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Ma and Pa Barker
Fred Barker Mugshot
1931 Howell County,
Missouri Wanted Poster
1934 Federal Wanted
Poster for Fred Barker
13250 E. Highway 25
The Barker's Firearms
Ma and Freddie in Morgue
Atlanta Georgian Front
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It's believed by many that the Ma Barker image was originated
by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI in an effort to justify the killing of
an old lady. She has been portrayed as the mastermind of the Barker-Karpis
gang, while surviving gang members absolutely denied the allegations.
However, evidence indicates that she was much more involved in
criminal activity than some think, whether she was the "mastermind"
or not is debatable. To say the least, she was a willing accomplice,
if nothing else.
Arizona Donnie Clark was born near Springfield, Missouri, the
exact year is not known, though most agree that she was born on
October 8, 1873. In 1892, she married George Barker and in time
gave birth to four of the meanest examples of humanity ever to
exist! The boys were named Herman, Lloyd, Arthur and Fred. After
the birth of Fred, George Barker left the family, though it may
have been at the insistence of his wife. At some point, she began
using the name Kate Barker.
On several occasions Kate faced the authorities on behalf of
her sons, trying to keep them from serving jail time. She was
usually successful by pleading with arresting officers or staging
a big commotion at the police station.
In 1910, Herman was arrested for robbery in Webb City,
Missouri. Again in March 1915, reportedly as part of the
Central Park Gang of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he was arrested for robbery
in Joplin, Missouri.
On July 4, 1918, Arthur Doc Barker was involved
in automobile theft in Tulsa and arrested. He escaped. On February
19, 1920, he was captured in Joplin, Missouri and returned to
In 1921, Lloyd Red Barker was arrested for
vagrancy in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In January, 1921, Doc, using the alias Claude Dade, was
involved in an attempted bank robbery in Muskegee, Oklahoma. He
entered Oklahoma State Prison on January 30, 1921. On
June 11, 1921, he was released.
On August 16, 1921, Doc and a man named Volney Davis were
involved in the murder of a night watchman in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
On January 8, 1922, Hermans associates in the Central
Park Gang were involved in a burglary in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. A
gunfight ensued that left one gang member dead and one police
captain, Homer R. Spaulding, wounded. Captain Spaulding died of
his wounds on January, 19, 1922. One gang member was given a life
In January, 1922, Lloyd became a resident of Leavenworth
Prison as the result of a mail robbery at Baxter Springs, Kansas.
He was sentenced to 25 years in prison, which effectively kept
him out of the Barker-Karpis Gang as it would come to be known.
He was released in 1938.
In February, 1922, Doc entered the Oklahoma State Prison
for his part in the murder of the night watchman in August, 1921.
In an attempt to further his resume, young Freddie Barker robbed
a bank in Winfield, Kansas and was arrested. He entered Kansas
State Prison on March 12, 1927.
On August 29, 1927, twenty days following the shooting
death of Wichita policeman, J.E. Marshall, Herman Barker was stopped
at a police roadblock in Wichita. He promptly pulled out a pistol
and committed suicide!
In March, 1931, Freddie was released from prison. In June,
1931, he and prison acquaintance, Alvin Karpis were arrested
for burglary in Tulsa. Both men were paroled. On November 8,
1931, Freddie killed Police Chief Manley Jackson, of Pocahontas,
On December 19, 1931 Freddie and Alvin Karpis robbed a
store in West Plains, Missouri and were implicated in the killing
of Howell County sheriff, C. Roy Kelly. A wanted poster was issued
by the Howell County, Missouri Sheriffs Office and the West Plains,
Missouri Police Department in which Kate's photo was included
as a member of the gang.
In April, 1932, the body of A. W. Dunlap was found at
Lake Franstead, Minnesota. He had been killed by Freddie and Alvin
Karpis. In June, 1932, Freddie, Alvin and five accomplices
robbed a bank in Fort Scott, Kansas. In July of that year,
three members of their gang were captured by the FBI.
On July 25, 1932, with a quickly-recruited gang, Freddie
and Alvin robbed a bank in Concordia, Kansas.
On September 10, 1932, Doc was released from prison.
On December 16, 1932, Freddie, Doc, Alvin and the gang
robbed the Third Northwestern Bank in Minneapolis, leaving behind
one dead civilian and two dead police officers, Ira Leon Evans
and Leo Gorski.
On April 4, 1933, they robbed a bank in Fairbury, Nebraska.
In June 1933, the gang committed their first kidnapping
when they held William Hamm for ransom. It was paid and he was
released later that month. In August of the same year,
they robbed a payroll near St. Paul, Minnesota, leaving one policeman,
Leo Pavlak, dead and one severely wounded.
In January, 1934, the gang kidnapped Edward George Bremer.
He was released in February after the ransom was paid.
Between March, 1934 and January 1935, three gang members
were killed in separate incidents. Fred Goetz was killed in Cicero,
Illinois. William B. Harrison was killed in Ontarioville, Illinois.
Doc was arrested in Chicago on January 8th and gang member
Russell Gibson was killed, gang member Bryon Bolton was captured.
Doc told the FBI nothing of the whereabouts of the others. Bolton
told them that they had gone to Florida. He told them about a
trip he had made to Florida and about a near-legendary, large
alligator nicknamed Gator Joe. He jokingly added that maybe Freddie
had gone there to try to kill Gator Joe. On the map found in Doc's
apartment, the city of Ocala, Florida was circled. Freddie was
the main target of the FBI at that time. At this point, the FBI
office in Jacksonville was notified and an effort to pinpoint
their location was underway.
An FBI agent learned of a large aligator named Gator Joe, who
supposedly haunted the waters of Lake Weir, near the town of Ocklawaha.
With that lead, the FBI concentrated their investigation on the
Posing as J.E. Blackburn and wife, Ma and Freddie rented a house
located at 13250 East County Highway 25 on the northern banks
of Lake Weir, near the town of Ocklawaha, Florida. The neighbors
thought they were an odd couple with him being so young and her
being so much older. They didn't associate with the neighbors
and frequently large cars were seen entering and leaving the place.
Unknown to the Barkers, the FBI had the map they had taken from
Doc's apartment and had been checking their mail through the postal
service to positively identify them. Disguised as county road
workers, the FBI kept surveilance on the house. Upon seeing the
Blackburns, the FBI positively identified the Barkers. The FBI
was under the impression that several members of the gang were
in the house.
Just before daybreak on January 16, 1935, the FBI arrived
outside the two-story house. There were agents from Jacksonville,
reinforced by agents who had been flown in from Chicago and Cincinnatti.
A call for their surrender was met with no response. After a few
moments, Agent Earl Connelly of Cincinnatti yelled, "Unless
you come on out, we're going to start shooting!"
Ma replied, "Go ahead." What followed was the longest
gunbattle the FBI was ever involved in; it lasted four hours and
there are reports that a minimum of 1500 rounds of ammunition
were poured into the house.
The house in which they were killed is located at 13250 East
County Highway 25 at the north end of Lake Weir. PLEASE BE
ADVISED that this property is privately owned; DO NOT
enter the property without permission of the owner and those living
in the house.
The FBI requested that the bodies of Ma and Freddie be held in
a morgue for an extended time, thinking that other gangmembers
would show up to pay their respects - and be captured! Eight months
later, they were removed from the morgue, transported to Welch,
Oklahoma and buried alongside Herman, in the Williams Timberhill
Cemetery. For more information, click
to the Florida Page
© Coypright 2009 Wilson