Any more info on Wylder and Helm would be welcome. This is kind of a work in progress, but it is the anniversary of the robbery today.
March 23, 1931
It was near noon when two unmasked men, Bert Wylder and Hugo Helm, of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, entered the First National Bank of Edna, Kansas. Cashier C.E. Kallenberger was at the counter when they approached him, asking for change for a ten dollar bill, so that they might get two half dollars. While Mr. Kallenberger was counting the five, four ones and two halves, the older and larger man, Helm, stuck a gun in his face. Almost simultaneously Wylder ordered W.L. Conneway, president of the bank to “stick ‘em up”.
Assistant Cashier C.T. Cunningham had stepped into a rear room of the bank building to lock the back door of the vault preparatory for the dinner hour, before the arrival of the bank robbers. The robbers heard Cunningham in the rear of the building and asked who it was. Kallenberger told them it was the assistant Cashier.
While, this was going on Cunningham saw the two bandits with guns, and Conneway and Kallenberger with their hands in the air. He knew it was a hold up, so he left the bank through the rear door as quietly and rapidly as he could, before the bandits were able to see him. By the time the bandits could get a good look at everything in the back room, no-one could be seen but J.F. Holten, Vice President of the bank ,who was busy working at his desk. The bandits thought Mr. Holten had been the man they heard a few seconds before.
While the bandits were gathering the loot, Hollie Thomas came to the door of the bank , saw what was going on and was able to get away without being seen by the bandits. With Cunningham on the phone at the Alice Café, and Thomas spreading the news up and down the business section of town, it was pretty well known that the bank was being robbed before the robbers had completed sacking the money.
After the money had been gathered and scooped into a flour sack, the bandits commanded the three bankers, Holten, Conneway, and Kallenberger to get into the vault. As the three entered the vault, Helm offered them a drink of liquor, which the bankers refused.
The bandits then shut the bankers in the vault, and attempted to make their exit through the front door of the bank to a 1930 Ford roadster with no license tag. It was headed east and parked parallel with the curbing.
Joe Dalton, Missouri Pacific station agent, phoned Dr. A.T. Hyde of the robbery. Dr. Hyde was a dentist, who had his office across the street north of the bank. He was also a member of the vigilance committee, sponsored by the banks of Kansas and prepared with his own gun and ammunition for just such an occasion.
His office was upstairs in the Arnold building, reached by climbing an iron stairway on the south side of the building, facing the bank. Dr. Hyde had a customer in the chair, when he answered the phone call by Dalton. The Dr. asked the patient to excuse him for a few minutes.
From his office door at the head of the stairway, he fired twice at Helm who had run with a flour sack full of money and climbed in the car. Wylder was shot down about twenty feet east of the car. The doctor fired four shots and Helm returned two at the doctor. Claude Potter fired a high powered rifle from a southeasterly direction, placing a bullet hole on the south side of the car, near the door. The doctor used a 12 gauge Winchester pump shotgun with No. 4 shells. Helm died instantly while Wylder lived about thirty minutes, but was unconscious. The two bandits were unidentified for several hours after they were killed. Hugo Helm had operated a butcher shop at Pawhuska and was a distant relative of Wylder. Helm was the elder bandit and the leader.
Dr. Hyde was a world war one veteran who served in the 89th division in France. He was reared in Coffeyville and was widely known in Labette and Montgomery counties. Dr. Hyde received $500 each for the killing of the two bandits from the Kansas Bankers Association. He also received a donation from the Coffeyville banks of $100.
Bank is on the right. authors photoThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Daniel Baker,
( formerly Cowboy Dan)
Cool story. Great pic...R.D.
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