Just some thoughts:
It was a little after six A.M. and I was leaving Indianapolis, Indiana. I had been there the previous day to see a Butler basketball game. Butler or Hinkle Fieldhouse, truly one of the great basketball venues.
I was stopped at a light when I looked over and saw the sign to the entrance of Crown Hill Cemetery. Just a few weeks earlier I had read Dary Matera’s book on the life of John Dillinger. I smiled as I thought “Well ole John’s just a short distance from where I am sitting, sorry I don’t have time to drop by and pay my respects.” Dillinger along with some other famous Hoosiers are buried in Crown Hill.
Stranger, stop and wish me well
Just say a prayer for my soul in hell
I was a good fellow, most people said
Betrayed by a woman all dressed in red
Dillinger is one of the most famous criminals in American history .There is a lot of mystery and rumors still to this day that circulate about him.
Rumor had it that after his death every so often a large sedan would stop at the cemetery and a well-bred Lady in Black would emerge kneel and place flowers on the grass at his grave. Speculation was she was a Dillinger long-lost post-navy Indianapolis wife. Makes for good copy you think.
It was said John Dillinger, Sr declined a healthy sum of $10,000 offer for the corpse of his son. Or there was such a scare of body snatchers that the plot inside the tomb was sealed in cement.True there was almost two years that took place before burial markers were placed and the marker than is there today is the fourth replacement.
The Lady in Red, Anna Sage while the reward for his arrest was $25,000 it is said she only got $5,000 and was swindled out of the rest. Story was later she opened a nightclub in Rumania. She did died in 1947.
Three other women in Dillinger’s life, Billie Frechette she joined the carnival circuit for a while after his death expounding upon her time with the famous criminal. She died at age sixty-two in 1969. Polly Hamilton died at age fifty-nine also in 1969.Dillinger’s only known wife, Beryl Hovious lived to a ripe old age of eighty-seven died in 1993 in their home town of Mooresville, Indiana.
Dillinger’s dad did eventually accept invitations to speak in stage shows and carnivals about the lives and events of his family. He died in 1943 and was buried next to his son.
Even in my home town area of Terre Haute you can still hear rumors and speculation about Dillinger. “He used to hang out here to lay low from the law.” You might be surprised just how many folks had a relative that knew something about Dillinger.
As I pulled away from the light I again smiled as I was reminded of a story one of our relatives has passed on to our generation, “Now I don’t know if this is really true or not but story has it that your__________had some contact with Dillinger. “Well just maybe.”
As the old saying goes,:”Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
August 30, 2018
Posted November 1st, 2018