INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 07, 2013, 07:25 PM

Minnesota gangster history from 1920s

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - An author who has spent several years fascinated with the 1920's gangster era in Minnesota will be at the Moorhead Public Library Thursday night.

By: Drew Trafton, WDAY

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - An author who has spent several years fascinated with the 1920's gangster era in Minnesota will be at the Moorhead Public Library Thursday night.

Chad Lewis has spent a decade compiling history about gangster activity in the Midwest.

Following a free presentation from his book 'The Minnesota Road Guide to Gangster Hotspots,' Lewis will ask those in attendance to help pitch in with stories from their own family history of mob run-in's or activity in the F-M area.

Edythe "Polly" Hamilton, a woman born and raised in Fargo, unfortunately came from a broken family.

Mark Peihl- Archivist, Historical and Cultural Society of Clay Co.: "Polly ran away from home at a young age and made her way down to Chicago and fell in with a lady named Anna Sage who was a Madame in a brothel down there."

Hamilton likely worked as a personal assistant of sorts, and through her work, came to know John Dillinger; one of the most notorious bank robbers in U.S. history.

Peihl: “She pretty much fell for Dillinger."

In 1934, federal pressure forced Sage to turn on Dillinger, and she accompanied the gangster and Polly Hamilton to the theater wearing a red-tinted dress that became famous as authorities used it as the marker to identify Dillinger on the night he was apprehended and died in a firefight with authorities.

And although the gangster reportedly had many girlfriends, evidence recovered from the crime scene indicates Hamilton held a special place in his heart.

Peihl: "This is a photo of Polly that was found at the back of Dillinger's watch, apparently."

After Dillinger's death, Hamilton returned to this home where she lived for a brief time with her mother and brother; a home that stands today as a link to one of the tragic love stories of the often-romanticized era.

Tags: