October 2016 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Frank "Jelly" Nash -  from Wikipedia
Frank Nash (February 6, 1887 - June 17, 1933) has been called “the most successful bank robber in U.S. history,” but he is most noted for his violent death in what has become known as the Kansas City Massacre. Nash spent part of his childhood in Paragould, Arkansas (Greene County) and was arrested in Hot Springs, Arkansas (Garland County) the day before his death.

Early life

Frank “Jelly” Nash was born on February 6, 1887, in Birdseye, Indiana. His father, John “Pappy” Nash, started hotels in several southern towns, including Paragould and Jonesboro (Craighead County) 

Arkansas, and Hobart, Oklahoma. Nash’s mother, Alta, was the second of John’s three wives. Nash had two sisters and two stepbrothers. Living in Paragould from 1893 to 1896, he then moved with his father to Jonesboro and, afterward, to Hobart, which he later treated as his hometown.

Criminal life
Early robberies

Nash worked in his father’s hotels and also served in the U.S. Army from 1904 to 1907. He later served three prison sentences for various crimes, including robbery and murder. Nash is thought to have participated in roughly 200 bank robberies and was often considered the “mastermind” of several groups of criminals. He planned various escapes from prison, both from within the prison and while free. In spite of his criminal record, Nash was widely considered friendly, likeable, and charming. His nickname, “Jelly” (shortened from “Jellybean”), began during his childhood, due to his poise and his well-groomed appearance (although some associate the nickname with the explosives used to open bank safes).

Nash was first convicted in 1913. He and a friend, Nollie “Humpy” Wortman, stole nearly $1,000 from a store in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. While escaping, Nash suggested they hide the evidence. As Wortman went to bury the money, Nash shot him in the back. He was arrested hours later and sentenced to life in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. On March 28, 1918, Nash’s sentence was reduced to ten years after he convinced the warden he wanted to join the army and fight in World War I. Nash signed his military registration card on June 12, 1918, and was released on August 16, 1918. Nash saw action in Belleau Wood, France, before the end of the war. (The fighting in Belleau Wood ended in June, 1918, and the war ended November 11 of that year).

Two years later, Nash was convicted of burglary using explosives, also known as safe-cracking, and sentenced to twenty-five years in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He became a trustee, and his sentence was reduced to five years. On December 29, 1922, Nash was released, and he joined the Al Spencer gang, a group of bank robbers.

On August 20, 1923, the Spencer gang robbed the Katy Limited postal train at Okesa, Oklahoma. Nash fled to Juarez, Mexico, where he married a local woman. Many sources claim that Nash hoped to falsify the date on the marriage license to provide him an alibi for the time of the train robbery. The same sources also state that Nash was already married to a sweetheart from Hobart, but the names of his first two wives are not known. His military registration card indicates that he was single in 1918.

Nash was enticed across the Mexico–United States border and arrested for the burglary of the Katy Limited in early 1924. On March 1, Nash and three members of the Spencer gang received twenty-five-year sentences at the federal penitentiary at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for mail robbery and assault on a mail custodian. In 1930, Nash was appointed the deputy warden’s chef and general handyman, a position that brought privileges. On October 19, 1930, Nash was sent outside the prison on an errand and never returned.

Nash escaped to Chicago, Illinois, where he fell in love with a barmaid named Frances Luce and continued his criminal activities, now in the major cities of the United States. Among other crimes during these years, Nash assisted in the escape of seven prisoners from Fort Leavenworth in December 1931.

Nash visited Hot Springs with Frances Luce and her daughter in the spring of 1932 and returned with them the following spring. Hot Springs was then known as a playground for members of the criminal underworld. Without telling her about his first two wives, Nash married Luce on May 26, 1933. The two adopted the last name of Moore.

Arrest in Hot Springs

On June 15, 1933, two Oklahoma City Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Joe Lackey and Frank Smith, learned that Nash was in Hot Springs. The agents drove to Hot Springs accompanied by Otto Reed, the police chief of McAlester, Oklahoma, as FBI agents were forbidden from carrying weapons and making arrests during that time period. They learned that Nash was frequently found in the White Front Cigar Store, which was owned by Richard Galatas and frequented by many criminals of a national stature. On June 16, the agents arrested Nash and drove to Fort Smith, Arkansas (Sebastian County).

That night, Nash, accompanied by Lackey, Smith, and Reed, boarded a Missouri Pacific train bound for Kansas City, Missouri. However, word of Nash’s capture had gotten around, as well as the destination of the agents, and plans were apparently made to attempt to free him.

Main article: Kansas City Massacre

After arriving at the Kansas City Union Station at 7:15 a.m. on June 17, 1933, and meeting additional agents, Nash was put into a parked car outside the station. Two or three armed men approached the car, and many shots were exchanged. Accounts differ regarding who fired first, but what is known is that in the end, Nash was killed, as were Reed, FBI agent Raymond Caffrey, and Kansas City Police detectives W. J. “Red” Grooms and Frank Hermanson. Based on the testimony of the surviving agents, authorities sought Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Floyd's partner Adam Richetti, and Vernon Miller as suspects. Miller was later found murdered in Detroit. Floyd, who became "Public Enemy Number One" after the July 1934 death of John Dillinger, was killed by the FBI in Ohio in October 1934. However, Richetti was arrested in Ohio, tried and convicted for the Kansas City Massacre shootings, and executed in Missouri's gas chamber on October 7, 1938.

The body of Nash was claimed by his sister, Alice Long, and is buried in Linwood Cemetery in Paragould, Arkansas. His funeral brought many strangers, assumed to be gangsters, to town. Prompted by the massacre, in January 1934, the U.S. Congress passed legislation that allowed FBI agents to be armed and gave them the authority to make arrests.

Kansas City massacre - from Wikipedia

The Kansas City massacre was the shootout and murder of four law enforcement officers and a criminal fugitive at the Union Station railroad depot in Kansas City, Missouri, on the morning of June 17, 1933. It occurred as part of the attempt by a gang led by Vernon Miller to free Frank "Jelly" Nash, a federal prisoner. At the time, Nash was in the custody of several law enforcement officers who were returning him to the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, from which he had escaped three years earlier.

Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd was identified by the FBI as one of the gunmen. However, there is some evidence to suggest that Floyd was not actually involved.

Vernon Miller

Adam Richetti

Pretty Boy Flyod
Frank Nash was first convicted in 1913. He and a friend, Nollie “Humpy” Wortman, stole nearly $1,000 from a store in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. While escaping, Nash suggested they hide the evidence. As Wortman went to bury the money, Nash shot him in the back. Nash was arrested hours later and sentenced to life in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. On March 28, 1918, Nash's sentence was reduced to ten years after he convinced the warden he wanted to join the army and fight in World War I. In 1920, Nash was convicted of burglary using explosives, also known as safe-cracking, and sentenced to 25 years in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He became a trusty, and his sentence was reduced to five years. On December 29, 1922, Nash was released. On March 3, 1924, Nash began a 25-year sentence at the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, in Kansas, for assaulting a mail custodian. He escaped on October 19, 1930.

The FBI launched an intensive search for Nash throughout the entire United States and most of Canada. After an intensive investigation, the FBI concluded that Nash had assisted in the escape of seven prisoners from the United States Penitentiary, Leavenworth, on December 11, 1931.

The investigation also disclosed that Nash had a very close association with Francis L. Keating, Thomas Holden, and several other gunmen who had participated in a number of bank robberies throughout the Midwest. Keating and Holden were apprehended by FBI agents on July 7, 1932, in Kansas City, Missouri. The pair had crucial information about the whereabouts of Nash and eventually divulged that he was hiding out in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


With information in hand, two FBI agents, Frank Smith and F. Joseph Lackey, and McAlester, Oklahoma Police Chief Otto Reed ventured to Arkansas to find the escaped outlaw. After an exhaustive search, Nash was apprehended in a local store in Hot Springs on June 16, 1933. The three officials then drove Nash to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to board a train bound for Kansas City, Missouri, at 8:30 that night. The Missouri Pacific train's estimated time of arrival in Kansas City was 7:15 the next morning. Before traveling, the lawmen contacted R. E. Vetterli, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the FBI’s Kansas City office, to meet them at the train station upon arrival.


A number of outlaw friends of Nash had heard of his capture in Hot Springs. They learned the time of the scheduled arrival of Nash and his captors in Kansas City and made plans to free him. The scheme was conceived and engineered by Richard Tallman Galatas, Herbert Farmer, “Doc” Louis Stacci, and Frank B. Mulloy. Vernon Miller was designated to free Nash, and while at Mulloy’s tavern in Kansas City, he made a number of phone calls for assistance in the scheme. According to the official FBI report, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd and his sidekick Adam Richetti arrived in Kansas City to aid in the mission.

According to the FBI report, Floyd and Richetti happened to be on the way to Kansas City but had been detained at Bolivar, Missouri, early on the morning of the 16th, when the car in which they were riding became disabled. While the two were waiting in a local garage for the necessary repairs to the car, Sheriff Jack Killingsworth entered the building. Richetti, who immediately recognized the sheriff, seized a machine gun and held the sheriff and the garage attendants up against the wall. Floyd drew two .45 caliber machine pistols and ordered all parties to remain motionless. Floyd and Richetti then transferred their arsenal into another automobile and ordered the sheriff to enter that vehicle. The two, along with their prisoner, drove to Deepwater, Missouri, abandoned that automobile and commandeered another. After releasing the sheriff, they arrived in Kansas City about 10:00 p.m. on June 16. There, Floyd and Richetti abandoned that automobile and stole another car to which they transferred their baggage and firearms. Finally, that same night, they met Miller and went with him to his home. There Miller told them of his plan to free Frank Nash.

Early the next morning, according to the FBI account, Miller, Floyd, and Richetti drove to Union Station in a Chevrolet sedan. There they took up their positions to await the arrival of Nash and his captors.

The massacre

Upon the arrival of the train in Kansas City, Agent Lackey went to the loading platform, leaving Smith, Reed, and Nash in a stateroom of the train. On the platform, he was met by SAC Vetterli, who was accompanied by FBI Agent Raymond J. Caffrey and officers W. J. Grooms and Frank Hermanson of the Kansas City Police Department. These men surveyed the area surrounding the platform and saw nothing that aroused their suspicion. SAC Vetterli advised Agent Lackey that he and Caffrey had brought two cars to Union Station and that the cars were parked immediately outside.

Agent Lackey then returned to the train and, accompanied by Chief Reed, SAC Vetterli, Agents Caffrey and Smith, and Officers Hermanson and Grooms, proceeded from the train through the lobby of Union Station. At the time, both Agent Lackey and Chief Reed were armed with shotguns. Other officers carried pistols. Frank Nash walked through Union Station with the seven officers.

Upon leaving Union Station, the lawmen, with their captive, paused briefly. Again, seeing nothing that aroused their suspicion, they proceeded to Caffrey’s Chevrolet. Frank Nash was handcuffed throughout the trip from the train to the Chevrolet, which was parked directly in front of the east entrance of Union Station.

Agent Caffrey unlocked the right door of the Chevrolet. When the door was opened, Nash started to get into the back seat; however, Agent Lackey told Nash to get into the front of the car. Agent Lackey then climbed into the back of the car directly behind the driver’s seat. Agent Smith sat beside him in the center of the back; and Chief Reed sat beside Smith in the right rear seat.

At this point, Agent Caffrey walked around the car to get into the driver’s seat through the left door. SAC Vetterli stood with Officers Hermanson and Grooms at the right side near the front of the car.

A green Plymouth was parked about six feet away on the right side of Agent Caffrey’s car. Looking in the direction of this Plymouth, Agent Lackey saw two men run from behind a car. He noticed that both men were armed, at least one of them with a machine gun.

Before Agent Lackey had a chance to warn his fellow officers, one of the gunmen shouted, “Up, up!” At this instant, Agent Smith, who was in the middle of the back seat, also saw a man with a machine gun to the right of the Plymouth. SAC Vetterli, who was standing at the right front of the Chevrolet turned just in time to hear a voice command, “Let ‘em have it!”

At this point, from a distance approximately 15 feet diagonally to the right of Agent Caffrey’s Chevrolet, an individual crouched behind the radiator of another car opened fire. Officers Grooms and Hermanson immediately fell to the ground, dead. SAC Vetterli, who was standing beside Officers Grooms and Hermanson, was shot in the left arm and dropped to the ground. As he attempted to scramble to the left side of the car to join Agent Caffrey, who had not yet entered the driver’s seat of the Chevrolet, Vetterli saw Caffrey fall to the ground. He had been fatally wounded in the head.

Inside the car, Frank Nash and Chief Reed were killed. Agents Lackey and Smith were able to survive the massacre by falling forward in the back seat of the Chevrolet. Lackey was struck and seriously wounded by three bullets. Smith was unscathed.

The three gunmen rushed to the lawmen’s car and looked inside. One of them was heard to shout “They’re all dead. Let’s get out of here.” With that, they raced toward a dark-colored Chevrolet. Just then a Kansas City policeman emerged from Union Station and began firing in the direction of one of the killers, later identified as Floyd, who slumped briefly but continued to run. The killers entered the car which sped westward out of the parking area and disappeared.

The three survivors, Agents Smith and Lackey and SAC Vetterli, reported that the assault lasted possibly 30 seconds. They were uncertain if three or four gunmen staged the assault. From their account, it was apparent that the two Kansas City police officers were killed immediately, followed seconds later by Frank Nash and Chief Reed and then by Agent Caffrey, who was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead on arrival.


The FBI immediately initiated an investigation to identify and apprehend the gunmen. The investigation developed evidence that the scheme was carried out by Vernon C. Miller, Adam C. Richetti, and Pretty Boy Floyd. The evidence included latent fingerprint impressions located by FBI Agents on beer bottles in Miller’s Kansas City home and identified as those of Adam Richetti, thus helping to link the latter to the crime.

Claims of innocence

The FBI account—including Floyd's involvement—has been disputed in three recent books: Joe Urschel's The Year of Fear (2015), Robert Unger’s Union Station Massacre: The Original Sin of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI (1997) and Michael Wallis' Floyd biography Pretty Boy (1994). The authors believe that Floyd and Richetti were framed by the FBI. The matter is likely to remain highly controversial, as evidence against the two men is far from conclusive. Urschel and Wallis maintain that the massacre is completely out of character with the rest of Floyd's known career. Additionally, longtime underworld figure Blackie Audett wrote in Rap Sheet (1954) that Floyd and Richetti weren't involved, and that the other two gunmen were really Maurice Denning and William “Solly” Weissman. Bryan Burrough, author of Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crimewave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-1934 (2007), asserts that Floyd "almost certainly was" guilty of taking part in the massacre, citing the testimony of several underworld informants arrested by the FBI; however, their testimony has been contradicted by those of other informants and witnesses.

Death of Miller

On November 29, 1933, during the FBI’s search for Miller, his mutilated body was found in a ditch on the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan. He had apparently been killed as a result of a run-in with a criminal gang in New Jersey. Several authors, including Jay Robert Nash, have used Miller's death to argue that the Massacre was actually a syndicate hit meant to silence Nash (rather than rescue him), who had extensive underworld contacts.

Arrest of Richetti

Richetti and Floyd were involved in an automobile accident in Wellsville, Ohio, on October 20, 1934, in which the automobile that Floyd was driving crashed into a telephone pole. Police Chief J. H. Fultz went out to investigate and a shootout took place with Floyd and Richetti. Chief Fultz apprehended Richetti after Richetti had emptied his gun at the officer. Floyd escaped, but the Police Chief thought Floyd might have been wounded.

Adam Richetti, following his apprehension, was returned to Kansas City. He was tried for the murders in the Kansas City Massacre and was convicted on June 17, 1935, approximately two years after the massacre. He was sentenced to death. Following appeals and resentencing, he was executed on October 7, 1938.

Death of Floyd

After an intensive search, the FBI and a team of local police officers located Pretty Boy Floyd hiding on a farm just outside Clarkson, Ohio, on October 22, 1934. Floyd shot it out with the law enforcement officers and was killed in the shootout. At the time Floyd was killed, a watch and fob, consisting of a “lucky piece”, were found on his person. Groups of ten notches were found on each of these items—reportedly carved by Floyd as an indication of the number of people he had killed. With his dying breath, Floyd denied he was involved in the shooting.


The four individuals who aided in the conspiracy—Richard Galatas, Herbert Farmer, “Doc” Louis Stacci, and Frank Mulloy—were indicted by a federal grand jury at Kansas City, Missouri, on October 24, 1934. On January 4, 1935, the four were found guilty of conspiracy to cause the escape of a federal prisoner from the custody of the United States. On the following day, each was sentenced to serve two years in a Federal Penitentiary and pay a fine of $10,000, the maximum penalty allowed by law.
Changes at the FBI

The Kansas City Massacre changed the FBI. Prior to this event the agency did not have authority to carry firearms (although some agents reportedly did) and make arrests (they could make a "citizen's arrest", then call a U.S. Marshal or local law officer), but a year later Congress gave the FBI statutory authority to carry guns and make arrests (in May and June 1934). The FBI acquired their first Thompson submachine guns and Winchester Model 1907 self-loading rifles. But, after requesting that Remington Arms provide a replacement for the Winchester, the agency later adopted specially modified variants of the Remington Model 81 semi-automatic rifle.

In popular culture

A TV movie entitled Kansas City Massacre directed by Dan Curtis was broadcast in 1975. The paranormal show Ghost Adventures investigated Union Station in Season 7 of their series. The basis for the episode was the potential residual hauntings by the men murdered outside the building during the massacre. A graphic novel based on the Kansas City Massacre titled Union Station was originally written by Ande Parks and drawn by Eduardo Barreto in 2003 and re-released in 2009 by Oni Press.[8][9] August 3, 2015 Gangland Wire  documentary filmmaker Gary Jenkins published a 3-episode true crime story podcast about the Union Station Massacre with BlackHand/Strawman  documentary filmmaker Terence O'Malley here http://ganglandwire.com/wiretap-audio

Doc Middleton from Wikipedia
James M. Riley (better known as Doc Middleton and also known as David C. Middleton, Texas Jack, Jack Lyons, Gold-Tooth Jack and Gold-Tooth Charley) (February 9, 1851 - December 29, 1913) was an outlaw and horse thief, whose exploits of stealing perhaps 2,000 horses over a two-year period earned a spot in the Wild West Show.

Riley was born in Bastrop, Texas.

Criminal career

He stole his first horse at age of 14. In 1870 he was convicted for murder in Texas and was sentenced to life in prison at the Huntsville Prison. In 1874 he escaped the prison.

He was caught stealing horses in Iowa. After serving 18 months he moved to Sidney, Nebraska 

where he shot and killed a soldier Pvt James Keith of the 5th Cavalry Regiment January 13, 1877 from nearby Fort Sidney in a bar fight. He was arrested but he escaped as a lynch mob gathered.

He was eventually wanted by Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Union Pacific Railroad, which offered rewards for his capture. Army officer William H. H. Llewellyn, seeking to protect pony herds on the Pine Ridge Reservation, was dispatched to capture him. Llewellyn along with an army from detachment under George Crook lured him to a meeting with a promise of a pardon from the governor. In a melee two of Doc's gang were killed and a lawman named Hazen was wounded [8] but Middleton was captured and was taken to Cheyenne, Wyoming where he was convicted of Grand larceny and served a prison sentence from September 18, 1879 and released on June, 18 1883. {At the time of his 1879 arrest it was reported that he had stolen thirty-five horses from William Irving of Cheyenne in 1877}

In 1884 he and his third bride (a 16-year-old girl) moved to Gordon, Nebraska where he operated a saloon and was briefly a deputy sheriff.

In 1893 Buffalo Bill, as a stunt for the World's Columbian Exposition, enlisted him to participate in the 1,000 mile horse race from Chadron, Nebraska, to Chicago . He completed the race and rode most of the way, although he was transported part of the way by train.

In 1897 it was reported he was City Marshal of Edgemont, South Dakota

In 1900 he later moved to Gordon, Nebraska and had a saloon in both Gordon and Ardmore, South Dakota and was also the town Marshal, and in 1913 he moved to Orin Junction, Wyoming where he opened a saloon. After getting in a knife fight at the bar he was arrested for dispensing liquor illegally. While in jail he contracted erysipelas and died. He is buried in Douglas Park Cemetery in Douglas, Wyoming.
Media produced of his life

In 1974, Swallow Press, Inc, Chicago, published a biography of Doc Middleton, Doc Middleton Life and Legends of the Notorious Plains Outlaw, by Harold Hutton. Now out of print, some copies can be found on the internet. According to Hutton, Doc Middleton became best friends with one Zack Light, an equally desperate and offensive outlaw. Zack Light married Doc's sister Margaret Riley, but after a couple of years with the ruffian, marriage proved impossible and Margaret Riley moved to South Texas with her two children, Minnie Light and Zack Light, Jr.

In the biography of Juan Light Salinas, Tio Cowboy – Juan Salinas, Rodeo Performer and Horseman, (Texas A & M Press, 2007) author Ricardo D. Palacios relates that Margaret Riley was his great-grandmother. Minnie Light married Antonio G. Salinas, later Sheriff of Webb County, Texas. Together, Antonio and Minnie had five children: Juan Light Salinas, Jose Maria Salinas, Mucia Salinas (the author's mother), Margarita Salinas, and Antonio Light Salinas. Palacios explains in Tio Cowboy that the eldest and the youngest of the children, Juan Light Salinas and Antonio Light Salinas (grandnephews of Doc Middleton), became prolific rodeo performers in the tie-down calf roping event, eventually joining the national circuit and making every rodeo they could from about 1936 to 1949. They attended every finals rodeo at Madison Square Garden from 1936 to 1946. They were never world champions but they won their share and earned a very comfortable living in their sport. Juan Light Salinas was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1992. Juan Salinas and Doc Middleton never met each other, but coincidentally, decades apart of course, both performed at the rodeo at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming, "The Daddy of Them All."

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