Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Sheep Sunday: Dillinger Gang Hides In The Loblolly

Source: Commercial-Review, Portland, Indiana, January 30, 1934, page 1.

Dillinger Gang Hides For Time In The Loblolly Near Geneva

Charles Makley, one of the Dillinger gang, who is now held in the Tucson, Ariz., jail, in telling of the movements of the gang in Indiana and Ohio after the prison break last September, said:

"We were in the Limberlost country of Gene Stratton Porter's books for a time.  It's not so wild any more, yet it has plenty of isolated spots where you can hide out for a few hours to rest.

"Once we got into Ohio, everything from then on was easy.  We had lots of gun battles, of cours, as we pulled the bank jobs, but we were never seriously threatened."

Jay county officers knew that the Dillinger gang was in this part of the state soon after the prison break.  The gang was recognized by Walter C. Krienke, who conducts the Loblolly dining car just north of Bryant, where highways 27, 67 and 18 connect.

Krienke is a former railroad detective and his years of training enables him to spot an outlaw much quicker than the average individual. He also has a retentive memory and pictures seen of criminals are retained by his trained mind.

Krienke was not an officer of the law at the time the gang stopped at his place and he could not summon help at the time.  However, officers were notified as soon as possible and a search was made in the vicinity of Bryant, but the gang was not found.  It is believed the desperadoes were on their way to Ohio when they stopped at the Loblolly.

No publicity was given at the time the gang appeared at the Loblolly dining car due to the fact the outlaws might return this way into Indiana, but state police were notified and a close watch kept.

My paternal cousin, Harry PIERPONT (1902-1934) was a member of the Dillinger gang.  I found this article while on my last research trip to Jay County, hoping that the local paper might make mention of his connection to the area.

Whether or not the gang truly did stop in the Loblolly area, it certainly seems feasible.  Pierpont, Makley and Copeland should have been familiar with the area, and it's pretty much a straight shot over to Lima.

Krienke was made a state excise officer in 1935, according to newspaper reports found on

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.

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