YOUTHFUL BANDIT ATTEMPTS

TO ROB THE BANK AT KNOBEL

THE WEEKLY SOLIPHONE

FRIDAY , MARCH 5 , 1915

TRANSCRIBED BY : TINA EASLEY

tina@grnco.net

http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ar/county/greene/

 

FRANK LEE , ALIAS JOHN OSBORNE A YOUTHFUL LOOKING BUT SWARTHY AND CUNNING CHAP , IS IN THE COUNTY JAIL IN PARAGOULD MAKING MENTAL CALCULATIONS ON HOW MANY YEARS HE WILL HAVE TO SERVE IN THE ARKANSAS PENITENTIARY FOR AN ATTEMPT TO ROB THE BANK AT KNOBEL YESTERDAY MORNING. THE PROSPECT OF A PRISON TERM WOULD PROBALY NOT OCCASION SUCH , DARK FOREBODINGS IF LEE HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN ANNEXING SOME OF THE IDLE COIN CARRIED BY THE BANK AT KNOBEL , BUT THE FACT THAT HE MADE A WATERHAUL AND THEN CLIMAXED HIS ILL LUCK BY WALKING INTO THE VERY ARMS OF SHERIFF AL GROOMS OF THIS COUNTY , IS ENOUGH TO MAKE LEE THINK HE WAS BORN UNDER AN UNLUCKY STAR .

LEE ENTERED THE BANK AT KNOBEL YESTERDAY MORNING ABOUT ELEVEN O'CLOCK AND TOLD JOE SELLMEYER , THE CASHIER , HE WANTED SOME CHANGE. HE ACCOMPANIED THE REQUEST WITH THE PRESENTATION OF A .38 CALIBRE REVOLVER WHICH THE CASHIER DID NOT OBSERVE AS HE TURNED TO THE PILE OF SILVER ON THE COUNTER PREPARATORY TO ACCOMMODATING THE CUSTOMER. WHEN SELLMEYER AGAIN FACED LEE HE OBSERVED THE DISPLAY OF SHOOTLERY AND QUICKLY DUCKED . THE YOUTHFUL BANDIT HEARD A NOISE IN THE REAR OF THE BANK OFFICE AND SAYS HE THOUGHT THERE WAS ANOTHER MAN IN THE BANK AND THAT THE UNSEEN OCCUPANT OF THE PREMISES WAS ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM. CONCLUSIONS YOUTHFUL ROBBER THAT SOME ONE IN THE REAR WAS ABOUT TO SHOOT HIM WERE UNFOUNDED.

LEE MADE A DASH FOR THE BOTTOMS NEAR KNOBEL AND KEPT WELL IN ADVANCE OF THE POSSE THAT WAS QUICKLY ORGANIZED TO CAPTURE HIM.

AT THE JAIL THIS AFTERNOON HE TALKED FREELY TO A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PRESS AND FOR THE FIRST TIME GAVE WHAT HE SAYS IS HIS REAL NAME.

" I HAVE BEEN GOING UNDER THE NAME OF JOHN OSBORNE , " SAID LEE THIS AFTERNOON , " AND IN AUGUST 1913 , I ENLISTED IN THE ARMY AT JEFFERSON BARRACKS UNDER THE NAME OF OSBORNE . MY REAL NAME IS FRANK LEE AND MY HOME IS AT APT STATION , CROSS COUNTY WHERE MY FATHER AND MOTHER RESIDE. FROM JEFFERSON BARRACKS I WAS TRANSFERRED TO LAREDO, TEXAS , AND REMAINED THERE WITH MY COMPANY UNTIL I WAS HONORABLY DISCHARGED IN AUGUST 1914 . I SERVED IN THE ARMY A LITTLE OVER ONE YEAR. FROM TEXAS I WENT TO SEATTLE AND OTHER POINTS IN THE NORHWEST AND FINALLY DRIFTED TO EAST ST. LOUIS . LATER I WENT TO SMALL TOWN IN INDIANA AND VISITED A MARRIED SISTER. I HAVE FORGOTTEN THE NAME OF THE TOWN. SEVERAL WEEKS AGO I CAME TO ARKANSAS AND HAVE SPENT MOST OF THE TIME AT HOXIE AND PEACH ORCHARD.

" WHAT PUT THE IDEA OF ROBBING A BANK IN YOUR HEAD ? " ASKED THE REPORTER .

" WELL , I WAS ON THE TRAIN GOING TO KNOBEL WHEN SOME BOYS TOLD ME IT WOULD BE EASY TO ROB THE BANK AT KNOBEL . I DECIDED TO TRY IT BUT IT SEEMS I MADE A MESS OF THE AFFAIR. I THOUGHT SOME ONE ELSE WAS IN THE BANK AND THAT IF I DIDN'T CLEAR OUT PRETTY QUICK I WOULD GET SHOT.

LEE SAYS HE IS ONLY NINETEEN YEARS OF AGE , ALTHOUGH HE LOOKS SOME OLDER.

YESTERDAY AFTERNOON LATE SHERIFF GROOMS RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM KNOBEL TO LOOK OUT FOR THE ROBBER . HE WAS FURNISHED WITH A DESCRIPTION OF THE YOUNG MAN AND WAS TOLD HE WAS PROBABLY TRAVELING IN THIS DIRECTION. ABOUT SIX O'CLOCK THE SHERIFF AND A DEPUTY WALKED UP THE IRON MOUNTAIN RAILROAD AND TWO MILES NORTH OF THE CITY THEY RAN INTO LEE IN HIS WAGON. " WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE WAGON I HIT THE RAIROAD AND AS YOU KNOW WALKED INTO THE SHERIFF WHO WAS LOOKING FOR ME."

LEE TOLD SHERIFF GROOMS HE HAD SHOT A YOUNG MAN IN KENTUCKY PREVIOUS TO JOINING THE ARMY AND THE SHERIFF HAS BEEN TRYING TO GET SOME LINE ON THE ALLEGED CRIME , MR. GROOMS IS OF THE OPINION THAT LEE HAS BEEN WORKING WITH A GANG AND THAT HE IS IMPLICATED IN OTHER CRIMES . HOWEVER , HE HAS NOT YET HAD TIME TO COMPLETE HIS INVESTIGATIONS , BUT HOPES TO LEARN SOMETHING OF A DEFINITE NATURE WITHIN THE NEXT TWENTY-FOUR HOURS.

A DEPUTY SHERIFF FROM CLAY COUNTY IS EXPECTED TO ARRIVE HERE TONIGHT TO TAKE LEE BACK TO KNOBEL FOR PRELIMINARY TRIAL.

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