Five Fatherless Schoomer Brothers

There are other stories of gunplay and crime among brothers not much different from the James boys, other than notoriety and scope. This tale of the Schoomer family, which unfolds during those wide open days after the Civil War, reveals details about the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy.

There are other stories of gunplay and crime among brothers not much different from the James boys, other than notoriety and scope. This tale of the Schoomer family, which unfolds during those wide open days after the Civil War, reveals details about the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy.

Missouri, after the Civil War, went through a period of crime. Like the James brothers, fatherless boys sometimes got into serious trouble. Daviess County records from 1860 to 1880 indicate that some young brothers from Grindstone Valley were repeatedly, and notoriously, in the news. These were the sons of Jurde Schoomer (1823-65). Jurde (William J.) was the eldst son of Dave Schoomer Sr. (1800-71) and Mary Jane (Polly) McCully (1800-77). Dave Sr. was well known and an outstanding citizen of the county.

Jurde had five sons and a daughter who ranged in ages from 10 to 21, according to the 1870 census. The oldest boys were Willie, Dave, Criss and Dick. After their father’s death, the boys were charged in Daviess County with several minor crimes such as disturbing public worship, selling merchandise and whiskey without a license, and playing cards. But some of the charges were more serious.

In 1863 Willie and Dave were charged with robbing George Cain by force of arms. This case went to Ray County in November, 1868. The following account appears in the DeKalb County History (1888 by Goodspeed): "It appears that the Schoomers had been charged with the commission of some serious crime for which the arrest of one of them was ordered — George Walters and John Thompson, having been deputized to make the arrest. Walters met young Schoomer at his house and made known the errand, but was told to wait a few minutes until certain arrangements could be made.

"In the meantime, Walters had drawn his revolver which, according to the statement of some, was accidentally discharged in the house with the ball passing through the clothing of a sister of Schoomer, and raking the flesh on the hand of a smaller brother. No sooner was the revolver fired whereupon another brother rushed into the house and shot Walters, killing him immediately. Both brothers made their escape."

The Cameron Observer account, published Oct. 1, 1875, reprints an account from the Maysville Register, which says "Criss Schoomer, who it will be remembered was arrested a few says ago on an indictment for the murder of Deputy Sheriff Walters in March, 1873, was released by the Buchanan County Circuit Court on $5,000 bail. The indictment was said to be deficient. Even if the indictment had been perfect, there would not have been sufficient evidence to have convicted Schoomer of murder in the first degree."

In 1873 Dave and Criss were charged in DeKalb County with the murder of acting sheriff Walters at the Jurde farm in DeKalb County. Criss was held in jails in DeKalb and Buchanan counties until the case was moved to Daviess County in October, 1876. In February, 1877, Criss was moved to Daviess County and the case concluded by mid-February.

Criss was found not guilty in the trial at Gallatin. Walters had been shot twice in the head, but it was not clear which boy had shot him or if both did and under what circumstances. Criss’s mother and brother, Willie, were the only trial witnesses to the schooting. Brother Dave was not captured, as far as research shows.

Henry Walters made this entry in his diary on Feb. 16, 1877: "The trial came off in the forenoon, having been postponed until then. Schoomer was acquitted through lack of evidence, but he was considered guilty by many. I had a talk with him through the grated door of the jail, and though I felt satisfied he was the murderer of my brother, I could not help but feel pity for him in his miserable situation. He was tried for murder in the first degree and though acquitted, I felt satisfied after knowing how keenly he felt his situation. He acknowledged to me that sometimes a man would commit a deed without reflection tht it would blast his afterlife… "

In January, 1879, Dick and Criss were charged by Philip Fuller with an attempt to shooting him, "snapping a revolver in his face," and beating him with the revolver after it refused to fire. This charge was in Benton Township. In Marion Township that same day, R.L. Meade charged Dick and Criss with threatening him with a revolver.

Criss was fined $60 for the Meade assault and Criss and Dick were convicted of felonious assault on Mr. Fuller. Both brothers were given five months jail time in Daviess County and fined. Criss paid $1,511 and Dick $150. They were confined in the old stone jail located on the court yard in Gallatin until June 21, 1879. Local records show little notice of the Schoomer brothers after this.

Researched by David Stark, Gallatin, and published in the Gallatin North Missourian on Nov. 29, 2000.

B.J. Stufflebean murder

The widow of a Gallatin man found dead near the Grand River as well as her brother have been charged with first degree murder, joining three other suspects. Already charged in the Sept. 5 shooting of B.J. Stufflebean is Michael J. Holman, who was on leave from the U.S. Marines on the night of the shooting. Prosecuting Attorney Mike Arnold also charged Stufflebean’s wife, Melissa, and her brother, Randy Asher, with first degree murder and armed criminal action.

In his felony complaint against the siblings, Arnold wrote that they "aided and encouraged" Holman to kill B.J. Stufflebean. Their bond was set at $100,000 each; Asher remains in the Livingston County Jail while authorities plan to extradite Melissa Stufflebean from Oklahoma.

Intrigue involving the brother and sister team surfaced when Asher testified as a prosecution witness at Holman’s preliminary hearing. Asher testified Holman shot Stufflebean in self-defense after being attacked with a knife. The fight occurred after Stufflebean confronted Holman with his suspicions that his wife, Melissa, and Holman were having an affair.

Daviess County Sheriff Tom Houghton, however, said he’s not satisfied with Asher’s account of the shooting. "He had been asked about a knife before, but he never mentioned anything until he testified in court," Houghton said.

Asher also testified that he and his sister went with Holman to Iowa a few days after the slaying to destroy Stufflebean’s car beyond recognition.

Arnold said Melissa Stufflebean was a suspect in the case before her brother testified. He also said Asher was part of the investigation, too. Despite Asher’s testimony, Holman was ordered to stand trial on the shooting. Authorities recoverd Stufflebean’s body under four feet of river water.

Authorities learned of the body’s location after being tipped off by a Gallatin bartender, who learned about the shooting from Asher.

Article, St. Joseph News-Press

Kidnapping, Fire and Now …Murder (1982)

Rosalyn Nelson, a 34-year-old slender, dark brunette whose 9-year-old daughter, Jennifer Barden, was abducted earlier just months before, was at the center of one of the most complex crime tales ever to unfold in Northwest Missouri. Sympathies turned into disbelief as authorities arrested and charged Mrs. Nelson with murdering her husband in an Aug. 6 fire in Gallatin.

Rosalyn Nelson, a 34-year-old slender, dark brunette whose 9-year-old daughter, Jennifer Barden, was abducted earlier just months before, was at the center of one of the most complex crime tales ever to unfold in Northwest Missouri. Sympathies turned into disbelief as authorities arrested and charged Mrs. Nelson with murdering her husband in an Aug. 6 fire in Gallatin.

An inquisitive crowd of over 75 people sat through nearly seven hours of testimony. Clinton County Judge Melvin Griffin, appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to hear the case, ruled there was “probable cause” that a crime had been committed in the death of Mr. Nelson. He was found hanging out of a second story window the morning of Aug. 6 as fire raged in the hallway of the couple’s brown stucco house.

Mrs. Nelson was taken to the Livingston County Jail where she is held on $50,000 bond.

Kansas City attorney Robert Duncan, one of two attorneys who represents Mrs. Nelson, sat on a bench outside the courtroom and mustered these words about a case which brought him back from the Virgin Islands, finding himself attracted by a case of tragedy compounded by tragedy.

“You know they say that plane crashes always happen three times in a row,” Duncan said. “Her child is kidnapped, her husband tragically dies in a fire and she’s charged with his murder …God, I hope it never happens to my family.”

Earlier in the week Mrs. Nelson’s attorneys and Livingston County Sheriff Leland O’Dell permitted a reporter for the Kansas City Times to interview Mrs. Nelson on the condition that she not discuss the pending case. The hour-long interview was conducted by telephone as she set behind a glass partition.

Rosalyn Ann Oertwig grew up in a two-story frame farmhouse tucked behind several big trees about four miles from Chula, MO. It was a simple life on the farm. The oldest of six children, she was a tomboy who wore blue jeans and T-shirts and often filled the mother role to her younger brothers and sisters. At age 17 love entered ler life. It eventually took her to several Missouri cities and brought four children into the world. She contended that she doesn’t see why it is important to talk about her five marriages.

From her first husband, Roger Whitney, she had two children, Kathy, 16, and Mike, 15. Mike testified at his mother’s preliminary hearing. When she divorced Mr. Whitney, Rosalyn took her two children to Des Moines to search for a job. After stints as a Holiday Inn maid and partly fulfilling her childhood dreams by working as a nurse’s aide at a Des Moines hospital, she married Denny Barden. To this union came Jennifer, who was later the victim of a kidnapping (and murdered). When Denny re-enlisted in the Navy, Rosalyn and her three children followed him to San Diego. Another child was born, Gilbert. But within a few years the marriage ended with experiences Rosalyn declined to discuss. She left the West Coast to eventually return to Missouri.

Rosalyn found work at Trenton Foods, a sprawling Carnation Company plant in Trenton where several food products such as chili, franks and sandwich spreads are manufactured. She worked in night cleanup duty. And here she met two employees she later married. Her union with Raymond Brinkley hasted but a few months, ending in divorce. Then she married Rex Burton, who had worked at the Trenton plant for 15 years and who, also, was experiencing maritial problems.

At the preliminary hearing it was revealed that a blaze had started a few days before the fatal fire at the Nelson residence, although the local fire department was not called. The blaze was also in the second floor hallway.

Representing the state in Mrs. Nelson’s hearing was Claire McCaskill, an assistant Jackson County prosecutor who has spent the last 2-1/2 years as an arson investigator.

Ralph Canon, a crime investigator with the Missouri fire marshal’s office and a former Kansas City firefighter, said that bedsheets were wound into what he called a “wick” and stretched from the second floor hallway to the stairwell. He determined that an accelerant was used to ignite “a ball of fire” that raged through the hallway during the early morning hours of Aug. 6. He said he smelled the odor of a gas, and a yellow container of gasoline was discovered in a basement closet.

Mike Whitney, Mrs. Nelson’s son, testified that he was told by Mrs. Nelson to fill up the yellow container with gasoline the day before the fatal fire. It was the container he usually filled to fuel the lawnmower.

When the time was up for the interview for this report, Mrs. Nelson stood up from her chair and said: “I think this could happen to anybody, anytime. I think people ought to think about that. Goodbye.”

P.S. Mrs. Nelson got two years probation.

Taken from an article written by Fred Mares of the Kansas City Times, Sept. 11, 1982

As Banks Fail, Temptations Mount

During the times of yesteryear, more people and more businesses in Daviss County meant more banks — and more temptations for illegal gain, especially as hard times caused bank failures. Here are two examples, occuring nearly 25 years apart, where wrongdoing resulted in stints at the state penitentiary. In both cases those charged drew the maximum punishment provided by law.

During the times of yesteryear, more people and more businesses in Daviss County meant more banks — and more temptations for illegal gain, especially as hard times caused bank failures. Here are two examples, occuring nearly 25 years apart, where wrongdoing resulted in stints at the state penitentiary. In both cases those charged drew the maximum punishment provided by law.

In 1904 Lee Deford, the defaulting cashier of the Bank of Altamont, plead guilty to four counts of receiving money on deposit when the bank was known to be in failing circumstances. Deford was sentenced by circuit court Judge Alexander to 8 years in the state penitentiary.

The Bank of Altamont was closed by state bank examiners on Jan. 28, 1904, and an examination of its affairs revealed a shortage of about $8,000. Later Lee Deford, the cashier, confessed to having doctored the books to cover up part of the shortage and made a full confession, giving a memorandum of the amounts short on each deposit. This totalled up to nearly $20,000.

Immediately afterward, Deford left the country but returned Feb. 15 to surrender to R.J. Britton. He steadfastly refused to Divulge what he had done with the money. Britton claimed a $300 reward offered by the state for Deford’s arrest and conviction, but will turn the same into the assets of the defunct bank.

The failure of the bank involved Deford’s father, brother and uncle to the extent that they will lose everything they possess. The depositors will quite likely not realize more than 50 cents on the dollar. Another uncle was forced to make an assignment of his mercantile stock.

In 1928 a Daviess County jury found former Gallatin banker Dr. R.V. Thompson guilty of accepting deposits when the Farmers Exchange Bank was in insolvent condition. Thompson was sentenced to 5 years at the state penitentiary. The trial lasted 5 days but the jury deliberated little more than an hour to reach its unanimous decision.

Prosecuting Attorney Dean Leopard tried the case on the specific action of Thompson accepting a $350 deposit on March 4, 1926, from C.L. Hodges, guiardian of the Anna Scott estate. There was a mass of evidence and some of the witnesses were on the stand for an extended period of time. The charge against Thompson came through a grand jury indictment; a previous trial in the same circuit court on the same charge ended with a hung jury.

Dr. Thompson was cashier of the closed Farmers Exchange Bank and is the second official connected with this bank to receive a penitentiary sentence; Homer Feurt, president, was given a 4-year sentence by a jury in the Caldwell County circuit court.

There are other newspaper accounts citing more Daviess County bankers accepting deposits when their banks are in failing condition. Grand jury investigations led to charges against John H. Gillespie, president of the Bank of Jameson when it closed. Gillespie faced three counts in deposits totalling about $1,000. C.A. Lewis, cashier of the Commercial Bank at Jamesport, was indicted by a grand jury for accepting two deposits totalling $27.85 when the bank was in a failing condition. George W. Johnson, cashier of the Farmers Bank of Jameson, was indicted for accepting three deposits totalling over $500 when that bank was in failing condition.

Rewritten by Darryl Wilkinson from clippings of the Gallatin Democrat June 7, 1928, and April 21, 1904

Murder at Dockery Park (1913)

A week after the killing of a Mexican at the Rock Island depot at Gallatin, another murder occurred when the companion of 16-year-old Blanche Brodbeck, Edward Donaldson, was killed from an ambush attack. Bloodhounds, brought here from Chillicothe, help produce evidence. Findings from a coroner’s inquest leads to a grand jury indictment against Thomas Estes.

A week after the killing of a Mexican at the Rock Island depot at Gallatin, another murder occurred when the companion of 16-year-old Blanche Brodbeck, Edward Donaldson, was killed from an ambush attack. Bloodhounds, brought here from Chillicothe, help produce evidence. Findings from a coroner’s inquest leads to a grand jury indictment against Thomas Estes.

Edward Donaldson, 23, of Junction, IL, representing the Yeast Foam Company of Chicago, arrived in Gallatin and formed the acquaintance of Blanche Brodbeck, the daughter of well-known nurseryman S.S. Brodbeck of Gallatin. Donaldson arranged to return to Gallatin the next night to continue the acquaintance — which proved to be a fatal decision.

The murder occurred about 9:30 p.m. while the couple were walking on the sidewalk at the Harley Rodger’s residence near Dockery Park. Donaldson was shot in the back and died almost immediately. The .22 shot evidently passed through his heart, causing pulmonary hemorhage. Authorities responding to the news of the crime ordered the body to be taken to Pettijohn’s undertaking establishment. Prosecuting Attorney Padget, Sheriff Surface and others sent to Chillicothe for blood hounds to try and trace the assasin. The ground proved too dry and too much of the area was trampled over considerably by the time Deputh Sheriff Whitt arrived with the dogs. And yet, what trail the dogs could trace led to the residence of the suspected killer, Thomas Estes.

The motive was not robbery. Nothing was taken from Miss Brodbeck nor from the victim. The crime was not thought to be the result of a jealousy since Miss Brodbeck had no steady companion among Gallatin youth. As put by the Gallatin Democrat in its Aug. 7, 1913, edition: “It might have been done by a man of weak intellect, who considered himself custodian of Dockery Park. The evidence given during the coronor’s inquest, leads to that conclusion.” The following summary of that inquest led by Coroner Minnick:

Dr. A.G. Minnick of Lock Sprigns arrived in Gallatin summoned the following to act as jurors: John A. Keck, Geo. H. Payne, Earl Cline, J.H. Weldon, W.W. Martin and F.M. Parker. The inqeust was held in the circuit courtroom and consumed most of the day.

Mayor Frank Woodruff, proprietor of Woodruff Hotel, was the first witness to testify. But many more details were given by Blanche Brodbeck.

Miss Brodbeck stated that Donaldson came to her home at 8:30 p.m. Aug. 1, and that she suggested they take a walk. They went to Dockery Park, where they stopped and tarried for a few minutes at the big gate before starting to return to town. After going a short distance, they stopped and talked about 10 minutes. While standing there a rock was thrown and Miss Brodbeck was struck on the right shoulder. “It did not bruise or pain me or leave any mark,” she said. When a third rock was thrown and Donaldson said “Keep rocks to yourself.” Miss Brodbeck was on the outside of the walk, facing west, when “something whizzed by my ear and Donaldson said, ‘Blanche, I am shot.'”

“He was standing by my side and took hold of my hand,” Blanche said during the inquiry. “I saw the man throw the rock, he was just behind the tree north of us. We ran to about halfway between the Bennett and West residences. When I left Donaldson, he was staggering and grabbing at his collar and shirt. I went to the first house and ran up on the porch and knocked against the screen and cried for help….

“I had never met Donaldson but the two times and know of no person who wuuld have any reason to shoot him. I have had no steady company here but have a fellow at McFall….

Upon recall she added: “Did not see where the man procured rock the first time he threw. He dodged behind the tree when he threw the first rock, then took his right hand from behind his back and it looked to me that he might have put his hand in his pocket. He never stooped down to pick up the rock. Whatever clothes he had on were black, and he wore a dark hat.”

Dr. M.A. Smith testified to the medical particulars describing Donaldson’s death. Gallatin Marshall Sam Poage testified about Donaldson’s blood found on the ground at the crime scene. Then S.S. Brodbeck testified but added little to shed light on the shooting.

O.P. Walter stated, in part, that during the previous month there had been 52 couples counted at the park and that “there were a number of bad women in town.” S.D. Rohrer of Chillicothe, and owner of the blood hounds, testified about the futile use of the dogs in the investigation. Harry Bills of Lock Springs testified that he heard the shot which sounded “like he was near the ticket house, about 150 feet from us” but did not see the shooter.

James F. Milstead, a brother-in-law to Blanche Brodbeck, stated that when he was going to the park on a bicycle upon learning of the shooting, he saw a man going north through the alley near Dr. Doolin’s.

Sheriff Sam Surface testified that a gun was obtained from the Estes house by Mr. Padget. It was loaded. He also pointed to a rock taken from close to the place where Miss Brodbeck said she was struck. There was a green stain on the rock. “I saw houds working. Whitt and Rohrer had hold of the chains. They went like they were tracking something and smelling, pulling on the chains. They went to the south end of the alley, then part way up the hill to the south end of the road and up to the window at the Estes house.”

J.I. Hughes, who lives within a half block of the park, said he had seen Thomas Estes pass that way toward the park but that he’d never seen Estes carrying a gun.

George Runnels stated his knowledge of Thomas Estes. “I talked with him in Dockery Park on Sunday night, three weeks ago. I was sittind down and heard noises behind me and saw Estes. He did not have a gun. He said he saw young couples under trees one night and another couple near the ticket office. He said he had turned seats over and asked me to take notice if they were turned back in the morning. Said he wanted to know if anybody had been there during the night.”

Thomas Estes testified in part as follows: “My correct name is Irving Estes; I’m 32 years old. I live in the northeast part of Gallatin and take my meals at Mary B. Myers’ just across the alley. I was at home (the night of the murder) and went to bed about 8:30 or 9 o’clock. I had no light in the house after going to bed. I heard some person pass the alley. I heard no gun. I’ve not been in Dockery Park for a month or so. I have a .22 calibre single shot rifle. It was loaded with a .22 short and was behind my bed on the floor. I loaded the gun a few days ago with the intention of killing a rabbit. I used the gun last at Alma Fuller’s where I shot two boxes of cartridges. This was on July 4th. I wiped the gun glean and have not shot it since. The gun and the coat here are mine, taken by Mr. Padget. I put these rocks in the pocket of my coat in my house a week ago to use them to kill a rabbit for a sick lady. I got six at that time. There were other rocks on the floor. I threw two of the rocks at rabbits. I have never turned over seats in Dockery Park. Have never been in there with this target gun or any other gun. I never met George Runnels in the park. I have not watched boys and girls in the park, and have made no threats. I do not know Tennell Holcomb or Wm. Whitt and have no conversations with them. I did not tell them I had been watching men and women in Cox’s pasture. I was not in the direction of Dockery Park last night. I first heard of the killing through Padgety and others who came to my place. I bought the gun from Mann & Musselman on July 3rd, and visited Alma Fuller on July 4th.”

After hearing the evidence, the jury serving in the coroner’s inquest returned the following verdict:

“We find that Edward Donaldson came to his death from a gunshot wound, fired by some person unknown to us, and we further recommend that Thomas Estes be held to the next grand jury for further investigation and that the prosecuting attorney investigate all persons connected with the affair.”

Published in the Aug. 7, 1913, edition of the Gallatin Democrat

Double-murder Suicide Stuns Gallatin in 1982

At a farmstead perched on a frozen hill outside Gallatin, MO, a young farmer hiding behind a brown ski mask unleashed his fury and pumped bullets into anyone standing in his way. Authorities say that George Page emptied his guns for revenge, but in the end all he received was an ambulance ride to a funeral home. It was a ride he did not take alone. By the time the 30-year-old man put a gun to his mouth and killed himself, he had, with amazing speed and ease, devastated three families and robbed 13 children of their mother or father.

At a farmstead perched on a frozen hill outside Gallatin, MO, a young farmer hiding behind a brown ski mask unleashed his fury and pumped bullets into anyone standing in his way. Authorities say that George Page emptied his guns for revenge, but in the end all he received was an ambulance ride to a funeral home. It was a ride he did not take alone. By the time the 30-year-old man put a gun to his mouth and killed himself, he had, with amazing speed and ease, devastated three families and robbed 13 children of their mother or father.

Page killed Mary Bergman, the mother of nine children, and seriously injured two of her children. He murdered John Ed Ramsbottom, an electrician in his mid-30s, who made the mistake of choose that Tuesday night to work on the Bergman’s outside electrical system. And he left behind a wife and 2-year-old son.

For Kenneth L. Calvin, the sheriff of Daviess County, the case is a tragic one but not hard to figure out. He suspects that George Page thought that the Bergmans owed him $20,000 because he prospected for gold for them in Alaska in the summer of 1980. But the tidy explanations for the tragedy are no help to the families who must patch up broken lives after the business of burying the dead is ended.

For Mr. Ramsbottom’s wife, Sally, who now will raise alone an infant son and daughter not yet in school, the pain is still vivid enough to touch, but impossible to describe. “There is no way I can explain. I can’t explain,” she said in a faint, quivering voice. What will she do now? “I don’t know,” she replied before putting down the telephone receiver.

Mrs. Ramsbottom, a teacher at a special education school in Chillicothe, last saw her husband, a Gallatin native and Vietnam veteran, before leaving for school Tuesday. The last friend to see the electrician was James Barton, who runs the local hardware store with his son. Mr. Ramsbottom picked up more supplies for the Bergman job at 3 p.m. The Bartons said Mr. Ramsbottom was so honest that he was one of the only people in town they would trust with their store.

“He was an extremely honest individual. It’s corny to say, but he was,” said Jack Barton, who attended Gallatin High School with the victim. “He did more work than others could do in three days.”

The Bergman children could not be reached for comment. But Judy Rhyne, a Mormon friend in Galaltin whose home the family stayed in after the tragedy occurred, said simply “They’re doing remarkably well, especially the older sister, Cathy.”

For most of the Bergman family, the tragedy will be remembered in living color. During George Page’s rampage, eight of the nine children ranging in age from 2 to 22 were in the home. The father, Tom, an engineer who developed equipment for the surface mining of precious metals, was in Costa Rica in connection with his job and was expected back soon.

The Bergmans, also Mormon, were pushed into the limelight long ago, thanks to the parents, who were vocal advocates of teaching children in the home rather than in public schools. Mrs. Bergman, the founder and president of the National Association of Home Educators, believed that schools could offer studetns only meaningless diplomas supported by mediocre teaching in an atmosphere devoid of moral values.

The nightmare apparently was set into motion sometime Tuesday afternoon in Smithton, when George Page, who farmed soybeans and corn and raised cattle, headed to Gallatin in his pickup truck. One of the last places he was seen before his trip was the Central National Bank of Smithton, said one of his uncles, who did not want his name used for fear of retribution. Whether the trip to the bank spurred the trek to the Begman residence is unknown, and a bank officer refused to discuss George Page.

The uncle said George Page called his wife, Jane, from Gallatin about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, about a half-hour before the shootings. His steady voice and message apparently disguised his intentions. Interviews with law enforcement officials who investigated the slayings presented this picture of what happened:

Mr. Ramsbottom and Kevin Bergman, 16, were working on the electrical system near the back door when George Page pulled up and shot them. Mrs. Bergman, just inside the door, heard a crackle and assumed that the electrical system had shorted out. But she had little time to think when the assailant walked through the kitchen door. Cathy Bergman managed to escape through the kitchen. She scooped up one of the chldren and hid the child under some blankets in a horse trailer.

George Page’s next target was Carl Bergman, 12, who is now in critical but stable condition Wednesday after surgery for back and chest wounds. When Carl crumpled onto the second-floor landing, three of the smaller children helped him to a bed and huddled around him until authorities arrived. One managed to reach a phone and call the police. And Kevin, with blood dripping from his shoulder, tried to slide under Mr. Ramsbottom’s van to escape. Kevin was in serious but stable condition Wednesday night.

When Deputy Sheriff Larry Huskey rached the house, he found Carl repeating George Page’s name. “He kept saying, ‘It was Hal (the man’s nickname) Page; it was Hal Page.'” Then Huskey said, “I believe he’s dead.” It seemed to calm him that Page was dead,” Deputy Huskey said.

Written by Lynn O’Shaughness for the Kansas City Times, Thursday, Jan. 7, 1982

Gangster “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Daviess County

During the 1930s when gangsters roamed the Midwest, Daviess County offered occasional sanctuary to one of the most notorious — Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd. Some believe that a revolver offers proof linking the notoriuos criminal to occasional trips to Pattonsburg, MO.

During the 1930s when gangsters roamed the Midwest, Daviess County offered occasional sanctuary to one of the most notorious — Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd. Some believe that a revolver offers proof linking the notoriuos criminal to occasional trips to Pattonsburg, MO.

In 1934, Amos “Bud” Carter and his brother, Dwight, ran a station in Pattonsburg. They moved there from Pawnee, OK, in 1924. During the year or so that Bud helped run the station (later owned by W.K. Morris), Bud accepted an American Bulldog revolver in exchange for gas and oil.

Mr. Carter described Floyd as a good-looking fellow in fine clothing. The day Floyd offered the revolver in trade, Floyd was driving a coupe with a “chopper” (.45 Thompson machine gun M-27) as his right-hand passenger. Carter said if he hadn’t taken the revolver, he feared he would get nothing in return for his car service products.

Dwight and Bud became immediate half-owners of the revolver. Bud later sold his interest in the gun to Dwight’s family. Although Bud considered Floyd to be nice enough, he recalled that Floyd’s driver, a man named Richetti, was “just plain mean.” Mr. Carter also thought that Dennis “Skin” Severe of Orlando, OK, knew Floyd. Carter recounted stories told to him by Severe and his sons, Homer and Vern “Rusty” Severe. These stories included Dennis’s request that Floyd not rob the Gallatin bank because his friend, Sheriff Frank Sweany, might get hurt.

The story is significant because during 1934, Floyd liked to hit small banks. This was the year that he became Public Enemy No. 1.

Pretty Boy Floyd was also known as “Choc” Floyd in the Cookson Hills of Oklahoma because of his fondness for homemade Checotah (Choctaw) beer. Some homemade beer may have been available in Pattonsburg, too, in the early 1930s. Bud Carter confirmed Floyd’s preference for homemade beer and card games at Pattonsburg.

Choc Floyd was born near Salisaw, OK. His life of crime lastred from 1924 until his death on Oct. 22, 1934, near East Liverpool, OH. FLoyd was in the Missouri penitentiary for 18 months for payroll robbery. He escaped in 1930 after conviction for robbing a Sylvania, OH, bank.

Floyd’s partners were Bill “The Killer” Miller (killed at Bowling Green, OH), George Birdwell (kiled in a 1932 bank robbery), and Adam Richetti (hanged at Galena in the Stone County courtyard in 1936). Some say Floyd was part of the Kansas City Massacre in June, 1933. At one point, Floyd was part of the Dillinger Gang.

Written by David Stark for the Gallatin North Missourian, Nov. 10, 1993.

Five Bank Robberies Itemized

A quick study of cases where Daviess County banks were “subject to withdrawals without proper paperwork” reveals five significant incidents. In chronological order, here’s a summary of the county’s most significant bank robberies according to local historian David Stark of Gallatin.

A quick study of cases where Daviess County banks were “subject to withdrawals without proper paperwork” reveals five significant incidents. In chronological order, here’s a summary of the county’s most significant bank robberies according to local historian David Stark of Gallatin.

1869 — Daviess County Savings AssociationThis is the earliest case of reported robbery known, and perhaps the most famous. on Dec. 7, 1869, two men entered the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin and shot Capt. John Sheets. The men were unmasked and seen by a young man named McDowell, who was held at gunpoint.The State Historical Society of Missouri reported that one of the men took several hundred dollars from the till and safe. However, Daviess County records show that there was no charge made of bank robbery or even attempted robbery in the case.Frank and Jesse James were indicted by county grand jury in 1870 with the murder of Sheets. A reward of $3,000 was offered for their arrest. The brothers were also charged with taking Daniel Smoot’s horse in Gallatin on that day. That loss in horseflesh was estimated at $100, but Mr. Smot claimed the horse left in town to cover his loss. Major S.P. Cox led the posse out of Gallatin in pursuit of the two men. Cox reported that the men escaped in a dense fog in the direction of Kidder. He also said that he believed the two men to have been Jesse James and Jim Anderson.Cole Younger was in Gallatin with Jim Cummins many years later and claimed the name of the man with Jesse that day was Beals, and that it was Beals who lost his horse. No one was brought to trial over the offenses.1896 — Lock Springs BankOn Dec. 11, 1896, someone made an attempt to blow open the safe in the Lock Springs Bank. There are not enough details to tell whether that was an attempted burglary or robbery.1922 — First National Bank of GallatinIn November, 1922, six armed men robbed the First National Bank of Gallatin then located on the south side of the square. They used a large quantity of nitroglycerin which badly damaged the vault, steel safe, front of the bank building, and much of the interior fixtures.Several shots were fired during the hour the bandits were in town. Nightwatchman John Chamberlin, Mayor J.H. Tate, and hotelman Frank Woodruff were each slightly wounded in the proceedings. Most of the telephone and telegraph lines were cut. All of the gang escaped and were never identified.1929 — Pattonsburg Savings BankOn Dec. 18, 1929, a 3:30 p.m. two young men robbed the Savings Bank at Pattonsburg of about $8,000 in cash. They were pursued by many armed men and were captured by C.K. Connell and Gordon Sweany after ditching their car. A few shots were exchagned, but no one was hit. The money was recovered.1931 — The Bank of CoffeyOn a Thursday in January, 1931, the Bank of Coffey was held up and robbed. The two young male bandits entered the bank at about 1:30 p.m. and took over $800 in cash. Cashiers W.T. Siple and J.G. O’Hare were in the bank and W.A. Patridge entered the bank while the holdup was in progress. The robbers took money from the cashier drawers and some silver from the fault. The money in the big safe in the front window was apparently overlooked. The robbers put the three citizens in the vault, but failed to lock the door. The thieves evidently escaped to the north in a Ford sedan.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin