There’s nothing like an eerie story of crime and the desperados of the old South to get your mind juices flowing. We’ve found some famous criminals that made their way through the hills and valleys of Tennessee, leaving a mark on the state that will never quite heal.
5) Cullen Baker
One of the most famous desperados of the south, Baker was known for his hot temper and affinity for gunfighting. He was born in Weakley County and ran his way around the west, allegedly killing many newly freed slaves and inciting saloon anger until his highly mysterious death. The cause? Murder.
4) Ed O. Kelley
Ed O. Kelley is an outlier on our list - history places him in Missouri, but there are a few strongholds that state he was from Tennessee. And what did he do, you may ask? A follower of Jesse James, he killed the man who left James for dead. Talk about friendly fire.
3) Robert Clay Allison
Born in Texas and raised in Tennessee, this Waynesboro youth had intense mood swings that led to violence. He is remembered as one of the greatest gun fighters in the Old West. Some say he even had a confrontation with the famous Wyatt Earp.
2) Machine Gun Kelly
Born in Memphis (although Chicago has tried to claim the title), Kelly was a nomad who made his way through the American south with his equally notorious wife, Kathryn, by his side. He robbed banks and made a living as a bootlegger before a kidnapping case sent him to jail for good. He spent twenty years in the slammer - at the infamous Alcatraz Prison for a period - before his death in 1954.
1) Harpe Brothers
Considered the first serial killers in America, these brothers began their life shrouded in mystery but were increasingly active in Tennessee during the early 1800's. Their claim to fame? Gutting their kills and stuffing the bodies with rocks before tossing them in nearby rivers. Apparently, "Big" Harpe even bashed his own infant daughter's head in when he grew angry with her baby cries. The men's deaths are as hazy as their births, merely fading into history.
Sound off, folks. What do you think of these crime ridden individuals? Have any dirt on them? Let us know in the comments below!