David Alexander Harding
Broy William Harding
Dave (1882-1963) and Broy (1904-1968) Harding--- Bank Robbers
David and Broy are our second cousins one time removed. Even though Harding is similar to Hardin, I can find no family connection.
Both Dave and Broy Harding were arrested for the Modale Bank Robbery, but only Broy Escaped. In 1946 Broy fled to Montana, (from a Chain gang) changed his name and become "an upstanding citizen". Years later he was found in Montana by the FBI but when they tried to extradite him, his friends and neighbors signed a petition, so he was pardoned by the Governor. As long as he stayed in MT..., but in 1956 he went to Washington state looking for work and was reportedly found prowling behind a dairy with what looked like burglary tools. He was then sent back to Iowa to serve out his time. . David was released to his sons’ custody when he was in his 70's. I do not know what happened after that. It’s quite a story. When they were initially caught the Harding brothers were beaten severely.
Harding’s Great Grand Daughter
Taken from Ancestry.com
Excerpts From http://www.itsjudy.com/harrison/modale/bnkrob.htm
Figures and Scenes in Modale, Harrison, Iowa Bank Robbery
December 16, 1926
Pages designed and maintained by Judy Wallis White
These pages are from my personal collection of newspaper stories of Modale, Iowa
Credit for the capture of the brothers was due largely to Mrs. Louise Hitchings, at whose restaurant in Missouri Valley, Iowa they stopped Tuesday night while Dave Harding telephoned an Omaha number, and purchased some red pepper. Mrs. Hitchings remembered the address he mentioned 1710 Cass Street. Wednesday afternoon she recalled the incident, and the Omaha police were notified.
Credit was also due to Detective Buford's alertness, Inspector Danbaum said today. While other detectives were searching in the neighborhood of 1710 Cass Street, Buford, who was at the wheel of their car, saw two men alight form a Yellow taxicab and go into 1713 California Street. He heard Dave Harding tell the driver, "Keep the change--there's plenty more where that came from." Notifying the other officers, Buford stood guard at the back door while the others entered the front.
When taken before Inspector Danbaum this morning Dave Harding was silent for a time, then said, "I have decided I might as well tell all about it, my brother is right--he and I staged the robbery." My wife was sick, perhaps dying and I needed money for her and the children. When Broy proposed robbery, I listened. We both knew the lay of the land around Modale, and had been in the bank."
The planning took three or four days, Dave said. Tuesday night the brothers stole a Ford automobile. They drove first to Missouri Valley, stopping at the restaurant to telephone and get some red pepper "to destroy the scent if bloodhounds were used." That night they stopped in an abandoned, tumbledown farm shack, and Wednesday morning drove to Modale.
"Broy went into the bank first, and I followed, " said Dave. "One man wouldn't hold up his hands and Broy shot him. I took a shot at another man who started running. "I don't know how many shots were fired. I went outside and did some more shooting, and men in the town were shooting. Broy came out with money, which I tossed into the car. Then I drove directly to the river. We passed the shack where we slept the night before, but didn't stop.
"At the river Broy shot a hole in the gasoline tank, and set fire to the car. We thought to delay police, who would have difficulty in getting the numbers and tracing the car. Then we crossed the river on the ice, landing about three miles south of Blair. On the highway we hailed an automobile carrying a man, woman and child, they were given a ride to Twentieth street in Omaha, about the center of town. Then we went to the home a brother-in-law at 2405 St. Mary's avenue. In the afternoon we called a taxicab and went to 1713 California street, where we were arrested."
Immediately after being brought to the police station, the younger Harding broke down and tears appeared in his eyes. "I want to tell about the whole dammed thing," he said. "I"m sick and tired of the rotten business.” Then assuming a worried, yet defiant attitude, Broy began his story, "Dave and I had no job and were broke, " he said. "Dave has four kids, and I got one. It was either get money or starve. I thought of robbery. I lived in the Modale neighborhood, and knew of the savings bank there. "It was my plan. Dave at first didn't want to go in on it, and later said he would. so we went and looked the place over to make complete plans." "We came into Omaha last night and stole a car at Sixteenth and Nicholas streets. Then we drove to Missouri Valley, Iowa where we tried to by some shells. We couldn't get any there. "Then we ate lunch. We put in a long distance telephone call to Omaha but couldn't get my party, so we drove to the house near the Blair railroad bridge on the Iowa side and stayed there all night."