STORY CORNER: Bonnie & Clyde
For two years, outlaw couple Bonnie and Clyde robbed mom and pop stores, gas stations and banks, using a stolen car, creating a small criminal gang and enlisting help from Clyde’s mother. Then the Texas Rangers got on their trail and 102 days later the couple were shot dead on a Louisiana country road – their bodies and car riddled with bullets.
Bonnie and Clyde had become legends in their time.
This is their story.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were both born into hardscrabble families in Texas and wanted something better in life.
Bonnie had a gift for poetry and wanted to be a poet and an actress.
Clyde learns to play guitar and saxophone on his own and hopes to become a musician.
Neither of them saw their dreams come true.
After their meeting, they chose a yellow brick road to crime that unwittingly led to a violent death.
None of them looked like gangsters. Bonnie was only 4 feet 11 inches tall and Clyde 5 feet 3 inches tall.
The relationship began when the two met at a party, but soon after Clyde was arrested and convicted of burglary and car theft and sentenced to two years on Eastham Prison Farm , in eastern Texas.
She was already married to Roy Thornton from her high school, but he was in jail for murder and she never saw him again. They never divorced and she had Bonnie and Roy’s hearts tattooed on her thigh and wore her wedding ring for the rest of her short life.
In Eastham, Clyde was repeatedly abused and raped by another inmate until he escaped using a gun that was smuggled to him by Bonnie during a visit , freeing five other people with him.
They were soon captured and returned. Clyde then killed his rapist, crushing his skull with a pipe, with the blame being voluntarily taken by a lifer. Then he cut off two of her toes to avoid forced labor, not knowing that her mother had arranged for her parole six days later.
Then reunited with Bonnie, they began their two-year criminal madness across the heart of the United States, from Iowa to Louisiana.
The Great Depression was in full swing and the media was looking for stories that would distract everyone from their issues.
Bonnie and Clyde do the trick.
Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born in Rowena, Texas, in 1910 to a poor family. She excelled in school, especially in poetry.
Clyde Champion Barrow was born in 1909 to a poor farming family in Ellis County, Texas, southeast of Dallas, the fifth of seven children.
They preferred to rob small businesses and low-risk gas stations, but they also robbed a few banks – taking a bank in Lawrence, Kan., For $ 33,000.
Besides Bonnie and Clyde, there were eight others in their gang.
Everyone has their own story.
As their criminal exploits became more and more publicized, some saw Clyde as something of Robin Hood. He wasn’t. They never made a lot of money like other depression era gangsters like Al Capone, John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Ma Barker, Lucky Luciano and others, but they had charisma and attracted the public interest.
The money they stole went mainly to the family, their gang and to cover expenses. It was never about stealing from the rich and giving from the poor.
When lawmen trying to catch them found an undeveloped film roll inadvertently left in one of their abandoned hiding places, the footage quickly found its way into newspapers and magazines and the Bonnie and Clyde legend s’ is rapidly developed.
For two years, the couple committed their criminal activities and embarrassed law enforcement officers who could not catch them. But their theft usually only amounted to change – some thefts were as low as five or 10 dollars.
But it was the murders that turned the public against them and demanded that they be stopped. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies couldn’t catch them, so Texas Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson eventually turned to a former Texas Ranger for help.
It was Frank Hamer, who accepted the assignment, after others refused. He had retired after 27 years of service. There weren’t many capable lawyers left for the governor to ask for, because after his re-election in 1932, at least 40 Texas Rangers resigned, refusing to serve because they believed his previous administration was corrupt and lax with the government. crime.
Immediately after her re-election, she fired the remaining rangers and replaced them with buddies.
Hamer brought in another former ranger, Manny Gault, and they formed a group of six lawyers from Texas and Louisiana to arrest Bonnie and Clyde and their gang.
Hamer carefully studied all the information he could find on Bonnie and Clyde and then made his decision.
He met the father of Henry Methvin, a member of the Barrow Gang, and convinced him to cooperate to catch Bonnie and Clyde and avoid possible prosecution for complicity.
The father knew when the elusive couple came to Gibsland in northwest Louisiana for a party, driving down a rural route that is now Route 154.
Then Hamer’s gang set up a fake tire change by Methvin’s father on the side of the road, then armed to the teeth, they hid in the bushes and waited.
At 9:15 a.m. on May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde in their stolen 1934 Ford sedan appeared and stopped to offer help. The police in the group shouted at them to surrender. They didn’t and started to walk away but were quickly killed by a barrage of bullets.
In less than 20 seconds, it was all over – ending their crime spree of dozens of break-ins, robberies and 13 murders – which included nine cops.
The car was riddled with 167 bullets. Reports vary on who actually killed the couple – any of the many gunshot wounds would have been fatal.
Bonnie has been hit 26 times and Clyde 17 times, but others say each of them has been hit more than 50 times.
Neither has reached the age of 25.
There are reports that Band Leader Hamer was armed with a Remington Model 8 semi-automatic rifle fitted with a special 15-round magazine, killing Clyde with a bullet to the head. Then the other lawyers kept firing until they ran out of ammunition.
Other reports say Louisiana officer Prentiss Morel Oakley fired the first shot – possibly before he was supposed to.
A statement from two of the lawyers said:
“Each of us six officers had a shotgun, an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car caught up with us. Then we used shotguns.
“There was smoke coming out of the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After firing the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car that had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards down the road. He almost fell over.
“We continued to shoot the car even after it stopped. We weren’t taking any chances.
The Ford car was towed 8 miles to Arcadia, where the parish coroner was operating from the Conger furniture store and funeral home. A ghoulish mob of Relic Hunters quickly swarmed the car, with everyone fighting for a piece of the ghoulish scene.
One man tore off a piece of Bonnie’s bloody robe, another attempted to cut off Clyde’s ear and another his trigger finger. Their hair was another target memory. The police struggled to hold back the crowd.
Many reports describe Bonnie as a cold-blooded killer, but Jeff Guinn in his successful biography “Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde” says there is no evidence that she has. killed someone.
Clyde and part of his gang did all the murders.
It’s a sad story – a story that unfolded as the entire nation suffered from the sadness and hardships of the Great Depression. Both had charisma and both had natural talents that had never had the chance to find the right path to success and happiness.
Their rough start in life never got better.
Bonnie wrote a prophetic poem called “The Trail’s End” which she gave to her mother. The last verse said:
“One day they will fall together;
And they’ll bury them side by side,
For some it will be sorrow –
To the law a relief –
But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.
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Contact Syd Albright at [email protected]
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Death site targeted by vandals …
A historical marker on Route 154 in Louisiana identifies the spot where Bonnie and Clyde were shot dead in a shootout by lawyers. Located 7 miles from Gibsland, the marker reads: “At this site, on May 23, 1934, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were killed by law enforcement officers.” The marker is riddled with bullet holes.
Bonnie and Clyde’s arsenal …
When lawyers opened Bonnie and Clyde’s stolen Ford sedan after being shot and killed, they found rifles, handguns, sawed-off shotguns and 1,800 rounds. Clyde’s saxophone was also in the car.
Bonnie and Clyde and the undertaker …
A year before they were killed, Bonnie and Clyde and their gang kidnapped Dillard Darby, assistant to undertaker CB Bailey, when they stole his car and he tried to get it back. Bonnie asked him to take care of their gang if ever services were needed. He accepted. Then she gave him $ 5 and they released him. After the fatal shooting, Bailey and Darby were assigned to prepare Bonnie and Clyde’s bodies for the funeral – Bonnie’s request was granted.
The legacy …
Although Bonnie and Clyde were criminals, they are also folk heroes … memorablely performed by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in the classic 1967 film and 2013 miniseries, and in songs by Taylor Swift, Quavo , Gucci Mane and Ariana Grande. They inspired a viral rap battle and became the ‘platonic ride or die’ couple – alluring anti-establishment heroes who built their own oversized characters long before Instagram and stuck them to the banks long before they occupied Wall. Street.
– Time magazine
The Texas Rangers …
Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Manny Gault who led the group that killed Bonnie and Clyde were actually former Texas Rangers called up on the special mission to catch the criminal couple. When Texas Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson was re-elected in 1932, they resigned because they believed her first government was corrupt and lenient towards crime. Ferguson started his second term firing all of the Texas Rangers and replacing them with Buddies.