Famous Criminals, Victims & Crime Fighters Graves
Top Infamous Graves
Clyde Barrow. Criminal, American Folk Figure. Even though he lived on the edge of the law as a youngster, Clyde Chestnut Barrow’s first crime was not until an auto theft in 1926 at the age of 17. Clyde, one of several sons of a poor East Texas sharecropper, had little formal education, but had learned “street smarts” from teenage gangs in the Dallas, Texas area. At a slim 5’7″ frame with a face of an innocent baby, he was attractive to women. He met his partner in crime and romantic interest, Bonnie Parker, in 1930 while he was on a short parole from jail. They became inseparable. By slipping him a handgun, Bonnie helped him and two other men in a 1932 jailbreak. During the next two years, the couple traveled in a stolen 1932 Ford V8 Sedan from Texas through New Mexico and Oklahoma, to Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana robbing every type of business from banks, hardware stores to gas stations. Along the way, they killed twelve people including nine law enforcement officers in three different states. Kidnapping a man and woman in Louisiana along with stealing another Ford getaway car and transporting it across state lines brought the Federal Bureau of Investigation into the picture. Clyde would just spray a burst of gunfire from his machine gun killing in cold blood without much conscience. During their tour, they were captured by law enforcement at least twice, but escaped each time and continued on the way with their criminal activities. Clyde had several aliases: Roy Bailey, Carl Beaty, J.A. Callahan, Jack Halle, Robert Thomas, Eldin Williams, Elvin Williams. After being released from a Texas penitentiary, Clyde’s older brother Buck and his wife Blanche ganged with the two in their crimes before Buck was killed and Blanche captured by law enforcement. It was on a farm at daybreak in Bienville Parish, Louisiana that couple met their deaths. Bonnie and Clyde were shot and killed in a trap by Texas Rangers and FBI agents in a furry of gunfire. A viewing of their bodies was held in Dallas before they were buried each separate cemeteries. The couple carried a Kodak box camera with them capturing many black and white photos of the them posing in front of a Ford automobile with machine guns in-hand.
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker. Criminal, American Folk Figure. She joined with her boyfriend Clyde Barrow to commit robberies and murders in the American Southwest between 1931 and 1934. Their exploits became highly captivating to the American public, and after their deaths they have become enshrined in American lore as “Bonnie and Clyde”. Born the middle child and oldest daughter of laboring family in Rowena, Texas, after the death of her father in 1914, her mother moved the family to the West Dallas, Texas area called “Cement City.” In her youth, she was known for being kind, an Honor Student and a writer of poetry (and other creative writing endeavors). In 1926, She married high-school sweetheart Roy Thornton. Despite the rocky and sometimes abusive marriage and Roy’s imprisonment in 1929, she remained married to him until she died. To support herself, she worked as a waitress and became friends with future sheriff deputy Ted Hinton (who would ironically take part in gunning her down). In 1930, she met Clyde Barrow when she was unemployed and helping out a mutual friend. When he was arrested shortly after, she smuggled a gun into the prison to help him escape. When he was rearrested, and released two years later, she decided to join him as an outlaw. After their notorious crime sprees, they were eventually stopped when Law Enforcement Officials ambushed their car and killed both in a hail of bullets not too far away from their Louisiana hideout. Before her death, she sent the reporters her infamous “Story (or Ballard) of Bonnie and Clyde.”
Lizzie Borden. Alleged Murderess. At the age of 32 she was accused of the double homicide of her father and stepmother. On August 4, 1892, Andrew Borden and his second wife Abby (Durfee) Borden were killed in their family home at 92 Second Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. Although it was Mr. Borden that was the initial victim discovered, Mrs. Borden died first at approximately 9AM from receiving 19 blows with a heavy bladed object in an upstairs bedroom to be followed by her husband who is estimated to have been killed two hours later by receiving 11 blows with a similar weapon. No murder weapon was officially confirmed however a “handleless hatchet” later discovered to be tainted with cow’s blood spurned the conception of Lizzie Borden as an ax murderess. The murders have never been solved and due to extensive media coverage (Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial made world news and was followed by the media daily in media across the country and the world) and horrific nature of the crime this case has gone down in history as being a fascination to academians and amateur sleuths alike. Many movies, plays and books have explored various theories as to the identity of the killer. The only person to ever be arrested and stand trial, however, was Lizzie Borden herself. She and her sister Emma lived in the house with their stepmother, father and maid, Bridget Sullivan. While Andrew Borden was a very wealthy and successful man, he chose to keep his homestead in a less fashionable part of town to be closer to his business holdings. This fostered the idea to the “polite society” of the day that the Bordens, despite their affluence, were not quite the upper crust. With two unmarried daughters, many thought the situation some what less than idyllic; two single daughters should have a bit more to offer as far as social position to secure a good marriage. While some feel that the family situation was enough of a motive for one of the daughters to kill one or both of the parents, it was not proven to be as such at the trial. On August 6, 1892, the day that Andrew and Abby were put to rest in Fall River’s Oak Grove Cemetery, Mayor John Coughlin announced that Lizzie Borden is a suspect. Following a grueling two-day inquest from August 9th to the 11th, she was arrested. Arraigned the next day, she pleaded “not guilty” and started her long stay at the Taunton Jail awaiting the seemingly endless process until her trial. During her incarceration, preliminary hearings and convening of the grand jury occurred before her indictment was official in December of 1892. Her infamous trial took place in the Bristol County Courthouse in New Bedford, Massachusetts and included testimony from such key witnesses as Bridget Sullivan, the housekeeper, Lizzie’s uncle, John Vinnicum Morse (brother of Lizzie and Emma’s birth mother Sarah Morse Borden), busybody neighbors such as Alice Russell, Dr. Seabury Bowen (the family doctor) and a slew of others who offered nothing more than what was to be determined as circumstantial evidence and hearsay. Lizzie Borden’s biggest gaffes during the trial would be admitting the strained but cordial relationship she held with her stepmother (to whom she exclusively referred to as “Mrs. Borden”) and changing the locations of her whereabouts at the times of the murders. She was a nervous, scattered inconstant witness who proclaimed her innocence throughout the ordeal. The trial lasted from June 5, 1893, and the jury reached a verdict on June 20. In 15 days, she was acquitted. Upon hearing the verdict Lizzie Borden simply stated, “Please take me home, I wish to go home now.” While she was found innocent by the jury, polite society condemned and shunned her. She moved to “Maplecroft” a house in the “Highlands” portion of Fall River (a more upscale section of town) with her sister Emma and despite sharing the dwelling, Lizzie and Emma never spoke again. She was noted to “take up” with theater people (considered very low class in that era) and was especially fond of actress Nance O’Neill who lived out her years as her companion. Lizzie Borden is remembered most by the school yard rhyme which erroneously states: “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks, when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one”. From the lips of schoolchildren to the mouths of scholars, this case has lived on in history as the most fascinating, gruesome, unsolved murder in Fall River History and that of Victorian America.
John Wilkes Booth. Presidential Assassin. An acclaimed Shakespearean stage actor, he assassinated 16th United States President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Born in Bel Air, Maryland, he was the 10th child of Junius Brutus Booth, and English-born stage actor who had gained fame for his dramatic Shakespearean roles first in England, then in the United States. John Wilkes Booth followed in his father’s profession, debuting on stage at age 17. He soon became nationally renowned for his acting abilities, and became part of a touring Shakespearean company based in Richmond, Virginia. By the time of the Civil War he had become one of the most famous theatre figures in the United States. A Southern-rights supporter and sympathizer, he was strongly opposed to the Abolitionist movement, and became a Confederate agent after the war began, using his position as a national touring actor to smuggle quinine into southern hands. He was outspoken with his devotion to the South, and his virulent distain for President Lincoln and the North. In 1864 he formulated a plan to kidnap the President, but it did not go beyond any talking and planning stages by the time Abraham Lincoln was re-elected in November 1864. After that point the plot changed from kidnapping to assassination. During this period he would recruit the figures that would be forever linked to the Lincoln Assassination – Samuel Arnold, Michael O’Laughlen, Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and John Surratt. They often met at the boarding house of John Surratt’s mother, Mary Surratt. The plan coalesced after President Lincoln’s 2nd Inauguration, fueled by Booth’s increasing hatred of the President, especially in the face of comments Lincoln made about granting suffrage to the freed slaves. On April 14, 1865, while President Lincoln was attending a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, Booth leveled a single shot derringer pistol at the back of Lincoln’s head and fired, mortally wounded him. He then jumped from the Presidential Box on to the stage, infamously shouting “Sic Semper Tyrannis!” (“Thus Always to Tyrants!”). He escaped on a previous placed horse, and became the subject of the largest manhunt in American history up to that point, especially after President Lincoln died the next morning. Hunted though Maryland and Virginia, he kept a diary, using it to justify his actions. On April 26, 1865 he and fellow conspirator David Herold were caught and trapped in a barn on the Garrett Family Farm in Port Royal, Virginia, by a detachment of the 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry. After the barn was set ablaze, he was shot and mortally wounded by Sergeant Boston Corbett, dying a few hours later. The body was later taken to Washington, DC, where it was positively identified as John Wilkes Booth by ten people who knew him intimately. Originally interred at the Washington Arsenal, in 1869 the remains were released to the family, and they were interred in the family lot in Baltimore, Maryland’s Green Mount Cemetery, where they lie in an unmarked grave. Theories later would be expounded that Booth did not die in the Garrett Barn, and lived into old life anonymously. Modern day legal efforts to exhume the remains for DNA testing and identification were eventually rejected. John Wilkes Booth’s older brother, Edwin Booth, became renown in his own right in the 19th century as an acclaimed tragedian actor, and had clashed so frequently with his brother over the issues involved in the Civil War that John Wilkes was banished from his brother’s house.
Lee Harvey Oswald. Accused Assassin of 35th US President John F. Kennedy. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Robert Edward Lee Oswald and Marguerite Claverie. His father died of a sudden heart attack, and Lee was raised by a succession of step-fathers. Growing up, he was considered a loner, not very good academically, and dropped out of high school when he was 15. When he was 16, he took an interest in Communism, and applied to join the Socialist Party of America, but nothing came of the application. In 1956, he joined the United States Marine Corps, and was trained as an Aircraft Maintenance Repairman (despite stories to the contrary, he never learned to fire his rifle as an “expert” and was never trained as a sniper). He was stationed in El Toro MCAS, California, and Atsugi MCAS, Japan (near Tokyo). He was court-martialed twice, once for keeping a private weapon (pistol) in his locker without permission, and once for assaulting an NCO. During this period, he remained a loner, and upon receiving his discharge in 1959, he used his savings to travel to Russia. After the assassination of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963, he shot Dallas Police Officer J.D. Tippit, killing him. Arrested for the death of Officer Tippit, and later charged with the death of President Kennedy, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby in the Dallas Police Station on live television, an act that shocked the already stunned nation. Despite the fact that the later Warren Commission declared that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy, and he acted alone, many conspiracies about the assassination abound to the present day.
John Herbert Dillinger. Criminal. He was made an outlaw hero during the depths of the Depression by Americans mired in financial ruin, loss of hope and simply frustrated by desperation brought on by the times. He was hardly a “Robin Hood” figure envisioned by the public. John was a cold-blooded killer. In one year, September 1933- July 1934, he and his violent gang terrorized the midwest, killing 10 men, wounding seven, robbing banks and even police arsenals to replenish arms and ammunition needs. While staging three jail breaks, a sheriff was killed and two guards seriously wounded. He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to a grocer. He quit school at an early age and obtained a job at a machine shop. He was soon in trouble after an auto theft. John enlisted in the Navy but deserted his ship in Boston, returned home and married a seventeen year old. Unable to find employment, he robbed a grocer. Apprehended, he received a harsh sentence. Upon release, his criminal career fully blossomed culminating in absolute infamy. He and his gang robbed banks across Ohio and Indiana. With his captures, then escapes, more robbing and killing followed, all reported gleefully by newspapers. Then; Dillinger made the mistake that would cost him his life. He stole a sheriff’s car which was a federal offense actively involving the FBI. They tracked him and his gang. Finally after a shoot out, wounded, he fled to Mooresville, Indiana and stayed with his father until his wound healed. Returned to health, more robberies and shootouts ensued. Finally, the madam of a brothel in Gary, Indiana came forth giving information with a promise of a reward that would lead FBI agents to the fatal theater in Chicago where the infamous career of John Dillinger was terminated. He was struck by four shots and taken by ambulance to the nearby Alexian Brothers Hospital where a pronouncement was made. The embalmed body of Dillinger was transported to Mooresville, Indiana, his adopted home town, accompanied by a vertical caravan of automobiles. A wake was held at the home of his sister in nearby Maywood. A public viewing of the body was held in the front parlor where friends and hundreds of curious filed past. On the day of his burial at Crown Hill Cemetery, the entrance was a mass of humanity with near riotous conditions and the crowd assaulted reporters and smashed cameras. Threats and even a note was left at the covered grave in the family plot vowing vengeance for his death. His grave became a number one destination of tourist. Marker after marker were erected, all needed replacement as souvenir hunters chipped away until nothing was left. A 3 ft slab of reinforced concrete was poured over the grave to discourage robbers. Memorials to Dillinger still abound: The Allen County Museum, Lima, Ohio, where the Sheriff was killed, has an exhibit with a reconstructed jail cell showing where Dillinger was held and even Sheriff Sarber personal pistol is there. A gangster theme restaurant called Dillinger’s, thrives in Hudson, Indiana. Plaques and markers are numerous across Ohio and Indiana marking connections to the outlaw. In Chicago alone, more than 50 sites have been tied to him including the Barrel o’Fun Tavern, first meeting place of his girlfriend, and two bordellos run by the madam who had betrayed him. A new word has been coined: Dillinger, a descriptive word indicating a criminal lifestyle.
Famous Western Outlaws / Cowboy Graves
O.K. Corral Fight in Tombstone, Arizona
Billy Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury Graves
Billy Clanton. American Folk Figure. Billy Clanton was a reluctant combatant in the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona. When becoming knowledgeable about the intentions of his older brother Ike to foster a confrontation with city lawmen, he attempted to calm him then persuade him to leave town. Unsuccessful, he would stay and participate in the gunfight while witnessing his brother fleeing from the scene after starting the altercation before dying in a hail of bullets. The number of participants and the manner the shoot out unfolded has propelled the event into the forefront of lore, myth and folk tales of the lawless American west. All of the members involved became legendary due to the enormous publicity generated by books, newspapers and periodicals printing stories, most mainly fabricating mere fiction. Hollywood movie makers cranked out numerous films with dubious and embellished scenes. The conflict was the result of suspicion by Tombstone Marshal Wyatt Earp that the Clanton family and their associates were a gang engaged in rustling and then selling stolen cattle plus the belief that they had stolen one of his horses. On the side of law was the three Earp brothers…Wyatt, special deputies Virgil and Morgan with Doc Holliday. The opposition was the Clanton family… Billy and Ike, McLaury brothers Tom and Frank with Billy Claiborne. Facts and results of the shoot out…McLaury family members Tom and Frank were killed as was Clanton family member Billy. They were embalmed and placed on display in the window of a Tombstone hardware store in an attempt to generate sympathy and initiate murder and malfeasance charges against the Earp’s. Both the Clanton and McLaury families were prosperous cattle ranchers and well known in the area. The funeral for the threesome would be a major event in the Arizona boom town and their interment in the town cemetery was attended by hundreds of sympathetic mourners. The McLaury brothers were placed in a single grave with Billy nearby. The casualties on the side of the law were Special Deputies Morgan Earp, wounded in both shoulders and Virgil shot in the right calf while Doc Holliday was only grazed on his hip. Billy was the youngest of three Clanton brothers born into a family of six in Hamilton County, Texas during the civil war to Newman Hayes and Mariah Kelso Clanton. Billy was the youngest of seven children and at age three the family began a relatively nomadic existence with a move to Fort Bowie in the Arizona Territory and quickly uproot and move to Ventura, California. At his age of nine, the family was now living in Port Hueneme, California then his father would move his entire family back to Arizona with a plan of starting his own farming community in the Gila Valley. He would call the site Clantonville and actively farm while trying to entice others to settle here. This venture would end up in failure with the family splitting and the oldest son would move back to California while those remaining would move down the San Pedro River to Lewis Spring near Charleston. The site would become known as the Clanton Ranch and Billy now fifteen would help his father construct a large adobe house. Wyatt Earp apprehended Billy at age eighteen, riding his stolen horse in Charleston. The incident was resolved peacefully with the animal retrieved by his legal owner. In the summer prior to the shoot out, “Old Man” Clanton was ambushed and killed in New Mexico by Mexicans for his involvement in horse stealing. The Clanton family was now without their father and son Ike would became the chief member. The gunfight began in a vacant lot in Tombstone after the lawmen open fire on the McLaury brothers Tom and Frank along with Billy Clanton. The brothers were killed but Billy mortally wounded, was taken to a nearby house where he received some medical treatment before passing away. Interesting stuff about the O.K. Corral area…The name was conceived by movie makers. Much of Tombstone remains today except for a sizable area which burned years ago and a few thousand people call it home. The town sprang up after silver was discovered nearby. It derived its name from the first of the successful mines that operated in the area. Boot Hill cemetery originated in 1878 was the burial place of some 250 early settlers before being closed in 1884. During its period of neglected abandonment, it lost many of its original markers and the location of graves. After extensive research the historic cemetery was slowly restored and replica markers were posted as close as possible to the actual graves. It is located on State Hwy 80. Boot Hill cemetery is often confused with the Tombstone Cemetery. This burial place was begun after the closing of Boot Hill and is located on Allen Street some distance from the business area. It also is the burial place of many early residents. A distant relative of Old Man Clanton claims to have pinpointed the actual location of the Clanton ranch some thirteen miles from Tombstone on the San Pedro River. A small portion of the adobe house which Billy helped construct remains standing. However, the purported graves of Mariah, the mother of Billy and her son Ike are nowhere to be found. Charlestown is located ten miles from Tombstone on the San Pedro River and today is a ghost town in a protected area. A few adobe ruins remain.
Frank McLaury. Old West Figure. Frank McLaury was born in New York in 1848 and moved to Iowa with his family while still a child. Frank had 13 siblings and half-siblings. His older brother William studied law and later became a judge. Both younger brothers Frank and Tom also both studied law. In 1878 they moved to Hereford, Arizona where the brothers met the successful cattle ranchers, the Clanton family. There is little evidence Frank McLaury himself ever participated in illegal acts, but due to his friends he was often guilty by association. His friends were what really placed him on the opposite side of the Earps. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral is actually believed to be Frank’s first violent confrontation. On October 26, 1881, the McLaury brothers were in Tombstone to conclude a cattle deal. Tensions between the Earps and Cowboys had escalated. Ike Clanton had been cited earlier in the day for carrying a weapon in town, after which Tom McLaury had arrived to get Ike. Wyatt Earp and McLaury had a heated exchange. Later that day the Clantons and McLaurys, along with Billy Claiborne, faced off against the Earps and Doc Holiday in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Some witnesses testified that Frank and Billy Clanton drew their weapons first, while others loyal to the Cowboys supported their version of events in which Tom opened his coat to show he was unarmed. The Earps and Holiday killed Frank and Tom McLaury along with Billy Clanton. Their brother William McLaury spent most of his finances in pursuing charges against the Earps and Doc Holliday. William fought to clear the brothers name and have the Earps and Holliday punished. William reported that brother Tom had $3,000 on him because the brothers and Billy Clanton were to move to Fort Worth, Texas to be with him and that their presence in Tombstone that day was strictly for business reasons. But, no one will ever know the absolute truth.
Tom McLaury. Old West Figure. Born in Kortright, New York the tenth of eleven children of attorney Robert Houston and Margaret Rowland McClaughry. In 1855 the family moved to Belle Plaine, Iowa where the siblings attended a local common school. In 1878, he and his brother Frank moved to Hereford, Arizona, where they built an adobe and settled down. The 1880 US Census, Pima County, listed the brothers as Frank, age 31, head of the house, with the occupation of “Stock Raiser.” Tom, age 27, also listed as “Stock Raiser.” Rumors arose that indicated at least some of their stock was stolen. It was at this time that the brothers became friends and associates of the Clanton family. On October 25th, 1881 Tom, with Ike Clanton rode into Tombstone, Clanton began drinking heavily, while the pair played poker with Johnny Behan and Virgil Earp. When the game folded, Clanton was advised to sleep it off by Earp, but he continued drinking, spreading the word around town that his cowboys were gunning for the Earps. The two groups ran into conflict the following day behind the OK Corral. After an exchange of gunfire, three men were dead. The coroner’s verdict concerning events of that day stated: “William Clanton, Frank and Thomas McLowery, came to their deaths in the town of Tombstone on October 26, 1881, from the effects of pistol and gunshot wounds inflicted by Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Wyatt Earp and one – Holliday, commonly called “Doc” Holliday.” A funeral procession began late in the afternoon of the following day with a brass band in the lead. Two hearses carried Clanton and the McLaury brother’s to the cemetery. They were accompanied by about 300 people on foot, about 25 carriages and buggies and one four-horse stage. The McLaury brothers were interred together.
Doc Holliday. American Western Frontier Figure. A gunfighter and professional gambler, he is remembered for his friendship with Wyatt Earp and his involvement in the notorious Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona that resulted in the killing of three members of the Cochise County Cowboys, a loosely associated group of outlaw cowboys in Pima and Cochise County in the Arizona Territory
Kid Curry. Western Outlaw. Born in Tama County, Iowa, he was an orphaned cowboy who grew up to be a rustler, gunman, bank and train robber. In the early 1880s, along with his brothers Logan was on a cattle drive to Colorado when due to trouble with the law headed to Wyoming. Soon he was located on a horse ranch in Montana, when he was in a confrontation with a miner who he shot and killed. He fled to New Mexico, where he joined Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum’s gang and robbed trains in 1886. In April, 1897, he formed his own gang and was involved in the killing of Deputy Sheriff at Powder River, Wyoming, where they were rustling horses. His gang robbed a bank in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, were captured and jailed but soon escaped. Moving on he hooked up with the Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch gang and robbed the Union Pacific Railroad overland flyer in Wyoming, in June 1899. Logan went with Butch Cassidy to New Mexico, robbed trains, rustled cattle and in a gun battle killed Sheriff Ed Farr at Turkey Creek. On the run again, he formed up with members of the Wild Bunch gang in May 1900, he killed Grand County Sheriff John Tyler and his deputy Sam Jenkins in fight at Moab, Utah. With the gang, he robbed a train near Tipton, Wyoming, in August 1900 and returned north robbed a Union Pacific train near Wagner, Montana, in June 1901. The gang split up, going the various directions, but Logan remained in the territory seeking revenge when he shot and killed outlaw Jim Winters, who had killed his brother John back in 1896. He then headed to Tennessee, where he was passing bad banks notes and when they tried to apprehend him, he shot and killed a Knoxville policeman in December 1901. Convicted of multiple charges, he was sentenced to prison and escaped from jail on June 27, 1903. On June 7, 1904, he participated in robbing the Denver & Rio Grande train near Parachute, Colorado. Two days later, a posse caught up with the outlaws and rather than go to prison, Logan took his own life at age 37.
Kit Dalton. American Frontier Outlaw. Born in Kentucky during the Civil War, he fought for the Confederacy and served as a Captain in William Quantrill’s Raiders. After the war he rode with Cole Younger, Jesse and Frank James, committing a series of robberies through out Kentucky and Tennessee. Five territory governors had set a price upon the head of Kit Dalton of $50,000 for his capture dead or alive, but he was never captured. He also rode as a member of outlaw Sam Bass’ gang in Texas until Bass was shot and killed. After the 1882 Kentucky trials which Frank James and the remaining Dalton gang members were charged and proved innocent resulted in an agreement by the Government in which the slate was wiped clean, Kit Dalton returned to civil life. He made a profession of religion and was a member of the Central Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, when he died.
Elmer McCurdy. Sideshow outlaw. A notorious outlaw in the early 20th century, who’s events in death have become more famous then anything he did in life. He was born in 1880 to an unwed teenage mother whose family gave infant Elmer to her brother George and his wife to raise. He was later told the news which he did not take well. He began to drink heavily and eventually ran away. He tried several jobs working as a plumber and a miner and even tried to enlist to go in Theodore Roosevelt’s occupation of The Philippines. McCurdy missed the expiration dated and didn’t get to go. His tour of duty in the Army lasted only three years. After leaving the Army, McCurdy had no luck finding work and tried making his fortune as a robber. He and friend Walter Shapelrock were arrested for possession of tools used for burglary. Awaiting trial he met a man named Walter Jarrett. After being found not guilty, McCurdy was released and met up with Jarrett. Jarrett gave McCurdy the nickname “Missouri McCurdy. The two were not very successful as bank robbers, often blowing up the money with the nitroglycerin used to blast open the safe. In 1911, the two tried to to steal the safe from a Kansas train. The safe contained only a few dollars so taking their meager shipment, the gang headed into Oklahoma where McCurdy would meet his match. On October 8th, drunk and in need of rest, he fell asleep in a barn and later awoke to find that a small posse had tracked him down. Holing himself inside the barn he shot it out with the posse for better then an hour. When the shooting stopped, McCurdy was dead at the age of 31. No family or friends came to claim the body and the undertaker refused to give the body to the sideshow carnies who asked to have it for display. Sometime later two con men (one claiming to be his brother) showed up and claimed it and took it back to California where they encased it in painted wax. McCurdy was an outlaw doomed to fade into historical obscurity until his story took a bizarre twist some 65 years later. In 1976, a film crew went to Nu Pike Amusement Park in Long Beach, California to film an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man. One of the technicians came across a wax dummy hanging from a rope. Trying to move it, the arm came off and sticking out of the wax was a bone. The dummy was taken to a forensics laboratory for an autopsy but it was so petrified that the doctors had to use a hacksaw to get through it. They learned that this was in fact the body of Elmer McCurdy and that he had died of a .32 caliber gunshot wound. He was soon after buried in a formal ceremony and cement covered the coffin of a man who’s body had made a 65 year journey to the grave.
Bill Doolin. American Western Frontier Outlaw. The exact date of his birth has been lost over time and the date of his death, while not a true controversy, is listed as August 25th as often as August 24th, but the year is definitely 1896. At the age of 23, he left his sharecropping family in Arkansas and moved to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and went to work as a cowboy on a ranch. After some scrapes with the law, he joined the notorious Dalton Gang, known as the “most cold-blooded gang in the west.” The Daltons were led by brothers Bob, Grat, Emmett, and later Bill Dalton. Over the next year Doolin rode with the Daltons as they robbed trains, depots, and banks in the Indian Territory. In October of 1892, the Daltons made a decision to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville. Not everyone, including Doolin, thought this to be a good idea as many of the members were known by citizens of Coffeyville and it was a risky proposition. Riding toward Coffeyville, Doolin claimed that his horse had come up lame and that he was going to a nearby ranch to replace it, saying he would catch up with the gang. Some historians claim it was just a way to get out of joining the gang in a robbery that he felt was doomed to failure. If so, he was right. The poorly planned, poorly executed attempt was recognized as a bank robbery by the local citizens and in a big shootout only Emmett Dalton escaped. Following this failure, Doolin formed his own gang which became known as the “Wild Bunch.” For a period of time they were the most powerful gang in the southwest and terrorized southern Kansas and the Indian Territory. In July of 1893, E D Nix was appointed US Marshall for the Indian Territory under the jurisdiction of Judge Isaac Parker. Nix immediately put together a strong force of 100 deputies, including Bill Tilghman, Heck Thomas, and Chris Madsen. They were to bring law and order to the territory. In August of 1893, Nix learned that Doolin was in Ingalls, Indian Territory and sent a deputy and13 man posse to capture him. Most historians consider it the biggest shoot out in southwest history and on September 1st three marshals were killed, two bystanders were killed and one wounded, three of the gang members were wounded and Arkansas Tom Jones was wounded and captured. Doolin was wounded but shot and killed Deputy Marshal Richard Speed and escaped with several of his men. Hearing that Doolin was in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Bill Tilghman was sent to arrest him and he did so. Unfortunately, the night before his trial was to begin, Doolin and several inmates escaped from the Guthrie, Oklahoma federal prison. Heck Thomas received word that Doolin was hiding at his father-in-laws homestead near Lawson, Oklahoma. On the night of August 24 (or 25), 1896, Thomas and nine deputies, including his son Albert, surrounded the place and when Doolin came out of the barn Thomas called for him to surrender. Instead he shot at Thomas and the posse in turn shot and killed Doolin. The fatal shot was probably a shotgun blast from Heck Thomas. Once again controversy springs up and there are several versions of what happened in the shooting and whose shotgun killed him. The undertaker counted twenty buckshot wounds in his chest. One story says he died of natural causes and the posse shot him to collect the reward. By the end of 1898, all of the remaining former Wild Bunch gang were dead, killed in various shootouts with lawmen. Heck Thomas had tracked most of them; the remainder were tracked down and eliminated by lawmen Chris Madsen and Bill Tilghman, and other posses.
Harry Orchard. Bomb slayer of scores of men in mine labor violence. Pleaded guilty to the dynamite slaying of former Idaho Gov. Frank Steunenberg in 1905. He was sentenced to hang, but the sentence was commuted to life. He was converted to Christianity, and wrote the book, “Harry Orchard: The Man God Made Again.”
Seth Bullock. Western Folk Figure. He arrived in Helena, Montana in 1867 and was later elected as a Republican member of the Territorial Senate of Montana in 1871 to 1872. He also introduced a resolution that prompted Congress to establish Yellowstone National Park. In 1873, he was elected Sheriff of Montana territory in Lewis and Clark County. In 1876, he followed the gold rush to Deadwood, South Dakota, opened a hardware store and a horse ranch. Befriending Wild Bill Hickok and after Hickok’s death in August 1876, which triggered a growing demand for law and order, resulted in Bullock’s appointment as the first Sheriff of Deadwood. As Sheriff, he was called upon to settle various disputes but never had to resort to killing anyone while serving as chief lawman. As a established citizen in the community he built the Bullock Hotel in 1895, which is still in use today. During the Spanish-American War 1898, he volunteered for active service in the Cavalry and was the Captain of Troop A in Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders Regiment. Roosevelt, as the newly elected Vice President under McKinley, appointed Bullock as the first Forest Supervisor of the Black Hills Reserve. Invited to Roosevelt’s own presidential inaugural in 1905, Bullock startled citizens by recruiting 50 young cowboys, including Tom Mix, to ride their horses in the inaugural parade. Roosevelt’s death came as a personal blow to Bullock, he erected a monument to Roosevelt made of native Black Hills stone on mountain near Deadwood, renamed the peak Mount Roosevelt and it was formally dedicated on July 4, 1919. He passed away in his own motel and it has been reported that his ghost still wanders the hallways of his old hotel at 633 Main Street in Deadwood. Seth Bullock is one of the pivotal characters in the HBO historical fiction series DEADWOOD.
Buffalo Bill Cody. Western Frontiersman, Entertainer, Indian Wars Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient.. Born in Scott County, Iowa, his family moved to Kansas when he was eight. When his father died in 1857, young Bill rode a mule as a messenger for a freight company. The next year, he dropped out of school, and began making trips west with wagon trains, looking after the livestock and driving a team of horses for the trains. In 1860 to 1861 he rode on the mail route for the short-lived Pony Express Company, carrying mail from San Francisco, California to St. Joseph, Missouri, and back. During the Civil War, William Cody joined a Jayhawk group, fighting the Confederacy via guerilla style raids in the South, and later served as a Union scout. After the war, he started a hotel in Kansas, but soon sold it to start a freight company, which went out of business when the Indians captured his wagons and horses. After doing some railroad construction work, he became a buffalo hunter, supplying buffalo meat to the railroad gangs building the Transcontinental Railroad. It is said that he killed 4,000 buffalo in just 18 months. His skill with a rifle earned him his lifelong nickname “Buffalo Bill.” In 1868 to 1872, he served as a civilian scout for the United States Army, during the Indian Campaigns. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872 for gallantry in action in a battle with Indians on the Platte River, but it was revoked in 1917 because he was not a member of the military at the time the award was made. His family refused to give it back (Medals of Honor are technically the property of the United States Government), and in 1989 his Medal was restored to him. In late 1883, he formed up a “Wild West” Circus to tour the United States and Europe. The show included mock Indian battles and demonstrations of shooting skill, and became one of the widest known and successful entertainment endeavors in the late 19th and early 20 Centuries. After 1894, Cody moved to a ranch in northwestern Wyoming, but died while visiting Denver.
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. Western Figure. Born in Troy Grove, near Ottawa, Illinois, he took part in the Kansas struggle preceding the Civil War, was a driver of the Butterfield stage line, and gained fame as a gunfighter. He was an assistant station tender for the Pony Express at the Rock Creek, Nebraska station. He served as a Union scout in the Civil War. After the war he became deputy United States Marshal at Fort Riley (1866), Marshal of Hays, Kansas (1869), and Marshal of Abilene (1871). His reputation as a marksman in desperate encounters with outlaws made him a frontier legend. Hickok once shot and killed his own deputy in error, which was the downfall of his career as a lawman. After a tour of the East with Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show(1872 to 1873), he went to Deadwood, South Dakota where he was murdered by Jack McCall while playing cards at the #10 Saloon. The hand Hickok had held, a pair of Aces and a pair of Eights, thereafter became known as “The Dead Man’s Hand.”
Martha Jane “Calamity Jane” Canary. American Frontierswoman. She is best remembered for her association with famous Western lawman, scout, and gunfighter, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.
Jesse James. American Frontier Outlaw. He was born Jesse Woodson James in Kearney, Missouri to Baptist minister Reverend Robert and Zerelda James and the younger brother of James. His father heeding a calling left for California with the intent of preaching to gold miners but contracted cholera and died. He is buried in an unmarked lost grave in Placerville. By the time Jesse was eight, his mother had remarried twice more. From the third marriage, he gained two stepbrothers and two stepsisters. As a youth, he was churchgoer, baptized at the Kearney Baptist Church and sang in the choir wanting to emulate his father and become a Baptist preacher. Jesse had very little formal education but was skilled with horses and a natural leader. When but fifteen, he followed his brother James into the ranks of Quantrill’s Raiders. After the war ended, he attempted to surrender at Lexington, Missouri and gain amnesty along with his brother Frank, Cole Younger and others but a gun battle ensured. The remnants of the “Raiders” were forced to hide out in the woods. With no means of livelihood, the James-Younger gang came into being. For the next fifteen years they robbed banks and when security made that difficult, they turned to stagecoaches and trains. After the failed disastrous attempt to rob the bank in Northfield, Minnesota, many of the gang member were wounded and captured, However, Jesse slipped away and lived quietly in St. Joseph Missouri under an assumed name. Two of his gang members were tempted by a reward for his capture dead or alive. They went to his house and while his back was turned, Robert Ford shot him one time in the back of the head. His mother had him buried in the front yard of the James Farm with an imposing monument with a inscription condemning the assassin. The house in St Joseph where Jesse met his death is preserved and is the epitome of morbidity. Here you can see the bullet hole made as it passed thought the skull of Jesse. The structure is filled with James memorabilia. The house was actually moved here after being saved from the jaws of demolition. Now more has been added. Artifacts from the controversial exhumation of 1995. A bullet from his right lung stemming from an old civil War injury, the tie tack he was wearing when first buried and fragments of wood, the handles and the glass fragments from the coffin front piece grace a glass cabinet. Jesse James boyhood home today remains relatively secluded in the countryside near the small town of Kearney. After Zerelda’s third and very successful marriage to her neighbor a country doctor, the two farms became one and was very prosperous with several slaves doing most of the work. After the death of her son, a defiant mother sat on the front porch giving tours of the house and selling stones from the grave and supposed pistols owned by her famous son. It was here Union soldiers harassed the family known as confederate sympathizers and attacked Zerelda and tried to hang her third husband. The incident defined young Jessie’s determination to join the Confederate army. It was here Pinkerton detectives threw an incendiary bomb into the residence killing a younger step brother and maiming Zerelda. After her death and Jesse’s wife, his body was moved from the farm to the family plot in Mount Olivet Cemetery Kearney and interred beside her. Frank James in his old age kept up the tours by charging 50 cents until his death. Clay County purchased the rundown property and after two restorations, 75 percent of the original material remains. It contains original furnishings. The James home is perhaps one of the most authentic birthplace sites in America today. Now, the Clay County government at the Jesse James Farm and Museum is still selling pebbles for 25 cents along with shirts, books and toys. The Jesse James Bank Museum, formerly the Clay County Savings Assoc., located on the historic square in Liberty, Missouri, was the site of the nation’s first successful daylight peacetime bank robbery on February 13, 1866, when the James-Younger gang robbed the bank of $60,000 in cash, gold and negotiable instruments. During their getaway, they shot and killed an innocent bystander, 17-year old college student, George C. Wymore, who was standing across the street.
Charlie Pearce. Outlaw. Born about 1866 or 1867, Pierce was a member of the Dalton and later Doolin Gangs. After an unsuccesful stint at racing horses, Pierce turned outlaw. His first arrest was for whisky peddling. He served a one year sentence at the Ft Smith prison. Following his release he joined the Dalton Gang. Pierce missed the Dalton Gangs final robbery and destruction at Coffeyville. When Bill Doolin formed his gang, Pierce was one of the first members. Pierce was identified as participating in several train robberies with the Doolin Gang. With a $5000 reward offer on him, Pierce attempted to hide out at the Dunn brothers’ ranch near Pawnee Oklahoma. For the reward money, the Dunn brothers ambushed and killed Pierce and Bitter Creek Newcomb, his friend and fellow outlaw.
John Baker “Texas Jack” Omohundro. Folk Figure, Actor. A former scout, Confederate soldier, newspaper correspondent and pop figure of his day, “Texas Jack” Omohundro was a friend of William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok. In 1872, Texas Jack and Buffalo Bill, both famous figures from dozens of dime novels, created a stage show featuring the well-known scouts as live actors. Popular dime novel writer Ned Buntline wrote the first script for “Scouts of The Prairie” in about four hours; Wild Bill Hickok later joined the show. Just a month before his 34th birthday, Texas Jack got pneumonia and died in the thriving mining town of Leadville, Colorado. “Texas Jack” was posthumously elected to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, and received the Wrangler Award in the Hall of Great Western Performers for his career as both a working cowboy and actor.
Henry Weston Smith. Folk Figure. During his life time, he was a Civil War soldier, doctor, prospector, and, most of all, he was a preacher for practically all his adult life. He was first married in 1847, but his wife and child both died within a year. He became a Methodist preacher at the age of 23 while still living in Connecticut. In 1859 he married for the second time and had four children. He moved to Massachusetts and joined the states 52nd Infantry during the Civil War. After the war he became a doctor. But he felt a higher calling and in 1876 he relocated to the Black Hills of South Dakota to minister to the miners of the gold rush. He walked beside a wagon train from Cheyenne, Wyoming to become the first preacher on any denomination in the Black Hills. On May 7, 1876, he held the first church services ever in the hills in Custer City, South Dakota, the first town in the hills. He had a congregation of 29 men and five women. After preaching there again the following week, he was once more walking beside a wagon train. This time his destination was Deadwood. The streets of Deadwood became his church and he usually could be found preaching in front of one of the stores. To make ends meet, he did a little prospecting and worked a few odd jobs. Worldly wealth was never an objective for Smith. After church on August 20, 1876, he tacked a note on the door of his cabin that said, “Gone to Crook City to preach, and if God is willing, will be back at three o’clock.” A local resident discovered his murdered body alongside the road to Crook City. He had not been robbed and there was debate about his killer (s). Some thought Indians, some thought thieves in spite of the lack of robbery, and some thought saloon people who were unhappy with his conversion of sinners. His body was returned to Deadwood and a member of his flock performed the service. He was buried in a hillside grave, but later relocated to the Mount Mariah Cemetery. In 1914, a large monument was erected alongside highway 85 near the place he fell. A highway improvement program in 1995 required the monument to be relocated. A new monument was constructed and on August 20th, 119 years to the day of his death, the new Preacher Smith Monument was dedicated. The highlight of the dedication was the reading of the sermon he planned to preach in Crook City on that fateful day. For being in the Black Hills for only a few short months, Preacher Smith had a tremendous impact on the community. Smith was portrayed in the American television series “Deadwood” by Ray McKinnon.
Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery, Chicago, IL
Al Capone. Organized Crime Figure, Chicago Gangster. This is Al Capone’s original burial site. Probably the best known of the 1920s gangsters, he controlled Chicago until brought down by FBI Agent Elliott Ness. Ness later wrote a book “The Untouchables” which detailed his efforts to jail Capone. Capone was the largest of the racketeers, and captured the American public’s imagination as few ever did. Born Alphonse Capone in Brooklyn, New York, of Italian immigrant parents, Gabriele and Teresina Capone, the fourth of nine children. Raised in a loving middle class Italian family, he was brought up to be honest and hard working. Surprisingly unbiased for his time, he would become friendly with anyone of any race, creed or color who was loyal to him. He quit school at 8th grade, and began work for Johnny Torrio, a new breed of gangster then taking over New York. From him, Al Capone learned his trade, initially running errands and working his way up the ladder to manager. He also learned from a rough local gangster, Frank Yale, about the use of violence to build an empire, while maintaining a respectable home and social life. He married an Irish Catholic, Mae Coughlin, and they had a son, Albert Francis Capone, born December 4, 1918. Baby Albert was born with congenital syphilis, which Al later admitted he had contracted many years before, but had thought the disease had gone away when it went into remission. His syphilis was never treated properly. When Johnny Torrio moved his operations to Chicago in 1921, he brought Capone with him, and together, they built up the crime empire, concentrating on nightclubs, prostitution, and illegal liquor. His first murder occurred in 1924, for which he was found innocent when the eyewitnesses were bribed. In March 1925, Torrio quit the business to retire to Florida, and gave his entire empire to Capone. Killing other gang members to build his empire, Al Capone’s violence peaked with the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, 1929 when seven members of Bugs Moran’s gang were murdered. This murder brought the attention of the Federal government, who swore to get Capone off the street and into jail. In 1931, he was indicted and convicted of Income Tax evasion and sentenced to eleven years in jail. He died in his home in Miami, Florida, of cardiac arrest resulting from third stage syphilis. He was originally buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.
Earl “Hymie” Weiss. Organized Crime Figure. Real name Henry Earl J. Wojciechowski. Born in Poland, he grew up on the North Side with his Polish-American family. He was Catholic, despite the “Jewish-sounding” moniker. He befriended an Irish-American teen named Dean O’Banion. With Weiss and George “Bugs” Moran, O’Banion established the North Side Gang, a criminal organization that eventually controlled bootlegging and other illicit activities in the northern part of Chicago. Weiss was suspected of having formed an alliance with South Side beer baron Joe Saltis, who went on trial for murder in October 1926. It was widely rumored that Weiss would buy off the jury in order to ensure an acquittal for Saltis. Weiss, along with four others were sighted at the courthouse for the jury selection. Weiss and his men left for their State street headquarters, where O’Banion had been killed. The four men was crossing State street to enter the shop when two gunmen with a machine gun and a shotgun. Weiss and Paddy Murray were killed while the others were wounded.
Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti. Organized Crime Figure. The number 2 man for famed gangster Al Capone, he was born about 1883 in Italy. He started as a barber, but became involved in the Chicago gang started by Capone when he was asked to fence some stolen jewelry. He quickly became a favorite of Capone by his ability to do his bidding, with no questions asked. When Capone was sent to prison, Frank Nitti became the newspaper’s “Mr. Big,” in their view taking over for Capone, although there is much controversy as to who actually ran the organization. In 1930, Frank Nitti was indicted for income tax evasion, and spent 18 months in prison, a sentence that he hated due to his claustrophobia. Upon his release, he soon returned to his crime life. In 1932, Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak sent two police officers to his home to shoot him in an attempt to take over the Chicago Mob himself; however, Nitti survived the shooting. Later, his mob continued to shakedown businessmen and then moved on the Movie Industry, where a crime-fighting newspaper reporter named Westbrook Pegler found out about the Hollywood shakedown and exposed it. Federal investigators succeeded in indicting Nitti, and his “partner” (more of a boss) Paul Ricca ordered him to take the fall for the entire organization. The apparent thought of more prison time frightened the claustrophobic Nitti, and the next evening, he killed himself near his house in the Chicago suburb of Riverside, while walking along some railroad tracks, firing three shots (the last was fatal).
Charles Dean “Dion” O’Banion. Irish-American Gangster. He was the head of the North Side Gang in Chicago during the bootlegging wars of the 1920s. Until his death he was the leader of the gang that was the chief rival of the South Side Gang lead by Johnny Torrio and also included Al Capone. O’Banion ran his operation out of the Scofield Flower Co. across the street from the Holy Name Cathedral where he had once sung as a choir boy. He was brought down via a double-cross that he had perpetrated on South Side leader Torrio. They agreed to meet at the flower shop to discuss a lucrative bootleg deal (alcohol was, at the time, illegal) and as they were making the deal the police raided the place and took Torrio to jail. O’Banion, who had no priors for bootlegging was released but Torrio who did have prior recieved a jail sentence. This infuriated Capone who dispatched three gunmen, Frankie Yale, John Scalise and Albert Anselmi to the flowershop under the guise of customers who had arrived to pick up an order. Yale greeted him with a handshake and held him while the gunmen shot O’Banion six times, twice in the chest, twice in the throat and twice in the face. O’Banion’s death sparked the bloody Chicago Gang wars that would culminate in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. He is buried in the Mt. Carmel Cemetary next to his allies and his rivals from the south side.
Sam Giancana. Organized Crime Figure. He was the leader of the organized crime syndicate that became known as “The Chicago Outfit”, which he controlled from 1957 until his imprisonment in 1966. He was murdered by an unknown assailant at his Oak Park, Illinois home in June 1975.
Famous Murder Victims
JonBenét Ramsey. Murder Victim. She was a 6-year-old Little Miss beauty pageant winner who was murdered in her home on Christmas day 1996, in one of the most high-profile child homicides in recent history. Her numerous award titles include ‘Little Miss Colorado,’ ‘National Tiny Miss Beauty,’ and ‘Little Miss Christmas.’
Rodney Glen King. He was the central figure in the police brutality case involving the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991. A bystander videotaped much of the incident from a distance. The footage showed seven officers surrounding the solitary King, with several LAPD officers repeatedly striking him with their batons while the other officers stood by watching. A portion of this footage was aired by news agencies around the world, causing public outrage that increased tension between the local black community and the LAPD, resulting in increased anger over police brutality, racism and social inequalities in Los Angeles. Four LAPD officers were later tried in a state court for the beating; three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict for the fourth. The announcement of the acquittals sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots. A later federal trial for civil rights violations ended with two of the officers found guilty and sent to prison and the other two officers acquitted.
Lester Moore. Western Figure. In the late 1880s, Lester Moore worked as a Wells Fargo Station Agent in the Mexico-United States border town of Naco, Arizona. One day a man named Hank Dunstan arrived at the Wells Fargo station to pick up a package he was expecting. When Moore handed him a badly battered and mangled package, Dunstan became enraged over the condition of it and an argument ensued. The argument quickly became heated and both men reached for their guns. Moore was shot four times from Hank Dunstan’s gun. Before Moore died, he managed to fire off one shot of his own, hitting Dunstan in the chest and Dunstan died from his injury. Lester Moore’s body was transported to the nearby town of Tombstone, where he was buried in the Boothill Graveyard. There he became forever known for the epitaph inscribed on his headstone which read, “Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, no Les, no more”.
Gary Alan Hinman. Manson Murder Victim. He was the oldest of three children born to Robert and Frances Hinman. He had two younger sisters. He was born in Grand Junction, Colorado, but grew up in Fort Collins, CO, and attended Colorado university in the mid-1950s. He was married in 1959 and soon after moved to the Los Angeles area. Gary loved to travel and had planned a trip to Japan, but was killed before he could go. Gary lived life to its fullest and would have started a job in the sociology field where he would have continued his work in public service. He loved helping people and he was a generous and kind man. As with the Tate and La Bianca residences the week after his murder, a message was scrawled in blood on a wall. Paw prints (symbolic of the Black Panthers) were put next to the phrase “political piggy.” Official cause of death was “stab wound to chest.”
Barry Winchell. Murder Victim. Private, 101st Airborne Division, US Army. He was beaten with a baseball bat as he slept, and died the next day from his injuries. A movie was made about his life, called “Soldier’s Girl.” It showed his relationship with Calpernia Addams, a transgendered singer in Nashville, his attempt to hide his private life from the military, and his murder.
Amber Rene Hagerman. Murder Victim. She was riding her bike in the parking lot of a grocery store near her home with her little brother, and he was the only witness to her kidnapping. Her body was later found 4 miles away at the bottom of a creek bed; the crime remains unsolved. As a result of her brutal murder, the state of Texas created the “Amber Plan” and “Amber Alert” to notify communites when a child in the area is abducted. The US Congress subsequently adopted a national “Amber Plan”.
Greggory W. Smart. Murder Victim. Victim in one of the most sensational crime/love triangle stories of the twentieth century. Gregg and Pam Smart married in 1989 and lived in a condominium in Derry, NH. Gregg was 24-year old insurance agent, and Pam was the director of media services at Winnacunnet High School in nearby Hampton. It was at the high school that Pam met and seduced 15-year old student Billy Flynn. In order to sustain the relationship and not lose possession of her dog, furniture, and condo in a divorce, Pam conspired with Flynn to murder her husband. On May 1, 1990 (six days before the couple’s first wedding anniversary), Billy Flynn used a handgun to kill Gregg Smart execution style as Gregg entered the condominium. What followed was the most sensational murder trial in New Hampshire history. Pam Smart was convicted of murder-conspiracy and being an accomplice to murder. She was sentenced to automatic life without parole. The case received international media coverage and combined the elements of sex, violence, crime, and youth. Gregg Smart was buried only a few miles from the crime scene, and Pam Smart is serving her life sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, NY. The case inspired the made for TV movie “Murder in New Hampshire,” which stars Helen Hunt as the villain.
Rachel Joy Scott. Rachel Joy Scott was the third of five children born to Darrell Scott and Beth Nimmo. She was an aspiring actress and writer. Rachel was the first victim to be shot at the Columbine High School Massacre, killed by Eric Harris. She was shot while eating lunch with a friend on the lawn outside the library. She is the inspiration of “Rachel’s Challenge”. Rachel’s Challenge is a nationwide school outreach program that helps prevent teen violence. She was awarded the 2001 National Kindness Award for Student of the Year by the Acts of Kindness Association.
Daniel Lee Rohrbough. Murder Victim. Victim of the Columbine High School Shooting in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.
Corey Tyler DePooter. Murder Victim. Victim of the Columbine High School Shooting in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.
William David “Dave” Sanders. Murder Victim. Victim of the Columbine High School Shooting in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.
Lauren Dawn “Lulu” Townsend. Murder Victim. Victim of the Columbine High School Shooting in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.
Famous Law Enforcement Graves
Heck Thomas. American Western Frontier Lawman. The youngest of 12 children, when he was only 12 years old he joined his father and his uncle and went off to the Civil War. They were officers in the 35th Georgia Infantry and he was a courier for them on the battlefields of Virginia. When Union Army Major General Philip Kearney was killed in at the Battle of Chantilly on September 1, 1862, the general’s horse and equipment was placed in the trust of young Heck Thomas and General Robert E Lee, himself ordered him to take them through the lines to Kearney’s widow. He contracted typhoid fever in 1863 and was sent home to the family in Georgia. By the age of 18 he was an Atlanta Georgia police officer. The family moved to Texas in 1875 and he secured a job as a railroad guard and became a railroad detective. While with the railroad, he and other detectives tracked down the notorious Sam Bass Gang. He left the railroad in 1885 and went to work for the Fort Worth for a year. The famed “Hanging Judge”, Isaac Parker appointed him a deputy United States Marshall out of Fort Smith, Arkansas. From 1886 to 1900, his jurisdiction was the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. Famed for his bravery, integrity, and fairness, he quickly became a legend. Teamed up with Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen, they were soon known as the “Three Guardsmen” and they were largely responsible for bringing law and order to the territory. They were responsible for the arrest or killing of more than 300 outlaws during their service. Heck had no equal when it came to hunting fugitives and his most notable accomplishment was the killing of Bill Doolin in August of 1896. In 1902 he became chief of police for Lawton, Oklahoma and lost the job in 1909 because of failing health and three years later died of heart failure.
J. D. Tippit. Law enforcement officer. He was the Dallas Police officer that was allegedly killed by Lee Harvey Oswald on the day of the Kennedy assassination. Evidence fully indicates that Lee Harvey Oswald killed officer Tippit, but since Oswald was never brought to trial, it remains only an allegation.
J. Edgar Hoover. American Law Figure. He served as director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation Chief for over forty eight years until his death. Born in Washington, D.C. three blocks behind the Capitol in the Seward Square neighborhood, his family had been civil servants for generations and his father served in this capacity with the Coast Guard. He was baptized a Presbyterian at age thirteen and became a devout member even considering the ministry as a career. He overcame a stuttering problem while attending Central High School by becoming a member of the debating team. Excelling in math, physics, Latin and French, he was a member of the track team which won four national championships but his main interest was the cadet corps. He was close to his mother and lived with her until her death when he was 49 in the family home in the Seward Square neighborhood only then moving and acquiring his own residence. While employed at the Library of Congress, he took night school courses at George Washington University which culminated in a law degree. During World War I, he was granted a draft-exempt status with the Department of Justice. In 1924, at age 29, Hoover became the director of the FBI. He took an organization that was considered corrupt, inefficient and dysfunctional and built it into a effective police force. He oversaw the application of science to police work and promoted the creation of police training facilities and established the National Crime Information center boosting a centralized fingerprint cataloging system with a state-of the-art crime laboratories. In 1930’s Hoover’s agents rounded up notorious gangsters such as John Dillinger, “Machine Gun” Kelly, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, “Baby Face” Nelson and “Ma” Barker. Aided by the creation of Hoover’s “Ten Most Wanted List” the American public became involved. The Bureau was kept busy during the War years arresting German and Japanese saboteurs and secret agents then switching in the postwar to communist agents and plots. During the civil rights movement in the 1960’s the FBI worked on disrupting and then destroying the network of Klansman who perpetuated racial terrorism. J. Edgar Hoover successfully avoided independent investigations of both his and the FBI’s conduct during his tenure while enjoying virtually unchecked public power. He maintained secret files on individuals and organizations from Presidents, movie stars and even First Lady Bess Truman with information illegally obtained by wire taps, searches and seizures. He frequently used this information to destroy or manipulate his enemies or detractors. When he died in 1972 President Richard M. Nixon ordered a full state funeral. Hoover’s remains were taken to the Capitol’s Rotunda where he lie in state and then to the National Presbyterian Church where some two thousand mourners including President Nixon, First Lady Patricia Nixon and Mamie Eisenhower witnessed his funeral service. A national audience watched on television. His body in a lead-lined coffin weighing over a thousand pounds was used to discourage grave desecration and he was buried in the family plot beside his parents at Congressional Cemetery not far from the house of his birth. The imposing national headquarters at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue East Street NW was named The J. Edgar Hoover Building in 1974. The official collection of memorabilia from Hoover’s home and office is preserved in the J.Edgar Hoover Law Enforcement Museum located in the Masonic House of the Temple in Washington, DC. It is maintained by the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation and Society while also offering grants and scholarships in the memory of Director J. Edgar Hoover to deserving men and women in the field of law enforcement.
Thomas Lee Woolwine. Los Angeles District Attorney, figure in the William Desmond Taylor murder case. Woolwine was a district attorney in L.A. His investigations ended the careers of two L.A. Mayors. He also attempted to jail Valentino for bigamy. However, he made his way into Hollywood legend during the 1922 murder of movie director William Desmond Taylor. Many historians believe that Woolwine destroyed crucial evidence in the case after being bribed by the mother of one of the prime suspects. The case was never solved.