WARNOCK, S. REN – HUNTERTOWN BANK
The Griswold-Phelps handbook and guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for 1913-1914
Compiled by B. J. Griswold
S. REN WARNOCK, JR.
As one of the representative young business men and popular citizens of Allen county, the cashier of the Huntertown State Bank is specially entitled to recognition in this history. He is one of the progressive and public-spirited citizens of the thriving little city of Huntertown and was the prime factor in effecting the organization of the well ordered banking institution of which he is the efficient cashier. MR. WARNOCK claims the old Buckeye state as the place of his nativity, as so also his parents, who still reside within its borders. He was born at Fort Recovery, an historic town in Mercer county, Ohio, and the date of his nativity was November 30, 1880. He was a son of S. REN WARNOCK, SR. and CLARA (KRUSE) WARNOCK, and his father has given the major part of his active career to agricultural enterprise, the subject of this review being the eldest of the 3 children, and the other two, HARRY and ANNA LOUISE, being still at the parental home in Mercer county, Ohio. It may consistently be noted in this connection that the father of Mr. Warnock, while engaged in excavating for a public building at Fort Recovery, Ohio, disinterred what were supposed to be the mortal remains of GENERAL BUTLER, as the sword found with the remains bore the name of the general, the same being now on exhibition in the collection of relics maintained at the high school in Greenville, Ohio.
S. REN WARNOCK, JR. is indebted to the public schools for his early educational discipline, which was supplemented by an effective course in a business college in the city of Cincinnati. For 2 years after leaving school he served as secretary to the superintendent of the telephone service of Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad, and for 8 years thereafter he was associated in the work and management of his father’s farm. After his 2 years, and the ensuing 4 years found him the incumbent of a position in the People’s State Bank of Fort Recovery, Ohio. He then came to Huntertown, Indiana, and effected the organization of the Huntertown State Bank, which is incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000 and of which he has been cashier from the time of incorporation. The first president, DR. FRANK GREENWELL, retired from this office and was succeeded by CHARLES H. HARTUNG, the present incumbent, CHARLES F. BLEKE being vice-president of the institution. The bank incorporated January 2, 1913, its business has been most ably managed, its success unqualified and its total assets being fully $150,000 as indicated in the official report of January 2, 1917.
MR. WARNOCK has identified himself most loyally and fully with community interests and is treasurer of the Huntertown Live Stock & Agricultural Association. In Huntertown he is affiliated with Lodge No. 689, Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, his political support is given to the Democratic party, and he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist Episcopal church. On November 8, 1906, was solemnized the marriage of MR. WARNOCK to MISS CLARA LEE STRAIGHT, daughter of Charles and Harriet (Repogle) Straight, who maintain their home in Drake county, Ohio, where Mrs. Warnock was born and reared, the youngest of 3 children. Her only sister, GERTRUDE, is the wife of Henry Hildbolt, of Fort Recovery, Ohio, and her brother, ORA, is, in 1917, a successful teacher in the public schools at Arcanum, Ohio.
MR. and MRS. WARNOCK have 2 children – RAYMOND and BETTIE LEE.
1921 BANK ROBBERY
Sunday News and Sentinel
Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sunday, May 22, 1921
Article by Staff Correspondent
HUNTERTOWN BANK ROBBERS NABBED
ONE DEAD, THREE JAILED AT LIMA
Police Bag Bandits in Thrilling Gun Battle
Hours After Bold Daylight Robbery
One Wounded Man Escapes
Headquarters Found in Hotel
Lima, Ohio, May 21 – One youthful highwayman is dead, the victim of a policeman’s bullet, three more are behind bars and a fifth believed to be fatally wounded is trying to pierce a police net that is gradually closing about him as a result of a raid on a nest of bank robbers here today following the daylight burglary of the Huntertown, Ind., bank.
The dead man is Raleigh “Rolly” Ross Townsend, 25 years old, notorious yeggman and hold-up man. He was shot down in the street during a running fight with police. A 54 caliber bullet pierced his right shoulder and plowed through his body, causing a hemorrhage, which resulted in his death.
The men in custody are:
George Donovan, alias Edward O’Neil, 22 years old, of Hamilton, Ohio
Joseph Wills, 37 years old, of St. Louis
John Masson, 35 years old, of Detroit, all well known in national police circles.
LEADER GETS AWAY
The brains of the gang, George McCann, alias McGahn, alias Brion, alias Williams, who though wounded, managed to make his escape by commandeering an auto truck and its driver with the assistance of pistol persuasion, is wanted in many places, including Ridgeville, Ind., for bank robbery there.
They have been positively identified as the men who robbed the Huntertown bank.
From a peaceful little suburb of this city, South Lima, shortly after noon today was changed to a scene of guerilla warfare between bluecoats and yeggman, who battled each other for hours, the battle line swinging back and forth over a distance of several blocks. But the law prevailed for night found the lawbreakers dead, captured, or wounded and the police unscathed.
SHOT FROM MOTORCYCLE
Giving chase on a motorcycle, Officer Dick Watson, firing from his machine, dropped Townsend with a bullet that killed him almost instantly. The officer, whipping his machine alongside, made sure that Townsend would not escape and started after the other three fleeing bandits. Forcing his way through the curious attracted by the shooting, the officer forced the fleeing men to take refuge in a nearby residence.
The police of Lima have had the Hollaran’s house, the old Erie hotel, and former scene of gun fights, under suspicion for many months, according to Chief of Police, O. J. Roush. It was known to them, he says, that highway men were making it their holdout. It was planned that when the next bank robbery in the vicinity of Lima should be committed, the house should be raided.
Saturday noon Chief Roush received word of the Huntertown hold-up from Chief of Police Abbott at Fort Wayne and he immediately sent Sergeant Joe Gobel to look the house over.
HOUSE IS SURROUNDED
Sergeant Gobel soon reported that McCann had driven into town in a Cadillac automobile and that the others of the gang were present. Reserves were ordered to the place and a cordon was thrown about the house. Chief Roush rushed in the front door and found Willis with an automatic shot gun within reach and a basket full of ammunition. The chief got the drop on him and led him from the house.
The other four highwaymen broke from the rear, guns in hand. Eight policemen were waiting to receive them. Both sides let fire and the battle was on.
TWO MORE CAPTURED
Two of the three later identified by police as Donovan and Mason, barricaded themselves in the home. A police cordon was thrown about the place and a fusillade of shots fired into it frightened the bandits into offering surrender. They tossed their guns through a window as a signal of their willingness to give up the battle. The men were taken to police headquarters a tamed outfit.
McCANN ELUDES OFFICERS
While the police were rounding up the two men who had sought refuge in the residence, McCann was running a dodging trail though the neighborhood, taking to alleys and side streets in his efforts to elude his increasing force of pursuers. Chief Roush was once within gun shot of the bandit but as he attempted to fire, his gun jammed and in his excitement the chief fell to his knees. McCann escaped.
GRABBED A TRUCK
That McCann escaped in a motor truck is believed by the police as a result of a story told by Paul A. Phillips of this city, a youth who burst into the police headquarters shouting, “McCann made me drive him to Findlay.”
Phillips says that he was driving his truck along the street when suddenly McCann jumped onto the running board, and poking a gun into his ribs yelled, “Drive like hell.” He says he drove the man to Spencerville and finally to Findlay, Ohio, where McCann left him with a warning to keep his mouth shut.
Phillips said that McCann was wounded in the left side, and that McCann had stopped frequently on their wild ride to wash himself in creeks that they passed. He said McCann forced him to drive like the wind and that he had practically ruined his automobile. He believed that McCann was headed for Toledo. McCann had five $100 bills, he stated. Officers immediately got in touch with Findlay, Toledo, and Cleveland, but no word had been received at an early hour Sunday morning.
IDENTIFIED BY CASHIER
CHARLES HARTUNG, president, and GLEN WARNOCK, cashier of the Huntertown Bank, were taken to Lima by Sheriff Al Abbot and Warnock easily identified the men in custody at Lima as the ones that had held up the bank Saturday morning.
A dozen revolvers, several shot guns, and at least a bushel of ammunition were found in the home of the bandits. The police went through the house after the gun battle and took nearly everything that was loose. It is believed by the police that the Cadillac and Buick automobile that the robbers had were stolen and an effort is being made to locate the owners Saturday morning.
Stories of the bank robbers were on every tongue in Lima Saturday night. Crowds gathered about police headquarters to get a sight of the men and the undertaking establishment where the dead bandit lay did a land office business. Everyone wanted to get a look at the dead bandit.
WELL KNOWN IN LIMA
Townsend, the dead bandit, was well known in Lima as were all others occupying the house with him. Chief Roush had been tipped off that the house the men occupied was being employed as a roost for yeggs and advised that immediately upon receipt of word that a bank had been robbed or any other violent crime committed in this section, search should be made of the premises. The men are believed to have arrived at the house but a few moments before the police broke into the place.
No attempt had been made to sweat the culprits Saturday evening, the police seeming satisfied that they had the right men and did not try to get a confession out of them. They were all placed in the same cell at the city lockup. Silently they strode back and forth in their cell.
When the body of their dead pal was carried past them they only smiled as if to say it was in the days work.
Officers that took part in the battle besides Chief Roush, Sergeant Gobel, who is credited with bringing down Townsend, were Detectives Billstein, Reed Kiper, Sergeant Eberie and Patrolman Hamilton.
TOWNSEND HAD RECORD
Townsend, the bandit who was shot down at Lima, was a notorious crook and stick-up man. Police records in this city show that he was wanted for the robbery of the Ridgeville bank at Delta, Ohio. Police in this city regard the capture of the bandits at Lima as an extraordinarily “good catch”.
The fact that the highwaymen had a Buick automobile at Huntertown and a Cadillac when they got to Lima, causes the police to believe that they used both cars in pulling the job and switched cars to throw pursuers off the track, probably at Hicksville, Ohio. Four men participated in the holdup and it is though that a fifth drove the other car and met them after the job and traded cars with them.
LOSS ESTIMATED $10,000
The robbery of the Huntertown State Bank Saturday morning at 9 o’clock was a daring daylight affair. The bandits arrived at the main entrance in a Buick touring car and three entered the bank while a fourth stayed at the wheel of the machine. Cashier WARNOCK and Miss JUANITA SCHWARTZ were forced into a back room at the point of guns.
Cash on the counter was swooped up and then MR. WARNOCK was forced to open the vault. The robbers seized a bundle of bonds, after hitting the cashier on the head with the butt of a gun. The whole transaction was accomplished in such short order that no outsiders were attracted.
Little time was lost and as the three yeggs left the bank the big car was in motion and a hurried get-away was made to the south. MR. WARNOCK while unable to say exactly, estimates the loot obtained at $10,000. The bonds were insured.
Sheriff Al Abbott was notified and soon had a wide dragnet spread that resulted in the capture.
FILE CHARGES AGAINST YEGGS
BANDITS TAKEN AFTER BATTLE TO BE BROUGHT HERE SATURDAY
FORT WAYNE NEWS-SENTINEL, DEC. 9, 1927
Russel Clark, held at Hillsdale, Mich., as one of the bandit pair which held up the Huntertown State Bank Thursday, and Charles Havious, held at Bryan, Ohio, as Clark’s confederate in the holdup, will be returned to Fort Wayne by Sherriff A. GUY EMRICK and deputies Saturday.
Affidavits charging bank robbery were filed against both of the men in the Allen circuit court today. The names for which the warrants were issued, however, were Richard Roe and John Doe, as the correct names of the pair had not yet been learned. Bond was fixed at $5,000 each.
HORACE TUCKER, cashier of the bank looted by the robbers, came to Fort Wayne to sign the affidavits.
SECOND BANDIT CAUGHT
Russel Clark Taken Into Custody in Barn Near Hillsdale, Mich.
Hillsdale, Michigan, December 9 -- Trapped in a barn on a farm 18 miles south of this city, the second bandit sought for the robbery of the State bank at Huntertown, Ind., Thursday afternoon, was caught today.
Tired and hungry from his all-night chase, with a posse at his heels, the robber gave himself up peaceably, without firing the revolver he carried.
Brought to jail here, he said his name was Russell Clark, alias Jack Brown. He declared his age was 30 and gave Detroit his home.
The robber was taken into custody on the Hobart Sawyer farm, where he sought refuge in an old abandoned barn as the posse closed in on him. He was hiding behind a door in the cellar. Searchers who had looked through the barn a few minutes earlier had failed to find him.
HID BEHIND DOOR
The officers had tramped down the hay in the left end and searched inside the barn, leaving with the belief that he was not there. When Sheriff E. H. Kerr and a party arrived from this city, they entered the barn and found Clark behind the door.
He came out and gave himself up. On him was a loaded revolver. The posse had beat through the fields and woods in the vicinity of the Sawyer farm after Sawyer reported this morning he had seen a strange man about the place. He acted suspicious and the farmer ordered him away. He apparently had not left the farm, but instead hid himself in the old barn.
In his pockets was found $809 in bills and a little change. He said the rest of the loot must have been thrown away in the chase. A large amount of change, silver dollars and halves had weighted down his pockets and he had gotten rid of it so he could run faster.
“I guess I ran too fast for the police last night”, he declared. The prisoner showed signs of the long chase and his exposure in fields and swamps to elude the pursuing posse. He was tired and hungry and apparently did not have the strength to keep up the fight any longer.
DID NOT SHOOT
This fact apparently explains why he did not continue to “shoot it out” with the pursuers. Last night he exchanged shots several times with the sheriffs and their men. He carried two guns last night, but today when arrested in the barn he had only one.
Clark had evidently spent the early morning on farms near the Sawyer place. The call for police here came about midnight and a party was sent out, but saw no trace of the fugitive.
This morning when Sheriff Kerr took up the hunt again the pursuing force had been augmented by dozens of farmers and the farm swarmed with the searchers. The car stolen by Clark was found abandoned on a side road.
“He didn’t have any chance at all to get away from us that time,” Sheriff Kerr said. “We had the place surrounded and he saw he might as will give up.” Clark talked freely to the sheriff in jail. He said he and Hovious, who is held at Bryan, had been “working” together for about four months. He would not admit they had taken part in any other crimes.
PAL IS ARRESTED
Charles Hovious, aged 26, Caught After Gun Fight in Ohio
Bryan, Ohio, December 9 – Caught after a thrilling chase for miles through swamps and fields of northern Ohio and southern Michigan, one of the two bandits who Thursday afternoon robbed the State bank of Huntertown, Ind., 12 miles north of Fort Wayne, was in jail here today.
The Huntertown bank was robbed at 1 o’clock Thursday afternoon of $1,312.59, a checkup today showed. The two robbers forced HORACE TUCKER to open the vault for them and lie down on the floor. The cashier grabbed a revolver and engaged in a gun battle with the bandits as they were escaping and in the fusillade of shots, Tucker’s left forearm was grazed by a bullet.
Sheriff Lloyd Bly, of Bryan, and a posse captured Hovious about 5 o’clock Thursday evening in a field on John Hermeisher farm, two miles west of Pioneer, Ohio, near the Michigan line.
The two bandits left the auto in which they were escaping after a tire blew out, and took to the fields. The other robber, who is six feet tall, was a fast runner and quickly outdistanced his pal and the posse. In a hail of bullets he fled to the swamps and is believed to be still hiding there. The bandit held is a short man and was unable to run fast.
In Hovious’ pockets was found the sum of $142 in small change, part of the loot of the bank robbery. He said the remainder, mostly in bills was carried by his pal still at large. He was slightly wounded in the head and one foot.
GUN BATTLE IN FIELD
The gun battle in the field with the two yeggs climaxed a long chase from Huntertown and through the edge of Ohio and up into Michigan, during which the bandits’ car was closely pursued by cars containing Sheriff GUY EMRICK of Allen county, and deputies. North from Bryan, Sheriff Bly and his men took up the chase and by the time the robbers were cornered in the field, the whole countryside on the Michigan line near Pioneer was aroused and scores of farmers had joined in the man hunt.
HOLD UP MOTORIST
A few miles south of Pioneer the bandits’ own car blew a tire. Jumping from it, they held up the next motorist who came along, forced him out of the car and drove away in it, leaving him standing by the road. At this time the pursuing officers were not far behind.
On a road two miles west of Pioneer, near the Hermeishmer farm, a tire on the stolen car went flat and the yeggs were forced to abandon it also.
By this time Sheriff Bly and his deputies had come into sight about half a mile away. Sheriff Emrick and his forces had not yet joined the chase at this juncture. Sheriff Bly and the deputies saw the bandits run across the fields and they set out after them, firing their guns as they ran.
BANDIT STARTS TO SHOOT
The tall bandit started the shooting. He had gone 50 feet ahead of his pal and as he made for a strip of woods he turned and fired at the officers several times. The bullets whizzed by the pursuers who dropped to the ground and were not ______ ??
TWO BANDITS HELD AT JAIL CONFESS
____________ we used a car stolen in Detroit. We left Detroit and drove all night. The next day we were in Whiteland, Ind., and stuck up a drug store there. I did not go in the drug store.
“From there we went to Straughn and held up a bank there. We got $800 and I got $250 for my share. I did not help pull the Paragon bank robbery, but I know who did. Badgley and Smith stuck up that bank. They gave some of the money to my wife to pay off a mortgage. I was not with these boys when the Huntertown bank was held up some months ago. The reason we were going back to Detroit through Huntertown was because we did not want to go back the same way we came from Detroit thinking the stolen car would be spotted.”
Hovious said they stole the car in Detroit and drove it to Indianapolis and they were en route back to Detroit when Clark suggested that they hold up the Huntertown bank. They decided on the robbery and turned their car and went back.
Hovious said that Badgley took Mrs. Hovious away from him about three months ago. He blamed Badgley for getting him into the robberies. He said his brother-in-law continually coaxed him to go along on the jobs.
Clark said Badgley told him about other robberies but he denied being along on any other than those to which he confessed. He said Badgley told him of robberies of filling stations at Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Detroit.
Clark formerly lived at Sullivan, Ind. In his confession, Clark said $4,500 was stolen at New Augusta, $1,800 at ____________ and $700 at Straughn.
FOREST McCOMB ARTICLE ON THE 1927 BANK ROBBERY
Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette
Sunday, April 18, 1971
Article by Forrest McComb
IT DIDN’T PAY TO ROB BANK AT HUNTERTOWN
Cashier Tucker Shot at Thieves
Where Bullets went – Picture
Horace Tucker, in shirtsleeves, points out to a friend where the bullets ripped through the glass enclosure at the Huntertown Bank. Tucker had fired at two men robbing the bank in 1927 and when the bandits returned fire, the bullets went through the front window and this glass at the teller’s cage.
Much of today’s efforts of the news media is taken up with reporting crime of one kind and another taking place around the country. Murder is committed, stores broken into, busi-nesses ransacked, cars stolen, people mugged, taxi drivers held up, banks robbed, drugs in schools and what have you. It makes us wonder what has become of law-and-order?
Honest folks don’t like to see a breakdown of law-and-order, and neither did our forefathers. But when it happened to them, and horse stealing became more than the official law could cope with, the pioneer simply took back the power he’d given and handled the situation with vigor and dispatch.
A horse was a most valuable possession, and when one was stolen, a posse quickly formed, hunted down the thief and hanged him to the nearest tree without benefit of either judge or jury. This was brutal justice and a little rough on the criminal, but it did stop horse stealing!
Just a short time ago, less than 50 years, any person who’d attempt to rob a bank had to be considered a real desperado. In 1927, that was the type of bandits that held up the Hunter-town Bank twice in about two months time.
Horace Tucker was the cashier. The trouble trying to rob Horace was, Horace shot back! He was a tall, slim, muscular man, with eyes set wide apart and curly brown hair, and Horace had grit to spare. He didn’t believe in giving up the bank’s money without a struggle.
Tucker’s first visitor came on Oct. 5, and Horace was forced into the vault at gunpoint. Horace had a gun hidden in the vault, and when he opened fire on the bandit, succeeded in routing him out of the building. The lone bandit ran to his car parked close by and Horace got in one shot. The car jerked, the desperado slumped down and Horace thought he’d hit him, but the car roared away out of town and turned West.
Authorities were notified immediately at Fort Wayne, but the trail became lost. One week later, a lone bandit tried to hold up the bank at Amboy, Ind., and was captured. The descrip-tion fit the Huntertown robber, and Horace made the trip to Peru for identification. It was the same man and proved to be Frank Bagley, a notorious Indianapolis criminal who wasn’t a bit happy to see Horace. Bagley failed to get any money from his last two jobs, but got a life sentence from a judge when convicted of bank robbery.
The Allen County Bankers Association gave Horace a brand new revolver in recognition of his defense of the bank. It was the one he used the next time robbers came to town.
The bank, which later went out of business, was located in the building that is now the U.S. post office, and Horace was alone as usual on Dec. 28. Two strangers came in and one asked Horace to change a $5 bill. When he started to count it out, they both whipped out guns and demanded the bank’s money. They then compelled him to open the vault, lie on the floor, and while one bandit stood guard over Horace, the other looted the vault. Actually, only a small amount of bills were taken, but they got considerable silver at the cashier cage. Much of it was in dollars and half dollars, bulky and heavy. The robbers had no sack so they divided the bills and silver stuffing it in their pockets, all except a tall package he had in his possession. They’d acquired considerable money, so they thought, but Horace had put one over on them. Thinking ahead to the day when he might be robbed again, he’d fixed up a decoy package to look like money and placed it in the vault. The bandits took this bait, and were ready to leave after forcing Horace into the vault.
Horace grabbed his hidden gun and intended to try to foil these robbers. The vault door clicked when he opened it, and one of the bandits whirled and shot at Horace. It was at close quarters and the bullet cut through his left coat sleeve, grazing the forearm. Horace jumped back into the vault, but when the men were leaving he came out firing. The bandits returned his fire from the street. Bullets went through the front window and the teller’s cage, and two flattened themselves against the steel vault door.
People at their homes were startled by the gun battle in the little town. Before anyone could think of a way to help Horace, they saw the bandits jump in their car and speed out of town. They turned east at the edge of town and then north. They had actually obtained $1,312.59 from the bank, but in their hurry lost some silver in the street.
A good description was gotten of their car, and the law had better luck tracking this pair. They seemed to be heading for Michigan or Ohio. A few miles south of Pioneer, near the Michigan line, a tire blew out on the bandit’s car. They stopped the next car that came along, robbed the owner of it, leaving him standing in the road. A tire on this car soon went flat and they abandoned it two miles east of Pioneer, taking to the fields, swamps and woods. Ohio and Michigan sheriffs, alerted ahead, were bearing the brunt of the chase, but they were joined by scores of farmers and residents. The entire community was in an uproar.
The chase proved to be long and hard, and turned back west. The taller bandit outran the shorter and they became separated, but the short man was cornered and taken at 5 o’clock on the John Hermeishmer farm by Sheriff E. H. Kerr of that county. Clark was tired and hungry and seemed glad to give up. He had $809 in money, but had thrown away some silver during the chase.
The two were brought back to Fort Wayne and tried in circuit court before Judge Sol. Wood. Samuel D. Jackson was prosecutor. The men had many charges against them, and swift justice was handed out. Clark received a sentence of 20 years at Michigan City. It was a fine demonstration of legal law-and-order, swiftly upheld, and quick and sure!
Horace Tucker had worked in banks at Chicago and Ashtubula, Ohio, before coming to Huntertown. He couldn’t stand being easy prey to robbers; he had to fight back! Thinking it over, he decided he’d prefer a quieter life and retired to his little farm north of town on the Shoaff Raod, where he lived out the balance of his life.
His wife, Fluella, still lives there, and three sons, Conrad (Cooney); Carson (Dyke), and Howard and a daughter, Mrs. Einer Jensen, are located at Huntertown or vicinity. Another daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Sanders is at Richmond, Indiana.