Adam C. Richetti was born on 5 Aug 1909 in Strawn, TX which is located in southwestern Palo Pinto County. Adam was
the 8th of 9 children. Adam grew up in Lehigh, Oklahoma farming, working the area mines, and doing mechicanical
work. Most of his family worked the area coal mines. Adam spent most of his time working with his older brother Joe
repairing cars where he learned to be a mechanic. He attended the school in Lehigh where he went thru 7th grade. His
mother Elisabetta made sure that Adam attended church where he attended Sunday school for three years. It was in
grade school when the trouble began for Adam. Adam's teenage sister and brother, Clemantine and David had been
sent to the Oklahoma Reformantory for petty theft. Adam and several others were involved in a school prank of
stealing the school's typewriters. In another incident Adam had stolen his classmates prized baseball glove. In a later
interview with an old childhood classmate Adam was considered a nice chap and the Lehigh townspeople insisted he
was no more trouble than the average youth. It was after he quit school that Adam began his reputation and life of
crime. Growing up Adam learned to drink, smoke and chew tobacco at an early age.
While living in Wewoka, Oklahoma Adam eventually had become involved with Otis Lee Harper who had been
employed as a postal mail carrier and involved in several minor robberies and break-ins in Oklahoma. Adam had
purchased a for Ford Roadster in Oklahoma City and he and Otis took off running from local law enforcement and
both Adam and Otis traveled to Hammond, Indiana where Adam's older brother Dave and his family lived along with his
half sister Mary De Matte Rankin and her husband Tommy lived.
While visiting his half sister Mary Dematte Rankin in Hammond, Indiana, he was finally caught and arrested (FBI File)
for the first time on August 7, 1928, on a robbery charge in Crown Point, Indiana. Shortly after 10pm that night, a car
containing Mr. August Geber, Mrs. Rominger, and Mrs. Newhall became disabled along side of the road on the south
side of downtown Crown Point. Mr. Geber had gotten out of his car and walked around to the front to try and recrank
the car to get it started when Adam and his companion Otis Harper accosted Mr. Geber and robbed him of $20.00
and took a ring from one of the women. The two 19 year olds then proceeded to get the car started. Once they had
started the car they took everyone on a joy ride around town until midnight. They then wanted one of the women to
call a friend so everyone in the car would have a so called date so they could all go out to Kowalski's groves for a few
beers. They had stopped at Mrs. Rominger's house and allowed her to go inside to call one of her girl friends.
She happened to see a policeman outside the front of the house and told him what was going on. He immediately
came around to the back of the house, and arrested Adam and his companion. At the police station a Adam's gun
was found in the possession of Otis Harper, and Adam had a black jack in his possession.
The two 19 year olds were bound over to the Criminal court by Judge Todd in Hammond and their bonds fixed at
$5,000 each. The pair indicated that they desired to enter a plea of guilty, but in as much as they were not
represented by legal counsel, a plea of not guilty was filed for them by the Deputy Prosecutor Harold Hammond, in
order that they could appear for trial with a clean lower court record.
Sentenced to a term of one to ten years in the State Reformatory at Pendleton, Indiana, Adam spent a short time
there with the famous gangster John Dillinger.
From August 1928, thru October 1930 prisoner number 18243, Adam Richetti was incarcerated in the Pendleton
Reformatory. Although John Dillinger had been incarcerated there with Adam his stay was short lived as he had
requested a transfer to another location which was granted. While Adam was held there his family and as many as 40
local residents of Lehigh, Oklahoma and the surrounding area including the Judge, Sheriff, and attorneys that were
friends of the Richetti's petitioned the warden for Adam's parole.
The following individuals from Coalgate, Lehigh and surrounding Oklahoma petitioned for Adam's release:
Upon parole Adam arrived in Wewoka, Oklahoma on the 4th of October 1930 after being paroled from the Pendleton
Reformatory where he stayed temporarily with his sister Marie and her husband Blackie Smalley. He eventually took up
residence in New Lima, Oklahoma with Blackie's brother, W.A Smalley. There he filed regular monthly parole reports
with C.H. Dymond, Deputy Sheriff of Wewoka. Deputy Dymond filed a report with the parole officer at Indiana on July
20th, 1931 that stated Adam was at the time under a charge of burglary in that county, and had been living with a
married women and was not currently employed. Adam was eventually released from his parole on September 22,
During the winter of 1931 and the early months of 1932, Adam's sister Eva was having problems with her life. She had
lost her husband, and through a course of events she also lost her son Fred to the Kansas Service Children's League
in Topeka, Kansas. She had also been arrested for robbery and theft. Marie and Blackie were interested in helping
Eva out and wanted to adopt Eva's son. In addition Adam's parents, Bartolomeo and Elisabetta also were interested in
raising young Fred. So in an effort to secure Eva's son from that orphanage, Adam, along with Blackie Smalley, and
Fred Hammer attempted a bank robbery in Sulpher, Oklahoma to assist family members financially with their efforts.
On Wednesday, 9 March 1932, at 2:30pm Adam Richetti, dressed in a dark suit and leather boots, driving a 1932
Chevrolet Coupe, license tag 99-512 along with Fred Hammer, a local ex sheriff and supposed leader of this gang,
and Luther (Blackie) Smalley, Clemantine (Richetti) Smalley's husband, pulled up just across the street of the front
door of the First National Bank at Sulpher, Oklahoma. Fred Hamner, aged 35, 165 lbs, dressed in a pinstripe suit and
bib overalls along with a bearded Blackie Smalley dressed in a dark suit walked across the street into the bank carrying
pistol, as Adam awaited outside in the car with the engine running. Once Fred and Blackie had entered the bank they
ordered everyone inside to lay down on the floor including cashiers Vivian Dye and Charlie Penner. Fred gathered up
almost $830.00 dollars from the cashier drawers and vault and placed the money into a black bag. The bank tellers
were then told to go with them, but Charlie Penner jumped into the vault, pulling Mrs. Dye after him, and slammed the
door. One of the bandits shot at Charlie Penner, the bullet striking the door about an inch from the edge. Penner then
turned on the bank alarm.. As the silent alarm went off one of the men fired shots into the vaulted door in anger, which
alerted more of the town's people. Both men ran from the bank, Fred carrying the black satchel of money with Blackie
right behind him, only to be met by a hail of accurate shotgun and pistol fire by vigilante citizens
In the attempted shootout, and escape, Fred Hamner dropped dead with a gunshot wound to the head being struck on
the right side, the bullet coming out between his eyes caving in the front part of his face. Blackie Smalley was shot in
the head above the left eye. Both men fell from shotgun fire and several rounds of pistol fire, barely making it to the
street, the money fell onto the sidewalk. Hearing the gunfire Adam began to drive south from the bank about 75
yards, backed the car up about 40 feet and opened fire on the citizens. While they were returning the fire, Blackie
Smalley who was lying on the sidewalk crawled to his gun and was raising to shoot when a gun came down on his head.
Adam then drove towards (Pappy) P. W. South's farm, south of Mill Creek in a hale of withering gunfire.
The Sheriff's office was notified and Deputy Sheriff Robert Donaldson and Under-Sheriff Pat Trotter hurried to Mill
Creek. Trotter took charge Blackie Smalley, while Sheriff Donaldson and Orb Bulman, of Mill Creek, started on the trail
of Adam who had been wounded. Nearing the South farm the car was found with the bumper dragging, and a tire
casing completely off. Leaving their car the officers trailed Adam by blood marks on the ground. Adam's trail led to the
creek and to South's barn. Separating to cover a timber spot, both officers came upon Adam. A demand was made to"
reach skywards" and Adam obeyed. Searching him, the officers found no gun, but 11 .45 pistol shells were taken from
his pocket. Returning to the car the officers found a 12 gauge shot gun and a 30-30 rifle, both well oiled. Adam was
returned to Mill Creek and given medical aid. Deputy Donaldson and County Attorney Kenneth Clark, then
accompanied the two wounded men to the Sulphur Hospital. Adam had been shot 3 times, through the left arm above
the wrist, and a flesh wound on the left leg above the knee and a wound on the back of his neck. Both he and Blackie
were taken to the Mill Creek Sanitarium for hospitalization where they spent two weeks recovering from their gunshot
wounds. Blackie's brother W.A Smalley was also hospitalized at the sanitarium at that time with tuberculosis.
On March 17th they were transported from the sanitarium to the Tishomingo jail by Sheriff Fred Hunt and Undersheriff
Robert Donaldson to await further court action. Tried and convicted on 5 April 1932, Blackie and Adam prisoner 25773
were sentenced to Mac Allester State Penn, Ok.
During Adam's incarceration at McAlester he met a future accomplice, Aussie Elliot who had been imprisoned there
since 1922 and who had escaped on August 14th 1932 just prior to Adam's release. Adam was released from prison
on 25 August 1932, after serving a little over four months at McAlester State Prison.
Adam would eventually be involved in many bank robberies and would eventually hookup with Charles "Pretty Boy"
Shortly thereafter Adam became partners with Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, and the rest of that story is history. What
most don't know concerns the time from when he was captured through the trial and his life in prison.
Adam C. Richetti
Crown Point Jail
||Chief of Police
||A. Mason Shirely
||Ira J. Banta
||John W. Sartin
|Lois C Schuler
|F. L. Bowers
||J. M. Simmons
|Ida M. Bennett