Category Archives: Crime

Stealin’ A Hog–Or, Maybe Not (1915)

I’ve been rummaging around some of the old Arkansas Supreme Court cases, trying to find the earliest mention of the Town, now City, of Bradley.  The earliest I’ve found so far is reprinted below:  Twitty v. State, 118 Ark. 602 (1915).  The italicized portions in the body of the opinion are my comments.

– – – – –


May 24, 1915 [the date this opinion was handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court]

KIRBY, J. [Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Kirby, who wrote this opinion]

Doss Twitty was convicted of grand larceny for stealing a hog, the property of J. W. Vaughan, and from the judgment prosecutes this appeal.

Appellant [i.e., the person doing the appealing, in this case, Doss Twitty] contends for reversal that the testimony is not sufficient to sustain the verdict.  It appears from the testimony:  That Doss Twitty, with his brother, went out into the range near the town of Bradley, in Lafayette county, hog hunting with their dogs.  That they killed a one-eared blue barrow, went back to town, and had the liveryman to send a wagon and bring it to their home in the town of Bradley, where they cleaned it in the back yard, about dark or shortly thereafter.

W. B. Vaughan, a son of J. W. Vaughan, the alleged owner of the hog, had the appellant under suspicion, and on learning that he had gone into the woods hog hunting, went into the range himself with two others, and they heard dogs baying and shots, two or three times, but were never able to come up with the persons doing the shooting.  Each time they would reach the places where they thought the shooting occurred, those doing it had gone.  They then took the other end of the line and went back to town to see what would be brought in by Doss Twitty upon his return.  They found him and his brother, who was indicted jointly with him, cleaning the carcass of a one-eared blue barrow, in the back yard; the side with the ear gone being uppermost.  One of them stated:  That, before they made their presence known, Doss Twitty said to his brother, “Let’s go to supper and drag the hog in the house.”  That his suspicion was further excited by this remark.  They then went up and asked to see the mark on the hog; one of them, Will Allen, reaching his hand down under the hog’s head and feeling the ear that was marked.  They testified it was in the mark of J. W. Vaughan, a crop and underbit in that ear.  Twitty, upon their saying they wanted to see the mark, said: “All right; I will just cut the ear off, and give it to you”—which he did.  Vaughan claimed that, in cutting off the ear, he cut it so as to cut it under the bit, which Twitty denied, saying that he had given him the whole ear.  The ear was not produced in evidence, and no effort was made by Vaughan to take possession of the hog.

Young Vaughan and the two others with him all testified that the hog was the property of J. W. Vaughan, explained how his other ear had been chewed off by the dogs, gave the description, and were positive in their identification.

Twitty and his brother and five or six others, the man who had sold him the hogs before they were taken from the town into the range, the man who had helped to mark him at the time the dogs chewed his other ear off, the man who had occasionally fed the hogs for him in the range, and two or three others, all testified, giving the description of the hog, and stating positively that it was the property of Doss Twitty.

The preponderance of the testimony appears to be against the jury’s finding, but there is substantial testimony to support their verdict, and this court cannot disturb it.  The jury evidently believed from the testimony of the conduct of the defendant in the woods and at the time Vaughan and the others asked to see the mark of the hog, while he was cleaning it, that he was trying to conceal the true condition and found him guilty.

The testimony is sufficient to sustain the verdict, and the judgment is affirmed.”

– – – – –

Hog stealing in those days was “grand” larceny and was obviously a serious business.

Cutting somewhat through the legalese, what the Arkansas Supreme Court is saying is that, after examining the court reporter’s transcript of the case, it appears to them that there is actually more evidence that Mr. Twitty did not steal the hog, than that he did steal the hog.  However, because the jury actually saw the witnesses testify, it was in a better position than this appellate court to determine who was telling the truth and who wasn’t.  So, Mr. Twitty’s conviction was allowed to stand.

Who Shot Tom Dooley? (Part 2)

The post on this site of 3/4/09 introduced the reader to Bradley’s most notorious unsolved mystery:  the murder of Tom Dooley in 1910.

Glynn McCalman, in his book Bradley Connections, has written an excellent overview of what he calls “The Dooley-Cryer Tragedy,” and has graciously consented to the reprinting of part of it here. His use of the word “tragedy” is especially apt.

“The Dooley-Cryer Tragedy

A community-shaking tragedy occurred at Walnut Hill in 1910 which devastated two families and affected the whole township and beyond.  Because of its highly emotional nature and volatile repercussions it remained for several decades a topic for conversation only in hushed tones, and generally only among trusted family members and friends.  Precisely what happened is difficult to ascertain because those most affected reported it differently.  The following version represents what we were told by persons who were neighbors of the two families when it happened.

Tom and ‘Frankie’ Dooley were next door neighbors, good friends, and relatives (via a marriage of Duty and Dooley) of Robert and Mary Cryer.  The fine old Dooley home was on the west side of the Old Shreveport Road, and approximately 125 yards north of (now) Highway 160.  Fifty yards further north lived the Cryers.  The adults enjoyed each other’s company, and their several sons were constant playmates as they grew up.  But the friendship was totally dissolved as a result of a single event and circumstances surrounding it on November 15, 1910.  Most neighbors agreed that the problem related to Tom Dooley’s role as a deputy sheriff.  Acting in that capacity one day, Dooley felt it necessary to confront (if not arrest) one of the Cryer sons for an alleged legal infraction.  As a result serious tension arose between the families.

One frequent, if not daily function of Dooley, was to bring the mail from Bradley to the Post Office at Walnut Hill.  While making that delivery on the fateful day he was shot by some unknown person, and died as a result, ….  No one was ever arrested for the murder.

The escalation of passion between the two families eventually prompted Frankie Dooley [Tom Dooley’s wife] to send her sons away from the community to avoid further violence.  Although for several decades many felt that one of the Cryers had killed Dooley, a half century after the event, a report was circulated that on his death bed, another man, not a Cryer, confessed that he had actually done the shooting.  In less than a year from Dooley’s murder, Bob Cryer was also murdered.  And for fear of more violence, Frankie began to take steps to protect her sons by sending them to live with distant relatives.


– – – – –

The contemporary newspaper article in the post of 3/4/09 on this site states that R. B. Cryer was “retained” by Sheriff Barham.  Glynn’s piece above states that there was never an arrest for Tom Dooley’s murder.  Both are in all probability correct.  I have been unable to find in the records of the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk any mention of anyone being indicted or charged with Tom Dooley’s murder.  When the contemporary article mentions that R. B. Cryer was “retained,” it probably refers to a procedure commonly referred to today as someone being detained for questioning.

On the other hand, the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s records do contain some clues as to the aftermath of Tom Dooley’s murder and the murder of R. B. Cryer about one year later.  After I’ve had time to sift through some of those records, a subsequent article or articles on the Dooley-Cryer affair will follow.

– – – – –

Below is a photo of the tombstone (on the left) of Thomas J. “Tom” Dooley in the Conway Cemetery.


It reads:  “Thomas J. Dooley; Born Sept. 4, 1956; Died November 15, 1910.”  The marker to the right front of the photo is that of Frances B. “Frankie” Dooley, his wife.

Who Shot Tom Dooley? 1910 (Part 1)

In the 1990’s, there was a popular television program, narrated by Robert Stack, called “Unsolved Mysteries.”  What follows is a contemporary newspaper article which describes what is easily the biggest unsolved mystery in Bradley in its slightly more than 100 years of existence.  This newspaper from which this article was clipped is not known.  The murder it describes occurred in Bradley on Tuesday, November 15, 1910.  The article contains several grammatical and spelling errors, which purposely have not been corrected.

While the article is for the most part self-explanatory, a future post will attempt to provide some context for the events it describes.


Mr. Thomas J. Dooley of Walnut Hill, was shot and killed at Bradley by unknown party at 6:30 o’clock last Tuesday night.

Mr. Dooley left Walnut Hill on schedule time with the U. S. mail  in his buggy, and about 6:30 drove into Bradley, and got out of buggy, and was on the eve of hitching to a small pine tree just back of the store of H. C. Stewart & Son; and at this juncture, he was fired upon.  From the circumstances, evident in the case, it seems just as he descended from buggy some one near by called to him.  He turned, facing them, and they opened fire.

They shot twelve times, each shot taking effect, one in jugular vein of the neck, several in the arms, five or six in both right and left breasts, and some in the thigh and leg.  He was dressed in his rain coat, and hat and trousers.

His rain coat was buttoned up about him.  He had no gun.  The horse he drove being unhitched, ran away, and was found at Mr. Dooley’s gate with hitch rein and lines and mail pouch in front of buggy.

From the balls cut out of the body, it seems that the instrument used was a 32 or 38 pistol, or two pistols, which is more apt to be the case, since twelve shots were fired.

The remains were picked up and carried to T. W. Maryman’s room back of store and Masonic Hall, and a Coroner’s Jury called upon the case, which stayed in session nearly all Tuesday night and Wednesday, hearing about thirty witnesses.  Through this research and questioning, but little information was gathered; only a few circumstances.

The situation is this:  Mr. Dooley was killed on a drizzley dark night, perhaps, just at the time there was a faint glimmering in the west, and starlight.  There are no eye-witnesses yet heard of to the tragedy, so circumstances are all people are judging from.  Several parties are under suspicion, but no one yet having given the deed away, since no one knows exactly, and those who do won’t say.

Mr. R. B. Cryer, whom Mr. Dooley had a difficulty with about three weeks ago, is retained by sheriff Barham at Lewisville.

Mr. Dooley was buried in the Conway Family Cemetery Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the presence of all his friends and relatives here, and his sister and brother-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Jim Dillard of Texarkana.  His daughter, Daisy Bell, and his son Bill Dooley of Memphis, and R. E. Dickson, of Lewisville.

Rev. L. D. Crandall officiating at the funeral from Texarkana.

We tender our deepest heart-felt sympathy in these dark hours of pain and sadness, to his sorrow-laden friends and family.

P. S.  Coroner’s Jury suspended action Thursday on account of the funeral and re-assembled again for work Friday.”

– – – – –

Lest the reader jump to any conclusions, Glynn McCalman reports in his book, Bradley Connections, that “no one was ever arrested for the murder.”

Second Bank Robbery, 1990 (Part 2 of 2)

The last time the Bank of Bradley was robbed was on Monday, July 23, 1990.  Better than any summary of the events that I could write is the following article from the Lafayette County Democrat of July 26, 1990.  It is reprinted here by permission.

– – – – –


The Bank of Bradley was robbed around noon Monday, with two armed black males entering the bank and demanding money.  The suspects fled and after being fired at by Lane Pierce, bank president, dropped the money and disappeared into a wooded area.

According to Mike Loe, State Police CID investigator in Magnolia, the robbery occurred at approximately 12:35 p.m.

“Two black males entered the bank, one of them produced a gun, and had one of the tellers place an undetermined amount of money in a pillow case,” Loe said in an interview Monday afternoon in Bradley.

“They exited the bank, and bank president Lane Pierce fired.  They dropped the pillow case,” he continued.

At the time of the interview, Loe said the pillow case containing the cash had been recovered but authorities had not yet counted the money.

Pierce reported that the two suspects entered the front door of the bank holding pistols, and said, “This is a hold-up.”

“I was in my office way away from it,” he noted.

“They were real nervous,” he added.  “They were trying to tell the teller to find them some money.  We had some tellers gone to lunch and their drawers were locked.”

Pierce reported that the suspects shoved one of the tellers to the floor, but she was not injured.

“They went out the front,” Pierce continued.  “I was in my office and I have a back door.  I had a small pistol.

“I thought they might come down this side and sure enough, they did,” he continued.  “I fired and they dropped the money.”  The two men continued north and were believed to be hiding in a wooded area near Bradley.

A truck parked alongside the street, across from the bank, caught one of the shots.

Pierce said that he had been president of the Bank of Bradley for the past 15 years, and this was the first robbery during that time.

Unconfirmed rumors Monday afternoon had the men wearing masks and clear plastic gloves during the robbery.  It was rumored that the two men had broken into the Bradley Clinic prior to entering the bank, where they had stolen some clear disposable surgical-type gloves.

Monday afternoon members of the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, Miller County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas State Police, Lewisville City Police, Bradley City Police and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assembled in Bradley to assist in the man hunt.

Railroad employees working the area were alerted to the situation, and warned to be on the lookout for the two suspects.

Bloodhounds were brought in from Wade Correctional Institute in Haynesville, La.

It was reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been called in. 

They Robbed The Bank! Twice! (Part 1 of 2)

The Bank of Bradley was robbed twice, first in 1938 and then again in 1990.  Despite being separated by the span of fifty-two years, both robberies shared a common feature:  The escaping robbers in both cases were fired upon by the ranking member of bank management present at the time. The first robbery occurred on Monday, June 6, 1938.  The following are excerpts from a contemporaneous newspaper article.  The name of the newspaper is not known.  Apparently, the article was updated with new developments as they became available.

– – – – –

“THREE BANDITS ROB BRADLEY, ARK., BANK AND FLEE WITH $685 Three men held up the Bank of Bradley, 50 miles north of Shreveport at 9:10 a.m. today, and fled in a fusillade of shots with $685.25.  The bandits overlooked approximately $2,000.

Jack Meek, assistant cashier, who was alone in the bank at the time, said the bandits headed south on the Shreveport highway in a maroon-colored Ford two-door sedan of 1938 model, with Louisiana license plates.

Sheriff Oce Griffin of Lewisville, Ark., who was in Bradley at the time, immediately telephoned a report of the robbery to the sheriff’s office at Benton, La., south of Bradley on the Shreveport highway and deputies were posted along the route the bandits had taken.

The fleeing bandits were reported to have headed south to Leila, just across the Louisiana line and just north of the village of Bolinger, and to have turned east toward Spring Hill or Cotton Valley.  A description of one of the bandits was furnished officers by Meek, who said he did not see the two confederates except for fleeting glances.

As the gunmen departed, Meek said he opened fire on their car with a .12 gauge sawed-off shotgun, but did not know whether he hit the car or its occupants.

. . .

Search for three gunmen who robbed the Bank of Bradley (Ark.) of $685.85 entered Caddo parish Tuesday afternoon after the Sheriff’s office at Benton reported finding the bandits’ abandoned automobile on the Shreveport road near Plain Dealing.

The abandoned car, a maroon-colored Ford sedan of 1938 model, had numerous gunshot holes in the rear of it, officers said, indicating a shotgun blast from the bank’s cashier had struck the car.

Officers immediately sounded a warning for lookouts in Caddo and Bossier parishes, saying the gunmen had transferred to a green Oldsmobile sedan and had probably turned from the Shreveport road at Swindle’s station to ferry across Red River for Belcher.

. . .

Louisiana state highway police headquarters here said today they believed Floyd Hamilton, escaped Texas convict, was one of the bandits who robbed the Bradley (Ark.) State Bank Tuesday morning of $685.25.”

– – – – –
The newspaper story itself is not consistent in specifying the amount of money taken, mentioning $685.25 twice and $685.85 once.  One of the more interesting facets of the article is that it mentions an initial suspicion that the robbers were headed to Spring Hill or Cotton Valley, and later mentions that they were headed to Belcher, in the opposite direction.

Floyd Hamilton was, indeed, one of the robbers.  He was assisted by Ted Walters and Jack Winn.  Both Hamilton and Walters were alumni of none other than the Bonnie (Parker) and Clyde (Barrow) Gang.  By 1938, though, Bonnie and Clyde had already met their demise.  Also a member of the Bonnie and Clyde Gang was Floyd Hamilton’s brother, Raymond Hamilton, who had met his own demise in the Texas electric chair three years earlier.

Floyd Hamilton and Ted Walters were both convicted in federal court in Fort Smith of robbing the Bank of Bradley, and both served time in Alcatraz.  Both attempted, unsuccessfully, to escape from there in 1943.  At some point, Floyd saw the error of his ways, was paroled, and was eventually pardoned by President John F. Kennedy. 

There is no shortage of material on the internet concerning Hamilton and Walters.  About 2 months later, on August 12, 1938, they robbed the Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in Nashville, Arkansas.  (  The day after that, they were almost shot and captured in Sevier County, Arkansas.  (  Both these sites specifically mention the Bank of Bradley caper.