Tag Archives: Bonnie and Clyde

Today in Texas History – May 23

Bonnie & Clyde pistols sell for $504,000 - 2aHawaii

From the Annals of Crime – In 1934, notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed and killed by Texas Rangers in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. The bank robbers were killed by intense gunfire that left their stolen Ford Deluxe riddled with bullet holes.

Parker met Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old while her husband was in jail for murder. Barrow was soon sent to jail for robbery where Parker smuggled a gun that helped him escape.  He was caught and returned to jail, but when paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and their multi-state crime spree began.

From 1932-1934, the couple, aided by various accomplices including Clyde’s brother Buck and simple-minded Henry Methvin, robbed a string of banks and stores in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico and Louisiana. Although romanticized in popular culture and film, the Barrow gang were hardened criminals. It is believed that the gang was responsible for as many as 13 murders including nine police officers.

They were notorious for some close calls.  They were almost captured in 1933 during surprise raids on hideouts in Joplin and Platte City, Missouri. Buck Barrow was killed in the second raid, and his wife Blanche was arrested, but Bonnie and Clyde escaped.  Then in January 1934, they attacked the Eastham Prison Farm to help a gang member break out injuring several guards and killing one. This proved to be a crucial mistake.

Texan prison officials took the matter into hand and retained Captain Frank Hamer, a retired Texas Ranger, to track down Parker and Barrow.  Hamer found B&C in Louisiana, where Henry Methvin’s family lived.  Hamer and a group of Louisiana and Texas lawmen hid in the bushes along a country road outside Sailes, La.  Parker and Barrow would not escape this time.  As soon as they appeared, the officers opened fire, killing the couple instantly in a hail of bullets.

 

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Today in Texas History – May 20

Identification Order of Bonnie and Clyde in 1934

From the Annals of the Bank Robbers –  In 1933, the United States Commissioner in Dallas issued a warrant for the arrest of Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker for interstate transportion a stolen vehicle.  The FBI (then known as the Division of Investigation) became involved in the hunt for the dangerous duo in December 1932 based on the discovery of a Ford automobile which had been stolen in Pawhuska, Oklahoma and abandoned near Jackson, Michigan. The investigation revealed that another stolen vehicle (from Illinois) had been abandoned in Pawhuska near the time of the car theft.  A search of this car turned up a prescription bottle which led special agents to a drug store in Nacogdoches.  Further investigation led to the revelation that the prescription had been filled for Clyde Barrow’s aunt and that she had been recently visited by Barrow, Parker, and Clyde’s brother, L. C. Barrow. It was also discovered that they had been driving the Ford sedan stolen in Illinois.

This was enough evidence to obtain issuance of a federal warrant against Barrow and Parker for interstate transport of a stolen vehicle from Texas to Oklahoma.  For the first time, the FBI became involved in the hunt for the notorious bank robbers and folk legends.

Although glamourized in the ridiculously inaccurate 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, the duo were ruthless criminals who were implicated in at least 13 murders, numerous bank robberies, thefts and in staging a prison escape from the Eastham Prison Farm to free their former gunman Raymond Hamilton in which two guards were shot.

The two would continue their crime spree for another year after issuance of the federal warrant.  On May 23, 1934, acting on information that Barrow and Parker were in the area of Ruston, Louisiana, a posse composed of police officers from Louisiana and Texas, including Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, staged an ambush near Sailes, Louisiana. Barrow and Parker appeared in another stolen car.  The officers opened fire and the saga of Bonnie and Clyde came to a gory end in a hail of bullets.