With John Dillinger folklore given WAY too much attention, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of the legends versus the ugly reality regarding some of his contemporary gangsters.
Real Name: Francis Crowley
Birth – Death: October 31st, 1912 – January 21st, 1932
Lore: Crowley was supposedly born out of wedlock to a German-American woman and a New York police officer who refused to marry Crowley’s mother. This supposedly accounts for his intense hatred of the police.
Reality: Such shallow, Pulp Magazine thinking doesn’t seem likely. The young man was adopted by a family in which Francis grew up alongside a cop-killing older brother named John Crowley. John himself would be killed in a battle with police.
This background seems a more likely explanation for Francis’ issues than some mythical hatred of an unknown father who abandoned him and his mother.
Criminal Career: By age 19, Crowley had…
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