The Kimes Gang..Bank robbers and Outlaws

Mary Elizabeth Steinberg
Dec 29 2009 21:57

Everyone certainly knows about the gangs that roamed the areas around Oklahoma, Missouri, etc. Ma Barker gang and all the others. There was also a gang that is pretty well known, The Kimes gang with Matthew and George KImes.

If you go on eBay, chances are you might find memorbilia belonging to one or the other of these two outlaws. I have placed bids before, only to be outbid. 

These two brothers are connected to our family by way of Conrad KImes. Valentine Kimes was the father of this line. This makes us cousins to this line of Kimes.  

I remember growing up, I would ask my Mother about a family tree and she said my g'Aunt had started to do a genealogy but stopped when she found a 'bunch of horse thieves'. You have to remember at the time, there was nothing lower than a horse thief!  I believe this is the line she was referencing!

Very interesting even though we are not directly related only our g,g, g, grandfathers were brothers, it is very interesting with the bank robbing, shoot outs, etc. 

I am purchasing the book from Amazon to should be very interesting. The first pages are even a run down of the genealogy!

Here is part of the story:

The early 1920's also saw the discovery of oil in Oklahoma, and "boom towns" began to spring up around the state. These oil towns became the scene of much violence. One such town was Cromwell in Seminole County. Oil had been discovered in October of 1923 and by 1924, Cromwell had 10 unsolved murders. Governor M. E. Trapp called upon former deputy United States marshal Bill Tilghman, now retired, to take on the job of town marshal and clean up the boom town. But in November 1924, the famous lawman died at the hands of a drunken federal prohibition agent. His murderer was tried, but found not guilty, and lived to slay another lawman a few years later. Tilghman's body was taken to the rotunda at the state capitol, where thousands of Oklahoman citizens paid their respects to one of the "Three Guardsmen" who had fought the badmen in the territorial days.

The renewed wave of violence prompted Governor Trapp to propose to the legislature in 1925 an "agency of special special investigators or state police to combat bandit gangs and dangerous criminals who have terrorized banks of the state." The new agency was named the Oklahoma Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, better known as the State Crime Bureau, and was the first state law enforcement agency in the nation to combine an identification bureau of fingerprint experts with a staff of field operatives to track down and apprehend outlaws across the state. In its first year of operation, these state lawmen killed 11 bank robbers. But the battle between lawmen and bank robbers in the 1920's was not without it's price.

In August of 1926, brothers Mathew and George Kimes robbed two banks in Covington, a small town in Garfield County. They headed for their home near Van Buren, Arkansas, and successfully eluded lawmen across the state until they reached Sallisaw, where they encountered a road block set up by Sequoyah County Deputy Sheriff Perry Chuculate and Sallisaw Chief of Police J. C. Woll. In a fierce shootout, Deputy Chuculate was killed and Woll was captured and held hostage by the outlaws. Woll later was released. The Kimes brothers were tracked by State Crime Bureau operative Lee Pollock to the family farm outside Van Buren. Pollock shot it out with the bank robbers, captured them, and returned them to Oklahoma. George Kimes was sent to prison at McAlester. But Matt Kimes was still in jail in Sallisaw in November, 1926, when members of his gang forced their way into jail at gunpoint and rescued him. The Kimes gang escaped following a wild shootout. The next month, State Crime Bureau operative Luther Bishop was brutally shot to death in the middle of the night at his home in Oklahoma City. Some lawmen speculated that Bishop was murdered by one of the many outlaw gangs the officer had chased during his career. The case never was solved.






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