Wednesday, November 21, 2012


11/23/1932 - After taking down thirteen banks in twenty-one months with his partner, Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd, outlaw George Birdwell lets success goes to his head and decides to rob the Farmers and Merchants Bank of the all-black town of Boley, Oklahoma.  


Ignoring the advice of Floyd that the thirty-eight-year-old white bandit will stick out like a "sore thumb" in the town, Birdwell recruits two local criminals to help him with the crime, Charles "Pete" Glass and C.C. Patterson.  He also foolishly ignores that 11/23 is the first day of the state's bird hunting season and that many of the locals might be wandering around fully armed.  It is a mistake that will cost Birdwell his life.
                                             The Farmers and Merchants Bank

The robbery goes wrong from the moment the men enter the bank.  Holding a .45 automatic, Birdwell demands the establishment's money from the bank's president, D.J. Turner ... a brave man who instead of complying, calmly presses an alarm button that notifies the town that an attempt to plunder their money is being made.  Seriously upset with the actions of Turner, Birdwell puts four bullets into the man just as assistant cashier H.C. McCormick steps out of the vault with a rifle and in turn shoots the outlaw in the chest.


Two dead from mortal wounds, Glass and Patterson immediately flee the bank ... and find themselves in shooting gallery.  Alerted by the alarm and shots fired, the townspeople of Boley have rushed to the bank with their squirrel and scatter guns, ready for larger prey than birds.  Led by the town's marshal, J.L. McCormick, the brother the man who has just killed Birdwell, the citizens open up on their first target and drop Glass.  Swiss cheesed, he does not get back up. Then they turn their bloody full attentions on an already wounded Patterson who attempts to use bank cashier Wesley Riley as a human shield.  It is a tactic that is doomed for failure.  Surrounded by crack shots, someone in the crowd finally tires of the standoff and fires on the outlaw ... a shot that severely wounds Patterson, but only grazes the coat of Riley.  Protection gone, the irate citizens are about to send a murderous volley of slugs into the helpless desperado when the marshal stops them ... the Battle of Boley is over and Patterson will recover from his many hurts to serve a long prison term in the Oklahoma state prison at McAlester.

                        An old informational booklet, 'Facts About Boley ... The Largest and Wealthiest Exclusive Negro City in the World.' Date unknown.
                               Info booklet on the town of Boley 

And the day will prove to be an early Thanksgiving for the bank's McCormick ... for his heroic actions in finishing the criminal career of Birdwell, the assistant cashier is awarded $1,000 and made an honorary major in the state's militia.  As for Floyd, the Pretty Boy now has to search for a new bank robbing partner, the third in three years due to bullet deaths, finally settling on a heavy drinking twenty-four-year-old gunman named Adam Richetti ... his final outlaw confederate. 

No comments:

Post a Comment