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James "Fur" Sammons

Known throughout gangland circles as a psychopath, he started his criminal career as a gang rapist in 1899.He was one of five youths who took an eleven year old girl beat her, raped her and tried to choke her on Dec.3,1899.
He was sentenced to the Pontiac reformatory. He was 16 at the time. Sentenced February 27,1900. Four years later he with two others shoot and kill Patrick Barrett, a saloonkeeper at 4216 Wallace street during a robbery. Sammons and John Lynch both shot at the same time. Sentenced May 28,1904. During the trial Sammons and his cohorts complain they are severely beaten by police during interrogation. (Kicked in the ribs and hung by a rope with their toes barely touching the floor). Said police methods made New York police interrogation seem like childs play. Jun 7,1904, Sammons and the other two who killed the saloon keeper were supposed to have hanged on this day for their crimes. Sammons and Lynch were sent to prison for life instead of hanging and the third was released. The governor reprieved their sentence on the 6th. June 10,1917, he escapes from Joliet penitentiary.
Oct.1917, James "Fur" Sammons is held under double guard and accused with a string of robberies. Sammons is arrested with Horace"Hi Hi" Simmons and James "Ice box" Thompson (used to lock saloonkeepers in their refrigerators) and John Heally. He and John Lynch had escaped from Joliet. Both were under life sentences at the time. Captured and returned to prison on October 4th of same year. His sentence is changed to 50 years.

On July 28,1923, he is paroled thanks to Governor Small and his famous pardons. June 28,1924 is paroled. On January 28,1924, he is discharged from parole. On March 5,1926, Sammons considered leader of gang that held up the International Harvester company payroll. April 9,1926 arrested and puts up $30,000 bond.June 19,1926, despite positve identification by witnesses, Sammons is acquitted of Harvester payroll robbery. November 13,1926, arrested by request of Baltimore authorities for a payroll robbery there. The extradition is refused. December 20,1926, Sammons who was previously tried and acquitted of the $80,000 International Harvester robbery is now arrested carrying a revolver after an automobile chase in Lyons. He is released on bonds. Arrested for siphoning whiskey from a government bonded warehouse on March 4,1927. On April 12,1927, pleads guilty to Morand whiskey warehouse robbery and is sentenced to 18 months in Leavenworth.
October 16,1928, released from Leavenworth. October 18,1930, convicted of vagrancy by Judge Lyle. Conviction later reversed by Illinois supreme court.

July 14,1930, Sammons is arrested as John Doe after a traffic accident and waving a pistol in the other party's face threatening to blow it off.
He uses the alias John Nolan and says he is an electrician.
October 31,1930, Sammons is captured three hours after be released on bonds. This time in connection with the shooting and wounding of Sergt.James McBride of the Bellwood police. Sammons is found in Jack White's home at 80 North Highland avenue in Riverside. He is with his girlfriend Pearl Barry and White's wife. He has a revolver and a bulletproof vest and a police star.
November 26,1930, Sammons 1923 parole is deemed illegal and is sent back to Joliet prison to serve another 30 years that was remaining to his sentence.
July 21,1932, is arrested in connection with murder of Willie Marks at Shawano, Wisconsin.
July 1932, Sammons is ordered released by Judge Edward D.Shurtleff.

July 7, 1933, Sammons arrested with gun in Kansas city and is returned to Chicago in an armoured vehicle to face to reinstated charges of  assault with intent to commit murder.

July 18,1933, Sammons is released on $20,000 bonds

September  8,1933, fails to appear for trial. Bond forfeiture ordered.

November 6,1933, he is arrested while intoxicated at Cedar Lake in Indiana and place in Crown Point jail.

November 31,1933, Sammons is found guilty in an Indiana court of bribing an official and being a habitual criminal and sentenced for life.

May 8,1943, Sammons is paroled from Indiana on condition he be returned to Illinois to finish his 50 years in which 31years remained.

September 3,1948, aged 66 and nearly blind Sammons ask for release from prison.

November 17,1948, Sammons weeps in court as his release is refused.

December 17,1952, Sammons is released by the Illinois parole board.He is 70.

May 20, 1960, Fur Sammons is found dead by a maid in a room of the Englewood Arms hotel 824 W. 62nd st.

Photo courtesy of Larry Raeder

First Posted April 2006