Memories of the Vinita Rodeo date back
before the Grand River Dam was constructed, and some area residents can
remember life changing instances from a long time ago, just like it
happened yesterday. One Ketchum born man, Luther Gregory Jr.,
remembers July 12, 1934, and has good reason.
Gregory's grandfather, Elam
Gregory, was shot and killed that day, while hunting bank
robbers near where the current Shangri La Resort is now located.
When the robbery occurred, Lutherís
grandfather, Elam, was 65 years-old and president of the Bank of Ketchum.
Killed also that day were two robbers
who were also slain in the gunfight which Is reported to have taken place
on the highway one mile south of Grove, shortly before noon.
According to reports from the July 12,
1934, Vinita Ledger, the gun battle was a tragic aftermath to the
robbery of the Ketchum bank, in which the two robbers escaped with
Lutherís father, Luther Gregory Sr.,
was kidnapped as a hostage,
but was released after a short ride and returned to the place of the
Luther Sr., alter returning to Ketchum,
said the bandits had started away to the west, but doubled back east a
short time later, they were sighted near Cleora. The Gregorys, however,
had a head start on the officers and ran into the bandits south of Grove.
When Luther Sr., returned to Ketchum,
his father, and another relative, Oscar Blackford, and a friend, Cy
Barnette, pursued the bandits in an automobile, overtaking them south of
Grove while officers from every nearby point scoured roads and highways in
the immediate vicinity, according to the Ledger.
The bank robbery took place at about
9:30 on the morning of July 12, 1934, and Craig county officers were
immediately notified and according to the Ledger reports, Sheriff
John York and Undersheriff Charles Amadon immediately left for Ketchum.
When the Gregoryís found the bandits,
a gun fight broke out, with Elam Gregory being the first to fall in the
fight, but the two bandits were slain by the two younger men.
About a week after the incident, a Grove
newspaper gave an account of witnesses at the scene.
In a July 19, 1934 report of the Grove
Sun, according to eye witnesses, the many-time convict was 72
year-old, John Goodman, a bandit known as "Kaiser Bill" and
"Old Man of the Mountains," who was with an unknown younger
The old man, had been identified in a
number of robberies in and about the Cookson Hills area, but his name was
never established. His two pseudonyms were pinned upon him by residents of
The younger outlaw, about 28 years old,
was driving the car which had a license that was traced back to a man
named George Gossitt at Vian, but the outlaw was believed to be the son of
the owner. Later it was determined the younger outlaw was Lawrence Gossitt.
Witnesses said that the old bandit did
not fire a shot during the gun battle.
The witness stated that the bank robbers
were in their car when the pursuing car pulled up along side, while in the
meantime, H.T. Bradley, who resided near where the bandits were slain, was
standing with his arm resting on the window of the robbers car, giving the
men some information regarding the roads.
"It all happened so quickly, that I
did not know which of the men shot Mr. Gregory, while others say that the
young bandit fired the shot from a revolver that killed Mr. Gregory,"
According to the report, Gregory died
instantly, being shot through the heart.
When the gun-fight ended, some of the
money, currency of just over $100, was found in the pocket of the old
bandit, the rest being silver was found in a sack, which was in the
bandits Chevrolet sedan. Also found in the sack was two paid checks.
According to the Ledgerís report,
Ray Warner, vice-president of the First National Bank of Vinita, went to
Ketchum that afternoon, to assist in checking the funds, to determine what
was taken in the robbery.
Even if you are only a seven year-old,
something of this nature would be something never forgotten. When asked
about what he remembers of that day, Luther Jr., or June for most of his
old friends, said, "I just remember sitting on a stoop near the bank,
waiting for my dad and grandfather to return." The desk Elam used at
the bank currently is displayed in Juneís living room. He also has the
guns used in the gun fight. "There are some things we just donít
By BETH GRISWOLD, Journal Reporter,
Vinita Daily Journal, Aug 21, 2001