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American Outlaw, Missouri Gangster – Research Continues

with 5 comments

by Junior Warren

When I was a little boy my grandmother told me stories about The Great Depression. One story I never forgot is about Stone County’s “Robin Hood.”

Staged Vigilant Outlaw Photo by Christy Warren

Prohibition put Chicago’s Al Capone and Detoit’s Purple Gang on Page One of the nation’s newpapers.

The desperation of The Great Depression created a hunger for the news of how FDR and the U.S. Government was going to put food on the table and money back in the pockets of all Americans. According to Grandma DeLong, people in The Great Depression would crowd around a radio and search through newspapers for information and signs of hope.

John H. Dillinger Jr., George “Machine Gun Kelly” Barnes, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Lester Joseph “Baby Face Nelson” Gillis, Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker, Alvin “Old Creepy” Karpis, Jake Fleagel and the Barker gang were the Americans, who had an aggressive way to rebuild the economy: bank robbery.

Tommy guns, sawed-off shotguns and pistols sprayed bullets in banks and at mail trucks. From the kidnapping of prominent Americans to train robberies,these American gangsters blazed their way on to the nation’s front pages.

J.Edgar Hoover’s outgunned G-Men, postal inspectors and Federal Bureau of Narcotics agents always seemed to be “a day late and a dollar short,” while the national economic war raged like a Missouri brush fire.

In the midst of national economic chaos and spreading poverty, a Stone County, Missouri man also joined the guerilla squads of bank robbers. At home, he was hailed a “Robin Hood” for his willingness to help his neighbors.

Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde grabbed the page one headlines, but his successful gang was also out robbing banks in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, Illinois and Oklahoma.

Stone County Old Timers and the grand kids of the Stone County Old Timers, if you have any information or stories about Shock Short please email me: I’m researching his Life and Times of Shock Short.

The FBI website has a plethora of information on Capone, Dillinger and the famous gangsters of the 1930s, but my search of their site didn’t turn up anything on Shock Short.

Hard to believe, J. Edgar Hoover would let a bank robbing Missouri boy get past his G-Men. Stone County isn’t that far from Chicago.

Still, other Outlaw, Gangster, Crime and Law Enforcement sites have also let Shock Short and his gang slip out of town and by pass their websites.

Nonetheless, I’m on Shock’s trail. In Stone County, Shock Short was ever bit as famous as Frank and Jesse James.

Bald Knobbers Vigilantes on the Ozarks Frontier Photo by Junior Warren

In southwest Missouri in the 1960s, Taney County had their stories of the legendary vigilantes – the Baldknobbers, meanwhile, next door in Stone County, we had our Shock Short stories.

I can’t “deputize” anyone to ride the Internet with me to try and pick up the trail of Shock Short and his gang, but, if you do stumble on to some information; I’d appreciate a shout at my email.

I have some information, but I would like to hear from people who might have stories from their grandparents about this famous Stone County outlaw to try to round out the overall picture.

Time to roll up the bedroll and douse the old campfire, I’m back out on the research trail. Thanks for your help.

Adios, Amigo.

Douse the camp fire Photo by Christy Warren


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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samuel Warren, Samuel Warren. Samuel Warren said: American Outlaw, Missouri Gangster – Research Continues: […]

  2. I’m interested in this topic. As a young boy around Stone, Barry, Counties and Carrol County Arkansas, I heard references to Shock Short. I was struck by how so many people around Galena considred him every bit as bright as Dewey and maybe deep down more human. I really wonder if his (misplaced/perverse) stature in reality was on a par with others commonly known to history.??

    Andy Summers

    June 14, 2010 at 7:16 AM

    • Mr. Summers,

      You’ve heard the old cliche, “I’ve never heard a bad word about him.” That statement is true when it came to Shock Short. I remember people saying he robbed banks, but it was given as a statement of fact like, he farms or he works for the railroad.

      Really, in Stone County, everyone always seemed to admire him for what he did. There are numerous stories of how he had helped out his neighbors with money during The Great Depression. The irony is that he may have actually been more respected than his famous brother in the U.S. Congress.

      In my searching across the Internet, Shock still seem to come off more as a John Dillinger “We Like Him” kind of gangster than some who was considered psychotic and down right “kill crazy.” I’m still digging away, trying to find answers. If you know of anyone with stories, please have them shoot me an email : SamuelWarren55@ Check back on this blog often because I’m working this story idea hard like “a politician on election day.” 😉



      June 15, 2010 at 3:20 AM

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    • 05 July from zip zone 665** Bill Summers, here, (my dad grew up near Grandview AR on King’s river & I remember Bill Holden, ex sheriff, telling dad that the closest he , Holman, ever came to shooting a prisoner was when “Shock” Short, held at gunpoint, started to “hitch up his britches” & Holden ordered him to get his hand to h*** back up over his head. Anyhow, it seems to me the FBI played a big big role in the final episode after the Dec. 03, 1935 (? do ihave it right? I’m pushing 80 and am three years older now than I was 12 months ago! ) jail break in Muskogee. I stumbled on my ragged notes last night (from googling around about four years ago or so ) and saw that Dewey Gilmore had been buried back in Newton Co (Smith Cemetery?) with a headboard having no dates, only his name. Shock must have died a horrible death. I know the undertaker there in Galena found buckshot in his body and the clear question was whether he’d been finished off by the possee ( in terms of being part of a jail break resulting in the shooting death of a lawman ). Who’s to ever know? I am not involved in any book or anythingother than my personal curiosity. My own hunch is that Shock had a better reputation than his Congressman brother, Dewey? Anyhow, glad to keep in confidence any information you have. I presume that the historical society around Muskogee would have some information about the jail break and the posse huntdown. They had several hundred law enforcement combing the Cookson Hills. Doesn’t seem to me the escapees ever had a snowball’s chance of getting loose? Yrsl Summers, now at about 3:40 p.m. on 05 July from Manhattan, KANSAS ! >

      William Andrew Summers

      July 6, 2013 at 4:41 AM

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