Laurel’s Billy the Kid
By Kevin Leonard
I came across a Baltimore Sun article from 1911 that was an extraordinarily detailed account of a failed bank robbery in Laurel. Just writing about someone trying to rob the Citizen’s National Bank on Main Street in 1911 would have been fun, but the details in the Sun made it an irresistible story to me. The story contained many Laurel characters of the day (some of whom I’d heard of), as well as an interesting twist as to who the bank robber actually was.
My son, Jeff, served as my research assistant and photographer for this one. We interviewed Bernie Robinson, the current manager of the bank (now PNC Bank), who gave us an extended tour of the bank, especially the original structure from 1890 that is completely absorbed into today’s bank. We also talked to Jim McCeney, Ken Skrivseth, and Karen Lubieniecki, downtown residents who provided valuable information on the neighborhood where the robber fled. When Ken showed us the alley that runs between Main and Prince George Streets, the Kid’s path while running for his life became obvious.
This article is a follow-up to a 2013 "History Matters" column Kevin wrote for the Laurel Leader. You can read that original column by clicking on the image above. BALTIMORE SUN
A nice epilogue to the story was written by Prince George’s County Circuit Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr., a Laurel native, who followed the story with great interest. Nichols did some research to find out what happened to the Kid. Here’s his contribution: