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Old 02-03-2019, 10:56 PM
Location: StlNoco Mo
5,666 posts, read 4,327,401 times
Reputation: 6973



I spent a few years gleaning old newspapers to get information on these two Missouri convicts. They were two of the boldest criminals I think I've ever read about. Prison escapes, tunnel, bank heist, phony priest, phony bank examiners, a midget and enough nitroglycerine to blow up a city block.

In 1919, William "Mike" Evans was given a life sentence at the Missouri penitentiary for shooting a cop during an armed robbery near Kansas City. He escaped from the prison in 1923 with the help of an old safe blower named Harry Funk, who was doing a stretch for blowing a bank safe at Farber, Missouri in 1917. While helping Evans escape, he fell off the 25 foot prison wall and damaged his spine causing him extreme pain for the rest of his life and giving him a distinctive walk.

In 1925, they walked into the Chenoa Bank in Illinois and told the bank president, Mr. Kelly, that they were bank examiners and needed to see his books. They showed him some credentials and he led them into his office. Mr. Kelly noticed the older gentleman placing a cushion on his chair and seemed to be in quite a bit of discomfort.

For several hours they went over all the books and papers and the rest of the employees left for the evening. Soon after, One of the men told Mr. Kelly that everything seemed to be in order and they needed to check the money in the vault. Kelly felt relieved and opened the vault door, but as he turned around he was terrified to see a revolver pointing at his face. The desperadoes quickly tied him up and gagged him. Knowing exactly how much was in the bank, they cleaned it out to the last penny. Over $184,000. The bank was not insured.

When the employees gave the police the descriptions it didn't take them long to figure out Funk was one of the culprits. His walk gave him away and he was later arrested at a race track. He was sent to Stateville Prison in Joliet Illinois.

On May 11, 1927, William Evans, dressed as a priest, pulled up to the prison gate in a car and got out carrying a basket of flowers. He told the guard that he was there to see Harry Funk and thought the flowers would cheer him up. The guard became suspicious of his hardened features and un-priestly mien, so he summoned three other guards to help subdue the phony priest. As they had him pinned to the ground, other guards began to search his car. Evans shouted "Be careful, there's enough soup in there to kill us all." The guards were shocked to find a box of mustard gas bombs, revolvers, four suits and enough nitroglycerine to blow up a city block. He even had a bottle of nitro in the flower basket.

Since there were four suits, he was questioned on who else he was going to break out. The warden figured besides Funk, he was probably going to try and liberate a notorious bank robber and murderer named Henry "The Midget" Fernekes.
Evans never admitted who the others were and he was sent back to the Missouri prison. In 1930, Evans and seven other convicts were caught in a tunnel that went all the way to the prison wall. Harry Funk would spend his remaining years bedridden at the prison hospital. The other prisoners treated him like a king, waiting on him hand and foot. They all thought he had that $184,000 stashed somewhere.

William Evans (mugshot)


The Secret of Harry Funk


Henry Fernekes "Midget" (Not really a midget, just a runt)

The Pygmy Dynamo of Crookedness

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Old 02-09-2019, 11:49 PM
Location: StlNoco Mo
5,666 posts, read 4,327,401 times
Reputation: 6973

The first I ever heard of them was on an old episode of Death Valley Days. They used one on some kid that had rabies. I occasionally come across old newspaper articles from the 1800s and early 1900s where somebody got bit by a rattlesnake or rabid dog and they were cured by a madstone.
Nowadays they fall under the category of folklore. I did see someplace on the internet where they are being sold, most likely a scam.
WIKIPEDIA---- Researchers publishing in 1958 reported " 130 cases of healing attributed to the madstone " and " 3 authenticated madstones in the United States today."

The madstone would stick to the wound and draw the poison out - Appalachian History

This guy looks like one of those snake oil salesmen from the old western movies.

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Old Today, 08:44 AM
Location: StlNoco Mo
5,666 posts, read 4,327,401 times
Reputation: 6973
You take the largest gathering of outlaws in American history, all fearless, all could shoot like Annie Oakley, and have them led by a man with a few loose screws, and you will have Quantrill's Raiders.
The folks in Sherman Texas were excited when they arrived.
" Hooray, hooray, Quantrill and his men are here."
But by morning it was " When are they leaving? "

Quantrill's Raiders in Texas.
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