The Most Notorious Bank Robbers Of The 1930’s Were From Texas
From roughly 1920 until about 1940, the age of the "depression era" bank robbers was on. The most well known, and vicious ones, came from Texas.
Many men, and women, engaged in the new American pastime of robbing banks and the public had a love/hate relationship with them.
Texas may not have produced the most bank robbers of the era but we can certainly claim the biggest names and one of the biggest "hauls".
The Newton Brothers - Uvalde, Texas
Jess, Willis, "Doc" and Joe Newton were not as well known as Bonnie and Clyde and not nearly as violent but they were far more successful.
They robbed an estimated 80 banks as well as 6 trains ... one of which was the (then) largest train robbery in history ... which netted them millions of dollars. Way more money than Bonnie and Clyde ever collected.
They also once bribed an insurance agent to tell them which banks had the weakest and/or least secure vaults so they could get in and out quicker.
Nothing lasts forever though and by 1924, all 4 Newton Brothers were in jail. By 1930, they were all free and each "went straight", leaving their robbery days, and a lot of unfound money, behind them.
Joe Newton once even appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
"The Barrow Gang" - Texas
Buck and Blanche Barrow made up half of the "Barrow Gang" led by the notorious "Bonnie 'n Clyde". Rounded out by others who came and went including the traitorous Henry Methvin, the gang terrorized banks and lawmen for 2 years in total.
During a shootout in Iowa, Buck and Blanche were wounded. Buck died and Blanche served 6 years in prison.
Bonnie And Clyde - Dallas, Texas
The gold standard with regard to outlaws, Texan or otherwise.
- An epic love story akin to that of Romeo and Juliet.
- A criminal life which saw them rob somewhere between 10 and 15 banks, a bunch of grocery stores and other small businesses. (They saw "Mom 'n Pop" shops as less risky.)
- They (allegedly), killed 13 people and stole an untold amount of money along with several cars and firearms during a two year blitz across Texas and Louisiana.
- An epic death. Betrayed by Henry Methvin ... he turned on them for a pardon ... they were ambushed in Louisiana and cut to pieces in a barrage of gunfire.
They never saw it coming.
This video, shot at the scene, is pretty graphic and is probably NSFW.
For good or bad, when it comes to the bank robbers of the depression era, many became folk heroes for "fighting the system and the bankers".
Across the country, concerned citizens secretly cheered for these modern day Robin Hood's.
Of all the depression era outlaws, Texas has the dubious honor of having created the most memorable, tragic and deadly.