Tom Slaughter, Bank Robber and Killer

by Michael T. Slaughter


The other day, I was listening to an old record from my collection. It was “The Killing of Tom Slaughter” by Bob Nichols on Columbia 15590-D. The record started out: “Come listen to my story of a brave heart, kind and true. His name was Thomas Slaughter; in the Ozark hills he grew.” He didn’t seem to be a bad guy, based on the song lyrics. Because he had my last name, I wanted to find out more about him.

First, I looked up the recording in my country music encyclopedia and found that the recording was actually by Clayton McMichen and was recorded in Atlanta, GA on April 15, 1930. (Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942, Tony Russell, Oxford University Press, New York, 2004, p. 569.)

Next, I looked for Tom Slaughter online. I found an article about him on a website, “The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.” This article painted a much different picture of Tom Slaughter. He was only 15 years old when he started his life of crime. He started out by stealing a calf, then went on to stealing cars and robbing banks. Tom also murdered two people, one of them being Sheriff Rowe Brown.

Thomas C. “Tom” Slaughter was born December 25, 1896 in Bernice, Union Parish, Louisiana and was killed December 9, 1921 in Saline County, Arkansas. He was the son of Thomas L. “Triplette” Slaughter and Linnie Georgia Dixon. I traced Tom’s Slaughter line back and found that he was not related to me. His grandfather was James C. Slaughter, and his great-grandfather was Joseph Slaughter. Joseph Slaughter was born in Culpeper County, Virginia and is listed on page 15 of my article (on this site), “The Slaughters of Culpeper.”

When I traced Tom Slaughter’s family on his mother’s side, I found a North Carolina connection.





© Copyright 2016 Michael T. Slaughter