Fortunately for all concerned, nobody “bit the dust.” The Redskins on the reservation, having had no previous warning and owning no telephones, failed to get into the action, although much of the pursuit warmed in and around the Kickapoo Reservation for hours, Fords and Chevrolets by the dozens took the place of the bucking broncos of fiction and screen.
The scene of the crime!
Mercier, seven miles northwest of Horton, has one bank and a half dozen stores. Cashier J. P. Sullivan of the Farmer’s State Bank of Mercier, had taken C. J. Rathke, a Burroughs adding machine representative home with him for dinner Tuesday. They returned to the bank shortly after 1 o’clock. Both men took off their coats and hats. Rathke had started to repair the adding machine and Sullivan was making out an insurance report when two young men, apparently farmers, entered the bank. Both were dressed in overalls, which were dirty and showed much use, and neither was masked. The younger and heavier of the two, later identified as Noah Bowman, aged 20, pointed a small caliber, long barreled pistol at Sullivan, ordered him to “stick’em up!” Rathke turned around from the adding machine and put up his hands. Sullivan was so surprised at first that he backed away from his gated window in the counter.
The second robber, later identified as Sam Bowman, aged 23, moved to the rear of the bank counter and threatened Sullivan with a heavy soldering iron he carried in one hand. Sullivan later said he was more frightened at the solder iron than the pistol, as he believed one blow from that heavy weapon would fracture his scull.
Brown County Geanealogy Moment NO.172
Germantown located in Mission Township four miles west and three miles north of Horton, KS. Seeking their fortune in the great American West, the first group of pioneers from Bavaria, Germany arrived here by ox team and prairie schooners. Surnames of these early settlers were: Hardin, Trompeter, Crum, Stegger, Winterscheidt, Conrad, Schuetz, Kauten and Krier. Because of the hostilities and Germany’s involvement in World War I, on July 22, 1918 the name was changed to Mercier, in honor of Cardinal Mercier of Belgium. Mercier was an adversary of war-time Germany. Richland became the name given to the schoolhouse of District NO.54 in 1881. In 1882, a wood frame Catholic church which became known as St. Peters was built with Father John Stadler, O.S.B. Officiating.
This brings to an end of Part II of the 1933 Mercier Bank Robbery which will continue with Part III in the February 2022 History Road. Initially the resource for this came from the Brown County Genealogical Society Research Library, 116 South Seventh St. in Hiawatha but they could not confirm at that time their source for it. When I was the editor of the Nemaha CO. Historical Society’s newsletter, The Pioneer Press, a descendant in a letter to the editor clarified that the surname of the robbers was not Bowman but Bauman. At the time of this event, apparently based upon the information available, the reporter being unfamiliar spelled it as he thought it sounded phonetically.