A Ganster’s Gold ( A short story) Part 2

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By this time, the police know the bank robbery happened, and they would be everywhere.  They had to make their moves fast.  After all the good-byes and good lucks, each man got in his car.  They drove off, to their separate destinies’.  Charles
already knew he had to ditch his car fast and steal him a horse.  He headed north a short distance to Lake Calvin, which supplied the towns water supply.  He fished and swam in the lake as a boy growing up.  He and his school buddies had spent a lot of time at the lake making memories that would last a lifetime.  He was back here again for the last time.  This time it is to dispose of his car.  He rolled down the windows on the car and fixed the accelerator to the floor.  The motor was running at high speed and he got out of the car and shut the door.

He planned to lean in through the window and release the brake.  He knew he would have to move quick, or the car would knock him down as it started to move.  He drove the car to a long boat ramp.  The ramp would let the car build up speed before hitting the water.  It would sink out of site, because the water is deep at this spot.  When the lake level dropped in the summer, the car could be revealed.  It was a narrow escape, but it happened just as he envisioned it.  He now grabbed up his bag of money and disappeared through the trees.

Charles knew exactly where he was going.  He headed for the Simpson ranch just east of Calvin.  He should be able to steal him a horse and saddle there without any difficulty.  Being 3:00 AM he got to the barn.  Luckily, the Simpson’s dog stayed in the
house and no barking took place as he entered the barn.  There were four horses in stalls, so all he had to do was pick one.  He quickly saddled the Bay mare and headed east for the Dobyns Ranch.

Since people still traveled by horseback often, Charlie would not think anything about him showing up on a horse instead of driving a car.  He hadn’t seen his friend in a couple of years since he had been doing some jail time in Ohio.  Charlie and his wife Alma knew him as Floyd Authur.  They had known each other since childhood and since both where named Charles he went by
Floyd.  In fact, everyone in this part of the country knew him as Floyd.

He arrived at the Dobyns Ranch about 10:00 AM the following day. With all the excitement about his visit, everyone was talking at once.  Charlie and Alma had five grown children, four boys and a daughter, and had families of their own.  Floyd thought it was nice to have your kids so close, all living on the family land and raising their families.  Floyd put his horse in barn,
and Homer told him to go on in the house to visit with dad.  Homer also made sure his horse received good care.  Floyd grabbed his sack, slung it over his shoulder and headed to the house.

Floyd loved this ranch and the scenery from the house.  When you looked west of the house, you could see the rock smoke house, the big barn and open land with cattle in the fields.  It was a wonderful site and he wanted a place like this, but it could never to be now.

Alma had him a hot cup of coffee waiting and some biscuits and gravy.  He had not eaten since yesterday morning and he was starving.  He and Charlie talked of boyhood times, as he ate his breakfast at the kitchen table, and enjoyed every bite of it.  No one could make biscuits and gravy like Alma.  This house had not changed since he was a boy.  They still didn’t have electricity, and the old icebox was replaced by a propane refrigerator.  Alma continued to cook her meals on the wood stove  Charlie had bought her after they married.

They had a granddaughter, Margaret, staying with them, and she hung on to every word said.  She looked a lot like her mother, Lottie.  Margaret always seemed to be the favorite grandchild of Charlie and Alma, even though they had eleven more.  It might have been because Margaret belonged to their only daughter.  Margaret kept wanting to talk, and finally  her grandmother made her go out to the back porch and pump a couple of buckets of water so they could clean up and start lunch.

Floyd and Charlie went into the living room by the fireplace and sat in the comfortable overstuffed chairs.  Charlie lit his pipe, looked at Floyd, and asked, “Ok tell me what is going on”.  Floyd told him he was going to be heading to Tulsa in a couple of days to start a new job working for an oil company, and he needed a place to stay for a couple of days.  Charlie told him at once he was welcome for as long as he wanted to stay.  Floyd thanked him and told him it would only be a couple of days.  Charlie
said Margaret was sleeping in the other bedroom and he could make him a pallet on the back porch.  Alma would make sure
he had enough quilts to keep him warm.

Charlie had to go outside to take care of some calves that were in the lot. Floyd stayed in the house and rested.  Just as soon as Charlie was out the door, Margaret was in the other chair talking.  She was telling him about a cave she and her brother Charles had found. It’s said it is full of Indian paintings.  No one will go there because it is a rattlesnake den.  Something clicked in Floyd’s brain.  He asked Margaret where the cave was and she said it was south of the house, up above Wild Horse Creek in the
cliffs.  When she had finished talking he had a plan.  He would hide his money in the cave since no one went there.

After a good night’s sleep and using his bag as a pillow he got up, dressed warm with extra padding, and slipped out the back door with his bag over his shoulder.  He took off walking at a fast pace.  It did not take him long to reach the wooded area to the south.  He walked off into the woods, heading in the right direction, he hoped.  He walked for about a mile going downhill,
through trees, over rocks and he finally comes to a pool of water.  He thought, this is the place Margaret described.  In front of him was a bare Rock Hill with a cliff.  He could see a path going up the hill.  He started walking, and climbing, slowly
making his way.  He finally made it to the top and there was the opening to the cave.  You could not see it from below because the opening set back with shrubs blocking the opening.  He slowly approached the mouth of the cave being very cautious because of the snakes.  He took another step and he started hearing the rattles.  It was
frightening, and he could not bring himself to go inside the cave.  He used his carbide light and looked around the opening inside the cave.  Sure enough, you could see white horses running and people with spears painted on the wall.  The other thing seen was a ledge about shoulder high that ran along the wall of the cave.  By instinct, he knew the snakes would be on the ledge further inside the cave away from the opening.  He had to think of another plan for his money because he was not about to enter that cave.  He backed away and started looking around.

He walked back up the hill and out of the trees and headed back up the road to Charlie’s place.  He didn’t have the bag over his shoulder, but no one knew if even took it with him. His thoughts carried him back to his boyhood when he was getting ready
to leave Oklahoma.  He knew he had to leave once again, and probably would not be back for a while since his money was
safe.  He had put about $1500.00 in his pocket before he left the sack in its hiding place.  That would give him money to buy a used car and travel expenses.

When he arrived back to the house, Margaret wanted to know where he had been. He told he her he just went to visit another friend.  She asked him if he went to Devil’s Kitchen, and of course he told her no.  He spent one more night on the Dobyn’s back porch and early the next morning he saddled his horse and left without even saying goodbye. He just couldn’t do any explaining to his friend and his family.  He was just going to disappear for a while and pop back into their lives in a couple of years or so after things had cooled down.

Three days went by and Charlie headed to McAlester to buy supplies for the ranch.  His youngest son Melvin went with him because Charlie was going to buy him a pair of new work boots.  They made it into town and all the talk was about the bank robbery, which had taken place the week before at the Oklahoma National Bank.  No one was sure how much money was taken, but it was a lot.

The front page of the McAlester Democrat had a half page of pictures of the bank robbers.  There was a $5000.00 dollar reward for any information leading to the arrest and capture of the three bank robbers.  There was John Connely, from McAlester, Ted
Simms from Bartlesville and Charles Arthur also being called Pretty Boy Floyd, from Stuart Oklahoma.  Charlie was thinking it could not be his friend.  He wouldn’t do something like that.  Charlie got his business taken care of and headed back to his home on the mountain.  He was not going to tell a sole about seeing Floyd and he made Melvin swear not a word would be said. He
was not going to involve his family in any way.  He was beginning to get angry because Floyd had used his friendship with
Charlie and placed him and his family in jeopardy.

Margaret was sitting very quietly at the kitchen table while her grandparents talked about Floyds visit.  Charlie never letting on that he knew anything about a bank robbery at all.  There was a lull in the conversation and Margaret finally spoke up.  She said she had seen Floyd leave that morning.  Charlie asked how she  managed that.  She said she had woke early, and went out to the outhouse and while she was there Floyd walked to the barn.  She followed him and watched him saddle his horse and ride away.  He didn’t even carry his bag with him that he brought.  This got Charlie’s attention, because he knew Floyd had a bag with him.  Adding things up in his mind, he thought Floyd must have stashed his money on the mountain somewhere.

Charlie and his sons spent what extra time they had for many years looking for “Pretty Boy Floyds “money.  Up until this day, it has never been found.  Margaret always thought it was in Devil’s Kitchen, since she was the one who told Floyd about the place.

Post note:  As documented in Wikipedia

On October 22, 1934, Floyd was killed in a cornfield near East Liverpool, Ohio, while being pursued by local law officers
and FBI agents led by Melvin Purvis. Varying accounts exist as to who shot him and the manner in which he was killed.

Having narrowly escaped ambush by FBI agents and other law enforcement agencies several times after the Kansas City Massacre, , Floyd had a stroke of bad luck. On October 18, 1934, he and Richetti left Buffalo, New York, and slid their vehicle into a telephone pole during a heavy fog. No one was injured, but the car was disabled. Fearing they would be recognized, Floyd and Richetti sent two female companions to retrieve a tow truck; the women would then accompany the tow truck driver into a town and have the vehicle repaired while the two men waited by the roadside.

After dawn on October 19, motorist Joe Fryman and his son-in-law passed by, observing two men dressed in suits lying by the roadside. Feeling it was suspicious, he informed Wellsville, Ohio Police Chief John H. Fultz. Three officers, including Fultz,
investigated. When Richetti saw the lawmen, he fled into the woods, pursued by two officers, while Fultz went toward Floyd. Floyd immediately drew his gun and fired, and he and Fultz engaged one another in a gunfight, during which Fultz was wounded in the foot. After wounding Fultz, Floyd fled into the forest. The other two officers enlisted the help of local retired police officer Chester K. Smith, a former sniper during World War I, and subsequently captured Richetti.  Floyd remained on the run, living on fruit, traveling on foot, and quickly becoming exhausted.

At least three accounts exist of the following events: one given by the FBI, one by other people in the area, and one by local law enforcement. The accounts agree that, after obtaining some food at a local pool hall owned by Charles Joy, a friend of Floyd’s, Floyd hitched a ride in an East Liverpool neighborhood on October 22, 1934. He was spotted by the team of lawmen, at which point he broke from the vehicle and fled toward the treeline. Local retired officer Chester Smith fired first, hitting Floyd in the right arm, knocking him to the ground. At this point, the three accounts diverge; the FBI agents later attempted to claim
all the credit, denying local law enforcement were even present at the actual shooting. According to the local police account, Floyd regained his footing and continued to run, at which point the entire team opened fire, knocking him to the ground. Floyd died shortly thereafter from his wounds.

According to the FBI, four FBI agents, led by Purvis, and four members of the East Liverpool Police Department, led by Chief Hugh McDermott, were searching the area south of Clarkson, Ohio, in two separate cars. They spotted a car move from behind a
corn crib, and then move back. Floyd then emerged from the car and drew a .45 caliber pistol, and the FBI agents opened fire. Floyd reportedly said: “I’m done for. You’ve hit me twice.”

However, Chester Smith, the retired East Liverpool Police Captain and sharpshooter, described events differently. Smith, who was credited with shooting Floyd first, stated in a 1979 interview that he had deliberately wounded, but not killed, Floyd. He
then added: “I knew Purvis couldn’t hit him, so I dropped him with two shots from my .32 Winchester rifle.  According
to Smith’s account, after being wounded, Floyd fell and did not regain his footing. Smith then disarmed Floyd. At that point, Purvis ran up and ordered: “Back away from that man. I want to talk to him.” Purvis questioned Floyd briefly and then ordered agent Herman Hollis to “Fire into him.” Hollis then shot Floyd at point-blank range, fatally wounding him.  The interviewer asked if there was a cover-up by the FBI, and Smith responded: “Sure was, because they didn’t want it to get out that he’d been killed that way.” This account is extremely controversial. If true, Purvis effectively executed Floyd without benefit of judge or jury.

FBI agent Winfred E. Hopton disputed Chester Smith’s claim in a letter to the editors of Time Magazine, that appeared in the November 19, 1979, issue, in response to the Time article “Blasting a G-Man Myth.” In his letter he stated that he was
one of four FBI agents present when Floyd was killed, on a farm several miles from East Liverpool, Ohio. According to Hopton, members of the East Liverpool police department arrived only after Floyd was already mortally wounded. He also claimed that when the four agents confronted Floyd, Floyd turned to fire on them, and two of the four killed Floyd almost instantly. Additionally, while Smith’s account said that Herman Hollis shot the wounded Floyd on Purvis’s
order, Hopton claimed that Hollis was not present. Hopton also stated Floyd’s body was transported back to East Liverpool in Hopton’s personal car.

Floyd’s body was embalmed and briefly viewed at the Sturgis Funeral Home, in East Liverpool, Ohio before being sent on to Oklahoma. Floyd’s body was placed on public display in Sallisaw, Oklahoma. His funeral was attended by between 20,000 and
40,000 people and remains the largest funeral in Oklahoma history. He was buried in Adkins, Oklahoma.

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