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Gangsters & Outlaws of the 1920-30's - B

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Index:   A  B  C  D-E  F-G  H-J  K  L  M  N-P  Q_R  S  T-V  W-Z



Arthur R. "Doc" BarkerArthur R. "Doc" Barker (1899-1939) - A member of the Barker-Karpis Gang, Arthur was the son of Ma Barker. He was born in Aurora, Missouri to George E. and Kate Barker on June 4, 1899. By the 1920s he, along with his brother Fred, and Alvin Karpis started to commit crimes such as theft and robbery. On July 18, 1918 Barker was arrested for stealing a car and was sentenced to prison in Joplin, Missouri. On February 19, 1920, he escaped from prison and began to commit armed robberies and murdered two people. On January 15, 1922, he robbed a bank in Muskogee, Oklahoma and was sent to the Oklahoma State Prison.  However, for some reason, he was released five months later on June 21, 1922. On January 16, 1935, Fred and Ma Barker were killed by the police and a year later Arthur Barker and Alvin Karpis were captured and sent to Alcatraz. On the night of January 13, 1939, Barker with Henri Young and Rufus McCain attempted to escape from Alcatraz. Their plans failed and Barker was shot and killed by guards. Young and McCain were recaptured and sent to solitary confinement.

Barker-Karpis Gang (1931-1934) - This gang began when Alvin Carpis and Fred Barker met while incarcerated in a Kansas prison. Both were released in 1931 and soon hooked up to commit night time burglaries in jewelry and clothing shops. When Arthur Barker was released from prison in 1932, he joined the others and soon they were adding bank robbery to their list of crimes. Also joining them in the crime spree were brothers Herman and Lloyd Barker. Barker and Karpis were meticulous in their planning and often added additional individuals who had specific types of hold-up skills or other criminal experience needed for a job. In 1932, Karpis could name 11 banks they had robbed, but the number was probably actually higher. By rotating their members, this caused greater difficulty for the FBI
in apprehending them.

The gang soon added kidnapping to their long list of crimes, starting with  William Hamm, heir to the Hamm brewery in June, 1933. After receiving the $100,000 ransom, they returned Hamm safely. The gang next kidnapped
Edward Bremer, a bank president and son of Adolf Bremer, president of the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company, in January, 1934. For this crime, they received $200,000 ransom. Bremer, who had significant political connections soon brought the
FBI down in force.


One of the gang's major undoings was when they killed their own gang member, George "Shotgun" Ziegler. Ziegler, who had been one of the masterminds of the Bremer kidnapping, began to brag about the kidnapping to several underworld associates, telling them that he was the genius behind the kidnapping. As a result, his fellow gang members shot four slugs into Ziegler as he was coming out of his favorite restaurant in Cicero, Illinois on March 22, 1934. The corpse was left and FBI agents found names, aliases, addresses and other valuable information in Ziegler's pockets, soon leading to the deaths or capture of the main members of the gang.


Arthur Barker was captured on January 8, 1935, and sent to Alcatraz, where he was killed in an escape attempt in 1939. Just one week later agents tracked down Ma and Fred Barker in Lake Weir, Florida On January 16th and in the gunfight that ensued, both Ma and Fed were killed. A short time later, Alvin Karpis nearly met his death when the FBI tracked him down in Atlantic City, New Jersey. However, Karpis and Harry Campbell managed to shoot their way to an escape. He continued his crimes with others and managed to rob a train in Garrettsville, Ohio of $27,000. He was eventually captured and sent to Alcatraz, where he served the longest sentence ever at the notorious prison (25 years, 1 month.) He was eventually released on parole in 1969, wrote a book and moved to Spain in 1873. He died there on August 26, 1979.


Barrow Gang (1932-1934) - Well known outlaws, robbers, and criminals who traveled the Midwest and Texas during the Great Depression, the gang included Clyde Barrow and his girlfriend, Bonnie Parker,  Marvin "Buck" Barrow and his wife, Blanche, W.D. Jones, Henry Methvin, Raymond Hamilton, Joe Palmer, and Mary O'Dare. Though the gang was best known for multiple banks they robbed, they actually preferred to rob small stores and gas stations. During their two year spree, they killed at least nine law officers and were thought to have killed others.


Bennie Iva "Blanche" Caldwell Barrow (1911-1988) - The wife of Marvin "Buck" Barrow and a member of the Barrow Gang. She was the only child of Matthew Fontain Caldwell and Lillain Bell Pond, born in Garvin, Oklahoma on January 1, 1911.  When she was still very young, her parents divorced and she was raised by her father, who made his living as a logger, farmer and  minister. When she was 17 years-old, her mother arranged for her to marry a much older man named John Callaway, who had money and promised to reward both Blanche and her mother. However, soon afterwards Blanche ran away and while hiding from her husband in Dallas County, Texas, she met Buck Barrow. Just a few days after meeting, Barrow was shot and captured following a burglary in Denton, Texas. He was sentenced to five years in the Texas State Prison System but escaped in March, 1930.

On July 3, 1931, Blanche and Buck were married in Oklahoma and she soon began to accompany her husband on a number of armed robberies. However, she did not like the criminal life and along with other members of the Barrow family convinced Buck to turn himself in, which he did on December 27, 1931. He then resumed his sentence and was released on March 22, 1933. Upon his release, the couple joined up with Buck's younger brother Clyde, Bonnie Parker, and W. D. Jones in Joplin, Missouri where he participated in several armed robberies. Though Blanche did not participate in the robberies, she was present during the gun battle in Joplin, Missouri on April 13, 1933, in which two law officers were killed. She was also present in the gunfight that occurred on July 19, 1933 at the Red Crown Tourist Court near Platte City, Missouri. Both Blanche and Buck were wounded but managed to escape with Bonnie, Clyde, and W. D. Jones. Escaping to Dexter, Iowa, they were pursued and another gun battle occurred on July 24th, in which Buck was wounded again. Both Buck and Blanche were captured, but Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barker, and W. D. Jones, all wounded, were able to escape. Buck died at Kings Daughters Hospital in Perry, Iowa on July 29, 1933, of complications involving from the wounds he received in the two gunfights.

Blanche was extradited to Platte County, Missouri to stand trial and was sentenced to ten years in the Missouri State Penitentiary. After serving six years she was released and moved to Dallas, Texas. In 1940, she remarried to a man named Eddie Frasure. Eddie died in 1969 and Blanche died from cancer on December 24, 1988. She was buried in Dallas's in the Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas under the name "Blanche B. Frasure."



Continued Next Page

Index:   A  B  C  D-E  F-G  H-J  K  L  M  N-P  Q_R  S  T-V  W-Z

From Legends' Photo Shop

Vintage photo prints and downloads.Nostalgic & 20th Century Photograph Prints - From Legends' Photo Print Shop, you'll find a number of nostalgic photo prints mostly from the early 20th Century ranging from gas pumps, to grocery stores, 1920's flappers, model-T's, children, Christmas and a whole lot more. We also provide hundreds of other vintage images that can be used for personal or commercial purposes.

Nostalgic and early 20th Century Photo Prints and downloads.


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