Uncle Bub-O lived about eight miles east of the small community of King, Arkansas. King is located ten miles northeast of De Queen, Arkansas Just off US Highway 71 on a graveled road numbered "380." At that time the tiny town of King only had one big general store with a post office. the railroad passed through the settlement; however, the trains never stopped.
About a mile east of the Cossatot River, road 380 connected through another small community, Cooper, which is where my Uncle Bub-O lived. We stayed nights at Uncle Bub-O's house and got up early each morning and, fished all day.On Saturday, August 13th, 1938, while we were fishing on the Cossatot River just north of the Ladd Bridge. Joe "Buddy" Wilemon was dropping his line from a raft at the west bank of the river, while we were fishing from the bank nearby. We all heard a car cross the Ladd Bridge, and in a short while we heard it coming back.
At this point, we didn't have any idea what had happened, other than just a confrontation with the police had occurred that day while we were fishing so we didn't really think much about it or take any precautions otherwise, with life going on as usual. However, just 30 or 45 minutes after the shooting on that day, my father went to a spring by our fishing site to get a drink. When he was there a couple of guys came by. One of the guys said to him, "It sure is hot today." My dad then said, "Why don't you guys get a drink of this water, it will help keep you cool." They declined the offer, however, saying that they had to move along and move on along they did, albeit sporadic and unplanned.
The ironic thing about this is the outlaws were obviously confused. If they had known where they were or had a map and continued in the direction they were traveling before turning around they could have gotten away.The road they were on turned south about 10 miles east of the bridge and went to a town named Dierks, Arkansas.
The police, huddled on the southwest side of the bridge, were below the bridge floor level scheming what to do next. They had concluded that Hamilton and Walters had managed to elude them. The police would no doubt have left the bridge in another five or ten minutes.
All the while, the outlaws Floyd and Ted went up the river and waded across at a shoal. Because the Kansas City Southern Railroad went through King and into De Queen, Arkansas, they were able to hear the trains going down the tracks, even though they were just a few miles away. (Catching a train in this area was impossible since they moved quite quickly in each direction.)
In this era, trains were running through De Queen in both directions, hourly and sometimes sooner. Therefore, they began working their way south toward De Queen, following the train tracks to the switching yards there.
I am guessing it was about 1 or 2 PM same day as the shooting, when we started back to Uncle Bub-O's. I say this because we were planning to go to my uncle's house to eat lunch. The first little turn in the road went through a small wooded area where we met four guys there with big white hats and shotguns. They stopped us and told us that they had shot Floyd Hamilton and Ted Walters out of a stolen car on the bridge. They were wanted for Bank robberies around the Texas and Arkansas area.
After an exciting day of shootouts and outlaws, we stayed at Uncle Bub-O's for a few more days and we returned back home to De Queen the following Wednesday. In retrospect, life back then was slow and easy and it is a wonder that an occurrence such as a shootout would have more effect on us. I guess that people back then just tried to keep to keep to themselves more and minded their own business. Neverless, it is interesting to note how we reacted back then as compared to how we would have reacted today in our world of instant communication, media sensation, and overall paranoia.
Floyd Hamilton in 1938 was atop the F.B.I.'s most wanted list. His brother, Raymond Hamilton, a onetime ranking member of the BonnieParker-Clyde Barrow gang, was on the top of the F.B.I.'s most wanted list in a previous year When we got back to the bridge their car, a green 1937 Plymouth, was setting at the east end of the bridge. It was headed toward the east and looked like it had at least a hundred bullet holes in it. Hamilton was hit in the leg but it wasn't serious enough to keep him from walking. After we got to the bridge I remember asking one of the rangers who the outlaws were. His answer was "Floyd Hamilton and his Sunday school mate." We remained around the scene for an hour or so looking and talking with the officer. This was into the afternoon.The officers searched for them everyday for a week. The police told dad that if the outlaws approached us and wanted our car keys tell them the police had taken all the keys from the people. Dad said, "I am leaving my keys in the car because I don't want them coming and asking me for my keys." Upset the cops a little but it didn't matter. They probably wouldn't want our car anyway -- it was a 1932 B model Ford pickup. After they got to De Queen my brother-in-law, Earnest Boyet was fishing on Little Bear Creek by the railroad and saw them. It had begun to rain and he had turned a boat on its side and was hunkered down under it. He said to them, "Come on over and get under the boat so you won't get wet." They said, "We don't have time as we are going to catch the next freighter out to the south." They then asked him which direction was south. At that time hobos were a common sight and he was in the area that was referred to as hobo jungle, so he didn't think much about it until he saw their pictures. About three days later, Uncle Bub-O got his nickels worth in. The police officers were all talking about how to plan their search for the day. We were passing going fishing and Uncle Bub-O told them they could just go on home that he knew they were no longer up there. This one cop smarted off, " How in the hell would you know?" Uncle Bub-O said, "If they were on the road you people are so thick you would see them, and if they are in the woods the seed ticks would have them eaten by now." Capt. Atkinson and Deputy Leslie Dillahunty, accompanied by Moore had scarcely reached the west end of the bridge, when they heard an automobile roaring onto the east end of the bridge. Atkinson recognized Hamilton and Walters and opened fire with a machine-gun shooting from where he stood south of the west side approach. Dillahunty and Moore, the latter unarmed, had walked upon the bridge directly facing the car when it pulled upon the bridge. Dillahunty put two 30-30 bullets through the windshield, when his rifle jammed and he quickly changed to his revolver. Atkinson was peppering the car with Tommy gun bullets. The driver quickly applied the brakes and threw the car into reverse. The tires had been flattened and a bullet went through the crankcase. The car went careening backward, as one of the bandits shot twice with a shotgun at Dillahunty and Moore, missing his aim. The car stopped on the east approach and the two bandits got out and leaped off the approach, a nearly 10 foot jump, and ran along the riverbank and disappeared into the woods. It is not believed either was wounded. What the two bandits were doing across the river from where they had been seen by Moore is not definitely known, but officers believe they'd been to a farmhouse to get their breakfast. This of course was not true as any one in that area would have reported it to the police as soon as possible. Escaping after a gun-fight with Sheriff Jim Sanderson near Wilton, little had been seen of the bandits until W. R. Moore, a farmer living about a mile from Ladd bridge, was awakened early Saturday morning by an automobile speeding along the road near his home with the lights out. Moore went to his nearby field early in the morning and saw and spoke to the two desperadoes resting below the approach to the bridge on the west side of the river. He drove to a sight at which a WPA crew was constructing a road. He told members of the crew of his suspicions that the two men were Hamilton and Walters and the WPA workers called officers at De Queen. The bandits were flushed at the Ladd Bridge on the day after they robbed the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. at Nashville, Ark. and fled to nearby Wilton where they took a car from T.H. Fewell, Texarkana salesman of undertaker's supplies, and abandoned the stolen car in which they were riding.
Audie May Beckworth, 16 year old self-styled "girl friend" of Flyod Hamilton, said she had been with the lawbreaker and his companion --Ted Walters, from April to July 10th. They escaped from the Montague, County jail in Montague, Texas. Last April. She was arrested in a bus station in Texarkana shortly after 1 PM, Tuesday, August 16th.Her arrest had been ordered by Arkansas state police who had informed Texarkana, Arkansas Officers they had obtained information that she would be aboard a bus arriving here at 12:45 PM from her home in Gillham, Ark. Taken into custody by officers Bryan Westerfield and A. D. Sullivan, she admitted her identity. At headquarters she told Police Chief Marlin Giles she had been with the notorious Hamilton and Walters when they committed nine hijackings including the robbery of Jimmy Scott's Service Station at seventh and Lelia street, in Texarkana, on the night of July 4th. She was fingerprinted and a copy of her prints were immediately mailed to J. Edgar Hoover for a check for any past criminal record she might have. Broke and with only her bus ticket to carry her as far as DeKalb, Texas, the prisoner talked freely of her association with Hamilton and Walters, who are now the objects of an extensive search near De Queen. State police of Arkansas and Texas came here immediately upon being notified of the girl's arrest. She was being held in the Texarkana, Texas, jail Tuesday night. The girl admitted that she had been with the pair when they staged seven holdups in or near Dallas, one at Texarkana and another in Kansas. She said she joined the escapees at Gillham and then they went to Dallas. They remained in that vicinity for some time after the break from the Montague jail on April 30th. 1938. Ervin Goodspeed was another prisoner who also escaped with Hamilton and Walters as they stabbed Kenneth Chandler, the jailer, but Goodspeed was recaptured two days later. Hamilton and Walters decided Dallas officers were to hot on their trail, so they left the area, coming to Texarkana, then continuing north to Arkansas and over into Oklahoma and finally into Kansas. She said she left them near her home in Gillham, Ark. Early last week. It was on Saturday 13th that officers shot Hamilton and Walters from their automobile near King, Arkansas, and since that time one of the largest manhunts ever engaged in has been in progress along the Arkansas- Oklahoma border area. Officers of three states aided by nearly a dozen G-men have concentrated on the area in the hope of capturing the pair. Described as a "fair looking brunette" the girl did not appear greatly concerned over her arrest, taking the attitude that she went along with the escaped men "just for the ride" rather than to aid them in their robbery.
Texarkana-Audie May Beckworth 17, who was arrested here last week by local officers and who admitted being with Flyod Hamilton and Ted Walters on several of their Texas and Arkansas holdups, was released from the Texas City jail Sunday night.Miss Beckwith*, who gave her home as Gillham, Ark. was turned over to Highway Patrolman L. Bryant, who, stated that he was taking her to DeKalb. When arrested at a local bus station, she had a ticket showing that her destination was DeKalb. (*One article says Beckworth and one says Beckwith. Take your pick.)