this day in crime history: january 16, 1935

On this date in 1935, Kate “Ma” Barker, matriarch of the infamous family of criminals, died along with her son Fred in a hail of gunfire near Ocala, FL. Far from the Tommy-gun toting outlaw she’s been portrayed as in popular culture, Ma Barker’s role in the Barker-Karpis gang was probably limited to providing logistical and moral (or is it immoral?) support.

On January 8, 1935, her son Arthur “Doc” Barker was arrested in Chicago. When he was searched, he was found to have a map of the area where his brother Fred Barker was hiding out with Ma. On the 16th, federal agents surrounded the house and ordered the Barkers to surrender. A gunfight followed. Both Ma and Fred were killed in the battle. When they entered the house, agents found a Tommy gun still in Ma’s hands. Or so they claimed.

Further reading:

Wikipedia – Ma Barker

truTV – Alvin Karpis: Pursuit of the Last Public Enemy

Find a Grave – “Ma” Barker

FBI – Barker-Karpis Gang

Poughkeepsie Eagle-News, January 17, 1935 – “Fred Barker and Mother Slain in Florida Hideout”

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11 thoughts on “this day in crime history: january 16, 1935

  1. Ha! I just saw that photo after reading the Doc Barker post earlier this week and looking the family up. Yes, the house was up for sale a year or two ago. A local FL newspaper has a piece about the sale online.

    Like

  2. Makes me wonder WHO would want to buy the place?
    I figured “Ma” was more into planning and such, rather than brandishing a Thompson.
    Wonder how good a wheel-woman she was?

    Stay safe

    Like

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