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 where Adam and several
others were involved in a school prank of stealing the school's typewriters and 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.
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:
Bill Jones Chief of Police Coalgate, Ok H.R. Carter Auto Dealer Coalgate, Ok
Ray Howel No Occupation Coalgate, Ok W.W. Barnett Plumber Coalgate, Ok
John Giachion Barber Coalgate, Ok John Borsino Furniture Coalgate, Ok
E.E. Kerrill No Occupation Coalgate, Ok Jim Drummond No Occupation Coalgate, Ok
H.M. Tate Attorney Wewoka, Ok G.W. Bungard Collector Wewoka, Ok
J.T. Wasson Shoe Merchant Wewoka, Ok A. Mason Shirely Book Keeper Wewoka, Ok
D.L. Carter Butcher Wewoka, Ok Ben Scrinopel Clothier Wewoka, Ok
L.O. Lane Grocer Wewoka, Ok H.C. Thompson Druggist Wewoka, Ok
C.M. Shepherd Dry Goods Wewoka, Ok Ira J. Banta Attorney Wewoka, Ok
W.D. Morrison No Occupation Tulsa, Ok C.L.Hill Attorney Wewoka, Ok
Clarence Lane Grocer Wewoka, Ok R.O. Williams No Occupation Wewoka, Ok
M. Lindley No Occupation Wewoka, Ok John W. Sartin County Commiss Lehigh, Ok
J.W. Ford Mayor Lehigh, Ok Haden Whitlock No Occupation Lehigh, Ok
Lois C. Schuler Justice of the Peace Lehigh, Ok Joe Greeley Merchant Lehigh, Ok
E.L. Metcham Druggist Lehigh, Ok E. Lefevre Merchant Lehigh, Ok
F.L. Bowers Real Estate Coalgate, Ok J.M. Simmons Grocer Lehigh, Ok
Lon Knox No Occupation Lehigh, Ok Tom Lampkin No Occupation Lehigh, Ok
Ida M. Bennett City Clerk Lehigh, Ok George Yattu Grocer Phillip, Ok
Will Cummings Sheriff Coalgate, Ok Walter Clark Under Sheriff Coalgate, Ok
G.T. Ramsey Attorney Coalgate, Ok G. Rolls No Occupation Coalgate, Ok
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, 1931.
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.
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" Floyd.
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.
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.
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
Crown Point Jail