People may recognize the word Ponzi as part of the term “Ponzi Scheme” but may not know where it originates. Charles Ponzi was born Carlos Pietro Giovanni Guglielmo Tebaldo Ponzi on March 3, 1882 in Lugo, Italy. Ponzi would say that his family once had a lot of money, but by the time he was born, they had fallen on hard times. For a while he worked as a postal worker, but was able to get accepted into University of Rome in Sapienza, though after four years, he had no funds and no degree. At that time Italians were emigrating to the United States sending back stories of a wealthy country where one could become financially successful. Ponzi decided to seek his fortune in America, arriving at Ellis Island with $2.50 in his pocket, he said.Read the rest of this entry »
Category Archives: outlaws and crimes
The Kansas City Times (Kansas City, Missouri) issue of June 20, 1897 carried the headline, “The Younger Brothers May Be Pardoned” and recounted events leading up to their incarceration. A Minnesota governor was said to be considering a pardon of Jim and Cole Younger for time served. Some twenty-one years earlier, the James – Younger Gang had attempted to rob the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota on September 7, 1876. The Youngers (Jim, Cole and Bob) and their associates, Frank and Jesse James, along with four other individuals (Bill Stiles, Clell Miller, Charlie Pitts and Bill Chadwell (a/k/a Stiles)) had planned to meet to attempt to rob the bank. They rode in and began the bank robbery with Jesse, Cole, and Pitts going inside the building and the other five standing guard outside. The outlaws were discovered and citizens began to fire on them. Cole was shot in the hip, Bob was shot in the elbow and Jim took a round to the jaw. Miller and Chadwell/Stiles were killed outright along with one civilian, believed to have been shot by Cole, and one employee of the bank. Pitts, Frank and Jesse were also wounded. A posse caught up with the Youngers, the James and Pitts. Frank and Jesse escaped, the Youngers were captured and Pitts was killed. The Youngers pled guilty to the bank robbery attempt in order to avoid being executed.
Based on numerous books and accounts, Clyde Barrow is said to have favored the BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) due to its .30 caliber bullet and rapid fire ability. The BAR projectiles could also penetrate auto bodies. The BAR (often known by its military designation of M1918) was designed by John Browning in 1917 for use in World War I by the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe as a replacement for the French-made rifles that they were first issued, though it did not come into everyday use until later.
According to a Washington, D. C. Evening Star newspaper account on May 24, 1894, a bank robbery had occurred in Longview, Texas the day before, involving suspected members of the Dalton Gang. When read today, the account could easily be the story line from a Hollywood western.
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are believed to have first met around January of 1930 in Dallas where they both were living. At the time, Clyde was 21 and Bonnie was 19. Clyde was arrested a few weeks later in the latter part of February for the burglary of the Motor Mark Garage in Denton. In early March of 1930, while he was awaiting trial for that burglary, Clyde was transferred to McLennan County in connection with burglary and automobile theft charges there. Barrow was indicted along with William Turner by the McLennan County grand jury for these charges. Clyde pleaded guilty to a number of them, including the theft of an automobile belonging to W. W. Cameron, a Waco lumber dealer. It’s unclear if Barrow had also been sentenced by then, but newspaper accounts say that Turner had been sentenced and was awaiting transfer to the Huntsville prison at the time that Bonnie smuggled a gun into the McLennan County jail. Turner, Barrow and another prisoner named Abernathy were able to escape with the aid of Bonnie Parker and the smuggled gun. Bonnie remained in Waco as the three escapees left Texas, but the trio were captured in Ohio and returned to the state less than two weeks later. Barrow was held a few months before being sent to the Eastham Prison Farm to begin serving a fourteen year sentence. He was paroled in February, 1932 after which he and initially his brother Buck and a number of different associates over time would operate as the Barrow Gang for a little more than two years until he and Bonnie Parker were killed in the ambush is Louisiana in May, 1934.