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The Outlaws Hamilton and; Walters Visit Sevier County 13 1938

The Outlaws Hamilton and
Walters Visit Sevier County
August 13th. 1938

By James Thomas Jones

In 1938, Tom and Irene Jones - my parents, a cousin named Joe "Buddy" Wilemon, my sister Sylvia Jones, and myself Tommy Jones went to Uncle Bub-O's my father's brother George Anderson Jones home. We were planning on spending the week fishing on the Cossatot River.

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.

Picture of Ladd Bridge

Map of the area

Just preceding this, we had heard other cars stopping around and near the bridge and, therefore, we were not aware of the outof the ordinary event that was about to happen.

The road at the entrance of the east end of the bridge ran north and south for a distance of approximately 100 feet. The road made a sharp left turn to the west ultimately making one enter the east end of the bridge, heading due west. In effect, a car or person could not be seen until they were entering the bridge.

As we heard this particular car enter the bridge that morning, it sounded as if a war had started down there. Floyd Hamilton, the driver, and his partner in crime, Ted Walters, entered upon the bridge and saw the law officers. One of the lawmen shouted, "There they are now!" Everyone started firing their weapons.

1937 Plymouth

Leslie Dillahunty,

a deputy sheriff from Sevier County, had walked out on the floor at the west end of the bridge and started firing at the fugitives with his 30-30 deer rifle.
Shortly aftr this incident Mr Dillahunty began work for the Arkansas State Police. That is when the above picture was taken.
Hamilton stopped the car immediately, put it in reverse gear, and revved the engine. As the car darted backwards, Hamilton cut the wheels sharply to the left, turning the driver's side of the car at somewhat of an angle to the officers who where down lower than the bridge at the roadside. They all began firing at the vehicle.

Hamilton and Walters slid out of the car on the passenger's side, keeping themselves out of the sight of the officers (relative to the position of the car after being revved and reversed to an angle.) Either the outlaws ran a few feet or jumped off the bridge and entered into the timbers. The trees were taller than the floor of the bridge and they could easily start running north up the riverbank, relatively unseen. In their haste to leave, they had forgotten to take any of their own firearms with them.

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.

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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 of Gillham Detained,

Was With Pair in holdup.

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.)


In the abandoned auto, a green Plymouth Sedan stolen from Mr. Fewell Friday night, the officers found two sawed-off shotguns, a rifle, an automatic pistol and 30 rounds of ammunition.

While heading back toward Texas after a foray in strange fields in Illinois, Hamilton and Walters participated in a series of depredations in Missouri and Arkansas. Adopting the tactics of their former ill-fated companions Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, of which they were hangers on. They robbed and kidnapped along their path of flight.

This type of crime drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and only Friday, just before they robbed the Nashville Arkansas Coca-Cola Plant of $100, J. Edgar Hoover (Chief of the G-men) issued an order to ""get --Hamilton and Walters.""

A week previous to this, these men were identified as the ones who shot and wounded a Missouri Highway patrol officer who sought to question them about their Indiana license plate. They have been suspected in bank robberies in Bradley, Ark. And Minden, La. and the robbery of a bank messenger at Wooddriver, Ill.

As mentioned before, Hamilton is a brother of Raymond Hamilton, onetime ranking member of the Barrow-Parker gang. Raymond was executed in 1934 for the murder of a Texas penitentiary guard. Flyod decided to take up where his brother left off. With Walters he escaped from the Montague, Texas jail April 30th. 1938. They had been held there on a burglary charge. In their escape they beat the jailer into unconsciousness.

The Scene of chief activity in the search for Flyod Hamilton and Ted Walters shifted south to an area beginning 10 miles east of De Queen Tuesday night following reports that men fitting the description of the hunted pair had been seen there during the day. The new area embraces wooded country, near Highway 70 and new Highway 71 east of the junction of the two roads a short distance east of the Cossatot River bridge.

A farmer, living between De Queen and Dierks, reported to officers that he saw two bareheaded men run across United Sates Highway 70 in the Sardis community Tuesday morning. Later in the day a highway maintenance worker in the same section reported that one man came out of the woods on to the highway looking in each direction. It later was learned this man lived in the area and had no connection with the bandits. Describing the Tuesday report as the "hottest lead" in the manhunt since officers forced Hamilton and Walters to abandon a stolen car under gun fire 10 miles northeast of here Saturday. Assistant Police Superintendent Cliff T. Atkinson called for additional officers to be rushed to the scene. From Little Rock, State Police Superintendent Gray Albright sent four additional highway patrolmen. Sheriff's officers in Southwest Arkansas also provided reinforcements.

Bloodhounds formerly brought in from Little River County and McAlester, Ok. were returned here, but were unable to pick up the trail. The place were the men were seen Tuesday is about six miles southeast of the Ladd bridge, from whence the bandits fled about noon Saturday as officers riddled their stolen car with machine-gun and rifle bullets. Three Residents of the Ladd bridge area, taken into custody Monday night for questioning, had not been released Wednesday afternoon.

The posse originally composed of some 100 officers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas had dwindled down Wednesday to about 20, including four federal officers. Footsore and weary after eluding posses of officers in the vicinity of De Queen for a week, Flyod Hamilton and Ted Walters, Texas badmen were captured early Sunday by officers at Dallas. They were being sought for breaking jail and for numerous holdups and robberies around Texas and Arkansas. Walters, with only a few pennies in his pockets, surrendered quietly on a downtown street while Hamilton, favoring a bullet wound in his leg, was found in the Trinity river bottoms as he sought to catch a freight train to carry him further along his fleeing trail.

Probably the closest call the two bandits have ever had was the experience at Ladd bridge across the Cossatot river 10 miles northeast of De Queen when they were forced to leave their car, jump from the bridge approach and flee into the underbrush along the river, when Capt. Atkinson of the Arkansas State Police, Deputy Sheriff Leslie Dillahunty of De Queen and other officers, flushed them and riddled their car with machine gun and rifle bullets.

The bandits told Dallas officers they would have shot it out with them Sunday had not they lost their guns while eluding bloodhounds and posses in the wilds of the Cossatot. Walters said they had spent several days dodging lawmen that had surrounded them in the wooded area near De Queen. He said they swam the river five times, and that the last time they come up on two big snakes. "I told Flyod I'd rather face the bulls than those two snakes," Walters said. He further said, "We decided to beat it back to Dallas. We worked our way to Texarkana and then hopped a freight train there."


Captured Pair Identified by victims in holdups, Flyod Hamilton and Huron Ted Walters were slammed into jail on Sunday, talking of breaking free Monday even as robbery victims identified them in seven holdups.

"They've got me in jail all right, but I'm not going to be here the rest of my life. They don't make jails like that." Flyod Hamilton made this boast a mere day after he meekly surrendered to cruising detectives in the brushy Trinty river bottoms near the edge of the city.

"If I'd had a gun it would have been a different story," Ted Walters told police. He was apprehended a few hours before Flyod Hamilton, but not until he had talked himself out of a trap set by the Federal Bureau of Investigation officers.

The captured pair, whose widely published exploits had put officers in seven states on their trail Sunday were ubbed "small fry" criminals by Detective Inspector Will Fritz. Monday John Edgar Hoover, FBI director, congratulated Dallas on capturing "two of the most dangerous characters in the crimina underworld."

A.S. Mayr, filling station manager, identified Walters and Hamilton as perpetrators of a $1200 holdup July 22nd. Details of other holdups with which they were linked were not announced.

Arkansas authorities have announced they would seek custody of the pair on charges of burglarizing a Bradley, Arkansas bank of $623.00, June 7th. Prosecutor New Stewart of Hope, Ark. Said his state had an airtight case against the captives.

Hamilton, mending in his cell from and ankle wounded in a brush with the FBI men Saturday night, talked unchecked of his flight with Walters through Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Illinois since they broke jail from the Montague, Tex. Jail last April 30th.

They escaped from the Montague jail, Hamilton said, because police charged them falsely with "enough stuff to put us away for a long time. So we decided we might as well go ahead and do something."

"We went into Illinois, but just for a little time. Just went in and come right back out." (Hamilton and Walters were sought in the $34000. Woodriver, Ill. Bank robbery several weeks go.) "We never did go across the Missouri line," he insisted.

After officers had cornered Walters and Hamilton in the woodland near De Queen, Ark. the pair for five days scrambled through brush and streams to escape. They lost their firearms Hamilton said. They took a freight train for Texas, met a Negro who climbed aboard at Marshall, Tex., and arraigned to hide out in his Dallas home.

Officers, G-men, and police received an anonymous tip that Walters and Hamilton had come here. Official police sources in Dallas said Saturday night; two Federal men kept a vigil in the dark at the home of a Hamilton relative. Walters appeared and, confronted by the G-men, talked for two hours with-out being recognized. After the officers sent him to another room with instructions to keep quiet while they continued their watch for the desperadoes, Walters escaped. City detectives captured him, unarmed, on a street a few minutes later.

Meanwhile Hamilton appeared at the house under observation, but fled when the federal men confronted him. He received a charge of shot in his ankle as he ran away. Not long afterward detectives caught him hobbling through the brush toward a southbound freight train.

Hamilton's wife and two children came to see him in jail Monday, but were turned away until police finished their questioning.

Hamilton's threat to break out of jail recalled a similar boast of his late notorious brother, Raymond Hamilton, who declared he would never sit in the electric chair for the crimes he was accused of as a Clyde Barrow-Bonnie Parker running mate. Hamilton was executed despite his bravado, several years later.



De Queen Bee
Pretty Boy Flyod
Page 2

Picture of me (Tom Jones)


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