John Herbert Dillinger (John Herbert Dillinger)

John Herbert Dillinger

John Dillinger

Career Criminal. John Dillinger was made an outlaw hero during the depths of the Depression by Americans mired in financial ruin, loss of hope and simply frustrated by desperation brought on by the times.  He was hardly a “Robin Hood” figure envisioned by the public.  John was a cold-blooded killer.  In one year, September 1933- July 1934, he and his violent gang terrorized the midwest, killing 10 men, wounding seven, robbing banks and even police arsenals to replenish  arms and ammunition needs.  While staging three jail breaks, a sheriff was killed and two guards seriously wounded.  He was born in Indianapolis, Indiana to a grocer.  He quit school at an early age and obtained a job at a machine shop.  He was soon in trouble after an auto theft.   John enlisted in the Navy but deserted his ship in Boston,  returned home and married a sixteen year old.  Unable to find employment, he robbed a grocer.  Apprehended, he received a harsh sentence.  Upon release, his criminal career fully blossomed culminating in absolute infamy.  He and his gang robbed banks across Ohio and Indiana.   With his captures, then escapes, more robbing and killing followed, all reported gleefully by newspapers.   Then; Dillinger made the mistake that would cost him his life.  He stole a sheriff’s car which was a federal offense actively involving the FBI.  They tracked him and his gang.  Finally after a shoot out, wounded, he fled to Mooresville, Indiana and stayed with his father until his wound healed.  Returned to health, more robberies and shootouts ensued.   Finally, the madam of a brothel in Gary, Indiana came forth giving information with a promise of a reward that would lead FBI agents to the fatal theater in Chicago where the infamous career of John Dillinger was terminated.  He was struck by four shots and taken by ambulance to the nearby Alexian Brothers Hospital where a pronouncement was made.  The embalmed body of Dillinger was transported to Mooresville, Indiana,  his adopted home town,  accompanied by a vertical caravan of automobiles.   A wake was held at the home of his sister in nearby Maywood.  A public viewing of the body was held in the front parlor where friends and hundreds of curious filed past.  On the day of his burial at Crown Hill Cemetery, the entrance was a mass of humanity with near riotous conditions and the crowd assaulted reporters and smashed cameras.  Threats and even a note was left at the covered grave in the family plot vowing vengeance for his death.   His grave became a number one destination of tourist.  Marker after marker were erected, all needed replacement as souvenir hunters chipped away until nothing was left.  A 3 ft slab of reinforced concrete was poured over the grave to discourage robbers.  Memorials to Dillinger still abound: The Allen County Museum, Lima, Ohio, where the Sheriff was killed, has an exhibit with a reconstructed jail cell showing where Dillinger was held and even Sheriff Sarber personal pistol is there.  A gangster theme restaurant called Dillinger’s, thrives in Hudson, Indiana.  Plaques and markers are numerous across Ohio and Indiana marking connections to the outlaw.  In Chicago alone, more than 50 sites have been tied to him including the Barrel o’Fun Tavern, first meeting place of his girlfriend, and two bordellos run by the madam who had betrayed him.  A new word has been coined: Dillinger, a descriptive word indicating a criminal lifestyle. (bio by: Donald Greyfield)  Family links:  Parents:  John Wilson Dillinger (1864 – 1943)  Mary Ellen Lancaster Dillinger (1870 – 1907)  Spouse:  Beryl Ethel Hovious Byrum (1903 – 1993)*  Siblings:  Audrey M Dillinger Hancock (1889 – 1987)*  John Herbert Dillinger (1903 – 1934)  Hubert M. Dillinger (1914 – 1974)**  Doris M Dillinger Hockman (1917 – 2001)**  Frances Dillinger Thompson (1922 – 2015)** *Calculated relationship**Half-siblingCause of death: Shot

More Images

  • Jd grave -


  • June, 22, 1903


  • July, 22, 1934

Cause of Death

  • Gunshot wounds by law enforcement


  • Crown Hill Cemetery
  • Indiana

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