Fleagle Gang Buried Cashe
Fleagle Gang Buried Cache
the late 1800s, the Fleagle family traveled from Iowa, settling in the
flatlands of western
Kansas. Raising four boys, the two oldest boys were hard working and
conscientious, but the other two, Ralph and Jake Fleagle would grow up to
be early 1900s
Heading out to San
California, Jake became a card shark. Later, they traveled to
where Jake was arrested and sentenced to one year at the
State Penitentiary for burglary.
When he got out, Ralph was
waiting and they returned to western
what was, by then, called Garden City.
Neighbors began to notice that Ralph and Jake were constantly coming
and going to the farm and the family was beginning to prosper with a
new house, tractor and increasing numbers of cattle stock. The
brothers convinced their family that they had done well in the stock
market, but what no one knew, was they were really leading a gang of
gunmen who were terrorizing the western states. Jake, the leader
of the gang, led them up and down the Sacramento Valley for years,
usually raiding big money crap games and high stake gambling houses. Periodically, they would return to Garden City when the heat was on in
California. Jake was a philanderer and a drinker, but still managed to accumulate
a sizable bank account. Ralph, on the other hand, was a tightwad
and secretly buried his money in places all over
and Kansas. Historians estimate that the Fleagles and their gangs were responsible
for 60% of the heists in and around
California during the 1920s.
The brothers rented a new place not far from their parents where they
could plan their capers more privately. Here, in 1928, along
with three new members of their "gang,” they planned to rob the First
National Bank of Lamar,
Corazon Gargullio, an escapee from San Quentin, cased the bank for the
crew. The other two handpicked members were George Abshier from
and Howard Royston from
Though planned very carefully, the heist was put off several times due
to Jake’s superstitions. Gargullio got tired of the waiting
and left the gang, only to be shot down within days by the FBI.
When the day finally
arrived, the four men entered the bank, filling their sacks with
$220,000. In their 15 years of stealing, the Fleagle brothers
had never shot their weapons, but on that day in Lamar,
the bank president, A.N. Parrish fired at Royston with a 45, hitting
him in the jawbone. Jake fired back at Parrish, killing him. The bank president’s son, J.N. Parrish ran to help his father, and was
also shot down by Jake. In the ensuing panic, the alarm was
triggered and the gang fled with bank employees Everett Kessinger and
Ed Lungren as hostages, with the sheriff close behind them. When
one of the gang’s shots hit the radiator in the sheriff’s car, the
gang sped away leaving the lawmen behind. Once outside of town,
they dropped off Ed Lungren, the bank teller, but Kessinger was kept
on the running board to be used as a shield in case they encountered
more law enforcement.
Royston lying on the rear floor moaning from the slug he had taken in his
jaw, the gang sped down the back roads of
until they reached western
Kansas. Once back on their ranch, they tied up Kessinger, and the Fleagle brothers
buried the money. Around midnight, they finally roused a Dr. W.W. Wineinger with a gun to his head, bringing him back to the ranch to tend
However, when Dr. Wineinger did not return home, the townsfolk began a
wide search. The doctor was finally found under his old Hudson
automobile at the crisscross of a cowpath. He was bound, gagged,
blindfolded and shot in the back. A few days later, cashier Kessinger's bullet riddled body was found in a weedy patch north of
Like the Doc, he had been bound, gagged, and shot in the back. Citizens were outraged. The town newspaper cried for revenge. The law sent
out dozens of man hunters but the gang had already fled to St. Paul,
However, Jake Fleagle had made a fatal mistake, leaving a single
fingerprint on Doc Wineinger's old car. In those days, a single
print was a long shot, but the law got lucky when a transient named
William Holden was arrested on suspicion of a train stickup. Holden
was later freed after providing a solid alibi, but the sheriff sent his
fingerprints to Washington on a hunch. The prints were identified not as
belonging to a William Holden, but rather to Jake Fleagle who had served
time in the
Oklahoma Penitentiary, and matched the print on Dr. Wineinger’s car.
Sheriff s deputies hurried to the Fleagle ranch where Ralph’s address was
provided as Kankakee,
Chief Harper rushed to Kankakee, taking Ralph by surprise and brought him
back to Garden City in shackles. Ralph started talking.
Royston, still bearing the Lamar bullet scar, was living a quiet exemplary
life as a father and husband when he was arrested in San Andreas,
He tattled on George Abshier, and Abshier was picked up.
no lead on Jake Fleagle, over a million posters prominently displaying his
prison photo were distributed to almost every city and town in the nation.
Twenty-five thousand dollars was offered for his capture. Finally, he was
shot down in a running gunfight with police in Branson,
Fleagle, Royston, and Abshier were all hanged in the
State Penitentiary at Canon City.
As for the hundreds of
thousands of dollars of Ralph Fleagle's buried booty, one cache was dug up
in 1952, another in
1961; near Murrieta,
another Fleagle cache was found, approximate figure unknown.
Battle Canyon, Scott County,
Kansas Geological Survey
There are many Fleagle
bandit caches scattered throughout the Inland Empire of Southern
as well as in the Sacramento,
and Garden City,
One buried cache of $100,000 taken from a bank in
said to be buried in one or two places: in the area of Battle
Canyon, in the badlands of the Logan-Scott County area; and/or on Ralph’s Fleagles ranch where he lived before he was captured near Branson,
of America, updated October, 2012.
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