JEFFERSON, Iowa, Nov. 27, 2016 — The Greene County Historical Society will have its final meeting of 2016 on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Greenewood Center in Jefferson. There’ll be lunch at 12 noon, an election of the group’s officers and board members for 2017, and holiday music from Greene County High School band members directed by instructor Wes Anderson.
The lunch is $8 for historical society members, and they should make reservations by Wednesday, Nov. 30, with group’s community contacts. Others can RSVP for lunch to programs chairperson Ces Brunow at (515) 370-5531.
Nominated for re-election as president is Dale Hanaman. Other nominees are Nancy Hanaman for vice-president, Margaret Hamilton for secretary, Becki Cunningham for treasurer, Ces Brunow for past-president, with Roger Aegerter continuing as executive director.
They would also serve on the board of directors, which would include these additional board members: Carol John, Chuck Offenburger, Mary Lynch, Nick Foster, Joyce Ausberger, Dallas Schrader and Paul White.
Additional nominations can be made by historical society members at the Dec. 2 meeting.
Committee assignments for 2017 are as follows:
Acquisitions: Roger Aegerter, Janet Durlam, Dianne Piepel, John Turpin.
Artifact Database: Margaret Hamilton, Abby Hamilton.
Building Oversight: Roger Aegerter, Paul White, Dallas Schrader.
Educational Outreach: Janet Durlam, Roger Aegerter.
Exhibits: Janet Durlam, Ces Brunow.
Fairgrounds Facilities & Threshing Bee: Nick Foster.
Historian: Lois Clark.
Membership: Dale Hanaman.
Programs: Nancy Hanaman, Ces Brunow, Chuck Offenburger.
Public Relations: Chuck Offenburger, Ces Brunow.
Refreshments: Denise Harberts.
Spelling Bee: Marilynn Hoskinson.
Memberships for 2017 can be purchased at the meeting; by mail from the historical society at 219 E. Lincoln Way (Box 435 in Jefferson, or online right here on this internet site. Individual memberships are $15, family membership is $20 or you can be a “Friend of the GCHS” for $50. Printed newsletters, including a review of 2016 activities and the schedule of 2017 events, will be available at the meeting, or will be mailed to members afterward.
Dramatic bank robbery in 1925 in our little Farlin
By ROGER AEGERTER
JEFFERSON, Iowa, Nov. 16, 2016 – Let’s go back 91 years ago to Feb. 19, 1925, when the peace and calm of rural Greene County was broken with an unexpected jolt – the 3 a.m. dynamiting and robbery of the Farlin Savings Bank, leading to a gun battle on the streets and I the yards of the small town, and then a middle-of-the-night capture of some of the robbers.
If you visit Farlin today, about four miles northwest of Jefferson, it’s amazing to think of all the drama that happened there on that long ago winter night.
What follows are accounts of the crime and arrests as they appeared in the Jefferson Herald and Jefferson Bee. Most of the descriptions are taken directly from the newspapers.
The Herald that was published later the same day of the robbery shocked readers with a two-column, front page headline reading: “FARLIN SAVINGS BANK PAID VISIT BY YEGGS THIS MORN.” That word “yeggs,” I learned with a little research, was a slang term for “burglar” or “safecracker.”
Here’s how the story started:
“Bank robbers entered the Farlin Savings Bank at about 3 a.m. The robbers entered the rear window of the bank, after trying to open the front door, breaking the handle off. They used 10 charges of nitroglycerin to blow the door off the vault.
“This was a planned heist, maybe not a well planned heist, but the robbers came into Farlin about midnight and bound the Milwaukee train station manager, who sleeps at the station. He was tied to his cot so he could not notify others in town or law enforcement. The bank building did not have considerable damage but the glass was blown out of the windows and the interior of the bank was torn apart by the blast.”
The additional details below here come from that Feb. 19 Herald or from a follow-up story in the Feb. 25 edition of the Jefferson Bee:
–“Telephones lines going out of Farlin were all cut except one. It was on that line that a message was sent to law enforcement in Jefferson that there had a series of explosions at the bank. Sheriff Edson C. Morain, when hearing of a robbery in Farlin, summoned his deputy Mr. Whitter and also called to the ex-Sheriff Quinlan also Constable Reyes. The sheriff’s deputies collected themselves and their equipment so fast they were on their way to Farlin in less than 10 minutes. Deputy Whitter drove the officers in his Buick and the other men stated, ‘He drove so fast that he burned up the road, and the green visor which shaded the front was doubled back over the top of the car.’ ”
–“Within 25 minutes, the Greene County officers from Jefferson arrived in Farlin. Almost immediately, Mr. Reyes watching the ‘birds’ near a corn crib north of the depot. He perused the robber and when he had him cornered, the bandit opened fire on Constable Reyes. He responded with his revolver and the robber ran across west across a vacant lot toward the road where the get-away cars were believed to be. Reyes said he caught one of the robbers in the ditch between the bank and the depot. Flashlight in hand, he discovered the man lying (with) his weapon, a shotgun which contained an empty shell.”
–“On the other side of Farlin, the other robber jumped three more fences in his attempt to make a getaway through the Dick Beebe yard. Mr. Beebe who was watching from the window called out to the officer that the robber ran past the house and could be found on the side of the garage. When Deputy Whitter called to the fellow to put his hands up, there was no response. Later Whitter said the robber’s stubbornness placed him mighty close to the brink of Whitter’s patience.” Finally, the robber set his rifle around the corner of the garage and then came out with his hands in the air.
–“The two captured men were brought to Jefferson and locked in the city jail. More men joined the officers and went back to make further investigations at the crime site. It was believed that there were five bandits and that one of them went out of the town to the south.”
–“The loss to the bank of course was fully covered by insurance, the loss includes damage to the safe and all the glass windows were damaged. The estimated loss (in the robbery) was between $500 and $600, and this included a bag of silver dollars.”
–“Two state police officials reported to Jefferson Thursday noon and went to Farlin with Sheriff Morain and County Attorney W.E.S. Hutcheon to look over the bank and seek clues. They came back to Jefferson after the inspection and spent the afternoon and evening grilling the prisoners, one of them gave the name of Jack Marsh and the other as Ed Larson, which may or may not be the real names. The attitudes of the two men were typical gangster type. The wives of Marsh and Larson came to Jefferson on Saturday and have been here looking after legal arrangements for their husbands’ defense.”
–“Details concerning the robbery since the February 19th robbery have been interesting. One of the suspects was located in Sioux City, and when officials charged into his room they found him hanging by the neck, determined to be a suicide. There was also a woman arrested, being the driver that escaped the Farlin scene. A third man was arrested a few days later in the area when he stopped at a farm south of Jefferson to ask directions to the nearest town. He was reported by the farmer and arrested without incident later in the day.”
Concerning the robbery and the aftermath, the Bee called it “mighty fine work on the part of Sheriff Morain and his deputies. While there is disappointment that all the robbers were not caught that night, considering every phase of the case, the capture of the three men within hours of the robbery, and preventing of a complete looting of the bank, was an unusual accomplishment, and it is one upon which the State Officials congratulate the effective work of the sheriff and his men.”
You can comment on this column in the space below here, or you can write directly to the author by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The author is executive director of the Greene County Historical Society.
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How many courthouse structures have been built on the site of the current Greene County Courthouse?
There have been three courthouses built where the Greene County Courthouse stands today. Ground was broken on the current courthouse in November of 1915, the cornerstone was set in May 1916 and the new building was dedicated in October of 1917. The centennial celebration of the courthouse is already underway, with events being planned by the “Courthouse 100” committee, with support from the Greene County Historical Society. You can learn more about the courthouse history and the celebration plans on the Facebook page “Courthouse 100: Greene County, Iowa.”