
CAPTION ON BACK:
August 5, 1933
O.C. Van Housen Dep. Sheriff with a prisoner, noted out-law swat in the head with a mallet by Mrs Horning at the City Park.
Prisoners name is Henry Massingill, Alvin Gerber's car was stole east Meade City Park. Bill Brock was a passenger in Gerber car on that day.
The prisoner is a side kick of Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow.
Sheriff Ross Drinnen
(photos captured off the internet of the famous outlaws, Bonnie & Clyde)
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonnie_and_Clyde#The_Spree (link to Wikopedia) For further information about Bonnie and Clyde Barrow.
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