The Great Glensboro Bank Robbery of 1906

Glensboro in 1904

Glensboro in 1904

The early 1900’s were a different time for Anderson County.  As the main city and county seat, Lawrenceburg was growing rapidly with businesses constantly filling the store fronts up and down Main Street.  But Lawrenceburg wasn’t the only active place in the county.  Small villages around the county were becoming large enough to attract banks, post offices, stores, and more.

Glensboro was one of these active but unincorporated towns out west on KY44 and right on the banks of the Salt River.  Back around 1900, Glensboro was a bustling village with a couple of churches, a school, and even a bank.  This bank, however, would play a central part in a story that seems to come right from an old Western movie.

William Townsend grew up in Glensboro in the early 1900’s.  Son of a country doctor, he would see and hear many stories from people all over the area as he traveled with his father, visiting the sick.  William would eventually become a well known lawyer and author, writing about various topics including Abraham Lincoln and history of his home town.

Townsend Family Around 1900

Townsend Family Around 1900

In one of his writings, William recalled a wild story in the little village of Glensboro.  The village was renown for its low crime rate.  Few locked their doors, even the local blacksmith.  Nothing was ever stolen and no one thought anything would happen.

Well, a string of bank robberies would plague other neighboring villages including Mt Eden and Van Buren.  Then in Glensboro, a pair of men tried to steal a stallion that recently won a blue ribbon from the Lawrenceburg Fair.  This made the residents nervous and anything out of place was quickly investigated.

This so happened one night at the Farmer’s Bank in Glensboro.  According to William, he was woken up one evening to his father, who was also the president of the bank, gathering a true wild west posse of local men armed with numerous weapons.  Catching up on what sparked the reaction, William heard from Delbert Catlett, who was the son of the blacksmith, that he saw the rear door of the bank wide open after hearing a noise coming from inside.

Knowing what happened already locally and in the other villages, Delbert alerted everyone.  Quickly, the posse grew, ready to take on the robbers.  Slamming through the front door, the armed group, while still in the dark, moved around the bank.

Something caught their eye.  It looked like the robbers were crawling on the floor.  Right before the group opened fire, bank cashier, WL Franklin, realized that these were no men at all.  Quickly shouting to the group to hold their fire, two dogs came into view.  They were actually Franklin’s brown and white setters that somehow got loose from where Franklin left them in another part of the bank.

Continuing to investigate, the group would find the rear door was never locked properly and had blown open from the wind.  The robbery that never was would go down as the “Great Bank Robbery of Glensboro,” featuring everything but a robber.

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