John Dillinger was a well known gangster who operated in the United States until his death in 1934. He had been born in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 22, 1903. Dillinger’s mother died when he was three years old and he was raised by his father and stepmother, with whom he is said to have had a difficult relationship. The family moved around somewhat and Dillinger dropped out of school. Around 1923, he joined the United States Navy. He was assigned to the U. S. S. Utah but only served a short while before deserting, after which he launched his criminal career. Not long afterward, Dillinger was arrested, tried and convicted for a 1924 robbery of a local grocery in his adopted home town of Mooresville, Indiana and was sentenced to the Indiana State Prison. There he was exposed to fellow convicts including a number who had been bank robbers. Upon his parole in the spring of 1933, he and several associates began to commit a series of bank robberies in Indiana and Ohio.
Category Archives: outlaws and crimes
Constable Cal Campbell was the last lawman to be killed by the Barrow gang. The list of law officers who were victims of the gang is as follows:
Eugene Moore, Atoka, OK, 8/5/1932
Malcolm Davis, Dallas, TX 1/6/1933
Harry McGinnis, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Wes Harryman, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Henry D. Humphrey, Alma, AR 6/26/1933
Major Crowson, Huntsville, TX 1/16/1934
E. B. Wheeler, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
H. D. Murphy, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
Cal Campbell, Commerce, OK, 4/6/1934
Ivan “Ivy” Terrell Methvin was born April 5, 1885 in Louisiana to Hamilton Terrell and Mary E. Barron Methvin. Ivy was one of five children and their names all began with the letter I: Iverson Victor (1876-1952), Izaarh (or possibly Isaiah, 1877- about 1894), Isaac (1879- about 1894), Idonia (the only sister, 1882-1910) and Ivy, all born in Louisiana. In the 1880 census, Hamilton Methvin’s profession was listed as being a farmer. In some listings, Izaarh and Isaac have the same years of birth and death, but in the 1880 census, Isaac is not quite one year old while Izaarh (possibly just a misreading of the written name) was at least one year older. Of the children, Iverson survived the longest, living until 1952, working as a farmer for many years and later working as a cobbler of shoes in Louisiana. Iverson and his wife Sarah Huggins Methvin had a large family. The sister Idonia married a man named Campbell and had a small family before she passed away at around the age of 28 in Oklahoma. Hamilton Terrell Methvin died a about eighteen months after Ivy was born.
The headline of the Corsicana Daily Sun, January 16, 1934, read “Noted Texas Desperado Shoots Down Guards On Eastham Prison Farm,” referring to Clyde Barrow. Though Clyde was directly involved in the prison break, the headline overstated Barrow’s role in the death of one guard and the serious injury of another. Guard Major Crowson (Major was his given name) was said to have been shot point blank in the abdomen by convict Joe Palmer. Another guard by the name of Olin Bozeman was shot in the hip, apparently by convict Raymond Hamilton although in early accounts, various other prisoners were said to have shot the guards. Bozeman recovered from his wounds, but Crowson succumbed to his gunshot wound some eleven days later, after identifying Palmer as the one who shot him.
The fifth law officer to be killed by the Barrow Gang was Town Marshal Henry D. Humphrey on June 22, 1933. On July 30, 1933, the Sedalia (Missouri) Democrat and Capital ran an Associated Press article that began as follows, “Hubert Bleigh, 26, alias Herbert Blythe, of Tulsa, faced murder charges at Van Buren, Ark, five miles from here, tonight after he was brought to Van Buren by Sheriff Albert Maxey of Crawford County, from Oklahoma City. Bleigh waived extradition.” Bleigh was charged with the slaying of town marshal Henry G. Humphrey of Alma, Arkansas on the night of June 23, 1933.
The Goodnight Gang was a name given to a group of outlaws operating in East and Central Texas headed up by William E. “Doc” Goodnight. Members of the group included Goodnight, Hugh Merrick, J. R. Willis and J. H. Johnson according to various newspaper accounts. They were by reputation robbers and the crimes mostly attributed to them involved the theft of cash from local individuals. There was a legend that William E. Goodnight was somehow related to rancher Charles Goodnight of North Texas, but we can find no obvious connection after looking into Charles Goodnight’s extended family. Perhaps coincidentally, Charles Goodnight had a number of relatives in Illinois and the State of Illinois appears to also figure into Doc Goodnight’s early history.
The Hoodoo War was the common name for the Mason County War, which took place in the middle 1870s in the area and arose over the killing and rustling of cattle. This was typified by attacks from vigilantes wearing masks to conceal their identities and to generate terror. These vigilantes essentially took the law into their own hands in an effort to defend against the alleged perpetrators.