Local man shares ties to famed gangster John Dillinger

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VIGO COUNTY. Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Famed 1930s gangster John Dillinger was killed by FBI in 1934 at the Biograph Theater in Chicago.

Since then his grave site at Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery in Indianapolis has remained undisturbed, save for tourists.

Dillinger’s family say they have been presented evidence that the man buried at his site, is not their relative.

Upon request his body will be exhumed, and this news has stirred up memories of Dillinger in the Wabash Valley.

Robert Johnson, owner and operator of the Rod and Gun Club Steakhouse located on the Vigo and Parke County line just off of Highway 41, said the previous owner was good friends with Dillinger.

Eddie Gosnell began the club in 1921, and according to Johnson it was a favorite spot of Dillinger’s.

“Somewhere I have a picture of Eddie and John sitting down by the old club in those Adirondack Chairs, the two of them. And I haven’t found it I’m still looking for it but I’ve got a picture of them sitting down there,” explained Johnson. “What year I don’t know, what year it was. Probably shortly before he was killed.”

Gosnell’s wife was Madame Edith Brown, one of the most notorious madame’s in Terre Haute’s Red Light District, and knew Dillinger well.

Gosnell and Dillinger spent a lot of time together at the club when Dillinger wasn’t robbing banks across the Midwest.

“Eddie always told me that John was a pretty good guy. He didn’t think he’d ever killed anybody. He had a lot of guys that worked for him that were trigger happy,” said Johnson. “But he always said John was a very nice guy. He didn’t think he really killed anybody. He was robbing and gave it to a lot of people I guess.”

Dillinger was accused of robbing more than 20 banks, and rumor has it he even attempted to rob the Rockville National Bank in Rockville, IN on July 19, 1933.

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