Life and career
DePugh was born in Independence, Missouri, where his father served as deputy sheriff. He enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, but he was dismissed for nervousness and depression. He attended Kansas State University for a few months before dropping out. DePugh went on to found a veterinary drug firm in 1953 that folded in 1956. He enrolled at Washburn University briefly, then started BioLab, another veterinary drug firm, in Norborne, Missouri, which was more successful. In addition to veterinary products, the company produces a malt-flavored ultra-compact storage food for humans called Minuteman Survival Tabs. Some 45 years later, this product is still popular in survivalist circles. He became a member of the John Birch Society and according to a biography he was influenced by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
In 1966, DePugh was arrested on federal weapons charges, which were later dismissed. Their offices were bombed in 1967, and DePugh resigned from the Minutemen in 1967. In February 1968, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle, Washington for conspiracy to commit bank robbery. Also in 1968, he was arrested for violation of federal firearms laws. He skipped bail and went underground for over a year until he was caught in 1969 in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. He was convicted in 1970 and released from prison in May 1973. DePugh later wrote an anti-communist quasi-survivalist manual, Can You Survive?, and was associated briefly with Liberty Lobby.
In the 1980s DePugh became involved in the Identity Christianity movement. In the early 1990s he was tried but acquitted on a morals and pornography charge with an underage girl and on three counts of federal firearms violations. DePugh eventually grew disgusted with all politics and retired from activism.
He died on 30 June 2009 at his home in Richmond, Missouri.
- Blueprint for Victory, Robert DePugh. 1966.
- Can You Survive? Robert DePugh. Published by Desert Publications, El Dorado, AZ, 1973. 214 pages. ISBN 0-87947-442-4
- Traitors Beware: A History Of Robert Depugh's Minutemen, by Eric Beckemeier. 2008. ISBN 0-615-17283-0.
- Carrollton, Missouri Democrat, 3 July 2009
- Hamilton, Neil A. (1996). Militias in America: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO, ISBN 978-0-87436-859-8
- http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/orgs/american/adl/paranoia-as-patriotism/minutemen.html "Robert DePugh and The Minutemen"
- Marks, Kathy; Adolfo Caso (1996). Faces of Right Wing Extremism Branden Books, ISBN 978-0-8283-2016-0
- Barth, Alan (November 26, 1961). Report on the 'Rampageous Right'; Today's tensions have led to a proliferation of 'conservative extremists.' New York Times
- Hamilton, Neil A. (2002). Rebels and Renegades: A Chronology of Social and Political Dissent in the United States. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-0-415-93639-2
- Associated Press (September 14, 1966). Arms Charge Is Dismissed Against Head of Minutemen. New York Times
- Staff report (September 1, 1967). Dynamite Wrecks Office Of Leader of Minutemen and DePugh. New York Times
- "Robert DePugh and The Minutemen" at the Nizkor Project
- Greaney, TJ (August 6, 2009). Minuteman outlasted notoriety, died with regrets'. Columbia Daily Tribune
- Jackman, Tom (February 21, 1992). DePugh convicted on gun charges: Jury not swayed by testimony of son that the weapons were his. Kansas City Star
- Staff report (June 2009). Area obituaries: "Bob" DePugh. Excelsior Springs Standard