Prairie State Bank Robbery

We were recalling things from the time the kids were small and Pat reminded me of this story.

We had gone back to visit with friends and relatives in our home towns of Augusta and El Dorado, Kansas. In Augusta, we were staying with my great uncle and aunt, Dave and Rachel Peebler. Our twin boys, Russ and Doug, were probably between 2 ½ and 3 years old. That would put us in 1961. Aunt Rachel and Uncle Dave were always gracious hosts and fun to visit. Aunt Rachel was all excited about having an outing with just the boys and her so she could take them to town and show them off to her friends.

Aunt Rachel got all gussied up, jewelry included. The boys were all excited and Pat got them slicked up and they piled into Aunt Rachel’s car and she took off with them. She decided she would stop at the Prairie State Bank first and pulled into a parking place out front. I don’t know who she expected to see but I imagine that Roy Haines was still the bank’s president  and Noah Morris and Dixie Wisner and the other long-time employees were still there. I don’t know what happened to tip her off but as Rachel and the boys got to the door, she realized that the bank was being robbed. She whirled around and since she was holding hands with both boys, almost jerked them off their feet. She took off directly across the street and rushed through the front door of Larson’s shoe store. Russ Larson was an old friend and she yelled at him and told what was happening. He shooed them to the back of the store and then called the police. They waited for some time before leaving the store and making the rounds of Rachel’s friends. When they got home, all three were still wide-eyed and excited. They were all talking so fast it was hard to understand what had happened. We finally got the boys settled down and Aunt Rachel told the story with the boys chiming in with their comments as she talked.

I tried to authenticate this story by searching the Internet. I even found an abbreviated history of the Augusta Department of Public Safety but nothing mentioned this incident. After Pat and I discussed the story, we were talking with Doug on the phone and asked him if he remembered going to town with Aunt Rachel and seeing a bank robbery. He jumped right in by saying “Yes, and she rushed us across the street to the shoe store.” Doug will be 57 next month and remembers something that made a big impression on him when he was 3.

We just talked to Russ a few minutes ago. He remembers something happening but says that Aunt Rachel down-played it and he doesn’t know what it was. However, he says he does remember meeting a lot of people that day.

Dave Thomas
October 25, 2015

 

 

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