I am looking for information on a man named Earl Beaver who was a bootlegger of the 1920s and 30s. He mainly operated in St. Joseph, MO, during this period, but he may have been from Oklahoma originally. He was a brother-in-law to Riviere Horner, whose uncle was Oklahoma State Senator Glen A. Horner of Okmulgee. Riviere was murdered in 1923 and left on the front lawn of his father, Joseph, in Oklahoma City. Earl Beaver also had a brother named Jack who was involved in bootlegging in St. Joe as well. According to one report, Beaver may have also been an early associate of Oklahoma bootlegger Logan Billingsley. I'm mainly looking for information regarding Beaver's birth and death and activities after 1934, but anything will help.
Thanks for bringing these interesting characters to our attention. I haven't found anything on Earl Beaver, yet; however, the other two fellas have quite an interesting story.
First, why did you state that Riviere Horner was "murdered".
According to the contemporary newspapers at the time, he and his co-hort, Lloyd Felts (or Phelps) were robbing a family named Keck in Champaign, Illinois, when a gun battle erupted. Mrs. Frank D. Keck shot the intruders when they attempted to rob the family. Mrs. Keck's son, Charles, was also shot, in the melee.
The robbers escaped, and Felts drove for four days with the dying (or dead) Riviere Horner back to Oklahoma, where Felts dumped him on his father's porch on Military Street in Okc. The Horner family tried to say that their son was the victim of a botched hijacking on the Oklahoma-Missouri state line; and, later, law enforcement theorized that the young men were shot by revenuers, attempting to stop their automobile.
It wasn't until nearly a month later that information surfaced from Illinois about the attempted home invasion/robbery. Lloyd Felts had lost his hat during the shootout and hasty retreat, and the name on the hatband was traced back to him - - here in Okc. A week before the Keck family fiasco, Horner & Felts had successfully robbed a man in Danville of $4000.
Now, they might call that "murder" in Illinois; but, down here - - it's just a purity ol' case of "justifiable homicide" & "self-defense"!
(Sources: Daily Oklahoman 2/2/1923 (pp.1-2) "Horner Death Probe Halted" "Parents Want Publicity For Case Stopped"; 2/3/1923(p.1) "Felts Search Being Pressed"; 2/5/1923 (p.13) "Officers Not Interested in (Horner) Boy's Slaying"; 3/1/1923 (p.1) "Hat Points To City Youth as Dead Hijacker"; 3/9/1923 (p.1) "Horner Slain Robbing (Illinois) Home").
It appears that Riviere Horner wasn't the only member of his family to be in trouble with the law. His father and (at least) one brother were arrested for bootlegging.
As for the notorious Oklahoma Outlaw, "Logan Billingsley", I think he should have his very own "Topic" box on this bulletin board; because, he was a major "crime wave" on his own - - from Seattle, to Denver, Detroit, Toledo, and New York. After I've acquired a few more articles on this guy, I'll "post them" as a "new topic".
Thanks for bringing these extremely interesting fellas to our attention. When (and "if") I find anything on Earl Beaver, I'll post that information, too.
Hi, oldwest. Thanks for your reply. And thanks for enlightening me about Riviere Horner and how he really died. The only newspaper story I had about him was one which stated that it was believed that he was murdered in a bootlegger's feud of some kind. That must have been before they found out how he really got it.
Is Earl Beaver any relation to George Beaver, a small time thief and bank robber who was a member of the Weaver Gang in the midwest during the twenties and thirties? George Beaver was a sometime bootlegger in St. Joseph, MO.
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