The Moonshiner Murders

Above is a picture of Yates Standridge. He was one bad man. He killed Sam Rosamond’s father, and blew his wife’s arm off with a shotgun. Look at the size of his hands. You don’t want them lethal weapons clamped on your neck like an old greasy vice in a machine shop. He killed a man in jail. He escaped from jail. The Rosamond boys tried to bushwhack him, but shot the wrong man. Some fled to the oil fields of Oklahoma. Did they eventually…..get their man?

http://3sistershistory.blogspot.com/2015/12/divena-mae-dixon-and-yates-standridge.html

It was extremely dangerous to go after this man they called ‘The Wolf’, and you did not want him on your trail. If you saw him coming, you slunk away, hid in any shadow that would have you. He was no joke, no Hee-Haw Clown in some Jesus-Freak Carney Show. He was the real deal, the reason Vernon Rosamond preached to the good citizenry, while Velma played the organ. You better believe there is a Devil.

“To capture him, C. L. Boyd said they took Divena and the children to Justice of the Peace Rosemond’s home.”

In a way, we kind of look alike. We might be distant kin via the Hodge family. For sure he has my kinfolk’s blood on his hand, and I have claimed to be the Rosamond Family Go’el Redeemer. I have been wrongfully accused of being a stalker. But, I come from humble stock. We eat what we catch. This was not a country for old men. Anton Chigurth is a fictional character who Yates would have dispatched, chopped him up and sold him as hog food. The Blue Tick hounds would be gnawing on his bones while Sheriff Rosamond made his rounds, tipping his hat to those he know, and glaring at those he don’t.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Chigurh

“Old Lady Savage went back and told Yates that Grandpa and Grandma Rosamond had his wife handcuffed and chained to the floor.

Vernon ran that store and gas station you see in the photo below. There had to be an on-going card game in the back of one of these establishments…..to go with the distilled moonshine!

Then, there is your good ol Coonhound. Who’s the got time to raise beef? Ya eats your squirrel, drinks ya moonshine, and if the sheriff gets in your business, shoot him dead.

If Yates walked in to a card room, there was a pool, to see who the last man was who shit his pants. When they put uniforms on these good ol boys, they went over there and kicked German butt. It was a long camp-out and coon hunt. They were given the best rifles ever made. They could do wonders with antiques – as it was!

Yate’s father got in his son’s way. How, we aren’t told. His pappy shat and peed his britches, as ‘The Wolf’ made him do a little dance. This ain’t The Beverley Hillbillies! But, somethings were made up.

“In 1906, Yates was indicted for assault with intent to kill John Halley. Two witnesses were Marion Savage and W. G. Ketcherside. There were other witnesses. I do not have all the names. This was filed in the State of Arkansas, circuit court 10th July, 1906.  Between 1906 and 1908, there were other assault charges and gambling charges for Yates Standridge. I have also read of a story of how Yates was sitting in the front yard of his father’s house shooting at his father. (His father was dead by 1902, C. L. Boyd said this was just a made up tale and untrue).

One thing is for certain, the local law enforcement officers were scared to death of Yates Standridge.  They described him as the “human” wolf, a mean, vicious man.  By 1906, he is wanted for “highway robbery” in Lee Township which I think is in Pope County, AR.   The article below was published in the local Russellville, AR Courier paper.  Sheriff Hatley and deputy Craig arrest Yates and take him to the Russellville Jail.
The article states that Yates had taken his wife and children to the home of John Dixon.  By this time I think John Dixon had moved from Richland and lived closer to Mt. Judea, Arkansas, near his sons who had married the daughters of his wife.  Hatley and Craig hid and watched the house for Yates.  The first day they watched they came up empty handed but on the second day about 10 in the morning he approached the house.  They rushed to arrest him and he quickly moved inside the house and fired.  He grazed Sheriff Hatley’s shoulder.  John Craig removed a board from the house and got a bead on Yates and they arrested him.  

He helped build a Dam near Russellville as part of this sentence.  They called it the Water Works Dam.  I am not sure where it is.  One day, the guard went to sleep and Yates almost got away.  I guess Yates served out this sentence but trouble was always in his path. I am not sure what the charge Yates Standridge was wanted for in 1908.  It could have been illegal distilling.  It could have been battery.  It could have been for robbing someone.  Whatever he was wanted for Yates did not relish  going back to jail.  

By 1908, Yates and Divena had Nancy Jane, Lola May, and Robert Standridge.  Yates had a “big bad” reputation and the law officers were very frightened at what he might do.  To capture him, C. L. Boyd said they took Divena and the children to Justice of the Peace Rosemond’s home.  They chained her to a bed and made her scream so he would come out of his hiding place in the woods.  He came out and shot though the door and killed N. N. Rosemond.  That bloody day, Yates killed Rosemond and Martha Overturf and shot the arm off of Rosemond’s wife.  The Rosemond’s descendants account of that day I will add here:

 

 

The only man Yates Standridge failed to kill when he set his mind to it, was himself. Too tough to die. He had to have scared himself………..half to death!

Nonimus Rosamond was Royal’s uncle.

Jon Presco

Published by Rosamond Press

Copyright 2017

William Thomas Rosamond

Birthdate: circa 1860
Birthplace: Mississippi
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family: Son of Samuel Rosamond and Frances C. Morrison
Husband of Mildred A. Rosamond and Ida Rose
Father of <private> Rosamond; <private> Rosamond and Frank Wesley “Royal” Rosamond
Brother of Laura Rosamond; Benjamin F. Rosamond; John J. Rosamond; Nonimus Nathaniel Rosamond and Frances J. Rosamond

 

This story is from the Rosamond Press and tells of Yates Standridge from his murdered victims ascestors!

Yates Standridge, he was a wildcat whiskey maker, had a still out in the woods. The law had caught him 2 to 3 times. Late in the evening, there were no cars at that time, the law was on horseback, the county seat jail was 27 miles and they couldn’t make it back before dark. They stayed with a family their name was Hamm (George Hamm). The law asks if they could stay all night in Lurton.

Sometime during the night, Yates got up and climbed out the window, went home in his nightclothes. The next morning he sent his wife Divina to get his clothes and told her if she didn’t bring them back he would kill her. She knew that he would because he was a mean man. Divina went to the Rosamond Home, she asks for a place to stay. They told her she could stay at their house. When his wife didn’t come back with his clothes the next morning he sent an old lady (Old Lady Savage) to see where his wife was. Old Lady Savage went to Mr. Hamm’s house and went all through the house looking for Yates’ wife. When she couldn’t find her there she stopped at Grandpa and Grandma Rosamond’s house and ask if Yates’ wife Divina was there. Old Lady Savage asks her to come out and talk to her. Old lady Savage asks Divina to home with her but she wouldn’t.

Old Lady Savage went back and told Yates that Grandpa and Grandma Rosamond had his wife handcuffed and chained to the floor.

The next morning was New Years Morning 1908. Yates came to Grandpa and Grandma Rosamond’s and hid behind the smokehouse until the kids went to school. Grandpa and Grandma Rosamond had bought the house from Grandma Overturf, she hadn’t moved out yet, was still staying with them. Mom didn’t go to school that morning. She was staying with her Grandma. Mom went to the spring for a bucket of water. Yates followed her to the spring and ask her who all was at the house. He then told her not to follow him back or he would kill her. There was a rail fence that ran from the spring to the back of the house. When Yates got out of her sight she climbed over the fence and went to the house.

Grandpa Rosamond had owned and ran a sawmill in Lurton. That morning he was sick and didn’t go to work. Yates hollowerd Hello, Grandpa thinking it was someone to see about some lumber opened the door and stepped one foot outside. Yates shot him through the leg it cut the main artery. Mom went in the back door at the same time Grandpa Rosamond was shot. He turned and shut the door and said, “He’s killed me” and fell to the floor and bled to death.

The women folks were trying to see who it was. Yates could see them through some cracks in the door. When he started shooting, Divina took her baby and hid behind a bed. He shot one shot and killed Grandma Overturf, then he shot two more shots and hit Grandma Rosamond at the elbow leaving just a little piece of skin on both sides holding her arm on. He tried busting down the door, but couldn’t, he wanted in but they wouldn’t let him in. So he tried to set fire to the back of the house, but it wouldn’t burn. Then he tried to set fire to the roof, it was covered with shingles that were real dry and they wouldn’t burn. So he went back and tried busting down the door again, he did bust down the door and went in. Grandpa was lying there with his eyes open, they hadn’t had time to close them yet. Yates drawled up his gun to shot him again. Grandma Rosamond grabbed the gun. He jerked her up and down on her knees out into the yard. He told someone if she would of held on a minute longer she would of taken it away from him. So he left, the law caught up with him and he was sent to prison for possibly 20 years.

I asked Grandma why were the Rosamond’s and Grandma Overturf living together? Figuring out that Flora was only 12 years old at that time, I did not think she and Fred were married yet…Martha Overturf had sold the house to the Rosamonds, she had not found a place to live yet. Flora was staying with her Grandma until her Grandma found a new house.

Arewine Yates Standridge died August 8, 1938 in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, killed in ambush by George Ellis. On January 1, 1908 Yates shot through a door and killed N N Rosamond and also Martha T. Overturf, wife of F M Overturf (parents of Rachel Overturf Taylor in Newton Co. Arkansas). He was in Jackson County Arkansas prison on the 1910 census for this killing. Searching for the facts, I did find a lot of mistakes. In almost every story that I have found on the Rosamond – Overturf murders, it states that Martha T. Overturf was Flora’s Mother. Flora’s mother was M. Viola Slape; Flora’s father was Eli Overturf.

I have found their marriage in Newton County, Arkansas. They are both buried in the Sexton Cemetery in Tarlton, Eli is right next to Viola, but the stone is crumbled. Uncle Roy and Uncle Alvin Rosamond both told me that M. Viola had died in a fire. Eli remarried Annabell Cox (name of Flora’s Step mother provided by Virl Rosamond). Flora was 2 years old when her mother died. Uncle Alvin said that his mother did not get along with her step mother that is why she was staying with Grandma Overturf. I researched further and found Martha T. Overturf and found her maiden name was Blessing. I also found her husband Francis M. Overturf, they were married in Franklin County, Il., Francis M. and Martha T. are buried in the Sexton Cemetery, F M Overturf’s grave must be unmarked, it is not listed but Uncle Virl told me he is also buried there. I found 2 children born in Franklin County Il., and a birth date for Rachel listed in the story above. I was not able to find a birth date for Eli.

Trying to prove that Rosalie Augusta Bennett was married prior to N N Rosamond. I was completely unable to find any facts on Rosalie beyond her father’s name E. T. Bennett (provided by Jimmy Dale Rosamond.) Rose Cotner supplied me with a marriage date and location for N N Rosamond and Rosalie Bennett. It was a family story that Rosalie worked as a maid in a hotel in Chicago at the time of the Great Chicago fire 1871. I was able to verify the marriage of Rosalie A. Bennett and Nonimus N. Rosamond in the Chicago, Illinois marriage records 1850 to 1900. Rose told me that Rosalie was born in Indiana. The amount of Bennetts is Indiana is tremendous. I was not able to find a link. It is really hard when you don’t have any actual names. (E. T. Bennett)

Dixon being the surname in question…Divina’s father was Rev. John Dixon. Yates Standridge was born in 1881; Rosalie had her 2nd child in 1881 with N N Rosamond. N N Rosamond and Rosalie had been married 3 years prior to his birth. By the time Yates was old enough to marry, they had all of their children. With these facts and searching several states for marriages for Rosalie Bennett. I was only able to locate the one marriage. This part of the story was just that, a story.

Court records on Yates Strandridge:

In 1906, Yates was indicted for assault with intent to kill John Halley. Two witnesses were Marion Savage and W G Ketcherside. There were other witnesses. I do not have all the names. Filed the state of Arkansas, circuit court 10th July, 1906.

Between 1906 and 1908, there were other assault charges and gambling charges for Yates Standridge. I have also been told a story of how Yates was setting in the front yard of his father’s house shooting at his father. When someone asked what he was doing he said he was going kill him. (C. L. Boyd said this is untrue.  His father died in 1902!) As for the Rosamond son shooting General Standridge, I have also been told it was Yates that shot General Standridge in his field. If it was one of the Rosamond boys that shot at Yates, I have not been able to confirm that. Uncle Frank went to Oklahoma to work in the oil fields, Uncle Ed and family soon followed him. Uncle Jim died in 1915, in a train wreck while working for the railroad. Grandpa Fred and Uncle Sam stayed in Newton County all of their lives. I don’t know of any of them that left the country.

Three indictments were filed July 1908 term of the Circuit Court, Newton County, Arkansas. Murder 1st degree with malice, forethought, premeditation and deliberation of N N Rosamond – Murder 1st degree with malice, forethought, premeditation and deliberation of Martha T. Overturf – Assault with intent to kill of Rosalie Rosamond. Witnesses in all three were Flora Overturf, Elizabeth Stacey, Mrs. N N Rosamond, Dr. George Yates, Dr. T T Fowley and Dr. J. E. Blackwood…

note from Colleen Haynes Rongey:

Witness W. Ketcherside was my Grandma Woodard’s brother, Will Ketcherside. Dr. James Blackwood’s grandsons, Leon and Harold Blackwood lived around Harrison, AR…they may have heard the story in the early days. I heard Uncle Will talk about the Rosamond murder when I was a child but do not remember details…

This is from Ina Rosamond’s Grandaughter, Cindy Fluri

Here is the same story by C. L. Boyd

YATES STANDRIDGE, AN ESCAPE ARTIST

There has been much publicity given to Yates Standridge as an escape artist and all of his trouble with the law for various offences. How much time was actually spent in jail is not known. Various county records seem to indicate that some of his earlier problems were entirely his fault. Many people tell that Yates was as good as neighbor as you could ask for, but just did not put up with any foolishness.

  1. N. Rosmond was a Justice of the Peace, when the law was after Yates on one of his charges. Some of the law took Yates’ wife and children to the Rosmond’s house, either for safekeeping or to draw Yates out of hiding. Yates found out where they were and went to get them. When Mr. Rosmond wouldn’t let him have his wife and children, Yates started shooting through the door and killed Mr. Rosmond and wounded his wife.

After this incident, one of Mr. Rosmond’s sons was passing by a field where General Standridge was plowing. He thought that General was Yates and shot him through the shoulder. Yates assured General that it would not happen again, but General carried a pistol for the rest of his life. I understand that Mr. Rosmond son left the country shortly after this.

Yates was a prisoner and was part of the convict labor that helped build the waterworks dam at Russellville. One day, one of the guards went to sleep and Yates was starting to sneak up on him, when another guard stopped him. He yelled, “What do you think you are doing?” Yates just grinned and said “If that pecker-wood is going to sleep on the job, I’m going to trade jobs with him and hold his gun while he sleeps.” Yates did escape from there later and walked to Price Grove, where he had a man the he knew, to take a chisel and cut off the ball and chain the he dragged from Russellville.

Yates was indicted for murder in July of 1908.  He received a term of 52 years for these crimes.  In 1910, he is in Jackson County, AR housed in the penitentiary.  Today, we do not know if Divena went to the Rosemond house for refuge or if they took her and the children there to draw Yates out of hiding.  Also, this time he was housed in the Newton County Jail at Jasper, AR.  He tried to commit suicide there after he was give the sentence, but he was found and saved.  He tried to slit his own throat.

Another paragraph on the next column says Yates failed in his attempt to take his life.  This was in October of 1908.

Who knows why Yates and his niece Ida Johnson were ambushed and killed.  I can not find any niece named Ida Johnson.  I am sure there is more to the story than we will ever know.  By 1940, Yates second wife, Annie, has remarried to Tilmon Sisco.  Yates two children by Annie often used the surname Sisco.  Annie and Tilmon end up in California where they are both buried.

http://harrisondaily.com/vernon-rosamond/article_c7009a3f-1ee5-543f-9310-f7dfa6c9e75b.html

 

On this page of the 1900 census, we can see the neighbors–Alex Standridge (this is the son Little Alex’s daughter had by her step brother.  He used the name Standridge) and his wife Dora, then Robert Standridge and his wife Minnie, then Bert Dixon (John’s son Divena’s half brother), Martin Branch (Little Alex’s sister’s son), John H. Dixon (Divena’s father) with his wife Susanna Virgina Hardester Martin Dixon, Melinda Standridge (Howard Standridge’s wife, Granny’s Dad, he has moved back home and they are seperated.  Granny said he came home from jail and someone was living with her and he went to his Dad’s), next is Little Alex and Sarah Jane Yates Taylor Cavin Standridge,  then Yates and Divena and Nancy Jane, then a Daniel Greenhaw who married Little Alex’s daughter, Lucy Standridge, and lastly James White who is married to Mary Standridge, the daughter of Mill Alex.  It was quite a neighborhood I am sure–all related by marriage or blood.  Most of these folks did one thing to make money.  They manufactured moonshine whiskey and they were good at making it.  That is what Granny’s Dad did all of his working life.  I know James White was arrested for making illegal whiskey and I am sure many of these others were too.  So, Yates and his cousin, who is also his brother-in-law, Howard Standridge likely made shine together.  Howard was a first cousin to Little Alex but he was married to Malinda Cavin, who was Yates half sister.

Divena Mae Dixon And Yates Standridge

Vena Mae with two of her Grandsons

Robert Lee (older) and Melvin

Divena Mae Dixon was born in Fulton County, AR in July of 1881.  She was the daughter of John Harvey Dixon and Sarah Elizabeth Carroll.  John Dixon had been married twice before he married Lizzy Carroll.  He did not come to Arkansas until the 1870s.  He lived in Bradley County, TN before moving to Fulton County.  He and his first wife had several children.  His first wife’s name was Dulcinia London.  After she died, John married Nancy Jane Gowens.  She either died on their way to Arkansas or shortly after they arrived in Fulton County.  Lizzie Carroll’s first husband was Isam Bradley Hodges.  He died in 1879 and shortly after widower John Dixon married Lizzie Carroll Hodges.  They had two children:  Charles Dixon and Divena Mae Dixon.  Charles was born in 1880 and on July 8, 1881, Divena was born.  For some reason the marriage of John and Lizzie failed.  She had grown children as did he.  Sometimes marriages like this just don’t work out.  The children sometimes don’t like each other.  Whatever the reason, the couple dissolved their marriage.  Lizzie moved in with one of her sons.  She died in 1909.
In the 1890s, John Dixon moved to Newton County, AR.  He settled on Richland Creek near Little Alex Standridge.  He married again to Susanna Virginia Hardister.  She was previously married to John Martin.  John died in 1888.  Two of John Dixon’s sons married daughters of Susanna Martin.  I have not checked to see if John and Susanna married and then the two Dixon boys married the Martin girls or if it was the other way around, but, by 1900, John Dixon and Susanna are living near Little Alex Standridge on Richland Creek, Newton County, AR.
Little Alex was married three times.  I think his first wife was a Meek.  I know his second wife was Eliza Jones Standridge.  She had been married to Alex’s nephew who died during the Civil War.  Little Alex had only daughers by his first wife, Eliza Ann Meek.  She died in 1865 and then Little Alex married his second wife, Eliza Jones Standridge.   She had three children and he had five girls I think it was (I am not looking at the record now).    Eliza and Little Alex had two more girls.  Eliza’s son and little Alex’s daughter from his first marriage had a son out of wed lock.  The story in the mountains was that Little Alex ran him off or he may have murdered him as that son of Eliza’s is never heard from again.  In 1877, Little Alex married for the third time to Sarah Jane Yates Taylor Cavin.  Sarah Jane had two sons by her first husband, Hezekiah Allen Taylor.  He was killed during the Civil War.  Her second husband was Joseph Harrison Cavin.  They had three daughters and a son. One of these girls was Malinda Cavin.  Mindy married Howard Standridge (Granny Renfroe’s father). So the story goes on (it could be a book), in 1877, Harrison Cavin is dead and Eliza Jones is dead and Little Alex Standridge married Sarah Jane Yates Taylor Cavin!  Little Alex had several children by the two women he married—all girls.  But in 1881, Little Alex and Sarah have a child, a son!  I know Little Alex was thrilled to finally have a son.  They named him after Sarah’s father Alewine Yates; thus, his name was Alewine Yates Standridge.  He was born in October of 1881.  By this time, Little Alex is 55 years old and Sarah Jane is almost 40!  I believe that Yates Standridge was likely spoiled.  His parents were both old and he was Little Alex Standridge’s only son.
Little Alex was named for his grandfather, Alexander Standridge.  There were three boys named for this Grandfather by his sons.  Mill Alex Standridge was called Mill Alex because he had a water mill on Falling Water Creek.  Big Alex was called this because of his height.  Little Alex was not very tall and he was called Little Alex Standridge.  Little Alex live near the head waters of Richland Creek, very near where Richland Cemetery is today.
By about 1895, John Dixon and his family are living on Richland Creek.  His daughter Divena Mae Dixon meets the handsome Yates Standridge.  They are married December 29, 1896.  Yates and Divena are only 16 years old.  I found another record that says they married on the same date in 1897! Regardless of the date, they have a child, a daughter, Nancy Jane Standridge, born October 26, 1897.  Divena and Yates are on the 1900 census living near Little Alex Standridge and John Dixon!On this page of the 1900 census, we can see the neighbors–Alex Standridge (this is the son Little Alex’s daughter had by her step brother.  He used the name Standridge) and his wife Dora, then Robert Standridge and his wife Minnie, then Bert Dixon (John’s son Divena’s half brother), Martin Branch (Little Alex’s sister’s son), John H. Dixon (Divena’s father) with his wife Susanna Virgina Hardester Martin Dixon, Melinda Standridge (Howard Standridge’s wife, Granny’s Dad, he has moved back home and they are seperated.  Granny said he came home from jail and someone was living with her and he went to his Dad’s), next is Little Alex and Sarah Jane Yates Taylor Cavin Standridge,  then Yates and Divena and Nancy Jane, then a Daniel Greenhaw who married Little Alex’s daughter, Lucy Standridge, and lastly James White who is married to Mary Standridge, the daughter of Mill Alex.  It was quite a neighborhood I am sure–all related by marriage or blood.  Most of these folks did one thing to make money.  They manufactured moonshine whiskey and they were good at making it.  That is what Granny’s Dad did all of his working life.  I know James White was arrested for making illegal whiskey and I am sure many of these others were too.  So, Yates and his cousin, who is also his brother-in-law, Howard Standridge likely made shine together.  Howard was a first cousin to Little Alex but he was married to Malinda Cavin, who was Yates half sister.
Tragedy struck this family in 1902, as Little Alex died and was laid to rest in Richland Cemetery near his home.  He would have  been about 73 years old.  His son Yates was 21.  Without his father to keep him reined in, Yates became involved in more crime that just illegal distilling.
In 1906, Yates was indited for assault with intent to kill John Halley. Two witnesses were Marion Savage and W. G. Ketcherside. There were other witnesses. I do not have all the names. This was filed in the State of Arkansas, circuit court 10th July, 1906.  Between 1906 and 1908, there were other assault charges and gambling charges for Yates Standridge. I have also read of a story of how Yates was sitting in the front yard of his father’s house shooting at his father. (His father was dead by 1902, C. L. Boyd said this was just a made up tale and untrue).
One thing is for certain, the local law enforcement officers were scared to death of Yates Standridge.  They described him as the “human” wolf, a mean, vicious man.  By 1906, he is wanted for “highway robbery” in Lee Township which I think is in Pope County, AR.   The article below was published in the local Russellville, AR Courier paper.  Sheriff Hatley and deputy Craig arrest Yates and take him to the Russellville Jail.
The article states that Yates had taken his wife and children to the home of John Dixon.  By this time I think John Dixon had moved from Richland and lived closer to Mt. Judea, Arkansas, near his sons who had married the daughters of his wife.  Hatley and Craig hid and watched the house for Yates.  The first day they watched they came up empty handed but on the second day about 10 in the morning he approached the house.  They rushed to arrest him and he quickly moved inside the house and fired.  He glazed Sheriff Hatley’s shoulder.  John Craig removed a board from the house and got a bead on Yates and they arrested him.  He helped build a Dam near Russellville as part of this sentence.  They called it the Water Works Dam.  I am not sure where it is.  One day, the guard went to sleep and Yates almost got away.  I guess Yates served out this sentence but trouble was always in his path.I am not sure what the charge Yates Standridge was wanted for in 1908.  It could have been illegal distilling.  It could have been battery.  It could have been for robbing someone.  Whatever he was wanted for Yates did not relish  going back to jail.  By 1908, Yates and Divena had Nancy Jane, Lola May, and Robert Standridge.  Yates had a “big bad” reputation and the law officers were very frightened at what he might do.  To capture him, C. L. Boyd said they took Divena and the children to Justice of the Peace Rosemond’s home.  They chained her to a bed and made her scream so he would come out of his hiding place in the woods.  He came out and shot though the door and killed N. N. Rosemond.  That bloody day, Yates killed Rosemond and Martha Overturf and shot the arm off of Rosemond’s wife.  The Rosemond’s descendants account of that day I will add here:

 

By the time the census taker came around in 1910, Yates is housed in Jackson County AR.  Pine Bluff.  He says he has been married 6 years which is not right.  He and Divena have been married over 10 years.  He states he is 29 years old, born in Arkansas.  By 1910, Yates has only served 2 years of the 52 year sentence.  He has a life behind bars to look forward too!

What happened to Divena?  I had often wondered and did not know until Divena’s Great Great Grandson contacted me.  His name is Jason and he lives in Little Rock, AR.  He got his Grandfather Robert Lee Jones to do the DNA test so they could try to figure out who they were?  Robert Jones was the son of another Robert Jones.  The elder Robert’s mother said that his father was Walter Jones.  Jason and Uncle Walter Renfroe where extremely high on the DNA match?  He matched with others of the Standridge family–100s of them!

Here is Divena Standridge in 1910.  She is living with her only full brother in Fulton County, AR.  Her father John Dixon is dead by 1910.  He probably died of heart failure from all this stressful situation.

From this census, we get a pretty true picture of Divena’s age and the age of her children.  Nancy Jane is 11.  Lola May is 7 and Robert Standridge is 4 years old.  But I also found on the following page a listing for Divena living alone.  She is a neighbor to a young man named, Walter Jones, and he is only 17.

 Divena is in a pretty hopeless situation.  She is the wife of a notorious murderer.  He is known all over Arkansas.  She married when she was only 15 or 16 and I am sure has no skills to earn and living for her fmaily.  Her brother Charles has a large family of his own.  Divena needs a man!  And I think the one she found was the young orphan boy Walter Thomas Jones.  Both his parents are dead.  Divena is 10 years older than Walter, but I speculate that she started a relationship with him.  I do not think they married.  They have one daughter together.  She is born in 1914 and she names her Vera Marie Jones.  Divena still has half brothers in Newton County, AR.  I believe that she gave Nancy Jane to her brother William London Dixon.   Nancy Jane and Divena are never associated together again!  Nancy Jane married a neighbor boy living near William London Dixon.  William and his wife have no children of their own and were probably happy to have Nancy Jane Standridge live with them..    By 1914 Nancy Jane Standridge and her husband Joseph Taylor Robinson have their first child, Emma Faye, born on October 2, 1914.  Nancy Jane was born October 26 1897.  She was almost 17.  The Robinson’s have 9 children.  They live near Yandell, AR, in Oklahoma, and Nancy Jane lived in California with one of her daughter when she passed away in 1983.  As far as I know after 1910, she never was in contact with her mother again.

To find a new husband Divena really needed to be younger.  She shaved 10 years off her age and had her younger two Standridge children use the name Jones.  I think Divena and Walter Jones lived together in Howell County, MO.  Vera Marie said she was born in Howell County, MO. in July of 1914.  Divena also made her older two children and little younger.  Why I do not know, but from the records found we can see she did.  Divena and Walter Jones did not stay together long.  He married a Fulton County woman in 1916, Johnnie Pickren.  He is in Barry County, MO in 1920 and then they move on to OK by 1930.  He and Johnnie have several children and are buried in OK.

Somehow someway, Divena ends up in Little Rock, AR.  That is pretty close to Pine Bluff.  I can not find her in 1920.  No telling what name she is using!  But by 1930, she is in Little Rock and she is still 10 years younger and from that time forward she is Vena Mae and not Divena.  Her Standridge children with her are using the name Jones.  Jason thinks they did not know who they really were.  They thought Walter Jones deserted the family.  Vena married 3 or 4 more times.  Why?  Trying to survive.  She carved out an existence in Little Rock and lived a long life.  She took her secret to her grave.  Her death certificate says her maiden name was Dixon and she was born in Fulton County, AR.  Her Great Great Grandchildren would never have known who they were if Jason had not gotten his Grandfather to give that spit to Ancestry!

Yates Standridge above and Divena below after she started a new life in Little Rock.

Robert Lee Jones (Standridge) with Serena Bessie Center

1927–on their first wedding anniversary

Why would Divena want to hide who she was?  By 1916, Yates had escaped again!

Divena may have had contact with Yates during his time in prison.  He escaped in 1912, 1916 twice, and again in 1918.  He probably would not have been happy to know the Divena had a child by Walter Jones but who knows this child could even belong to Yates as he was out of prison several times by escaping.  One time he lived near Jonesboro, AR for a year under the assumed name of Charles Smith.  Jonesboro is fairly close to Fulton county, AR

The article above tells of Yates killing a fellow inmate with a shovel while at Tucker Prison.  This article gives dates of more escapes.  In 1917 his 52 year sentence was reduced to 15 years, but 6 months later he escaped again!  He was recaptured in 1918 in Oklahoma City.  The article says he emptied his revolver at the posse in a gun battle before he surrendered.  His last escape came December 26, 1920.  He sawed a hole through the floor under his cot in the Tucker stockade. Standridge and 11 convicts made a break for freedom.  Two of the men were recaptured through quick action of the guards, but Standridge and 9 others made their getaway successful.  It turned bitterly cold during the next day, December 27.  Two days later Standridge dragged himself back to the farm.  Both his feet were frozen.  After that he made himself into a model prisoner!  He devoted his time to winning over the approval of the warden and he was successful.  He was paroled in March of 1922.  He had two sponsors from Newton County.  I do not know who they were.  After a year supervision he was free with no hold by the State of Arkansas. Divena was successfully in hiding from him I believe.  He probably made contact with Nancy Jane Standridge Robinson on his release as she lived in Newton County.  Since Divena did not contact her again (at least we do not so and Nancy Jane is not mentioned in Divena’s obituary.) Nancy Jane could not tell her father where her mother was.  She did not know. Jason thought that his Great Grandfather, Robert Lee Jones, had no idea his real surname was Standridge.  Robert Lee said at one time his mother and the children lived in Fort Smith, AR.  He had a paper route and delivered papers.  Robert said he had to turn all the money over to his mother for use of the family.  Divena Dixon Standridge is erased from being by 1914 and a new woman is created.  Her name is Vena May Jones.  She is born in the same month as Divena but she is a decade younger.  Lola May and Robert Lee are also a little younger.  They were really very small children when Yates first left them in 1908.  They probably could not remember him at all.  Nancy Jane was older and could remember.  Divena cut off all ties with her.  She is not even mentioned in Vena’s obituary. Vena Jones  married William Humphrey before 1924.  In 1924, Robert Lee Jones wants to get married.  He is living in Fort Smith, Ar.  Vena sends a telegram giving permission for him to marry Bessie Center.   The 1930 census lists Vena in Little Rock.  Mr. Humphrey has died.  She is living with another family and has her daughter Marie Jones with her. It looks like she is using the first name Barbara.  They are living on Rock Street. In 1935, Vena married Abe Chenault and the 1940 census finds them in Saline County.  Abe died in September of 1944.We know that Vena married at least one more time because at her death her last name was Hawthorne.  Jason said his Grandfather Jones never knew who his father’s father was and he felt that the elder Robert Jones did not know of his heritage either.  Robert Jones was very bitter toward his mother, Vena.  Little did he know what all she did to protect him.
How did we discover who Robert Jones was?  First, we used the DNA matches to check all the names that we knew Divena was related to.  All matched.  She matched Dixon’s, Carrolls and the other surnames that were Divena’s ancestors.  Her death certificate said she was born in Fulton County, AR.  The 1910 census there, lists Divena Standridge with her brother Charles.  She has her 3 children with her and they are using the last name Standridge.  Next, we checked on close Standridge matches with Robert Jones Jr.  There were 100s of matches to the Standridge family.  The closest ones came from the family of Martin and Katherine Standridge, Little Alex’s parents.  When we looked at the four grandparents of  Robert Lee Jones Standridge SR, the DNA of Robert Jr. matched on all four sides–extermely high.  He matches Little Alex Standridge, Sarah Jane Yates (he matched two of her sisters), he matched Lizzy Carroll’s family, and John Dixon’s family.  We started and worked each line.  Match, match, match, match!!  We concluded that Vena Jones was Divena Dixon Standridge.  I feel very sure we are correct.
After Yates was paroled in 1922, he may have looked for Divena, but soon he found a new lady. March 11, 1924, he married Annie May Kuykendall.  Annie May was born in 1906–several years younger than Yates’ oldest daughter.  Annie and he had a son and a daughter..  Yates had more run ins with the law.  He and his nephew, Alonzo Standridge took a barrel of whiskey to Harrison, AR to sell.  They hid the keg in the woods.  When they went to retrieve it.  Red Campbell had stolen the whiskey, either Lonzo or Yates shot and killed Campbell.  Yates said Lonzo shot him and who knows but his parole was revoked.  Below, is a newspaper account of the incident.  Green Forest Tribune

Friday April 7 1922

Yates Standridge is Badly Wounded

Harrison, Ark., April 3 – Yates Standridge, notorious convict,

paroled by the Arkansas Penitentiary Commission March 1, is seriously

wounded, and Harry (Red) Campbell, aged 25, is dead as a result of a gun

battle which occurred in a field near Cooked Creek, one mile east of this

place about 7 o’clock last night. The fight is supposed to have started

over a 10-gallon keg of whiskey found near the scene.

Alonzo Standridge, nephew of the wounded convict and who was seen

with him late yesterday afternoon, has disappeared. Yates said this

morning he feared his nephew had been wounded. He denies shooting

Campbell, however, declaring that he did not have a gun.

Campbell was shot five times through the body, two of the bullets

taking effect near the heart, probably causing instant death. The body

was found about 10 o’clock last night, lying in a pool of blood. Near

the body was the keg of whiskey.

Standridge was shot in two places, once through the abdomen and once

through the arm. He is at the home of his niece, Mrs. O. T. Hoover,

here. Attending physicians say he has a chance to recover.

“Red” Campbell shot and killed Frank Suskey on the streets of

Harrison in 1914. He was tried, but acquitted on a plea of self-defense.

He is a son of O. W. Campbell, local coal dealer.

Few details of the shooting can be obtained, and only the

apprehension of Alonzo and his statements will clear the mystery

surrounding the affair, it is said. Members of Campbell’s family

identified Yates as one of the two men who called for Harry late

yesterday afternoon. The three left the house together. This was the last

time Campbell was seen alive, it is said. Residents here believer that

the two Standridges came here form Newton county Saturday afternoon bring

the keg whiskey. They “cached” it in the field, and later an argument

probably ensued over the possession of the liquor, after Campbell had

accompanied them to the hiding place.

Yates Standridge Is In Oklahoma

Is Said to Have Left After Two Weeks Stay in Newton County

Jasper, Ark., Aug 22–Yates Standridge, who recently escaped from

the state convict farm, where he was serving what practically amounts to

a life sentence for murder, declared that he never will return to the

penitentiary, according to residents of the sparsley settled hills of

Newton county, where Standridge makes his home.

These hill people say Standridge recently spent two weeks in that

section and left, saying that he was going to Oklahoma. There is no way

of verifying the truth of this.

These people, who know Standridge intimately, and some whom

sympathize with him, say there is no doubt that the fugitive means what

he says and that the man who goes in pursuit of him will take his life in

his hands. Standridge has the reputation of being a crack shot, he knows

every foot of the Newton county hills and those who talked with him while

he was home declare he is in a desperate mood, ready to kill on sight

anyone whom he suspects has designs of recapturing him.

Those who are familiar with the situation are not disposed to

criticize the Newton county officers for not attempting to capture

Standridge. They say it would require a large posse and many days to run

down the fugitive, for he knows a hundred hiding places in the hills.

Also he has many friends in the country where he lived before he was sent

to the penitentiary. Many of them honestly believe that Standridge

received too severe a sentence and that he has been ill-treated at the

penitentiary. They would not hesitate to help him.

“If those people in charge of the penitentiary haven’t sense enough

to keep Standridge after they get him, I don’t know why I should go out

and get killed trying to get him back for them again, ” is the way one

officer sizes up the situation.

The Mountain Wave, Aug 25, 1916 p. 2, c. 4

The story told in the Mountains was that Alonzo hightailed it home after the shooting.  I really don’t know if Yates parole was revoked or if the matter was just dismissed.

By 1930, Yates and Annie Kuykendall Standridge are listed on this census in Sequoyah County, OK.

Trouble continued to plague Yates Standridge.  He was shot and killed along with Ida Johnson in Oklahoma in 1938.

MURDER CHARGED IN DOUBLE KILLING SALLISAW, Okla., Aug. 11, 1938)—County Attorney Ed Armstrong today filed two charges of murder against George Ellis, 50, in connection with- the slaying Monday of Yates Standridge, 67, and his neice, Mrs. Ida Johnson, 29. Armstrong said Ellis, a fullblood Cherokee Indian, would be arraigned sometime today. Standridge, an ex-convict, and Mrs. Johnson were shot from ambush as they returned home in a wagon from Sallisaw. They were buried yesterday at Hartman, Ark. Aug. 11, 1938 Indian Journal August 25, 1938 OKLAHOMA CITY, Aug. 23— Governor Marland directed Attorney General Mac Q, Williamson today to assist in the prosecution of four men facing charges growing out of the Sequoyah county ambush slaying of Yates Standridge, 67, and his niece, Mrs. Ida Johnson, 29. Williamson said his assistant, Owen J. Watts, would leave for Sallisaw tomorrow to confer with County Attorney Ed Armstrong, Standridge and Mrs. Johnson were shot down as they rode in a wagon on the Marble City road near Sallisaw August 8. Texas Bandit Pair Charged In Dallas.

Who knows why Yates and his niece Ida Johnson were ambushed and killed.  I can not find any niece named Ida Johnson.  I am sure there is more to the story than we will ever know.  By 1940, Yates second wife, Annie, has remarried to Tilmon Sisco.  Yates two children by Annie often used the surname Sisco.  Annie and Tilmon end up in California where they are both buried.

After 1938, Vena could have told her children who she was, but she had held on to the secret so long she did not reveal the truth to them is what Jason thinks.  She carried her secret to the grave.  Her obituary say she is 71 instead of her true age of 81.  It does not mention Nancy Jane Standridge Robinson.

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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