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

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

  1. The Poughkeepsie newspaper also has stories on a bloody prison brawl at San Quentin (with warden not expected to survive) and shootouts in Illinois that left three people dead after an attempted bank robbery. Looks like America was one big shootout back then.

    Like

  2. John D.:
    Couldn’t have happened to a better “mom”.

    As to crime today, we may not have the high levels of crime, but we DO have more “sensationalistic” crimes, more VIOLENT crimes, adn thanks to a 24/7 news-cycle, all crimes tend to garner center-stage”.
    That gives the appearance of MORE.
    But that’s just what I;m seeing.

    Good post.

    Stay safe out there.

    Like

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