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There are alot of famous outlaws of the 1900's, but none can compare to that of the John Dillinger Gang.
                                                          
       Harry Pierpont                     Charley Makley                   Russell Clark


              



      Homer Van Meter                   John Dillinger                    John Hamilton


                                               



     Baby Face Nelson      Dillinger's Machine Gun             Tommy Carroll                                      

                                                                                       
                                                                                           


                                       "THE STORY"     

This is an undated true story about the most wanted gang of outlaws in America during the year of 1934. They were the Dillinger Gang, bank robbers who fascinated the world during their brief criminal careers. Although there wasn't an actual leader, John Dillinger name would headline the group. Dillinger had a flair for the spectacular. John Dillinger’s reputation would triumph and soar upward to become a giant in his trade. Fourteen short months later, his career would skid to a stop with a tragic bloody end in a dark Chicago alley.  It was a time of crime and corruption on both sides of the law. The fine line between the good and the bad guys was narrow if not indistinguishable. John Dillinger’s exploits made more headlines in newspapers across the country, than the President of the United States. On May 15, 1934, the reward on Dillinger was increased to $25,000, authorized by Congress in the discretion of the Attorney General. This sum of money would be equal to over a quarter of a million dollars reward by today’s standards. This was the largest reward ever offered for any outlaw in 1934. On June 22, 1934, John Dillinger celebrated his 31st birthday, and J. Edgar Hoover had a birthday gift for the slippery bandit, he announced that Dillinger would be the first man ever to hold the distinctive title, “Public Enemy Number One,” on the FBI’s most wanted list. The rest is History!

John Dillinger’s exploits were admired by many people of the Great Depression era as both an outlaw and a folk hero. He was praised for getting money out of the banks and back into circulation during hard difficult times of the great depression. Dillinger was legendary in comparison to all other criminals in the early nineteen thirties. He was a man marked by originality, and cleverness, which helped him become the most celebrated criminal of his time. Dillinger's unpredictable moves throughout his short lived career, kept law officials confused like an old Ford driving blinded into a windy cloud of dust on a lonely dirt road. Whether it was at the State fair, at a baseball game, a picture show, a family reunion, or sitting in the Chicago Police Department reading a newspaper only a few feet away, Dillinger succeeded at hiding in plain site. Police and law officials were outraged, while the slippery bandit continued to outfox and outwit them at every turn.
There was another organization called the FBI, led by Director J. Edgar Hoover. In the 1930's the FBI was under heavy fire from Congress and on the verge of collapsing. Hoover needed a big catch, a Well-Known criminal, to save his deteriorating Bureau. Dillinger was his first choice, but he would not be an easy catch as Hoover presumed. He would turn the tables, while he easily deceived, and humiliated Hoover and his agents. The Director knew he had to get Dillinger to prove the Bureau was a top-notch organization.
For fourteen short months Dillinger played a game of hide n’ seek with the FBI and police officials throughout the country. A former FBI Agent who was once involved in the Dillinger case in the nineteen thirties made this statement, "It was all a game to Dillinger, it was Dillinger's wits against the FBI's and Dillinger was winning."



"Members & Associates of the Dillinger Gang"

In Jail, John Dillinger met some interesting friends that knew the ins and outs of bank robbery. Even though they considered themselves professionals, they were all captured and now serving time.

Charles Makley had been involved in several bank robberies in Ohio, including the Bank of Linn Glove on March 24, 1927, where he and a companion made off with two thousand in cash. The bandit’s were apprehended two days later in South Bend, Indiana. They were arrested after they tried to sell a loaded revolver to a restaurant owner, who contacted the authorities. Police realized the two men fit the descriptions of the Linn Grover robbers, and the cashier of the bank soon identified them.  On June 23, 1928 Makley was sentenced to a 10 to 21-year prison term in the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City for armed robbery.  He was later shot to death trying to escape Columbia Ohio's death row in 1934.

Russell Clark was serving time for several robberies, including the robbery of the Huntertown State Bank on December 8, 1927.
Clark and an accomplice named Charles Hovious walked into the bank, and asked the cashier, Horace Tucker if he could make change  for a five-dollar bill. Clark pulled out a .38 caliber double action revolver and told Tucker to "Stick’em up." They quickly grabbed $1,312 in cash and headed out the door. As the bandit’s fled, Tucker grabbed a gun out of a desk drawer and opened fire. A brief gun battle erupted until the outlaws jumped into a nearby car and drove off. But a posse quickly caught up to them, the robbers abandoned their car and fled on foot through the woods. Officers searched the woods for hours before locating Hovious and arrested him without resistance. Clark lasted throughout the night, but was eventually found hiding in a barn where he surrendered. The two bandits were given two consecutive sentences of 15 and 20 years. Hovious was sent to Indiana Reformatory, and Clark was sent to the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City. Clark was the only member of the Dillinger gang to get life in prison. Every other member died in bloodshed.

John Hamilton had been involved in bank robberies in Michigan and Indiana. Hamilton had successfully robbed the Kent State Savings Bank of Grand Rapids, Michigan bank of $22,500 on January 3,1927. A former policeman of Fordson, Michigan, named Raymond Lawrence had also participated in the robbery. Lawrence and Hamilton’s luck finally ran out when they attempted to rob a South Bend State bank in Indiana on March 15,1927. After casing the bank for several days the two made their move. They waited for the janitor Clifton Barton to open the bank doors at 6 a.m.; they forced their way in and bound him. Then they waited for bank employees to arrive. At 7:30 a.m., Kenneth Shirk, the bookkeeper arrived, and told the bandit’s that the vault couldn’t be opened until 8 a.m. Hamilton and Lawrence both decided the wait would be worth it. As more employees arrived, Hamilton ordered assistant cashier G.M. Broadhurst to let them in. As he did, Broadhurst ran out the door and across the street, where he sounded off an alarm to the Police. The outlaws had $125,000 dollars in their grasp, but fearing capture they decided to flee. They jumped into a Chevrolet coupe, (stolen prior to the robbery) and drove a short distance where they changed cars stealing a sedan, they drove to an apartment belonging to William Hamilton, John Hamilton’s brother. To cover their tracks, the two decided to change the license plates on the car. A neighbor watched them changing the plates; he became suspicious, and contacted the police. The Police arrested the two without a conflict. When questioned, Hamilton denied any involvement with the robbery. Hamilton finally confessed, after overwhelming evidence from his companion in a signed confession, also damaging statements were made by Hamilton’s wife and several eyewitnesses from the bank positively identified them as the robbers. Hamilton reluctantly signed a full confession. After the confessions were signed, both women were released. The very next day Hamilton and Lawrence were sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, the maximum sentence. Hamilton later broke out of Michigan City Penitentiary. He died from wounds suuffered by police in April of 1934.

Homer Van Meter was the same age as Dillinger when he was  serving time in prison  for a train robbery. Van Meter was a Indiana bandit like Dillinger. He had a tattoo of a anchor with the word"Hope"  on his inner forearm. But hope had run out long ago for Van Meter. He was sent to Indiana Reformatory State prison when he was in his twenties. A few weeks after arriving  at Indiana Reformatory he was transfered to Van Meter Michigan City he met John Dillinger and the two became pals. Police shot in 27 times in the back in August of 1934, one month after Dillinger was shot and killed by the FBI.

Harry Pierpont was a bank robber who became a big influence on John Dillinger with Pierpont's impressing courage and leadership qualities. He was doing time for bank robberies and attempted car thief charge. During this incident Pierpont is said to have shot the owner four times. The man survived and Pierpont was sent off to Prison. He was later released, but continued his bank-robbing career until he was captured again in Detroit, Michigan and sentenced to the Indiana Reformatory on May 6, 1925, escaping in 1933. Recaptured in January 1934. He died in the electric chair in Columbus, Ohio for the murder of police officer Jesse Sarbar.  

Baby Face Nelson was one of the most feared outlaws of the Dillinger gang. His real name was Lester Gillis. He was a five-foot-four aggressive gun crazed killer and bank robber. He had a five thousand dollar reward on his head, but very few would dare to collect. He was a vicious man who would not hesitate to fatally blast his gun, if angered and quite often  even when he wasn't provoked. He was both predator and prey to those who hunted him, tuning the tables on the FBI's G-men. Nelson would play an important role in the Dillinger gang, he was the muscle and the back bone, but he was wreckless. Nelson was killed in a wild gun battle with federal agents on November 27, 1934, near Barrington, Illinois.  He killed both agents who engaged the battle.




         "THE JOHN DILLINGER STORY"
                         By 7ony Stewart
                                            Copyright 2006          
 
John Herbert Dillinger was born on June 22, 1903, in Indianapolis. The proud parents were John Wilson Dillinger (a grocery store owner) and Mollie Lancaster (housewife) John Dillinger was the couples second child. The first being was Audrey Dillinger, born 1889. She was fourteen years older than her new brother. John’s father owned a small grocery store not far from home, located at 2210 Bloyd Avenue and four houses. His mother became very ill, and was hospitalized in 1906. She had developed serious health problems, suffered a stroke, underwent surgery and died soon afterwards. Audrey had married a few months before her mother’s death, but she tried to help raise young John. After the loss of his mother, John was often seen hanging out at his father’s grocery store.

He became a lonely confused child without a mother and a father who tried his best, but spent most of his time working than raising young John. The child would receive visits from his sister and grandfather Mathias from time to time. Other times he would have the opportunity to play with neighborhood kids. Young John entered school at Public School 38, in Oak Hill. He was an average student, and very well behaved, occasionally getting into trouble, but no more than any of the other kids. When John was about nine years old his father gave him a job at the store, but punishing him severely for the slightest sign of defiance. On other occasions he would spoil his son with gifts other kids in the neighborhood wished they had. John was well known by children in the district for always having enough money to buy everyone candy treats.

This character portrays young John as a good-hearted kid, not the bad seed that many historians portray him to be. Overall young John was a good kid who had a descent childhood. He always appeared to be happy in family pictures. Most neighbors described Johnnie as a cheery friendly teenager, polite and well mannered. At age 16, he grew tired of school and soon dropped out taking working at a machine shop in Indianapolis. As a teenager, John attended School P.S.55, on Seventeenth and Sheldon streets, but he soon began losing interest in school and periodically skipped classes to go fishing or hang out with friends. In his teenager years Johnnie was frequently getting into trouble staying out through all hours of the night, stealing watermelon, chickens and coal from the railroads freight cars that he sold to residents.

One of John’s biggest pranks was when he tied a rope around an outhouse, attaching the other end to the Interurban trolley car. When the Interurban took off the outhouse broke into pieces, leaving a terrible odor in the air. John began to stay out late, and was hanging around a bad crowd. By the time he was a teenager, his father grew concerned of his son's surroundings.In 1912, John's father courted, and married Elizabeth Fields of Mooresville, a small town South of Indianapolis. His father had met and courted Lizzie Fields of Mooresville, Indiana. The two married when Johnnie was nine years old. Accorded to John Sr., his son resented his stepmother at first, but later grew to love her.

By the time John turned eleven years old, he had a half brother named Hubert, born in 1914, and a half sister named Doris, born in 1916. John was three months shy of his seventeenth birthday when the family moved to Mooresville. He had given up, and quit school one year prior to the move. In the beginning. By 1920, John’s father decided to sell his Grocery store and houses and move to the Mooresville. He purchased a sixty-seven acre farmhouse, just off Highway 267. The elder Dillinger figured that farm life would be good for young John, and perhaps keep him out of trouble. John Dillinger had no interest in farm life, but did enjoy hunting, and would spend many hours out in the woods with the family dog. He was a fairly good shot; his prey would consist of rabbits, squirrels, and possums.

Entertainment around Mooresville was limited to a pool hall, a movie theater, and baseball field. John began coming home late in the evenings, and sometimes didn’t come home at all.
It seemed the more the elder Dillinger corrected his son, the worse the situation grew. John spent most of his evenings at pool halls in Mooresville and Martinsville. While in Martinsville, he began dating a seventeen-year-old named Frances Thornton. Frances was the stepdaughter of Everett Dillinger, who was John's uncle. Everett did not approve of the relationship. He had his own plans for his daughter's future, and John wasn't a part of it.

John soon asked Frances for her hand in marriage, but Everett disapproved and ordered his daughter to stop seeing him. Young Dillinger was heartbroken; he became bitter. Sometime afterwards, Dillinger stole a car that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Macy of Mooresville.

The car was reported stolen and the couple found a ride home with friends of the church. This was the very same church John attended with his father on many occasions. He drove the car to Indianapolis for a joy ride, then abandoned the on a side of the road. Around midnight a policeman spotted him walking the streets, and decided to question him. Nervously, he told the officer his real name, and stated he had driven in from Mooresville earlier in the evening. He took the officer straight to the stolen car, then suddenly broke free and ran. John was scared; he knew car thief was a serious crime.
This was officially John’s first crime, but the Macy's had refused to press charges. John feared the worst and thought he was going to jail; he panicked and joined the navy. After successfully completing basic training, he was stationed aboard a battleship, the U.S.S. Utah. He was listed as a Fireman Third Class. The U.S.S. Utah was scheduled to ship out in three weeks, but when the departure date arrived; Dillinger failed to show up for duty. He was listed as a deserter, and was soon court-martialed. John had grown tired of the navy life, and the strict discipline; he headed back to Mooresville with a fifty-dollar reward on his head.

The navy would later drop charges and issue a dishonorable discharge. Back in Mooresville, he began hanging out at the pool hall, attending parties, and playing baseball. Dillinger began courting a young lady named Beryl Hovious. She would soon become his wife; they were married on April 12, 1924. Dillinger settled down for a while, he found a job and enjoyed the marriage life. He joined a Martinsville baseball team called the Atletics (AC); he was noted as a good second baseman, and a shortstop. Dillinger became a good friend of a man named William Edgar Singleton, a team member who would also umpire for the team on occasions.
Known as Ed Singleton, he was ten years older than Dillinger and had served time in prison for armed robbery. One night, Dillinger and Singleton met at the Mooresville pool hall and celebrated with a jug of corn liquor, also known as moonshine. The two became intoxicated, and Singleton presented a plan to rob a sixty-five-year-old grocer named Frank Morgan, the owner of the West End Grocery Store located at 135 West High Street. He had convinced an intoxicated Dillinger that it would be easy money. This robbery attempt occurred on September 6, 1924 and was a complete failure.
Dillinger hid by the steps of the Mooresville Christian Church, while Singleton waited in the getaway car. It was after 10 p.m., when Morgan came walking up the street and passed by the church steps. Dillinger jumped out of the shadows, and hit Morgan over the head with a heavy bolt wrapped in a handkerchief. Dillinger attempted to pull out a revolver. Morgan knocked the gun out of his hands and it accidentally discharged as the weapon hit the ground. No one was hurt, but the sound of gunfire and Morgan’s pleas for help woke up nearby neighbors.

Singleton fled as soon as the shot was fired, leaving Dillinger behind to flee on his own. He fled on foot and headed back to Mooresville. At the time no one was aware of Dillinger’s involvement, but he had made his way back to the local pool hall, and asking questions about whether Morgan had been hurt or not. The incident was reported to police, and Dillinger soon was arrested. However, when questioned, Dillinger denied any involvement in the crime. Dillinger was scared and he confided in his father, who told him to tell the truth. Dillinger's father, a deacon of the local Mooresville Church, decided to speak to the prosecutor of Martinsville on the matter.

He was told; since this was John's first offense he would get off with probation if he came clean. John listened to his father’s advice and pleaded guilty to the crime. B.F. Morgan had known John Dillinger since he was a little boy, and always considered him a good kid. Morgan had received eleven stitches in his head from the incident. Confident of the outcome, after talking with the Prosecutor, Dillinger’s father didn't hire a lawyer, nor did he go to court with John. Judge William’s did just the opposite of what the Prosecutor had told the elder Dillinger. As John stood before the Judge, and pleaded guilty, Judge William’s threw the book at him.

The trial only lasted five minutes; he was sentenced on two concurrent charges, receiving Two to fourteen years, and Ten to twenty years at the Indiana State Reformatory with an additional fine of $200.00. He was removed from the Martinsville Courtroom in handcuffs, and transported to the Morgan County Jail. The Jail was located at 110 W. Washington Street in Martinsville. In 1997, 73 years after John Dillinger’s incarceration, the old Morgan county Jail went up for sale. The newspaper heading announced, "Want to sleep where John Dillinger once laid his head?" In the Morgan County Jail Dillinger was locked in an 8 by 8-foot cell, where he sat, confused about what happened. His father had promised him that he'd be home in a few hours. The court sentenced him without any legal representation or a public offender on his behalf.

Dillinger had even agreed to testify against Singleton, as a witness for the prosecution, which usually offered a bargain for a lighter sentence in return for testimony. After learning of Dillinger’s harsh sentence, Singleton went into court better prepared. He hired a lawyer and requested a new Judge. The Courts over looked the fact that Singleton had a prior record for armed robbery, and had a prior prison record. He pleaded guilty at his attorney’s advice, and received a sentence of two to fourteen years. He was paroled in less than two years. Dillinger felt betrayed, and couldn’t understand why the courts gave him such a harsh sentence.

Looking at the facts, Singleton was an ex-con who had served six years for armed robbery.
This attempted robbery was premeditated by Singleton. He had been studying Morgan’s daily routines and knew precisely, and knew when Morgan would appear with the profits of the week. Singleton needed an accomplice to complete his plan. His choice was John Dillinger. Singleton offered him some good moonshine, and later, persuaded him to rob Morgan. Dillinger’s testimony for the prosecution should have offered leniency for a lighter sentence. Upon arriving at the Indiana State Reformatory at Pendleton, Dillinger told one of the guards; if Singleton receives a lesser sentence, he (Dillinger) would be the meanest son of a bitch, anyone had ever seen.

Years later, on August 31, 1937, Singleton would die as he fell asleep on the Pennsylvania railroad tracks. Hansel Sawyers, a friend of Singleton, was the last man to see him alive. Pieces of Singleton’s body were found 80 feet from where he met his demise. One man reported finding a leg in the road. After Dillinger’s release in 1933, he would keep his promise.

Sometime afterwards, Dillinger stole a car that belonged to Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Macy of Mooresville. The couple was attending church services, and soon discovered their car was missing. The car was reported stolen, and the couple found a ride home with friends of the church. This was the very same church John attended with his father on many occasions. He drove the car to Indianapolis for a joy ride, then abandoned the on a side of the road. Around midnight a policeman spotted him walking the streets, and decided to question him. Nervously, he told the officer his real name, and stated he had driven in from Mooresville earlier in the evening. He took the officer straight to the stolen car, then suddenly broke free and ran. John was scared; he knew car thief was a serious crime.

This was officially John’s first crime, but the Macy's had refused to press charges. John feared the worst and thought he was going to jail, he panicked and joined the navy. After successfully completing basic training, he was stationed aboard a battleship, the U.S.S. Utah. He was listed as a Fireman Third Class. The U.S.S. Utah was scheduled to ship out in three weeks, but when the departure date arrived; Dillinger failed to show up for duty. He was listed as a deserter, and was soon court-martialed. John had grown tired of the navy life, and the strict discipline; he headed back to Mooresville with a fifty-dollar reward on his head. The navy would later drop charges and issue a dishonorable discharge.

Back in Mooresville, he began hanging out at the pool hall, attending parties, and playing baseball. Dillinger began courting a young lady named Beryl Hovious. She would soon become his wife; they were married on April 12, 1924. Dillinger settled down for awhile, he found a job and enjoyed the marriage life. He joined a Martinsville baseball team called the Atletics (AC); he was noted as a good second baseman, and a shortstop. Dillinger became a good friend of a man named William Edgar Singleton, a team member who would also umpire for the team on occasions. Known as Ed Singleton, he was ten years older than Dillinger and had served time in prison for armed robbery.

Dillinger and Singleton met at the Mooresville pool hall and celebrated with a jug of corn liquor, also known as moonshine. The two became intoxicated, and Singleton presented a plan to rob a sixty-five-year-old grocer named Frank Morgan, the owner of the West End Grocery Store located at 135 West High Street. He had convinced an intoxicated Dillinger that it would be easy money. This robbery attempt occurred on September 6, 1924, and was a complete failure. Dillinger hid by the steps of the Mooresville Christian Church, while Singleton waited in the getaway car. It was after 10 p.m., when Morgan came walking up the street and passed by the church steps. Dillinger jumped out of the shadows, and hit Morgan over the head with a heavy bolt wrapped in a handkerchief.

Dillinger attempted to pull out a revolver. Morgan knocked the gun out of his hands and it accidentally discharged as the weapon hit the ground. No one was hurt, but the sound of gunfire and Morgan’s pleas for help woke up nearby neighbors. Singleton fled as soon as the shot was fired, leaving Dillinger behind to flee on his own. He fled on foot and headed back to Mooresville. At the time no one was aware of Dillinger’s involvement, he made a big mistake. had made his way back to the local pool hall, asking questions acquiring whether Morgan had been hurt or not.

The incident was reported to police and Dillinger soon was arrested. However, when questioned, Dillinger denied any involvement in the crime. Dillinger was scared and he confided in his father, who told him to tell the truth. Dillinger's father, a deacon of the local Mooresville Church, decided to speak to the prosecutor of Martinsville on the matter. He was told, since this was John's first offense he would get off with probation if he came clean. John listened to his father’s advice and pleaded guilty to the crime. B.F. Morgan had known John Dillinger since he was a little boy, and always considered him a good kid. Morgan had received eleven stitches in his head from the incident.

Confident of the outcome, after talking with the Prosecutor, Dillinger’s father didn't hire a lawyer, nor did he go to court with John. Judge William’s did just the opposite of what the Prosecutor had told the elder Dillinger. As John stood before the Judge and pleaded guilty, Judge William’s threw the book at him. The trial only lasted five minutes; he was sentenced on two concurrent charges, receiving Two to fourteen years, and Ten to twenty years at the Indiana State Reformatory with an additional fine of $200.00. He was removed from the Martinsville Courtroom in handcuffs, and transported to the Morgan County Jail.

The Jail was located at 110 W. Washington Street in Martinsville. In 1997, 73 years after John Dillinger’s incarceration, the old Morgan county Jail went up for sale. The newspaper heading announced, "Want to sleep where John Dillinger once laid his head?" In the Morgan County Jail Dillinger was locked in an 8 by 8-foot cell, where he sat, confused about what happened. His father had promised him that he'd be home in a few hours. The court sentenced him without any legal representation or a public offender on his behalf. Dillinger had even agreed to testify against Singleton, as a witness for the prosecution, which usually offered a bargain for a lighter sentence in return for testimony. After learning of Dillinger’s harsh sentence, Singleton went into court better prepared. He hired a lawyer and requested a new Judge.

The Courts over looked the fact that Singleton had a prior record for armed robbery, and had a prior prison record. He pleaded guilty at his attorney’s advice, and received a sentence of two to fourteen years. He was paroled in less than two years. Dillinger felt betrayed, and couldn’t understand why the courts gave him such a harsh sentence. Looking at the facts, Singleton was an ex-con who had served six years for armed robbery. This attempted robbery was premeditated by Singleton. He had been studying Morgan’s daily routines and knew precisely, and knew when Morgan would appear with the profits of the week. Singleton needed an accomplice to complete his plan. His choice was John Dillinger. Singleton offered him some good moonshine, and later, persuaded him to rob Morgan.
Dillinger’s testimony for the prosecution should have offered leniency for a lighter sentence. Upon arriving at the Indiana State Reformatory at Pendleton, Dillinger told one of the guards; if Singleton receives a lesser sentence, he (Dillinger) would be the meanest son of a bitch, anyone had ever seen. Years later, on August 31, 1937, Singleton would die as he fell asleep on the Pennsylvania railroad tracks. Hansel Sawyers, a friend of Singleton, was the last man to see him alive. Pieces of Singleton’s body were found 80 feet from where he met his demise. One man reported finding a leg in the road. After Dillinger’s release in 1933, he would keep his promise. Dillinger told another guard he would escape; but the guard had heard the same threats from so many other prisoners, simply replied, he would play the game.

Dillinger did try to escape, but every failed attempt just added time to his sentence. Dillinger's life was off to a bad start; he had made several serious mistakes. First, he got involved with Ed Singleton. Second, he went along with Singleton’s plan to rob Morgan while intoxicated, and last, he went to court without any legal representation. Dillinger's father couldn’t believe the Prosecutor lied to him, but there was nothing he could do about it.Since no one in the pool hall knew about the incident Dillinger’s remark was reported to the police and he was arrested. However, he denied robbing Morgan and police didn’t have solid proof since it was dark and Morgan didn’t see Dillinger’s face. After a few days in Martinsville Jail Dillinger broke down in tears and told his father the truth.

John Sr. talked with the prosecutor and was told John would just receive probation on a first offence. Knowing John would not be sent to jail, his father advised John to plead guilty and accept the penalty. John Sr. didn’t get his son a lawyer nor did he go to court. A twenty-one year old John Dillinger stood alone in court and was sentenced the maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison in five minutes. Dillinger received this stiff sentence even though he turned states evidence and helped convicted Singleton, which usually meant a lighter sentence. When Singleton heard of the harsh sentence he got a lawyer and requested a new Judge.

An embittered Dillinger told prison officials if Singleton receives a lighter sentence than him, he would be the meanest SOB any one has ever seen. He would later keep this promise. Singleton, who had a previous prison record for armed robbery, served less than two years of his sentence and was released. Dillinger was sent to the Indiana State Reformatory in Pendleton. He felt he was had double crossed by the prosecutor, the Judge and by his own father.

Dillinger told another guard he would escape; but the guard had heard the same threats from so many other prisoners, simply replied, he would play the game. Dillinger did try to escape, but every failed attempt just added time to his sentence. Dillinger's life was off to a bad start; he had made several serious mistakes. First, he got involved with Ed Singleton. Second, he went along with Singleton’s plan to rob Morgan while intoxicated, and last, he went to court without any legal representation. Dillinger's father couldn’t believe the Prosecutor lied to him, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Dillinger was transported back and fourth to court during Singleton's trial. On one occasion, on the return trip back to Pendleton, Dillinger made another attempt to escape. Deputy Sheriff Russell Peterson was transporting Dillinger, and decided to treat him to a soda. As the two sat down in a restaurant, Dillinger suddenly tipped the table over on the deputy, and fled out the door. The deputy ran after him, pulled his gun and fired a shot with his .25 caliber automatic pistol. Dillinger ran down a dead-end alley, with nowhere to run he reluctantly gave up.

Records at Pendleton indicated that Dillinger's behavior was not improving. He was constantly in trouble for gambling; fighting, and was involved in several escape attempts. He was repeatedly placed in solitary confinement for disobeying prison rules. He began to make friends with other inmates, one of which was Harry Pierpont, a bank robber who became a big influence on Dillinger, with his impressing nerve and leadership qualities. He was doing time several bank robberies and an attempted car thief and attempted murder after he shot the owner four times. The man survived and Pierpont was sent to Prison. He was later released, but continued his bank-robbing career until he was captured in Detroit, Michigan and sentenced to the Indiana Reformatory on May 6, 1925. The two became good friends, but before long Pierpont was transferred to Michigan City Penitentiary.

Another friend, was Homer Van Meter, he was serving time for a train robbery. Van Meter had an anchor tattoo on his inner forearm, with a banner containing the word “Hope.” Pierpont couldn't stand Van Meter, but Dillinger liked them both. A few weeks later Van Meter would also be transferred to Michigan City.

In one of John Dillinger’s letters to Beryl written on August 18, 1928, he wrote:

“My dearest wife:
Received your sweet letter Tuesday eve, the only one this week and I’m still waiting for that interview. Gee honey I would like to see you. Hubert wrote last week I would sure like to see him if he wants to come see me let me know and I will send him the carfare. In another letter he wrote:
Dearest we will be so happy when I come home to you and chase your sorrows away…. and it won’t take any kids to keep me home with you always for sweetheart I love you so all I want to do is just be with you and make you happy. I wonder if I will get an interview Monday. I sure hope so for I am drying to see you, darling have some pictures taken every time I see you, you look dearer and sweeter to me so I want late pictures now say rassberries, but honey it’s the truth…. You can imagine what disappointment it was to me when you didn’t come on your birthday. I’ve been crossed as bear ever since…. Lots of love and kisses to the sweetest little wife in the world.”

Dillinger’s wife Beryl would frequently visit him, but her visits began to slow down and eventually stopped. Her letters indicated that things were not going well between the couple. To make matters worse, Audrey; John’s older sister began attacking Beryl for her lack of visits to John. Beryl tried to explain that she was having a hard time acquiring money for car fair, but Audrey refused to listen. The attacks continued until Beryl decided to file for a divorce.

The divorce was granted by Judge Chester Vernon on the grounds that Dillinger incarcerated in the State prison, and unable to provide.
Soon afterwards, Dillinger went before the parole board, and was denied his plea for freedom. During this hearing, Dillinger surprised the board by asking for a transfer to Michigan City Penitentiary. He told the board that Michigan City had a real baseball team, and he wanted to play ball. The odd request was granted, and Dillinger was transferred October 29, 1929, the very same day that the stock market crashed.

Dillinger's reasoning for the transfer to Michigan City was to get back with his old friends Pierpont, Charley Makley, and Van Meter. Michigan City was about a hundred miles further than Pendleton was; this meant fewer visits from family and friends. Michigan City became a school for criminals looking for a career in crime, and John Dillinger became a good student. Through Harry Pierpont, Dillinger would meet professional bank robbers such as John Hamilton, Russell Clark, and Charles Makley. These men would all become future members of the Dillinger gang.

John Hamilton had been involved in several banks in Michigan and Indiana. Hamilton had successfully robbed the Kent State Savings Bank of Grand Rapids, Michigan bank of $22,500 on January 3,1927. A former policeman of Fordson, Michigan, named Raymond Lawrence had also participated in the robbery. Lawrence and Hamilton’s luck finally ran out when they attempted to rob a South Bend State bank in Indiana on March 15. After casing the bank for several days the two made their move. They waited for the janitor Clifton Barton to open the bank doors at 6 a.m.; they forced their way in and bound him.

Then they waited for bank employees to arrive. At 7:30 a.m., Kenneth Shirk, the bookkeeper arrived, and told the bandit’s that the vault couldn’t be opened until 8 a.m. Hamilton and Lawrence both decided the wait would be worth it. As more employees arrived, Hamilton ordered assistant cashier G.M. Broadhurst to let them in. As he did, Broadhurst ran out the door and across the street, where he sounded off an alarm to the Police. The outlaws had $125,000 dollars in their grasp, but fearing capture they decided to flee after the alarm went off. They jumped into a Chevrolet coupe, (stolen prior to the robbery) and drove a short distance where they changed cars. As planned, they jumped into Lawrence’s Nash sedan, and drove to an apartment belonging to William Hamilton, John Hamilton’s brother.
To cover their tracks, the two decided to change the license plates on the car. A neighbor watched them changing the plates; he became suspicious, and contacted the police.

The Police arrested the two without a conflict. When questioned, Hamilton denied any involvement with the robbery. Hamilton finally confessed, after overwhelming evidence from Lawrence’s signed confession, damaging statements made by Mrs. Lawrence, and Hamilton’s wife, and several eyewitnesses from the bank positively identified them as the robbers. Hamilton reluctantly signed a full confession. After the confessions were signed, both women were released.

The very next day Hamilton and Lawrence were sentenced to twenty-five years in prison, the maximum sentence. The policemen who captured the outlaws received one hundred dollars reward, which they donated to the police pension fund. Hamilton went to prison, leaving behind his wife and two small children. Charles Makley had been involved in several bank robberies in Ohio, including the Bank of Linn Glove on March 24, 1927, where two armed bandits made off with two thousand in cash. The bandit’s were apprehended two days later in South Bend, Indiana. They were arrested after they tried to sell a loaded revolver to a restaurant owner, who contacted the authorities. Police realized the two men fit the descriptions of the Linn Grover robbers, and the cashier of the bank soon identified them.

On June 23, 1928, Makley was sentenced to a 10 to 21-year prison term in the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City. Makley’s sister-in-law, Edith Makley, was arrested for her involvement because she had driven the outlaw to the bank. She was released without any charges filed after Makley stated that she had nothing to do with the robbery. Russell Clark was serving time for several robberies, including the robbery of the Huntertown State Bank on December 8, 1927. Clark and an accomplice named Charles Hovious walked into the bank, and asked the cashier, Horace Tucker to change a five-dollar bill. Clark pulled out a .38 caliber double action revolver and told Tucker to “Stick’em up.” They quickly grabbed $1,312 in cash, and headed out the door. As the bandit’s fled, Tucker grabbed a gun out of a desk drawer and opened fire.

A brief gun battle erupted until the outlaws jumped into a nearby car and drove off. As a posse quickly caught up to them, the robbers abandoned their car and fled on foot through the woods. Officers searched the woods for hours before locating Hovious and arrested him without resistance. Clark lasted throughout the night, but was eventually found hiding in a barn where he surrendered. The two bandits were given two consecutive sentences of 15 and 20 years. Hovious was sent to Indiana Reformatory, and Clark was sent to the Indiana State Prison at Michigan City. Dillinger and his new friends began hanging out together trading criminal stories, and exploring the possibilities of future bank robberies.

Sometime in the early nineteen thirties Dillinger was introduced to Walter E. Dietrich, a survivor of the Baron Lamm Gang. Pierpont persuaded Dietrich to reveal the secrets techniques of a famous bank robber named Baron Lamm. Lamm was a Prussian Officer in World War I, who was forced to resign after he was caught cheating in a card game.

Lamm brilliantly put his military skills to use in the bank robbing business. Carefully planning every move step by step, with military precision and timing. The gang pulled off several remarkable robberies until December 16, 1930, when a posse killed Lamm and most of his gang after robbing the Citizens bank in Clinton, Indiana. Dietrich and James Clark (no relation to Russell Clark) were the only survivors of the massacre. There is little known about Dietrich, but records indicate that his life of crime began in Danville, Illinois when he was 14 years old. He had served time in a Missouri prison for robbery, and used the alias’ Walter Dietz, and Walter Martin. Following the Citizens bank robbery, Dietrich’s trial was held in Paris, Illinois and he was sentenced to life in Michigan City on Jan. 2, 1931.

He would be paroled from Michigan City on January 8, 1953.
Pierpont realized that Dillinger would be the first paroled, so he began working on an escape plan. Pierpont told Dillinger to be a model prisoner, which would bring an earlier parole date. Homer Van Meter would actually be the first to be paroled, but because of Pierpont's dislike for the bandit, he would not be included in the plans. After two years of careful planning the escape plan was beginning to take shape. Pierpont’s had plans for the future, which included, as he put it, making a big splash on the outside.

This gathering of criminal minds would one day be crowned the Dillinger gang. Details of the escape plans would be discussed in detail over the next couple of years. Dillinger would be given a list of banks to rob once he was on the outside; the money would be used to finance the escape. Pierpont realized that they would only have one chance, and if anything went wrong, it was over.

The selected inmates, who would participate in the escape, would be those who agreed to go all the way, no turning back. Dietrich explained every ingenious detail of Baron Lamm's scientific methods for bank robberies, and Dillinger was schooled on the ins and outs. He began writing home more often and seemed to be in high spirits, but his relatives didn’t realize is the reasoning behind his happiness. Dillinger was about to embark in one of the biggest bank robbery spree's of the nineteen thirties. Prison systems were designed to rehabilitate inmates, but many prisoners would become violent criminals. Dillinger had gone into prison as an amateur criminal and came out a professional bank robber. The courts had stolen nearly ten years of his life and he had become bitter towards society.

He would graduate from his bank robbing training on the day he was paroled. In early May of 1933, Dillinger heard through the prison grapevine that two hundred citizens of Mooresville had signed a petition for his release. Even B.F. Morgan, the man Dillinger attempted to rob had signed the petition. The community persuaded Judge William’s to help release John Dillinger. The Judge agreed and wrote a letter to the Clemency Board stating that Dillinger had learned his lesson and would make an honorable citizen if paroled. The release papers were signed and Dillinger was to be paroled on May 11, 1933. However, his Parole was date was delayed because prison officials took their time processing the paperwork. Officials were in no hurry, besides Dillinger had already served nearly ten years, so they figured what’s another week? A week to a prisoner about to be paroled would feel like another month.

On May 20, Warden Walter H. Daly received a telegraph from the elder Dillinger.
The telegram asked for John Dillinger’s immediate release, stating that his mother was near death. The Warden responded by informing the elder Dillinger that he could pick up his son, on May 22. John's half brother Hubert was waiting outside prison walls to pick him up. Prison officials gave John a new suit of clothes; he received a five-dollar bill, and a farewell handshake from the Warden. By the time they reached the modern Mooresville farm, there was a hearse parked in the driveway, and John's stepmother had just past away. The delay of Dillinger's release papers had taken away his final moments with his stepmother. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Fields Dillinger was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Less than a month after Lizzie's death, John attended church with his dad on father's day.

The pastor preached the sermon on the Prodigal son, and the sermon took a toll on John, he cried out loud in the church. If the community had any doubts about John, they were now convinced that he would make a good citizen. The good citizens of Mooresville didn't realize that John Dillinger had already made a choice about his future, and had already committed two robberies. During this time, he was keeping in touch with his parole officer, but things would soon change. In a report written to John’s parole officer, he stated that he had been attending to church, and going to the movies. In the same statement, he denies attending any meetings, dances, picnics, or parties. He also states that he has spent time fishing, and swimming. Dillinger was about to embark in a series of robberies.




   June 10, 1933, Robbery of the New Carlisle Bank, in Ohio. Amount stolen: $10,600
   July 17, 1933, Robbery of the Commercial Bank of Daleville, Indiana. Amount stolen: $3,500
   August 4, 1933, Robbery of Montpelier National Bank of Montpelier, Indiana. Amount: $6,700
   August 14, 1933, Robbery of Bluffton Bank, Bluffton, Ohio. Amount: $6,000
   September 6, 1933, Robbery of Massachusetts Avenue       State Bank, Indianapolis, Indiana. Amount: $21,000
   October 23, 1933, Robbery of Central National Bank and Trust Company, at 24 W. Washington Street, Greencastle, Indiana. Amount: $75,346
   November 20, 1933, Robbery of American Bank and Trust Company, Racine, Wisconsin. Amount: $28,000
   December 13, 1933, Robbery of Unity Trust and Savings Bank, Chicago, Illinois. Amount: $8,700
   January 15, 1934, Robbery of First National Bank, East Chicago, Indiana. Amount: $20,000.
   March 6, 1934, Robbery of Securities National Bank and Trust Company, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Amount: $49,500.
   March 13, 1934, Robbery of First National Bank, Mason City, Iowa. Amount: $52,000
   June 30, 1934, Robbery of Merchants National Bank, at 229.S. Michigan Street, South Bend, Indiana. Amount: $29,890


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