Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Missouri Kid

Another chapter in my Desperadoes of the Ozarks book is about William Rudolph, the so-called "Missouri Kid," who, along with sidekick George Collins (shown at left) robbed a bank at Union, Missouri, in late December of 1902 and a month later killed a Pinkerton detective who was on the trail of the robbers. Rudolph and Collins were arrested at Hartford, Connecticut, in early March of 1903 and brought back to Missouri, where they were greeted by a group of admiring fans, including several young women, almost like returning heroes. Given the nickname the "Missouri Kid" by a sensationalist newspaperman, Rudolph escaped in July of '03 and went on the lam. He was apprehended again in January of '04 in Kansas, brought back to Missouri, and convicted in March of '04 of first-degree murder in the killing of the detective. While his trial was going on, Collins, who had already been convicted of the same crime, was hanged from a scaffold in the courtyard next to where Rudolph's trial was taking place. Despite several appeals, Rudolph himself was launched into eternity a year later using the same rope that had been used to hang Collins. I received my author copies of the Desperadoes book less than a week ago, and just a day or two afterwards there was already at least one review of the book posted on the internet at the following URL (the same review was also later posted on the Amazon website): http://dadofdivas-reviews.blogspot.com/2011/10/book-review-desperadoes-of-ozarks.html


Blogger Js said...

Do you know any of the early history of Bill Rudolph?

February 2, 2014 at 12:02 PM  
Blogger Larry Wood said...

Just that his father was supposed to have been a man named Anderson and that he adopted the name Rudolph after his mother, Nancy Armistead, married Rudolph. Bill also used the name Armistead sometimes, I think. He first got in trouble a few years before the Union bank robbery and murder of the Pinkerton agent, when he and some friends supposedly robbed an old couple in a rural area of Franklin County and beat them up.

February 2, 2014 at 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wrote a book four years ago entitled,
Where Dead Men Still Fight, a history of Stanton, Missouri,
which contains a long chapter on William Rudolph (and Collins). It will answer a lot of your questions about his early life and family and shed some light on the reason he went "bad."

It is available through amazon.com or a little cheaper, direct from me

February 4, 2014 at 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Name and contact information for "Anonymous" is Sue Blesi email sueblesi at hotmail dot com

February 4, 2014 at 4:13 PM  

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