The Finney County Historical Museum will be adding an additional artifact to its true crime exhibit on Wednesday.
The addition to the “True Crime, Solving Notorious Cases from Finney County’s History” exhibit that opened in January consists of a musical track about the Fleagle Gang. The record, titled “The Fate of the Fleagle Gang,” was written by Carson Robison and Andrew Jenkins, aka Grank Luther, and was donated by Keith Downer, a Garden City resident who recently obtained it.
The track will be included in the 525-square-foot exhibit that tells the story of Finney County’s infamous Fleagle Gang, a group of bank robbers who pulled numerous heists at gunpoint during the 1920s and killed at least four people.
The gang’s exploits and demise are detailed in the 78-rpm record, recorded in 1930 by singers Bud and Joe Billings. The museum will receive an original copy of the record in a presentation set for 2 p.m. Wednesday, which marks the 90th anniversary of the Lamar robbery. The public is welcome to attend the presentation at the museum, 403 S. Fourth St. in Finnup Park.
The tune was released by RCA Victor Company of Camden, N.J., shortly after police shot and killed Jake Fleagle, the last of the gang’s members, in Branson, Mo.
Downer, who serves on the Finney County Historical Society Board of Directors, plans to explain how he came by the copy of the 88-year-old record. Once placed in a protective case for viewing, the 10-inch disk will be added to the exhibit.
The Fleagle Gang’s downfall came after one of their most daring heists, in the late spring of 1928, when they robbed and fled the First National Bank of Lamar, Colo., after killing the bank president and his son. The gang later murdered a teller taken hostage and a Kansas doctor abducted to treat a wounded accomplice.
A fingerprint on a window of the doctor’s car linked the gang to the crime. That window, along with evidence from the 1959 Clutter murders, is available for viewing in the exhibit.
Ralph Fleagle and two other gang members were arrested, tried and executed by hanging. Jake Fleagle escaped capture until his fatal encounter in Branson.