Yet another of the nest of villains inhabiting Granby, Missouri, during the latter half of the nineteenth century was Bob Layton. Bob and his family, consisting of his parents and several sisters, came to Granby from Tennessee near the start of the Civil War when he was a young boy five or six years old. Layton first etched his name in the annals of outlawry on the evening of June 16, 1877, at the fledgling mining town of Galena just across the Kansas state line. Nursing an old grudge, he and three other Granby men burst into Dykeman's Restaurant and opened fire on William St. Clair and Harry Campbell while the latter were seated at a table taking dinner. The ambush mortally wounded St. Clair and left Campbell with a flesh wound. A hastily formed posse pursued the attackers and briefly exchanged shots with them, but Layton and his cohorts made a clean escape. St. Clair was known as "Tiger Bill" because of his reputation in the area as a rough character, but it's not known what supposed wrong the Granby boys were avenging. Around this same time, Layton became a part-time sidekick of the notorious George Hudson, but it's also not known with any certainty whether Hudson came along on the Galena escapade.
What is known is that Layton and Hudson, along with Hudson's brother Jack, were passing through Batesville, Arkansas, on the evening of November 7, 1879, and tarried in town long enough to get into a barroom brawl. They conked one man over the head with a pistol and fired a shot at another one. A posse followed them to their camp outside town and captured George Hudson after an exchange of lead, but the other two men escaped. Layton came back to Batesville the next night to try to break George Hudson out of jail and was shot and killed after he was recognized and ordered to halt but went for his gun instead. Thus was cut short the promising criminal career of Robert Layton.
Labels: Bob Layton, Galena (Kansas), George Hudson, Tiger Bill St. Clair