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In the nineteen twenties and thirties, numerous angered people became outlaws due to the Great Depression Era. One of the most famous tales is the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Their journeys left them to be well known by many people.

Bonnie Parker was born on the date of October first, nineteen hundred ten in the city of Rowena Texas. She was the second of three children. Bonnie’s father was a bricklayer in Texas, but in the summer of nineteen fourteen, he passed away. This forced the four-year-old girl and her remaining family to move down to Cement City, Texas. While there, they resided with the maternal grandmother.

By the time Miss Parker was fourteen years old, she stood four feet, ten inches tall, and weighed about eighty five pounds. She was an excellent student at Cement City High School and often participated in school functions. The intelligent girl took the spelling bee trophy of that year home. At the age of sixteen, Bonnie seemed to be on a respectable track of life. Although she attended church every Sunday with her mother and grandmother, there was a part of this girl that was very outgoing. A roughneck, bad boy, rebel who also attended Cement High, appeared in Bonnie’s life. His name was Roy Thorton. By the end of that school year, the two quit school and got married. After only one year of marriage, Roy was arrested for thievery and given a multiple year sentence in jail.

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Now lonely, and without a husband to support her, Bonnie was forced to return to her mother’s house in East Dallas and get a job. She landed a job at a local establishment by the name of “Marco’s Caf�” as a waitress. The majority of customers were men and they usually made rude comments to the teenager. Many men would make fun of her tattoo that was located on her inner thigh. It consisted of two intertwined hearts with the names Bonnie and Roy written within the drawing.

One man who was a regular patron at Marco’s Caf� was Officer Ted Hinton. The kind officer once wrote, “Bonnie was a very pretty young woman with taffy-colored hair that glistened red in the sun and with a complexion that was fair and tended to freckle.” There was one thing both Bonnie and Ted were not aware of; they would be meeting again in a few short years.

Clyde Chestnut Barrow was born on the date of March twenty first, nineteen hundred and nine in Teleco, Texas. His father was a sharecropper, which is better known as a cotton picker. Being that he was a young rebel, he did not attend school past the fifth grade. Slightly before the Great Depression, the Barrow family moved to West Dallas, Texas to open a service station. Clyde had many brothers and sisters. They were all forced to sleep at the station that they owned. It was not much to look at, but the children figured that it had four walls and a roof, so it was good enough.

One of the older boys of the family was Ivan “Buck” Barrow. Young Clyde always admired his brother Buck and tried to partake in all of his actions. The first incident of getting caught with his big brother was being arrested for selling stolen turkeys. He was then arrested three more times for miscellaneous crimes, but was released shortly after. In 18, Clyde moved out of the house and his crime life became dormant. Unfortunately, on October sixteenth, nineteen twenty-nine, he was arrested again by the Chief of Police, Hollice Barron. He was caught with two men, William Tuner and Frank Hardy, but ended up being let go by the chief. Clyde told the officer that he was not aware of the men’s reputation.

Mr. Barrow would not be that lucky for much longer. Throughout the rest of his life, he would not know what true freedom felt like again.

In the year of nineteen thirty, while Clyde was running from the police, he heard that his good friend’s sister was hurt. She fell on ice and broke her arm, so he decided that he would pay her a visit to make her feel better. When he arrived to her house, he went straight to the back room where the girl was lying in bed to give his love. There were several other people at her house, but Clyde did not notice who any of them were. While talking, he heard a noise in the kitchen and asked his friend who was in there. She told him it was her friend named Bonnie Parker. She was making some hot chocolate. At the friend’s request, Clyde proceeded to the kitchen to introduce himself. From the moment the two met, they were described by friends as, “inseparable.”

Bonnie spent the majority of her time with her new found love. She soon became aware of Clyde’s past when police arrested him for stolen merchandise. He was then extradited to Denton, Texas to stand trial and serve jail time. After serving some time at the Denton prison, he was taken to the jail in Waco, Texas. While there, he noticed that his cellmate was a friend, William Turner. The two men also made friends with a man named Emory Abernathy.

Although in jail, Clyde would frequently be visited by Bonnie. She also indulged herself in writing her boyfriend. During a visit, Clyde informed Bonnie that he and two others were planning to escape and needed her assistance. Of course she agreed to help them. Inside of the Barrow’s station, there was a gun that was readily available for Bonnie to steal for the escape. Clyde drew a map for her to retrieve the weapon, and she was on her way. Her cousin drove her to the station and they grabbed the gun.

The next day, Bonnie arrived at the jail with the gun in her purse and slipped it to Clyde while the guards were not looking. Soon after getting the weapon, the three men escaped and retired to Ohio. While there, they found it would be best to change license plates frequently, but someone noticed an out of state plate on the strange men’s car, and notified police. Sure enough, they were recaptured and brought back to Texas. This time in jail was not going to be so easy to handle.

Eastham was the name of the institution in which they were brought to. Many prisoners referred to this prison as a “hellhole.” Homosexuality was very common here and it terrified Clyde. Numerous former inmates said that Eastham made you not want to commit any more crimes for as long as you live. The cell guards often drew straws to decide who would get the pleasure of beating a prisoner like Clyde Barrow.

Cummie Barrow, Clyde’s mother, was a friend with one of the judges at the jail. She took a trip to the jail to beg and plead with him to set her son free. She stated that her family business needed more help and with Clyde in prison, she was double working herself. The judge felt sympathy for the poor mother, so he agreed to set Clyde’s parole in two years. Clyde was unaware of his mother’s actions. He did not like being forced to work in the cotton fields, so he had an inmate chop off two of his toes. Finally he found out about his parole and was released from the terrible Eastham. He walked out with crutches.

Here Clyde made a halfhearted attempt at work in Massachusetts. That lasted all of two weeks. He returned to Bonnie and off they went in a stolen car.

The laws caught up with them, Clyde escaped and Bonnie ended up in the Kaufman, Texas jail for a couple of months. It was at this time that Bonnie wrote the poem The Story of Suicide Sal.

Meanwhile, Clyde kept busy. He robbed the Sims Oil Company in Dallas and escaped. The turning point came on April thirteenth when the robbery of a jewelry store owned by John Bucher ended up with Buchers death. Although Clyde claimed he was in the car at the time of the shooting, he and Raymond Hamilton, a childhood friend, were then known as the killers of John Bucher. A series of gas station robberies followed and Clyde was identified as one of the perpetrators.

Bonnie was released from jail in June and joined Clyde. On August fifth, while he was in Atoka, Oklahoma with Hamilton, they killed two policemen, C.G. Maxwell and Eugene Moore, who went to investigate them while they were drinking inside the car. Several other thefts took place after this and also a couple of robberies in which culminated in murder. Hamilton was apprehended during this time in Michigan, sent back to Dallas and given a mere two hundred sixty-three years.

The morning in Rustin, Louisiana, Bonnie and Clyde stole a car belonging to a Mr. Darby from a boarding house. He saw them. He asked Miss Sofia Stone if he could borrow her car to give chase. They did, but then realized they could not keep up and turned their machine around. When they looked in the rear view mirror, they saw that their own stolen car was pursuing them. They were taken in Mr. Darbys own car as captives. As Miss Stone tells it, Bonnie kept a gun in her side all the time and she was told that if they were not so likable they would have been killed. Bonnie laughed when she asked Mr. Darby his profession and found out it was an undertaker. She said maybe someday he would be working on her. As it turned out, Bonnie could not have been closer to the truth. They were let go. But Mr. Darby would see Bonnie one more time.

W.D. Jones, a petty thief, was Bonnie and Clydes newest member on their road to nowhere. Malcom Davis was the next police officer to lose the draw to Clydes deadly aim.

In March of nineteen thirty three, Buck Barrow was released from the Texas Penitentiary after serving a short term for burglary and, with his second wife Blanch, joined his brother, Bonnie and W.D. Jones in Joplin, Missouri. The five set up house in a garage apartment and stayed there until April when the police, thinking they had found a gang of illegal gin brewers, closed in. In the ensuing gun battle, Clyde was shot, as was Jones, and two more officers bit the dust.

In the apartment, officers found Bucks pardon and a guitar. A newspaperman found some undeveloped film. When developed, one of the shots was Bonnie holding a shotgun on Clyde and the most famous Bonnie smoking a cigar. In actuality, she had borrowed the cigar from Jones. Bonnie smoked Lucky Strikes. But the myth was created. She was now known as the cigar-smoking moll of the Barrow gang. It was a moniker that Bonnie hated.

By now, it was all downhill. Near Wellington, Texas, their stolen Ford plunged off a bridge under construction and Bonnie was pinned underneath. The machine caught fire. Rescued by some farmers, who saw the arsenal of weapons in the car, one ran off to call police. A nervous W.D. Jones shot one of the women neighbors who came to help. He blew her hand off. When two policemen came to investigate, the Barrow gang overpowered them. Along with Bonnie, they were loaded into the car and later released. Bonnies leg would never be the same.

Their next place of residence was the Red Crown Tourist Camp in Platte City, Missouri. They rented a double cabin with a garage in between. The police paid them another visit. In this gun battle, Buck was hit in the forehead and Blanche was hit in the eyes with flying glass. The gang put a set of sunglasses on her face. Once again, they escaped but were found three days later in a park in Dexter, Iowa on a tip from a waiter who informed police that a man had for the past few days ordered five meals and taken them into the woods. Clyde, in his haste to escape, ran his car into a stump and the police proceeded to riddle it with bullets. Buck was hit several more times. He was hit in the hip and shoulder.

Clyde and Jones took Bonnie and escaped through a stream and proceeded through a cornfield to a farm. Holding the farmer and his son at bay, they took his car. Buck was captured and died from his wounds a few days later in a Perry, Iowa hospital. Blanche, probably the most innocent of all was sent to the Missouri State Penitentiary.

The next few months were probably the worst ever for the two. W.D. Jones left them but was later captured in Texas. He claimed that towards the end, he was kept captive by a pair of desperadoes for fear of squealing on them. He was scared to death after his capture. Rightly so, he was only 17 years old.

Bonnies leg became deformed for lack of good medical attention. In November, while trying to visit their parents, Sheriff Smoot got wind of it, set up an ambush and with other law officers, and blasted the car. Bonnie and Clyde, both hit in the legs, once again escaped. Clyde had more lives than a cat.

In January, Clyde and Bonnie sprang Raymond Hamilton from the Eastham Prison Farm in Huntsville, Texas. Along with Hamilton was one Henry Methvin. Another police officer, Major Crowson, would not see the days end. Between January and March, several banks were robbed and were attributed to the Barrow gang. In March, Hamilton split from the gang for reasons that are uncertain. Hamilton would be later captured and sent to the electric chair in nineteen thirty-five for the murder of the guard at Huntsville.

On Easter Sunday, nineteen thirty-four, on a side road off Highway 114 in Grapevine, Texas, Clyde and Methvin killed two police officers who thought they needed help. Five days later they killed police officer Cal Campbell and kidnapped Chief Percy Boyd in Commerce, Oklahoma. They let Percy go but not before Bonnie asks him to tell the public she does not smoke cigars. Bonnies priorities are a little distorted by now. They also have less than a month to live.

Now the law enforcement authorities start putting the pressure. They constantly harass Clyde and Bonnies relatives and try to seek indictments on anyone who has tried to conceal or help the two. Lee Simmons, who at that time was head of the Texas Prison System, was enraged at the Huntsville break. He receives permission from Texas Governor Miriam Furguson to hire a special agent. That special agent was retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer.

Hamer, working for a salary of one hundred fifty dollars a month, took to Clydes trail on February tenth. He used a Ford V8, in which he knew Clyde was partial to. He picked up their trail in Texarkana but always seemed to be a day late. While the chase was on, Clyde killed three more policemen.

Ivan Methvin, Henrys father, had in the past let Bonnie and Clyde use his place to hide. Now fearing for his sons life, made a deal with Lee Simmons. A full pardon for his son in Texas for information on the Barrow gang. Hamer was informed of a post office that was used by the Barrows. It was a large board that lay on the ground near a large stump of a pine tree. It was on a farm to Market Road several miles from Plain Dealing, Louisiana. The post office was used for communication among the Barrow gang and their friends and relatives. The scene was set.

At this time, Hamer picked up his old friend B.M. Gault. The other men who were in on the kill were Bob Alcorn, Ted Hinton, Henderson Jordan and Paul Oakley. At 10 a.m. they set up blinds with tree branches approximately twenty-five feet from the road on the east side so that they could look down on the road. They placed themselves approximately ten feet apart. Then they waited.

They waited for approximately seven hours when at about 10 a.m. they heard a machine approaching at a high rate of speed. It is unclear whether Hamer or Alcorn stepped into the road to challenge them. When the car stopped they were told to give up. They reached for their guns but never had a chance to use them. The posse opened fire with steel jacketed, high velocity bullets. The car leaped ahead and came to a halt in a ditch beside the road. The firing continued after the car came to a halt.

The officers, even after pumping one hundred sixty-seven rounds into the car, approached the machine carefully. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow couldnt have been any deader. Fifty rounds had smashed into their bodies. Some through the drivers door, through Clyde, and through Bonnie and out the passenger door. The fingers on Bonnies right hand had been shot away. Her left hand held a bloody pack of cigarettes. She died with her head slumped between her legs, a gun across her lap. Bonnie was years old, Clyde 4. It looked as if Bonnie had just gotten a permanent wave.

Inside the car, Hamer found the following 1 saxophone, Browning automatic rifles, 1 10 gauge Winchester lever action, sawed-off shotgun, 1 0 gauge sawed-off shotgun, 1 Colt caliber automatic, 1 Colt 45 caliber revolver, 7 Colt automatic pistols, and approximately ,000 rounds of ammunition. They found license plates from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio and Louisiana.

The car was towed with the bodies in it to Arcadia, Louisiana. The crowds were already waiting. Their bodies were placed in the undertakers parlor, which was the rear room of a furniture store. The crowds were uncontrolled to the point where the undertaker had to squirt embalming fluid on them to keep them back.

Clyde was buried in a West Dallas cemetery on May 5 next to his brother Buck. Thousands of thrill seekers were present, some snatching the flowers from his grave. Bonnies mother had refused to have Bonnie buried next to Clyde and so she was buried on May 7 at the West Dallas Fishtrap Cemetery. Frank Hamer received thousands of letters of congratulations and was also honored on the floor of congress. Hamer died in 155.

Henry Methvin received his pardon from Texas as promised but not from Oklahoma. He was arrested for murder, sentenced to death in which was later commuted to life. He served twelve years, was released and run over by a train in nineteen forty-eight.

Twenty-three persons were brought to trial on charges of harboring Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde and Bonnies families tried to gain ownership of the guns that they were found with because they realized their worth to collectors. They did not receive them. The gray V8 Ford was shown for years after that at State Fairs for 5 cents a look.

It is said that Bonnie never killed anyone. No matter how much it is debated, the truth will probably never be known. A modern-day Belle Starr, she apparently justified her criminal activities because she did not want to leave her mans side. She would stay with him no matter what even though it meant the death of nine police officers.

Even John Dillinger, who had less than a month to live himself, commented that Bonnie and Clyde gave bank robbing a bad name.


A&E Television Network/Biography A&E Biography Video Bonnie and Clyde.

Geringer, Joseph. “Bonnie and Clyde Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car.” The Crime Library. Online. http//www.crimelibrary.com/americana/bonnie/main/htm

Jordan, Henderson & Waters, C.E. The Inside Story of the Killing of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, article appearing in True Detective Mysteries magazine, November 14 issue. Dunellen, NJ MacFadden Publications, Inc., 14.

Hinton, Ted & Grove Larry, Ambush; The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde.

Milner, E.R., Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde.

Nash, Jay Robert, Bloodletters and Badmen. New York M. Evans & Co., 15.

Phillips, John Neal, Running with Bonnie & Clyde The Ten Fast Years of Ralph Fults.

Quimby, Myron J., The Devils Emissaries. New York A.S. Barnes & Company, 16.

Toland, John, The Dillinger Days. New York Random House, 16.

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