Bank cashier Frank Jamison thought very little about the slight young woman, looking to be only seven- teen or eighteen, who came into the Farm- ers’ National Bank in Buda in December 1926. She said that she worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise, and she spent the morning talking to local farmers about cotton crops and government policies, jotting down their comments in a loose-leaf binder. Politely she had asked permission to use a typewriter inside the tellers’ cages. As lunchtime approached, Jamison stepped inside the walk-in vault for something. “As I came out she was standing five or six steps away with a gun pointed at me,” he said. Within a week, newspapers across the nation were describing the thief, Rebecca Bradley Rogers, as the Flapper Bandit. During the 1920s, “flapper” referred to a young woman who showed disdain for conventional dress and behavior.
Galveston became the largest city in Texas between 1830 and 1860, when shippers exported more cotton from its wharves than from any other American port. Italian brothers Rosario “Rose” Maceo and Salvatore “Sam” Maceo in time brought big-time gaming to the port city.
Born in North Carolina in 1885, Brinkley attended a legitimate medical school in Chicago before dropping out and “finishing” his degree at the Eclectic Medical School of Kansas City. In 1917, he settled in the town of Milford; after a few months, a young farmer came to Dr. Brinkley lamenting that he had been unable to father another child, then the conversation drifted to farming, rams, and buck goats. Brinkley reportedly joked to his patient that “you wouldn’t have any trouble if you had a pair of those buck glands in you.” The farmer unexpectedly responded, “Well, why don’t you put ’em in?” A year after Brinkley implanted slivers of goat testicles in his patient’s scrotum, the farmer and his wife became parents of a healthy son.
Growing up in rural West Texas during the early twentieth century, the four sons of Jim and Janetta Newton would have been expected to grow up to be cotton farmers or cattle ranchers. Instead, they became one of the most successful teams of professional bank and express-car robbers in the United States. Resembling railway baggage cars, express cars transported high-value freight and usually had armed guards. The Newton Boys’ career ended in 1924 with a spectacular express-car heist in Illinois that netted them an unbelievable three million dollars but ended with arrests and imprisonment.
Among the best known of the criminal enterprises in Texas was the group known as the Barrow Gang. The only two individuals continuously associated with the group were Bonnie Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow. Their trail of crime covered much of Texas as well as places as distant as Minnesota and Indiana.