Did They Know Their Neighbors?

While researching the US Census records on Ancestry.com, I came across a famous name on the same page as one of my ancestors. The 1930 US Census record for Brown Twp of Morgan County Indiana has the George Konig family listed just before the John Dillinger family. Was this family related to THE John Dillinger? The thought was intriguing.


First, who was George Konig? His wife, “Zella,” on the census, was O’Zella Mae McKinley. She was the daughter of Jeremiah (1852-1934) and Polly (1859-1941) McKinley. She married 3 times, first to John Russel McCracken in 1917, next to Byron M. Weller in 1924, and finally to George Konig in 1927.

John W. Dillinger was the father of the notorious gangster, John Dillinger (1903-1934). General information about the Dillinger family from internet sources indicates that they moved from Indianapolis, IN to the Mooresville, IN area around 1920. John robbed a grocery store in Mooresville and went to prison. After he was released in 1933, at the height of the Depression, he continued his life of crime. He started robbing banks. He reportedly returned to Mooresville to visit his family through his final year. On July 22, 1934 he was killed by FBI agents after leaving the Biograph Theater in Chicago, IL. His body was returned to Mooresville before burial in Crown Hill Cemetery of Indianapolis.

So the question is, did George and O’Zella know about the son of their neighbor? Did they ever encounter him? How close was their residence to the Dillinger residence? It is not known exactly what the census enumerator’s route was—and I haven’t looked at a plat map for that timeframe to know if the homes were “next door” (or as close to that as farms would be) or across the road from each other.

Looking at the 1940 US Census, George and O’Zella have moved to Jacksonburg, Wayne Co, IN. The Census indicates that on April 1, 1935, they lived in Richmond, Wayne Co, IN. So, when did they leave the Mooresville area? Were they even there in 1934 when all of the excitement about John Dillinger’s last days was happening? Right now I don’t have an answer to those questions. But it is interesting to speculate that they at least knew about their famous neighbor.

© MJM 2017

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