Bonnie And Clyde In Oklahoma Bonnie and Clyde in Oklahoma by Rick Mattix Two of the Southwest’s more noted desperados during the early 1930’s were Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Bonnie and Clyde (or the Bloody Barrows, as they were then commonly called) terrorized the country, from Texas to Iowa and back, for two years, slaughtering at least a dozen men, most of whom were peace officers. They regularly visited Oklahoma in the course of their depredations. Raised in the slums of West Dallas, Clyde Chestnut Barrow (or Clyde Champion, as he preferred to be called) and Bonnie Parker Thornton apparently met in early 1930. He was the son of a former sharecropper who now ran a gas station in West Dallas.
Both Clyde and his older brother, Buck, then in Huntsville Prison, had been arrested several times for burglary and car theft. Bonnie, as yet, had no record, but did have a husband, Roy Thornton, who was doing 99 years at Huntsville as an habitual criminal. She briefly found solace with Clyde Barrow but their budding romance was interrupted by police, who hauled Barrow off to Waco, where he was wanted for a series of burglaries and car thefts. Clyde pleaded guilty to two burglaries and five car thefts and was sentenced to two years, with 12 years probation. On March 11, 1930, he escaped from the Waco jail, with two other men, William Turner and Emory Abernathy. The suspicion was that Marvin Buck Barrow, having escaped three days earlier from Huntsville, arranged Clyde’s jailbreak.
According to Bonnie’s relatives and Clyde’s fellow escapee, William Turner, it was Bonnie who smuggled the a gun into Clyde’s cell. At any rate, Barrow, Turner, and Abernathy left Bonnie behind and lit out for Middleton, Ohio, where they were arrested on March 18, after robbing a railroad depot of $57.97. The three were soon returned to Texas in chains, accompanied by Sheriff Leslie Stegall of Waco. CLYDE IN PRISON Clyde’s probation was revoked and, on April 21, 1930, as Clyde Champion Barrow, #63527, he was received at the State Penitentiary at Huntsville, to begin serving a 14-year sentence. Nevertheless, he was paroled, on February 2, 1932.
While in prison he chopped two toes from his left foot to avoid a work detail. Reunited with Bonnie, Barrow resumed his petty criminal career. They bungled a robbery at Kaufman, Texas and Bonnie was arrested, spending three months in the Kaufman jail. Clyde teamed up with another young criminal named Raymond Hamilton on a series of small holdups, one of which resulted in the murder of John Bucher at Hillsboro, in April 1932. This was the Barrow Gang’s first known killing. SHERIFF MURDERED On August 5, 1932, Clyde and Hamilton turned up at a country dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma, near Atoka. They were accompanied by a third man, never certainly identified but said by Hamilton’s brother Floyd to have been one Ross Dyer.
Contrary to later popular accounts, Bonnie was not present. The third man entered the dance hall and joined in the festivities, while Barrow and Hamilton remained in their stolen car, sharing a bottle of whiskey. This attracted the attention of Sheriff C. G. Maxwell and Deputy Eugene Moore, who approached the car, to question its occupants. Clyde and Hamilton responded with gunfire, killing Deputy Moore outright and seriously wounding Sheriff Maxwell. They then roared off, with townspeople in pursuit.
They wrecked their car a short distance away in a railway culvert, then fled on foot to another road. They flagged down a motorist, a local man named Cleve Brady, then took his car at gunpoint. Fifteen miles out of town, Brady’s car lost a wheel. Barrow and Hamilton made their way to John Redden’s farmhouse and told Redden they’d had a wreck and had an injured man. Redden’s nephew, Haskell Owens, offered to drive them to a doctor. They took him hostage and stole his car.
At Clayton, they set Owens free and stole another car from Frank Smith of Seminole. Smith’s car was found two days later at Grandview, Texas. Atoka County lawmen and citizens scoured the countryside, looking for the murderers. Bloodhounds were brought in from McAlester Prison and the State Bureau of Identification was called in. An ex-con named James Acker, who had a gunshot wound, was arrested as a suspect. Acker claimed he had been robbed by bandits. According to Floyd Hamilton, Ross Dyer was arrested in McKinney, Texas and may have put the finger on Clyde and Hamilton.
Clyde and Hamilton picked up Bonnie Parker in Dallas and the wave of violent holdups continued. Clyde Barrow killed three more men in Texas in 1932. Hamilton, by this time also a notorious outlaw, soon split from Clyde and Bonnie and was captured in Michigan. Bonnie and Clyde picked up a new partner named William Daniel Jones, commonly called W.D. or Deacon.
Jones, a sixteen-year-old car thief, later claimed that he joined the gang willingly but tried to leave after the first murder. He would insist later to have been a captive of Clyde and Bonnie. Buck Barrow, in the meantime, had married Blanche Caldwell, at McCurtain, Oklahoma, on July 3, 1930. The daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
M. F. Caldwell, of Goodwater, Blanche had no criminal record and was unaware at the time of their marriage that Buck was an escaped con. When she found out, she talked him into returning to prison. He surrendered at Huntsville, December 27, 1931.
Buck was pardoned on March 22, 1933. He and Blanche, over the latter’s protests, soon left Dallas to join Bonnie and Clyde. BARROW GANG FORMED This was the real start of the Barrow Gang. On April 13, they shot their way out of a Joplin house, killing two law officers. Nationwide attention focused on the gang as they committed a wave of holdups in the Midwest.
They were suspected of bank robberies in Lucerne, Indiana, Okabena, Minnesota, and Alma, Arkansas, and they murdered the Alma town marshal, Henry Humphrey, near Fayetteville. They were also now wanted by the U. S. Justice Department’s Division of Investigation, as the FBI was then known. A federal complaint, filed at Dallas on May 20, 1933, charged Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker with violating the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, by transporting a stolen car from Dallas to Pawhuska, Oklahoma, on or about September 16, 1932.
In June, Bonnie was badly burned in a car wreck near Wellington, Texas. Clyde, or Jones, repaid the kindness of the farmers who helped her out of the burning car by shooting the hand off a woman of the household. They then kidnapped two law officers, stole their car, and fled with the burned woman to a point near Erick, Oklahoma, to meet Buck and Blanche. The officers, Sheriff George Corry and Marshal Paul Hardy, were left tied to a tree with barbed wire. The gang holed up for a short time at a tourist camp in Ft.
Smith, Arkansas, where they were briefly joined by Bonnie’s sister, Billie. On July 8, Clyde, Buck and Jones apparently raided a National Guard armory at Enid, Oklahoma, where they stole some Browning Automatic Rifles, forty-six Colt .45 automatics and several thousand rounds of ammunition (on his deathbed at Perry, Iowa, Buck Barrow would later claim to have bought the guns and ammunition, for $150, from a soldier at Ft. Sill). They may have also taken two Thompson submachine guns, acco …