Carl Janaway - Smartest Bandit of the Cookson Hills
Carl Janaway - Smartest Bandit of the Cookson Hills
Last surviving bank robber of the 1930's, builder of getaway cars for "Pretty Boy" Floyd & Nursemaid to Al Capone in Alcatraz Prison
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Carl Janaway -

The Smartest Bandit of the Cookson Hills


Last Surviving Bank Robber

of the 1930’s,

Builder of getaway cars for

“Pretty Boy” Floyd,

Nursemaid to Al Capone

in Alcatraz Prison.



Gary D. Courtney


The life, times, and character of one of the most elusive gangsters of the 1930’s era, who survived by going straight after prison and becoming an upstanding citizen.


Based upon the author’s month-long museum exhibit of Carl Janaway’s possessions and story, which filled the John Vaughn Library lobby at Northeastern State University.


Famous Sheriff Grover Bishop, who killed more men (17) than Wyatt Earp, chased Carl Janaway over 3,000 miles, and couldn’t catch him.


Carl’s wife was also a bank robber, called the “Blonde Bandit”, of rough and rowdy Vian, Oklahoma.


Janaway spent time in Alcatraz Prison with some of the deadliest gangsters of the time.




   Growing up in the Tahlequah area in the 1920's, and falling on hard times after his father mysteriously disappeared, Carl Janaway:


      Robbed several banks in Arkansas (early  
     1930's), and wounded two lawmen in getaways, a 
County deputy sheriff, and a St. Louis

       Built getaway cars for notorious gangsters Charles
     “Chock” or ”Pretty Boy” Floyd, “Kaiser Bill”, and
     John Dillinger. Souped up a 1933 Hudson
     Terraplane to do 125 miles per hour, and welded
     protective steel plates and railroad rails into the cars.

       Married a female bandit, Darcy Lynch, who was a
     major headache. The “Blonde Bandit” robbed the
, Arkansas
bank of $30,000, by herself.

       Escaped from the Little Rock Prison and the
     dreaded Tucker Prison Farm in Arkansas three
     times in two years.

       Was the only outlaw famous Sheriff Grover Bishop
     chased an estimated 3,000 miles and couldn’t
     catch! Janaway was known as the
     “Cookson Will ‘O the Wisp”.

       Became the only person in Alcatraz Prison, or “The
     Rock”, Al Capone both feared and respected. 
     Was assigned by Warden Johnston to care for
     Capone when he became terminally ill. Backed
     down Capone in a cuss fight, which gained his
     respect and gifts, including a dictionary which is in
     this museum exhibit.

       Consulted at Alcatraz twice with FBI Director J.
     Edgar Hoover and U.S. Attorney General Homer
     Cummings, on an investigation of the scandal of
     murder of inmates by prison guards at Tucker
     Prison while he was there. Carl was forced to bury
     many of the inmates.

       Was offered the help by his ex-wife Darcy Lynch to

Gary Courtney

Author, Photographer, Outdoor Adventurer & Historian

Business Automation & Organization Pioneer

  • Raised in Oklahoma as a woodsman, hunter & fisherman
  • Research and Development geophysical technician
  • Partner in a private detective agency
  • Air Force radio electronics technician
  • Owner of a computer consulting firm, in Houston and Tulsa.
  • Front Page Feature writer and books – historical and outdoor adventures
  • Author, photographer, designer & creator of the San Juan Mountains 60-page online magazine, “”, with pictures from area backpacking,
  • Creator of museum exhibits at Northeastern State and OU Sam Noble Museum
  • Creator and Editor of the Cookson Hills 100-page online magazine, “”,
  • Designer, builder and owner of the Cookson Hills Gallery of  fine art,
    award-winning Western and American Indian paintings, scrimshaw, sculpture & pottery
  • Pioneer in cave exploring, backpacking, S.C.U.B.A. diving & new computer technologies
  • Organizer & foundation builder of prominent nationwide companies
  • Collector-dealer and authenticator of Civil War weapons, antique books, maps, and cameras
  • Keynote guest speaker on:


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Perfect Bound Softcover
Price $26.15
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