Sunday, October 30, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday: Father Surrenders His Bandit Son

Source: Marion Leader-Tribune, Marion, Indiana, January 11, 1925, p. 1.



George R. Frazer Says That Women Were Not Innocent of Bank Raids

One Visited The Bank

Got Change to See Lay of Ground and Reported the Conditions

"Is this the captain?" inquired a man of Capt. Jake Campbell at police station yesterday afternoon.  "It is," replied Captain Campbell. "Well here is one of the bank robbers," replied the stranger, who was R.A. Frazer of 1224 So. Washington street, Kokomo, who turned over his son, George R. Frazer, 23, as one of the bandits who robbed both the South Marion and Upland banks and who admitted to being a member of the gang, which attempted the robbery of the Noblesville bank.  After turning over his son to the police, the father broke down and cried and at the request of the bandit son, returned to Kokomo at once.

Following the Upland robbery, Frazer fled to Canada and returned to his home at Kokomo late Friday night.  His father learning that his son had been implicated in the robberies and that he was wanted by the authorities, left Kokomo shortly after noon yesterday with his son for Marion.  After the police station was reached, Frazer told Captain Campbell that he would have the chance that he would "blow his (Frazer's) brains out," and precautions were taken to see that Frazer did not get hold of a gun.

Women Knew Plans.

When questioned later he said that the two women, Mrs. Mary Bridgewater and Mrs. Emily Morse, who have been sentenced, knew all about the plans for the robbery at the South Marion bank and that a short time before the South Marion bank was robbed, the Bridgewater women went into the bank to get a bill changed and while there, sized up the bank, getting the number of persons in the bank and the lay of the land.

Frazer was taken to the court house, where a warrant was sworn out and signed by Chief of Police Frank Brandon, charging Frazer with automobile banditry, for having been implicated in the South Marion robbery.  Judge J. Frank Charles was notified that another bank robber was waiting to be arraigned in circuit court and arrived in court a short time later.  A plea of guilty was entered by Frazer and after being questioned at some length by Prosecuting Attorney Jay Keever and Judge Charles, was sentenced to from ten to twenty-five years in the reformatory near Pendleton.

Frazer said that he was born in Kokomo and his home address was 1224 South Washington street, Kokomo, and that he had no regular occupation, having worked at the machinists' trade when he could get work, but had been out of work for several months.  He admitted to having been sentenced from Kokomo in 1918 or 1919 for thirty days on the penal farm for attempted robbery and also was sentenced to the reformatory for from five to fourteen years on a charge of November 20, 1920, from Kokomo, and is now out on parole, hoaving been out of prison since March, 1924.

Looking for Work.

He stated that on the morning November 26, the day of the South Marion bank was robbed, that he was looking for work, when four men, whom he knew in prison, met him in a machine and told him that they were looking for some place to "stick up," but had not decided on the city.  Two women were in the machine, he said, but he did not know them.  Frazer said he told them he was out of work and disguested [sic] and that they asked that they asked him if he knew of a good place to hold and rob and he told them he did not.  He jumped into the machine and came to Marion.  One of the men said that they would drive over to Marion and see if they could see some place that "would look reasonable."  They drove to South Marion and seeing the South Marion bank, decided that this place would probably be all right.  The machine stopped a short distance of the bank and Mrs. Bridgewater got out of the machine and went into the bank where she asked for some change from a paper bill.  While in the bank, she counted the number of people in the bank, noted the location of the side door, the location of the safe and other details, according to Frazer.  She then returned to the car and reported things as being favorable.  A few minutes later the party then drove up to the bank, the men getting out of the machine and going in the bank, while the two women remained in the car.

Robberies Planned.

Frazer told Judge Charles, in reply to a question as to whether plans had been made by members of the gang, while in prison, to rob banks, said that they had talked things over, but had made no definite arrangements.

Frazer is the seventh member of the gang of nine persons, seven men and two women, who took part in the robbing of the Upland and South Marion banks, to be arrested and sentenced to prison.  Sheriff Bert Renbarger holds a warrant against Frazer on a charge of automobile banditry and also against the two persons who have not yet been arrested.

This article is another in a series of follow-up stories to the robberies of the Upland State bank and South Marion bank by a group of robbers, led by my paternal cousin, Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934).  Harry later became famous as a member of the "Terror Gang" with John Dillinger.  These earlier robberies terrorized Indiana during 1924-25.

Black Sheep Sunday – create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.” Bring out your ne’er-do-wells, your cads, your black widows, your horse thieves and tell their stories. And don’t forget to check out the International Black Sheep Society of Genealogists (IBSSG). This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.


Wendy said...

I've enjoyed following this series.

Anonymous said...

Great research! I've also enjoyed this series.