Bonnie & Clyde – Stars of the Public Enemy Era

On November 22, 1933, a trap was set by the Dallas, Texas sheriff and his deputies in an attempt to capture Bonnie and Clyde near Grand Prairie, Texas, but the couple escaped the officers’ gunfire. They then held up an attorney on the highway and took his car, which they abandoned at Miami, Oklahoma. On December 21, 1933, Bonnie and Clyde held up and robbed a citizen at Shreveport, Louisiana.

On January 16, 1934, five prisoners, including Raymond Hamilton (who was serving sentences totaling more than 200 years), were liberated from the Eastham State Prison Farm at Waldo, Texas by Clyde Barrow, accompanied by Bonnie Parker. Two guards were shot by the escaping prisoners with automatic pistols, which had been previously concealed in a ditch by Barrow. As the prisoners ran, Barrow covered their retreat with bursts of machine-gun fire. Among the escapees was Henry Methvin of Louisiana.

The Last Months

On April 1, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde encountered two young highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas. Before the officers could draw their guns, they were shot. On April 6, 1934, the couple mortally wounded a constable at Miami, Oklahoma and abducted and wounded  a police chief.

The FBI had jurisdiction solely on the charge of transporting a stolen automobile, although the activities of the Bureau agents were vigorous and ceaseless. Every clue was followed. “Wanted notices” furnishing fingerprints, photograph, description, criminal record, and other data were distributed to all officers. The agents followed the trail through many states and into various haunts of the Barrow Gang, particularly Louisiana. The association with Henry Methvin and the Methvin family of Louisiana was discovered by FBI agents, and they found that Bonnie and Clyde had been driving a car stolen in New Orleans.

On April 13, 1934, an FBI agent, through investigation in the vicinity of Ruston, Louisiana, obtained information which definitely placed Bonnie and Clyde in a remote section southwest of that community. The home of the Methvins was not far away, and the agent learned of visits there by Bonnie and Clyde. Special agents in Texas had learned that Clyde and his companion had been traveling from Texas to Louisiana, sometimes accompanied by Henry Methvin.

The FBI and local law enforcement in Louisiana and Texas concentrated on apprehending Bonnie and Clyde, whom they strongly believed to be in the area. It was learned that Bonnie and Clyde, with some of the Methvins, had staged a party at Black Lake, Louisiana on the night of May 21, 1934 and were due to return to the area two days later.

Bonnie and Clyde's Car

Bonnie and Clyde’s Car

Before dawn on May 23, 1934, a posse composed of police officers from Louisiana and Texas concealed themselves in bushes along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana. In the early daylight, Bonnie and Clyde appeared in an automobile and when they attempted to drive away, the officers opened fire. Bonnie and Clyde were killed instantly.

In addition to the automobile theft charge, Bonnie and Clyde were suspects in other crimes. At the time they were killed in 1934, they were believed to have committed 13 murders and several robberies and burglaries. Barrow, for example, was suspected of murdering two police officers at Joplin, Missouri and kidnapping a man and a woman in rural Louisiana. He released them near Waldo, Texas. Numerous sightings followed, linking this pair with bank robberies and automobile thefts. Clyde allegedly murdered a man at Hillsboro, Texas; committed robberies at Lufkin and Dallas, Texas; murdered one sheriff and wounded another at Stringtown, Oklahoma; kidnapped a deputy at Carlsbad, New Mexico; stole an automobile at Victoria, Texas; attempted to murder a deputy at Wharton, Texas; committed murder and robbery at Abilene and Sherman, Texas; committed murder at Dallas, Texas; abducted a sheriff and the chief of police at Wellington, Texas; and committed murder at Joplin and Columbia, Missouri.

After their deaths, Bonnie’s husband, Roy Thornton, who was still in prison, commented, “I’m glad they went out like they did. It’s much better than being caught.”

Clyde Barrow was buried in Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas, next to his brother, Marvin. The Barrow brothers share a single granite marker with their names on it and a four-word epitaph previously selected by Clyde: “Gone but not forgotten.”

Bonnie and Clyde wished to be buried side by side, but the Parker family would not allow it. She is buried elsewhere in Dallas.

 

Clyde Barrow Grave

Clyde Barrow Grave

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September, 2017.

Sources:

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Wikipedia

Biography.com

Also See:

Gangsters of the Prohibition & Depression Era

History of the FBI

The Kansas City Massacre

Murder, Inc.

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