Iberia's Bank Robbery in 1935

by Peggy Smith Hake

When I learned of this bank robbery that happened in Iberia 75 years ago (1935), I called Betty Heltzell Robertson of Iberia and she remembered the whole incident!

I was born in rural Iberia in August 1935 and it happened a few months before my birth.

Betty told me she was a young girl when it happened and she had walked downtown on her way to Kinder's store (on the corner of today's Hwy. 42 and Main St.) when she saw a car come speeding up the street which caught her eye but she didn't understand at the time what had happened.

She ran back home (her family lived upstairs over the printing/newspaper office on Hwy. 42/Lombar St. which was owned by her grandfather, George Martin--owner & publisher of The Iberia Sentinel newspaper) She was excited and told her mother about the car she saw speeding up the street but didn't know why.

They learned rather quickly that the bank had been robbed by a couple of men and they made a get-away with one of the employees (Charles Farnham who had married Anna Heltzell, sister to Betty's grandfather, Selby Heltzell. He was 'Uncle Charley' Farnham to Betty.

Betty said they headed south out of Iberia traveling toward Crocker. At the "Cross Roads", about 2 miles out of Iberia, they released Uncle Charley unharmed and drove on south. The "Cross Roads" is the road today where you turn to your left and it goes past the old charcoal kilns.

Betty told me they never did find the men who robbed the bank and never learned their identity. It was never told how much money they stole either.

This is an interesting story about Iberia that I had never heard before. I am sure the story appeared in the Iberia Sentinel, but I do not access to it. Old newspapers are on microfilm at the State Historical Society on campus at the University of Missouri in Columbia and I am sure the story could be found but I am not able to make the trip there anymore.

The Bank of Iberia was robbed again in 1958 when Frank Dickerson was the bank's president.

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