Bunch on a Breakout
oxypodium 15:15 - 16:00
foto: Josephine Kurvers
On the 28th of October 1933 there was a breakout from the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. During this breakout the famous bank robber Aussie Elliott escaped the facility and travelled north. An extensive manhunt was organized to recapture Elliott and his associates in the escape, Raymond Moore and Eldon Wilson. After a few months they were trapped and engaged in a gun battle near Sapulpa, Oklahoma. All three man were killed in this for several hours lasting gunfight. While this all was happening up north in Oklahoma State, down south events took another turn.
During the mayhem after the breakout of Aussie Elliott and his companions, the escape of five low profile criminals from the penitentiary was unnoticed. It was only after a few days that their disappearance was reported to the state authorities. The lack of capacity due to the manhunt organized to catch Elliott and the four days head start, made it possible for the five man to make their way south. While heading for the Texas Stateline the bunch, that was formed by Father ‘Joe’ Callahan, Frankie O’ Toole, Kenneth ‘Red’ McKinssey, Sue Roosevelt and Abraham George Kingsley, was spotted on a freight train in the town of Antlers, Oklahoma. They made their way out and were last seen by a farmer in a field near Dumpling Creek.
Because there weren’t enough men to patrol the plains in the south of Antlers, the police department in Hugo decided to send their men to the Red River. For several weeks every fordable spot in the river was guarded all the way from Marshall till McCurtain county. This was all done just to stop the, by the Lawton Constitution named, ‘Bunch on a Breakout’ from crossing the river into Texas.
Despite the effort of the authorities to capture these fugitives, they’re still on the loose. Some lips whisper that they drowned while trying to swim across the Red River. Others say they’ve split up and each is out there on it’s own. Using a fake name and working on some desolated farm trying to make a living. Have it from hearsay, but unlikely, that they’re still together. Making some dollars being a travellin’ band or such. Idle talk I guess. That would make as much sense as telling they went to Europe or a place like that. No, for the moment, they’re like a snake in the grass.
President of Oklahoma State Penitentiary
November 16th 1933