Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bonnie & Clyde History Notes

The history of Bonnie & Clyde inspires impassioned comment & investigation worldwide-- as evidenced by those who've now visited this blog, from "188" countries and growing.  As such, Kiribati, Gambia, Swaziland and Liberia are the latest to join the The Bonnie & Clyde History League of Nations.  "Welcome" to all.

Here you can explore a myriad of historical posts, research, photos, comments and media applications of Bonnie and Clyde History-- as told with "the truth" as the guiding principle concerning all that appears on this site.  

What's new on the blog??  Important new info has been posted concerning the RR Auction of Bonnie's death glasses.         

As "Summer is upon us"-- I hope all are well.  Please look for new posts coming soon on The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog.  

And don't look now-- but the 'ol B&CHB is just 5 countries away, from being visited by Bonnie & Clyde aficionados from every country on earth.  A remarkable thing-- but so is this history.  

For those less familiar with me-- among my Bonnie & Clyde expressions, I've provided talks and historical programs for a variety of premier Bonnie and Clyde forums-- including The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Festival Gibsland, Louisiana-- The Dallas Historical Society and The National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington D.C.  I've contributed to Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout and authored a slew of historical articles here on The B&CHB.  More complete bio << blog left.  

Many of my authentic Bonnie & Clyde historical pieces,
 including The Bonnie & Clyde Signatures, Bonnie's poem "The Saga of Bonnie and Desperate Clyde", Billie Parker's manuscript and numerous items owned by Blanche Barrow-- housed for many years at The National Museum of Crime and Punishment.. are headed once again to Dallas.  So look for further info, concerning this redeployment of B&C artifacts soon.     

Feel free to join this site << 
bottom blog left, to exchange your views with myself and other caring B&C enthusiasts concerning this history.  Thoughtful and polite comment will gladly be posted.  However, as protections are in place to discourage impolite, crass, insulting and scurrilous banter-- comments are reviewed prior to appearing.  **Note-- anonymous comments are not allowed, nor will they be posted.

Please view an extensive selection of archived posts here concerning this history-- along with my thanks for visiting The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog.

Always keep Frank Ballinger in your prayers as he progresses in breaking the grip of cancer.  Visit Frank's wonderful Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout whenever you can.  Link << blog left. 

Contact info-- Questions, Suggestions, Insights and Discoveries to Investigate or Share-- Historical talks and bookings-- Research requests & authentications-- you can reach me at  

Also, please look for me on Facebook--
aka Bonnie and (&) Clyde History and The Bonnie and (&) Clyde History Blog-- all content, expressions, images and opinions are ©2009-2017 by A. Winston Woodward with all rights reserved.

Bonnie Parker Death Glasses Pulled From RR Auction Pending Addt DNA Testing

Perhaps the best way I can report on this.. is to use Bobby Livingston's statement with permission and verbatim.  I credit Mr. Livingston and RR Auctions greatly, for their unique desire to test the Bonnie Death Glasses for a DNA match.. and Rhea Leen Linder (Bonnie's Niece)-- for providing a DNA sample for testing. Through Mr. Livingston, I have expressed my hope, the current owner of the glasses will pursue additional DNA testing.. both for history's sake and the sake of those who would like to carry on conservatorship of the glasses.

Is this a pointed disappointment for Bonnie & Clyde History and all involved with the auction??
"You bet".  

Is pulling the glasses hopefully pending further testing the right thing to do??  In my judgement.. Yes.

So for all interested.. here is Mr.  Livingston's statement from RR Auctions.  As always-- my best to all.

This item has been withdrawn and will be re-listed for auction pending further investigation. A preliminary DNA test of the substance on the glasses conducted by a leading university laboratory yielded an inconclusive result. Extractions from samples taken from three locations (right lens, left lens, and rim) recovered very low DNA quantities, and a small amount of male DNA was detected; this could very well be contamination from handling of the glasses after Parker’s death. The inconclusive results may also be due to degradation over the last 83 years.. Further testing would need to be undertaken to determine whether this is Parker’s genetic material. We have obtained a reference DNA sample from Parker’s niece for comparison in case additional testing is pursued by the consignor prior to re-listing the item at a future date. The original 1938 paperwork and transmittal envelope accompanying the glasses are not in question by RR Auction.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The RR Auction-- Some of This.. Some of That.. and Some "Stellar" Bonnie & Clyde Artifacts Changing Hands.

Had a very pleasant conversation with Bobby Livingston, Executive Vice President of Boston's RR Auctions.. concerning the more than exiting upcoming auction of some "Premier" Bonnie & Clyde artifacts.  Of course, Bonnie's death glasses are the featured item, but other stellar artifacts of note will be offered as well-- including the original Clyde to Raymond Hamilton "So Long" letter, likely penned by Bonnie.  

I'm attaching link here to the auction, for all around the world who may be interested in bidding-- to have a go at Bonnie & Clyde historical greatness.   Please delve into the RR website, to make note of the dates and rules involved if you plan on participating.  

Any questions concerning stated provenances and particulars should be addressed please to RR Auctions. Of course, I am always available to run your questions by-- concerning my knowledge or opinions of items or their provenance.

Again, I'd like to state my hope.. that whomever purchases Bonnie & Clyde artifacts from this auction, will graciously share Bonnie & Clyde History with all-- in offering these items for display in future Bonnie & Clyde public events.  

Additional pics-- 

Dallas Observer article/more items and images--

Bonnie & Clyde History is "Remarkable" history.. so jump in and enjoy!!   "Oh"-- And why use the Bonnie & Clyde "kissing" photo for this post?? Well, while others are busy picking over their stuff.. I just thought it right to provide an image of them, un-bloodied and within a moment of happiness. 

My best to all.. 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Endgame To Poignancy.. Bonnie's Death Glasses Come To Auction

"It's Deja Vu all over again".  With Bonnie's death glasses now coming to auction.. please view the current Dallas Morning News article concerning this remarkable event.. as well as links to both articles as published here on the blog, referenced within the Dallas article regarding Bonnie's glasses.

I'm so sorry to hear Steve from Massachusetts is no longer with us. I'm sure all who care for Bonnie & Clyde History "Thank" Steve immensely.. for his long-term preservation of Bonnie's glasses. Hopefully.. whomever purchases the glasses, will provide the same good stewardship of this uniquely remarkable artifact-- and be willing to allow display for all to view.  

I would think Bonnie's glasses, the only Bonnie & Clyde artifact sans the Death Car seats (well worn now).. and Clyde's death clothing, long ago laundered and with some cut into little swatches-- to possess DNA from Bonnie & Clyde.  I don't know about you-- but just as with John Lennon's blood-stained glasses.. in viewing Bonnie's preserved blood, splattered and frozen in time from the instant she was killed in May of "34.. that realization, is at least thought-provoking-- and for many, more than mesmerizing in it's poignancy and emotion.. regardless of personal impressions concerning the immortal West Dallas desperadoes.

Is any history more demanding and enjoyable than Bonnie & Clyde History??  I would think not.. for all who dare to delve into it.   

The Dallas Morning News article link..

To view both prior blog articles concerning Bonnie's death glasses referenced by the Dallas Morning News.. go to blog search engine (blog left near top)-- and enter Bonnie's glasses.  Both articles will appear.

My renewed thanks to Jason, for having contacted me with news that he had the issue of the Shreveport paper from May of '34.. with seemingly the only reference to Bonnie's glasses in stunning detail-- which provided both hammer and nail, to nail down provenance for the glasses. Jason was most gracious, in wanting scans of this key article posted on The B&CHB for benefit of the glasses and history.    

My thanks as well to friend and Civil War Historian Tom Burke.. for sending the Dallas article to me. I'm sure other news outlets have covered this.. but of course it's the Dallas view, most who focus on this history will be interested in.  BTW-- As this is both a serious and heart-felt effort on my part.. I always and very much appreciate, whenever The B&CHB is acknowledged. 

Also I think it good, when Dallas remembers Bonnie & Clyde (not done much anymore). Not that this history necessarily be prideful for the city sprawling upon the banks of the Trinity River-- but surely, history shouldn't be ignored and "swept under the rug".. but rather remembered with eyes wide open, for the reality it was-- complete with all it's human lessons and consequences.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

RIP L. J. "Boots" Hinton-- Without you.. Bonnie & Clyde History Will Never Be The Same.

For those interested in the true story.. more than 10 years ago now, Alan Olson Curator of The Dallas Historical Society Museum, introduced me to the cantankerous, yet charming and "oh so" street-smart Bonnie & Clyde legend-- L. J. "Boots" Hinton.  I had gone to Alan 1st.. concerning my quest to authenticate the dual signatures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow I had taken a gamble on.. a gamble which would ultimately pay off.

Without even seeing the signatures, Alan asked me to describe the Bonnie signature.  When I did.. Alan said "I know who can help you".. and referred me to "Boots".  You see.. unbeknownst to me.. Alan had recently viewed an authentic Bonnie signature with family provenance.. which at that point as far as authenticated Bonnie signatures go, was perhaps one of a kind.

Bonnie's signature has some rather unusual elements to it.. which matched my description. Anyway, long story short-- that began what became a close relationship between "Boots" and I.. for he not only helped me with my signatures-- but over time, became a friend as well.  We talked often.. early on, multiple times a day, and later, multiple times a week, and that year I attended the festival in Gibsland and met "Boots".

From that point on, just as with many friendships he shared with others-- "Boots" and I would often share sensitive aspects of our lives.. our joys and frustrations-- and as a more senior and worldly man-- "Boots" would often give me advice.. and usually, good advice it was.

Many don't know-- "Boots" battled cancer a number of times.. and was sensitive about others knowing all the straight and skinny concerning such personal matters.  "Boots" could always count on me to keeps his secrets, whether regarding his health.. the doings in Gibsland for which he played such a large role, both for the town and festival-- and which sometimes rivaled "Peyton Place" in their scope and quirky nature.. his not always terrific relationships with others (business and personal)-- which "Boots" always seemed to find the right balance for.. or his contingency plans (he had many).. for keeping The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum going, come hell, high water.. unscrupulous doings.. shady characters, leaky roofs.. or whatever may stand in the way of his father's dream-- which he always kept paramount within his mind.

I'll miss "Boots"-- and am so sorry towards the end.. some with seemingly selfish goals, were able to influence a wonderful 'ol guy in ways they never should have attempted.  But you see.. Bonnie & Clyde History is fraught with "characters"-- and with some quite devoid of character.  So when I say "Boots" protected his father's dream "come hell, high water" or anything else-- that's just what I mean. And seems he did, or thought he did until the end.. which I hope along with his happiness, is all that matters.

"Boots" would always say.. "The good Lord doesn't want me yet". Well-- seems this time he did.

One thing's for sure.. the Lord surely has a good man by his side now.  Rest In Peace "Boots".  I'll always love you.  


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When Reality Seems Stronger Than Lore.. Why Does Frank Hamer Get An Enormous Pass In Bonnie & Clyde History??

You know.. for a pair of thieving, murdering outlaws-- Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow sure could inspire great reputations in others.  And Capt. Frank Hamer, a lawman famous both inside and outside the pride and constraints of The Texas Rangers.. is to my way of thinking, perhaps the best example of Bonnie & Clyde aiding a reputation.  For when one examines Capt. Hamer outside the realm of Bonnie & Clyde History.. one finds an epic lawman's career.  Not just any lawman's career.. but rather the vaulted career of a lawman who's exploits, spanned both the end of the Wild West period, up until the time of fairly modern lawman of the '40's and '50's.

But despite all his heroic doings prior to Bonnie & Clyde-- I don't think many would disagree, his Bonnie & Clyde participation made him a lawman's immortal.  But in reality.. is his reputation within this history as chronicled over the years accurate and thus truly justified??  That is the question here.

Frank Hamer in 1915.. when Lawmen rode horses.

The Sherman Riot

To many, Hamer's exploits are legendary.. from taming cattle rustlers in his early days, to thwarting death plots and even dispersing opposing violent protesters in a 1940's U.S. Senate race. Then there's my personal favorite-- Frank Hamer's participation in the May 1930 Sherman Riot.  George Hughes an African American farm worker, had admittedly raped a white woman as retribution for back wages owed.  Hughes was arrested and scheduled for trial at the Sherman, Texas Courthouse. However, with angry mobs having gathered each night outside the jail, and the trial proceedings halted due to violence-- Hamer and a small contingent of men were dispatched to the courthouse to maintain order and protect Hughes.

By that time National Guard troops had been sent to Sherman to stop the 5000 or so angry people from enacting their own justice. And with Hughes locked in a court vault for his own protection, gasoline was thrown through a courthouse window and ignited. When the courthouse was torched, it was too late for Hughes or those sheltering him. Despite the efforts of Hamer and his men, George Hughes died in that court vault that day.. and when finally broken into, an already dead Hughes was removed, dragged through the streets, hung from a tree and burned.  

Hamer did his best.. and although eventually overwhelmed.. the character of a lawman intent on remaining true to his duties and enacting them without prejudice, is a telling testament to his character.  So too, are his skirmishes with political leaders and the consequences for him in bucking political-types, where he had little tolerance for cronyism.

Hamer's Bonnie & Clyde Participation

However, now we get to his participation in the take down of Bonnie & Clyde.. perceived acts which may inspire the greatest contribution to his legacy. To me, it's fair to ask.. were those legendary exploits really legendary at all.. or rather, inventions or embellishments of others for Hamer's benefit?? Whether inventions or embellishments are for others to decide. However, I feel there's strong factual evidence to support a different reality for Hamer within Bonnie & Clyde History.. a reality quite different from the one portrayed over the many decades now since 1934.  

Some would have you believe the addition of Frank Hamer to the search for Bonnie & Clyde, had the fearless outlaws and survivors of numerous near brushes with death.. "shaking in their boots" and looking over their shoulders-- cowering at just the thought of Hamer tracking them.  And some would have you envision Hamer being involved for a much longer time period than was actually the case. 

Hell, at least one movie portrayal now, has Hamer active as early as Dexfield Park.  And.. many feel Hamer, through great expertise and toil-- disciphered the travel patterns for The Barrow Gang.. and thus was able to anticipate their moves into Louisiana, and take advantage of that knowledge to lay in wait to gun down Bonnie & Clyde.  

But in reality.. that form of Hamer legend sure seems a lot like "home cookin".. with authors after the fact, recounting Hamer's Bonnie & Clyde exploits-- as if enacted by some chosen Messiah in the form of a quite human aging lawman.  For decades, it appears supporters of Hamer had their way in telling their versions of Frank Hamer's role within this history without rebuke-- for no one could prove Hamer historic embellishments otherwise. Evidence to the contrary didn't exist.. or so it seemed. Oh, but it did-- however the truth was.. key evidence just hadn't come to light.

However, with release of FBI's Dallas Bonnie & Clyde file 26-4114 about 10 years ago now.. many Bonnie & Clyde myths have needed a re-write, and others have bitten the dust.  And to me, so too did myths concerning Frank Hamer's participation within this history.

Myths Vs. Reality

Based on the remarkably complete more than one thousand page Dallas file.. revealed and documented with dates and exhaustive law enforcement comment-- concerning Hamer and the end for Bonnie & Clyde, the following is now known..

There "was" a deal struck to betray Bonnie & Clyde in Louisiana. A deal involving the Methvin family and go-betweens developed by men loyal to Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan.  Thus, these were Louisiana informants.. which had nothing to do with Capt. Frank Hamer.. and not informants Hamer developed or had prior knowledge of.  

The U.S. Bureau of Investigation was active in Louisiana hunting Bonnie & Clyde for about a year prior to May of '34.. ever since the Sophie Stone incident.  Thus the Bureau was aware of informant activity and potential for Bonnie & Clyde betrayal prior to May of '34.. and the Bureau itself was much more involved in tracking Bonnie & Clyde, than was known prior to 2006. 

Within a memo date March 17th, 1934 from Dallas SAC Frank Blake (Bureau Dallas Field Office)-- to Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover-- it was noted, that Lee Simmons had employed Frank Hamer to apprehend Clyde Barrow.  A commission requested by Lee Simmons as a result of the embarrassment of the Eastham Prison break in January 1934.  So Frank Hamer's tenure within Bonnie & Clyde History in reality, spanned just a short time.    

Although the action was increasingly in Louisiana.. When Hamer was supposedly involved in figuring out Bonnie & Clyde's travel patterns (an activity where documentation would be useful)-- Capt. Hamer "was" documented attempting to locate the source of a green dress in and around Dallas-- reportedly purchased for Bonnie. An action shared by Bob Alcorn who was searching for this lead along with him.  Info concerning the green dress, was furnished by Hamer to Joplin Chief of Detectives Ed Portley on a Dallas, Texas Hotel letterhead.. March 29th, 1934.

As revealed in a Bureau telegram from SAC Blake (Dallas) to SAC Whitley (New Orleans)-- "Parties" logically Hamer and the Boys from Texas were supposed to arrive Shreveport on April 20th, 1934.. but instead were noted to be arriving the following day.. Saturday April 21st.  Also Lester Kindell, the Bureau agent on the scene was to be notified of the parties arrival. 

April 24th, 1934 was the 1st of 3 reports noting the meetings concerning the "sell out" involving both the Methvins and informant John Joyner. The other reports were dated April 30th and May 14th.   The April 24th memo is of considerable importance for this purpose, as it provides a firm timeline for Hamer concerning his participation with the already developed take down.

SAC Whitley (New Orleans)-- states on April 22nd, 1934, he interviewed Deputy Sheriff Oakley at Arcadia and then telephoned Hamer to proceed to Arcadia the next day.  On April 24th, Whitley and Hamer met with Sheriff Henderson Jordan and Deputy Sheriff Oakley, where they all made the trip to Castor, LA to meet with the informants, Dr. Sledge of Castor and John Joyner (a good friend of the Methvins)-- who lived just 2 miles from them.

It was learned at that meeting, that a deal had been arranged.. whereby The State of Texas would "wipe the slate clean" concerning Henry Methvin in exchange for Barrow and Parker being "put on the spot".  This confirms a deal already in the works, (but interestingly the Texas contact seems unknown)-- when Hamer makes his 1st appearance in Louisiana concerning the sell out. Hamer then assures Joyner he can secure the guarantee of freedom for Henry Methvin in writing to help seal the deal-- as he has the promise of the prison Mgr who works with the Governor, and they will release any prisoner if it will aid in apprehending Barrow.  

Whitley then notes Henderson Jordan will keep The Bureau apprised of the situation. So it can be inferred, that Jordan is in control of the deal.. and those within his jurisdiction. It's also noted, Hamer then leaves immediately for Huntsville, Texas, to secure the documents needed. 
So seemingly within one key report.. all the proof needed concerning Hamer's true participation in the end game including dates, places and details.. concerning the deal developed in Louisiana by others which led to the capture of Bonnie & Clyde. Did Hamer join Louisiana lawmen and participate with them.  Yes, of course.. beginning on April 24th.  Did he provide crucial assistance??  You bet!! But were any of his actions the "catalyst" for Bonnie & Clyde's capture?? Concerning all the documentation available now, not available in decades past when a different "reality" was told.. with all respect, I don't see how anyone can make that case.            

A telegram dated April 27th, further notes Hamer and Bureau Special Agent Lester Kindell were to meet in Shreveport.  Don't forget the Bureau's involvement in Louisiana beginning in 1933.
Then of course there was the ambush posse. Despite his notoriety, the reality was, the ambush posse was not Frank Hamer's posse. Rather, that jurisdiction rested with Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan.  So despite impressions to the contrary.. the Texas lawmen present that day were guests.. and as it turned out apparently weren't even sworn in with legal authority.  But in 1934, just a formality.. easily forgiven when Bonnie & Clyde were dead.
So in fairness-- did Hamer play a large role in helping to facilitate the deal struck with the Methvins to betray Bonnie & Clyde.. as a credible liaison to Texas Governor Miriam "Ma" Ferguson?? Absolutely, for that is documented as well.     

But also in fairness to this history-- it wasn't Hamer's info that led to Bonnie & Clyde's betrayal.. it wasn't Hamer's informants.. it wasn't Hamer's deal of betrayal.. it wasn't Hamer's jurisdiction and wasn't Hamer's posse.  So how did this history get re-told to benefit Hamer so greatly??  Perhaps.. just the sheer will of his family and biographers.. aided by a history with details lost in the shadows for so long.  

And please let me state.. I have nothing against the valiant and heroic Texas lawman Capt. Frank Hamer.  If anything, I respect and hold dear his staunch stand against wrong and corruption among those who looked to direct Hamer without honesty and sacrifice.  However, despite his lauded life's achievement within law enforcement-- is it fair to have Hamer's stamp so indelibly affixed to Bonnie & Clyde History, with him as it's grand "savior" and champion??

Not to me.. for I call this history like I see it-- and based on the evidence as it exists, I don't view Hamer in that light.  

Now once on the ground in Louisiana and privy to happenings there-- did Frank Hamer contribute greatly to ambush plans??.. which BTW, did not originally include Sailes as it's focal point-- as the original plan, was 1st reserved for the area around Terrell Methvin's home well away from Sailes.  "Yes, Of course".  However it's fair to ask, without Jordan, Oakley, their informants and the U.S Bureau of Investigation's nearly year of preparation in Louisiana-- where would Hamer be within his quest for a Bonnie & Clyde solution.. within an increasingly B&C rich Louisiana?? Unknown-- but not likely where he found himself thrust into on April 24th, 1934.                 

Photo of Ambush Posse to my way of thinking.. the way they should be thought of.  A team effort, led by Louisiana lawmen.
And BTW-- as it's been said so many times by those touting Hamer seemingly as some mythical figure, or by those promoting books which portray him as close to such-- that it was Hamer who killed Bonnie & Clyde.  "Oh I dunno".. seems that honor went to Prentiss Oakley-- who put a bullet into Clyde's head, and thus with something telling him to fire before the other 5 lawmen present that day in May of '34.. his 2 deadly shots in rapid-succession.. ended Bonnie & Clyde's reign of terror.

To me, I don't see how it can't be said with assurance.. that Henderson Jordan and his Deputy along with their informants provided the ways and means to capture Bonnie & Clyde.. along with the assistance of 4 Texas lawmen.  And based on lore passed down over many decades-- a most fortunate Texas lawman kneeling next to Sheriff Jordan.. seemingly benefited most.           

Monday, May 23, 2016

Now 82 Years Later.. What Does Bonnie & Clyde History All Mean??

It's been a long time.  So now, so many years later.. what does Bonnie & Clyde History mean and to whom??  Is it mostly about an "Oh, so passionate" tug 'o war between those who view Bonnie & Clyde as heroes-- and those who view lawmen who took them down as the "real" heroes-- modern-day Sir Galahads, who indeed finally succeeded in removing 2 prime examples of "murdering scum" (as some newspapers like The Shreveport Times via a man named M.L. Kilpatrick of Arcadia still refer to Bonnie & 
Clyde as) from the earth??  
"It shouldn't be"..

Or, is it about festivals and get-togethers.. and competing touristy trinket-laden muzeums (spelling intentional)-- and disrespectful less than caring charlatans.. who cause wars among the Bonnie & Clyde faithful.. which only inspire huge wastes of time, in order to perpetuate ego-driven desires.  "No"..

Or about those who write self-serving books, without adequate evidence to support their claims.. in hopes of gaining notoriety, although it be fleeting??  "I surely hope not"..

In my view, what this history should be about at this point.. is a renewed  commitment to research, by those who've done it best. To sort the wheat from the chaff, and find truth (as best it can be found now)-- where rumor and innuendo lay in the path of right and reality.  For although some strides have been made within the past decade or so-- based on the nature of this history being so reliant on human recollection.. many recollections along with conclusions they could lead to, so remarkably documented over the years.. need to finally be coordinated, preserved and released for the masses, not for just a few.

Those whom I'm talking of know who they are.. and none of us in positions to make a difference are getting any younger, don't 'cha know.

So to me-- with great respect for likely the best of the best.. it's time to "get with it", and make it happen for the good of Bonnie & Clyde History. For Facebook is good.. and squabbles are entertainment I suppose for some..  but for me and I know for many others, Bonnie & Clyde History holds a special importance.. and a meaning beyond human trials, tribulations and wranglings.

And those who hold key info, know I am ready and willing to help as I have in the past.. to advance this history and give those who love this history "really" much to talk about.

On this 82nd Anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde.. my best to all. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

"That Damn Clyde Barrow".. Revisited.

One of the great & touching moments within Billie Parker Moon's manuscript.. had to do with her telling of a wonderful story involving Clyde and her young son Buddy Mace.  As told by Billie--

"There was the time Clyde gave my 4-year-old son Buddy a sackful of quarters. There must have been eight or ten dollars in quarters in that sack. The next day, Buddy was handspringing proud of his new found wealth. He told his grandmother that he would pay the newspaper boy. Back then, we paid 25 cents a week for the daily paper."

"When the paperboy came, Buddy proudly handed him a quarter and demanded a receipt. The paperboy was in a kidding mood that day. He solemnly told Buddy that the quarter was a fake... no good. Buddy looked at him and I was afraid he was about to say he had gotten the money from Clyde and his Aunt Bonnie. Instead, he took the quarter back and strolled into the house. He walked up to me and said, "Mammy, that damn Clyde Barrow done stuck me with a whole mess of fake quarters." 

"When Buddy died a short time later, Bonnie and Clyde were in Dallas and had just bought him a Shetland pony. The poor little guy never got to see the animal."

As a point of reference, the inflation conversion from 1933 to today is now up to 18 to 1.  So $8 to $10 of quarters then, would equate to $144 to $180 today. So a pretty good haul for a youngster. There's more to come from Billie's unpublished book, so stayed tuned for more Billie insights-- exclusively here on The B&CHB. Excerpts from Billie Parker Moon's manuscript are ©2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. W. Woodward.  I hope all are enjoying these rare Billie Parker revelations.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Does Billie Parker Moon's Manuscript Cause Angst For Bonnie & Clyde Lore?? Surely, As Any Trusted Eyewitness Account Would. This Time.. Wellington And Beyond.

Within her unpublished manuscript, Billie Parker Moon relates recollections from some key Bonnie & Clyde events she was there to witness.. which are of great interest historically, as conflicting versions of the same incidents have often been "pieced together" from various accounts which could be deemed less reliable.  And always of keen interest within the history of Bonnie & Clyde, is any account of The Barrow Gang's time after Wellington. This, as the gang's foray into Fort Smith, Ark. involving Bonnie's traumatic injuries from Wellington, and the gang's desperate efforts in dealing with them-- seem to elicit elements of compassion, even from the most hardened Bonnie & Clyde detractor.

I was going to separate Fort Smith from McKinney within publishing these reports on Billie's remembrances-- but decided instead to combine them for continuity. Oddly, the singular detail of Billie traveling back to Dallas by bus-- seemingly has some Bonnie & Clyde scholars in a "tizzy". When I first read this account to others, unanimously-- it would be said "it was a train". Well surely Billie knew the difference between a bus and a train, and which conveyance she traveled on. As mentioned previously, some B&C historical facts may have to be re-worked.. with Billie's accounts now known.

Billie Jean's recollections of the McKinney, Texas incident are particularly detailed and interesting-- as well as her revealing a kind person's perjury under oath, in protecting Billie concerning the aid she rendered Bonnie at Fort Smith. Also of note, is a possible conflict between Blanche's account after Fort Smith and Billie's account of the same time period. Interestingly, this 2 week period specifically noted by Billie-- is a time where little seems known within this history. Thus, her accounts have heightened value.

So here we go, with more of Billie Parker Moon's eyewitness accounts from Bonnie & Clyde History.

"In the summer of 1933, the kids were driving fast over a back road near Wellington, Texas. As they topped a hill, Clyde could feel the car slipping along the road. "Hang onto your hats," he yelled. "This is it." The car went out of control and careened through some guard rails into a ditch. The car caught on fire, burning Clyde superficially. But Bonnie was hurt badly. She suffered bad burns on her legs-- burns which left her permanently unable to straighten her right leg or walk without a heartbreaking limp."

"As always when they were in trouble, they turned to their families-- the only people in the world they knew would never betray them. Clyde drove to Dallas from Fort Smith, Arkansas, in a stolen Ford to pick me up. They had rented two cottages near Fort Smith and were attempting in the best way possible to take care of Bonnie. When I arrived, I was greeted by Buck and his wife, and by W. D. Jones. Bonnie was in a coma and didn't know I was there."

"The daughter of the man who owned the tourist court was a nurse. She provided a doctor friend of hers and began intensive treatment to get Bonnie's festering leg to heal. Neither the motel owner, his daughter or the doctor knew at the time who we were. Later, however, in a moment of human kindness I shall never forget, the nurse refused from a witness stand to identify me as the woman who had helped Bonnie through this period."

"Cold-blooded, impassionate killers? When Bonnie regained consciousness, her first thoughts weren't for herself. They were for me. She insisted to Clyde that I be returned to Dallas immediately, before more trouble started and before I became irrevocably involved. The next two weeks we spent wandering back roads enroute to Texas... stopping where necessary to rub ointments on Bonnie's wounds and camping out at night. They finally got me to Sherman, Texas, and put me on a bus back to Dallas."

"Bonnie always was concerned with keeping me safe. I was with them one afternoon when they were low on money-- as they usually were-- and low on gasoline for the Ford Clyde invariably drove. We stopped at a churchyard at McKinney and Clyde got out of the car, telling me to keep it running. He strolled off in the direction of town."

"With the gasoline situation low, I made a mistake. I turned off the engine while we were waiting for Clyde to return. Bonnie still was in pain from the Wellington burns and she was sitting in the back of the car. When Clyde returned, he threw a sack of change on the seat from a grocery store robbery he had just pulled. He was mad-- raging-- about the fact the car wasn't running. It was the only time I ever can remember his losing his temper with me."

"As he started the car, it lurched and the wheels became stuck in the mud. A woman and her son happened by in their car and Clyde offered them $20 to pull us out. He cut a barbed wire fence nearby and used the wire as a chain, wrapped around the bumpers of our Ford and the other car. As soon as we were out of the mud, he clipped the wires and roared off. He couldn't have paid the woman $20. Our only money was the three or four dollars in change he had taken from the grocery store."

"While the car was in the mud, people began to materialize from no where. Bonnie was afraid for me and told me to get out of the car and mingle with the crowd. "Pretend you don't know us," she said. "You aren't involved in this robbery." I looked into the back seat where she was lying. She looked so afraid and sick, there was no way I was going to leave her like that. She looked so pathetic, I wouldn't have left her if the whole country had been full of laws. Those were the bad moments... moments where everything could have ended at once. But there were good times. Times when we got together and for an hour or two, the kids were able to forget they were wanted fugatives."

There's more to come from Billie's manuscript-- so please stay tuned. Excerpts from Billie Parker Moon's manuscript, in part or their entirety-- are ©2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. W. Woodward. As always, I welcome your comments.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

According to Bonnie Parker.. "W.D. Already Had The Gun At My Head, Cocked And His Finger On The Trigger".

I will always think of 2010, as a memorable year for Bonnie & Clyde revelations-- particularly concerning valuable and previously unreleased info from Billie Parker. Billie's Journal entries concerning her family genealogy, as well as personal insights into her beloved sister Bonnie are quite special. But also during that year, yet another most unique grouping of Billie's recollections were highlighted here-- from within the pages of Billie's book begun but never finished. Thus to me, historically-- the importance of those revelations, required they be revealed.

Editor's Note: I have found in comparing Billie's manuscript now to posts from 6 years ago.. that although I have quoted Billie precisely, and have her accounts in the proper order for this retelling.. I've discovered that previously, I did move what I'd term connecting or descriptive paragraphs not directly related to incidents being keyed on.. and sometime place them as lead-ins to other posts within this series. Or to put it another way, I had rearranged slightly Billie's story meant as a book.. to provide for better Internet historical context-- in focusing on Bonnie & Clyde incidents of interest. 

As the work it would take to re-write these posts would be prohibitive from a time perspective now.. I will leave posts nearly as they were, but with 
some text additions not found within the original posts.  Thus more of Billie's words will be available to view this go-round.  In the future, should I put Billie's manuscript in print form for Bonnie & Clyde historical consumption.. I would likely offer it just as presented in 1975. But oddly enough-- as unfortunately, there are some who prey upon this history from within for their own self-glory.. the way this has worked out, has protected Billie's manuscript from being pilfered-- for no one besides yours truly, would likely know the correct order or totality of text.  Sorry to say.. but regarding those who steal to enhance their egos and false standing within this history.. that's good.

So in now adapting the original post from the Summer of 2010.. I offer this new look back at Billie's manuscript.  This 3rd installment covering many Billie beliefs concerning Bonnie & Clyde and their saga.. as well as Billie addressing their suicide pact-- and it's very near use at Dexfield Park.  So here we go.  As Billie tells it..

"That was the legacy of Bonnie & Clyde. They were pictured as blood-thirsty killers who roamed the Southwest robbing and murdering at random. The fact is they robbed to stay alive in a world that would kill them on sight. And they never killed anyone who wasn't armed and shooting at them.  Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were a couple of scared, homesick kids who spent the last two years of their lives riding back roads trying plain and simply to stay alive. They were not going anyplace in particular because they had no place to go." 

"They took almost foolhardy chances in setting up meetings with their families because neither one of them could go for any length of time without seeing the people they loved.  Those family meetings captured the imagination of the public.  Two kids on the run were able to have picnics and reunions under the noses of Dallas County lawmen intent on their destruction."

"Bonnie and Clyde have been accused of killing nine policemen in various gunbattles at various places.  For that, they have been labeled cold-blooded killers.  Years later, when Richard Speck and Charles Whitman killed many more in a shorter time, they were branded as "sick".  Newspapers glamorized them to a point where it was ridiculous..  Old clippings still available show some papers carried stories in the same issue reporting Bonnie and Clyde had committed crimes on the same day in places as far away as Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas.  They were made out to be a couple of desperadoes who spent money recklessly and lived and loved fast and loose."  

"Bonnie and Clyde were creations of the news media and a catchall for law enforcement officers.  When the cops couldn't blame a crime on anyone else, they put it on Clyde and Bonnie.  When newspaper reporters couldn't find anything else to write about, they wrote about Bonnie and Clyde."

"But there was no glamour in the lives of those kids.  That was the life of Bonnie and Clyde. There were no good times... no drinking and carousing around with a submachinegun in one hand and a bottle in the other. The kids never knew who they could trust or around what corner or over what hill they might find themselves boxed in and killed. They lived every moment in fear of death. 
A lot of people know about the Joplin, Missouri, raid where Bonnie, Clyde, Buck Barrow and his wife barely escaped with their lives. And about the two Joplin police officers who weren't so lucky."

"But very few people know about the suicide pact the kids made early in their wanderings-- when they finally realized they could never get out of the life they had made for themselves. The movies never mention the fact that after a shootout at Dexter Park, Iowa, Buck was almost dead and his wife was blinded from flying glass fragments. Bonnie, Clyde and another companion, W.D. Jones, had to abandon the Buck Barrows and escape by swimming across a river. All three were seriously wounded, to a point where Bonnie told me the water around them was red with their mingled blood."

"Clyde handed their only gun-- the only weapon they salvaged in the mad fight-- to W. D. and told him if the police moved in, he was to use the gun on Bonnie. He told W.D. to tell lawmen Bonnie and Clyde had forced him to stay with their gang. Clyde dragged himself across a nearby field, stole a car and returned to pick up Bonnie and W. D."

"We heard Clyde coming back but we didn't know it was him" Bonnie said. "When he finally got close enough to whisper his name to us, W.D. already had the gun at my head-- cocked and his finger on the trigger."

"Their suicide pact is clear evidence they knew what eventually would happen to them. They preferred death at their own hands to death in the Texas Penitentary's electric chair."

Now for all familiar with the incident at Dexfield Park-- for this "remarkable" Bonnie Parker quotation concerning their experience, to fit in with the known history as recounted by witnesses such as the Fellers-- it would need to be inserted after Bonnie, Clyde and W. D. swam the river, but prior to their appearance at the Feller farm. As Billie was not there to witness this particular event, my feeling is this Bonnie account as told to Billie must have occurred with the logical adaptation-- that Clyde left a badly wounded Bonnie with W.D as he scouted first for a car-- and then returned for them prior to all 3 heading to the Feller Farm, and to the fence for Bonnie to be lifted over and so forth.

That way, both accounts work.. I don't see how that couldn't be so. But it does seem their only gun (as told within this account)-- was indeed loaded, as an empty gun would have served little purpose-- in "mercifully" saving Bonnie from capture via W.D. assisted suicide.

Billie's expressions are dated January 1975 and are titled "Bonnie, Clyde and Me".. interestingly, the same title as the cassette interviews released concerning Floyd Hamilton's story.  This draft is clearly identified as being a "book". The authors are Billie Jean Parker Moon and Joyce Huddleston as told to Clint Kelley.

Now in response to some who seemingly pride themselves on being brash and critical, and who also apparently have trouble getting their facts straight.. I do wish to say something as plainly as I can. When Billie's manuscript came to me, I immediately reached out to the Parker family.. (I initiated the call)-- and within a phone conversation that likely lasted an hour and a 1/2.. I repeatedly offered it to the family, for in good faith I felt I should. However, based on dealings of which I assisted one plain-speaking and nice Parker lady.. I was told to keep it.  But as some know, I can be most persistent.. so I repeatedly asked "Are you sure"?? The response never wavered.    

I also reached out to Joyce Huddleston, who I was able to locate and spoke to by phone as well.  I discovered, Joyce is the daughter of A. B. Moon.. Billie's last husband.  I was concerned, that previous agreements-- could be affected by my desire to publish excerpts from Billie's manuscript. Joyce (another nice lady)-- who it seems may be the last surviving person credited with authorship of this work, gave me free reign concerning the manuscript and it's use. Unfortunately.. the whereabouts of Clint Kelley, who also assisted Billie, and who it seems worked for the Dallas Times Herald at the time are unknown. Billie's project was begun in 1974 and discontinued in 1975.  As I understand it, Clint Kelley created this manuscript from the recollections of Billie Parker Moon, with the assistance of Joyce Huddleston. That's how the manuscript came to be.            

With the history and provenance of Billie's manuscript firmly established, let me say how remarkable and truly important I feel the information found within Billie's literary effort is. Many recollections found within these pages are accounts personally witnessed by Billie Parker, concerning events she participated in with Bonnie & Clyde. As Billie says-- she was writing her book to "set the record straight". Of great note within these writings, are quotes from B&C as relayed directly by Billie. As a number of Billie's recollections both contradict and also enhance accepted B&C historical knowledge-- I've already had some interesting conversations, with other B&C Historians about Billie's writings.

Those I've interviewed who knew Billie personally-- have told of an honest, "straight shooter"..
who disliked dishonest people.  Thus, many involved in this history may be forced to take a fresh look and perhaps rethink, some of what is known regarding certain Bonnie & Clyde historical events.  There's more to come from Billie's manuscript. On behalf of all who care about B&C History-- I extend my thanks to Billie Parker, may you rest in peace-- to Rhea Leen Linder, Joyce Huddleston, and to Clint Kelley-- where ever you are. The Billie Parker Moon manuscript along with it's revelations of Bonnie and Clyde statements and events, are ©2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. W. Woodward.  I invite your comments.

Monday, March 28, 2016

For Bonnie & Clyde History-- Billie Parker Moon's Poignant Manuscript Revisited. In This Installment.. Sowers As Told From A Red Hot Ground Zero.

The story of The Sowers Ambush has been told and re-told over the years-- but never quite like this. Within her unpublished manuscript, Billie Parker Moon spends considerable time speaking of Sowers. And rightfully so-- for Billie had a unique advantage in relaying her account of this dramatic Bonnie & Clyde event. Not only was she present to witness this November 1933 Texas ambush attempt 1st hand (including being shot at)-- but as an insider with an intimate closeness to Bonnie & Clyde, Billie was privy to many unique details as told by the outlaws after this waylay occurred. Thus Billie's able to fill in gaps previously untold, and provide a "gripping" account from ground zero. I'll say this-- based on Billie's recollections of this story, as Ricky Ricardo would say-- it seems some who've recounted differing versions of this event over the years, may have some "esplanin'" to do-- with Billie's account now known.

The identification of Sowers as the ambush location, has always been a bit of a misnomer-- as Sowers both today as in yesteryear was an unincorporated community. Those who live in this community today, find themselves within the city limits of Irving, Texas. As such, Billie never identifies Sowers by name. Rather she calls this location Grapevine, for the community which was nearby. But there's no mistaking Billie's description of this incident, as being the same episode we've come to know as The Sowers Ambush. In November of '33, the actual location of the ambush was the crossroads of Texas Hwy 10 and Esters Road. Today, with an updated highway system, this spot would be the intersection of Texas Hwy 183 and Esters Road.

So without further delay-- see how many new pieces of information you can find within Billie's account of Sowers. There were just 4 lawmen present for the ambush, as wheeled out for photos by the Dallas Sheriff's Office, right??-- or 6 lawmen as reported by the newspapers?? Not according to Billie-- not by a long shot.

Also pay close attention to Billie's description of the Sowers informant. Although she's reluctant to name "him" by name-- by process of elimination within Billie's account of who was present, along with her explanation of this man's role that evening-- to me Billie leaves little doubt concerning both the identity of the Sower's informant, and her dislike for this individual. This man's  reported participation with the families that November evening, has been confirmed many times by those present over the years.. and within Billie's account, now reconfirmed. 

You'll also learn in fabulous detail, what happened to B&C after the ambush. As told within Bonnie & Clyde legend.. "The kids" as they were called by their families.. were said to have maintained a friendship with Pretty Boy Floyd and or his family.  But that's just unsubstantiated lore right??  Not according to Billie as revealed here.  So here we go, and as always-- I relate these wonderful Billie accounts verbatim. Bonnie & Clyde's quotes are italicized and emboldened.

"The Ford rolled slowly down the road and then faltered, as if the driver momentarily was unsure of himself and the situation. The car's light blinked on and off in a prearranged signal which had become familiar through long use. The flashing lights were answered in kind from a second car parked further down the road. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow had returned home for another visit with their families. The scene was familiar to all of us. We had met them before in out-of-the-way places around the Dallas area. Clyde had telephoned earlier that evening to arrange the Grapevine meeting. As Bonnie's only sister, I took our mother along and we were joined by Clyde's mother, sister and younger brother. A family friend drove the car we were in."

"The Ford, reassured by the exchange of signals, gathered speed as it closed the distance between it and our waiting car. The Ford moved in front of our car and the headlights illuminated the front seat. As usual, Clyde was at the wheel with Bonnie close beside him. The kids had made it back in one piece-- something on which we never could depend. A grin which had been building on Clyde's face turned to a grimmace as the Ford slowly rolled to a stop. A flash of red light erupted from a bar ditch alongside the road. It was accompanied by a popping noise which sounded for all the world to me like firecrackers at a Fourth of July celebration. It was the beginning of a gun battle which Bonnie would say later was  "the closest we ever came to dying."

"It took a few moments for me to realize the ditch alongside the road was filled to the brim with cops of all shapes, sizes and services. The headlights of our car still were trained on the Ford and, pushed by an instinct I didn't know existed, I reached across the front seat and killed the lights, shrouding the Ford in darkness. Flickering gunfire outlined the ditch in flashes of red and the miniature thunder from the guns rapidly became deafening inside our car. Clyde, always an excellent driver even in the worst of situations, shoved the Ford into gear and sped down the road in a storm of gravel and gunfire."

"Bonnie and Clyde escaped that night but not without considerable loss. Clyde had been hit two or three times in his legs and a bullet lodged in one of Bonnie's knees. They almost bled to death before reaching Salisaw, Oklahoma, and the safety offered them at the home of the brother of Pretty Boy Floyd. It was later that we realized the "family friend" who drove the car for us that night had told police of the planned meeting. He sold them out for a used car and a few dollars lawmen were offering for the end of Bonnie and Clyde. They had been betrayed by a man they called friend. A similar betrayal on a lonely road near Gibsland, Louisiana, two years later would cost them their lives."

"There was no glamor in the lives of those kids. Just like there was no glamor that long ago night in Grapevine. Bonnie told me later she had a premonition about the meeting. "When we pulled onto that road, something didn't look right," she said.  Clyde slowed the car and gave the signal. When it was returned from our car, Clyde told her "It'll be alright, honey. We need to see the folks. Moments later, the air was filled with gunfire and both Bonnie and Clyde were bleeding badly from gunshot wounds."

"The newspapers said the next day that six officers were involved in the ambush. But when the air cleared, I counted at least 25 cops-- city, county and state. There never was a time when six cops would attempt to capture Bonnie and Clyde, even from ambush." "That's the closest we've ever come to dying," Bonnie told me later. "They almost killed us right there on that road." Clyde, in an almost superhuman effort, got the car moving and eluded pursuing squad cars."

"They drove to an old well as they headed for Oklahoma. Bonnie told me they pulled the car up to the well and Clyde dragged himself out, trying to get to the cold water which would staunch the flow of blood from their wounds. "We must have passed out about the same time,"Bonnie said. "When I came to, Clyde was lying between the car and the well. He was out cold and his pants were soaked in blood." At the well, they managed to bind their wounds and recover sufficiently to get to Salisaw where Floyd's brother looked after them until they were fully healed."

One thing that's struck me from Billie's account of Sowers, was how close the 2 cars were when the shooting started. I've asked both Jim Knight who owns a well known Bonnie & Clyde replica car, and L. J. "Boots" Hinton who raced cars in his youth and grew up during that period-- how close these cars would have been, for the headlights of one to illuminate the seats of the other. With just a 6 volt battery to power the headlights, which although they looked big-- were mostly reflectors with small light bulbs-- "damn close" was one answer I received.

Plus, it's unclear whether Clyde turned around briskly as he and Bonnie fled the scene-- or just sped passed the family's car as seemingly implied by Billie's account?? Sowers was the incident, which after it's conclusion Dallas Sheriff "Smoot" Schmid issued his order-- that no engagement with B&C would be allowed when civilians were present. It seems that was for good reason. I've heard Clyde was incensed, that the families were fired upon that night. Based on Billie's description, it's a wonder no one from the families were shot or killed.

In his foreword to Billie's book, Clint Kelley explains that the only man Billie really hates is the former friend whom she refused to identify by name. He was the man who drove the family car on a windy night in Grapevine, when Bonnie and Clyde almost were killed as they attempted to meet with their families."That man sold them out for a used car and a few dollars," she said. "His only motive was profit. He didn't have a son to save like Mr. Methvin did."

And for all familiar with those present for the 2 back to back family meetings that fateful November in '33-- Joe Bill Francis was the man believed to have driven the families to their rendezvous with Bonnie & Clyde.  Joe Bill also likely took many of the famous family photos from the night before.. with others taking pics which included him as well.

They'll be more to come soon from Billie's manuscript. My sincere thanks to Stephanie Charlesworth from The UK, who I recall providing this hard to find photo of Billie within a past B&C debate.  A friendly reminder-- Billie Parker Moon's recollections from her manuscript are ©2010 The B&CHB by A. W. Woodward

Was Billie's account of The Sowers Ambush what you expected?? I welcome your comments.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

For Bonnie & Clyde History-- Billie Parker Moon's "Oh So" Remarkable Manuscript.. Revisited

Editor's Note-- As there's been renewed interest in viewing Billie Parker Moon's unfinished manuscript, I happily re-publish her remarkable recollections as I did "Wow"-- 6 years ago now.. in installments for all to enjoy.  So here we go..

A quite interesting aspect of Billie Jean Parker Moon's previously unseen manuscript-- is it's unique foreword & introduction. In it's unfinished form, it's a bit difficult to envision-- how what exists of Billie's book would have been revised from it's 2nd draft, to become a more unified and complete work. As such the foreword is identified, but what would likely be the introduction-- who's words paint a vivid and most passionate picture of Depression Age life, just appears-- sandwiched in between the foreword and Billie's 1st Bonnie and Clyde account of the Sowers ambush.

Be it incomplete, Billie's manuscript is uniquely important for what it is-- a most "remarkable" and welcomed addition to Bonnie & Clyde History. I thought you might enjoy reading this insightful foreword with it's revealing look into Billie, and snapshot of the times in which she and Bonnie and Clyde lived. Within these colorfully patterned words, are melded a vivid portrayal of Depression Age life-- along with Clint Kelley's impressions of Billie, and Billie's reasoning for wanting to publish a book on Bonnie and Clyde. I have searched without success so far for Mr. Kelley-- as I would like very much if possible, to speak with him concerning Billie's effort of which he was involved.

What I believe are Kelley's descriptions of the Depression Years, jump off the page so nicely at times-- that I wonder if like Billie, he too was a product of those tough and hellish years?? Based on the tenor of expressions used, I feel that may have been the case. I as many of you, have read numerous accounts of the Depression. But I've never read an expression of the 1930's quite like this. This dynamically phrased introduction, seems to bring the strained realities of those hardened times front and center.

You'll note one current politically non-correct term, which within the years of The Great Depression I would suppose appropriate-- whereas now, this racially charged description would be considered decidedly out of bounds. I find it intriguing, this term was still used in the 1970's in writing of the 1930's. However the "furor" over this word, wouldn't erupt fully until the 1990's. Don't shoot the messenger-- but instead enjoy all of what I feel is a telling look at Billie's motivation for wanting to write her book-- plus a unique insight into the times of Bonnie & Clyde. Of particular note are Billie's feelings concerning the Methvins, and her admission that she might have made a similar deal concerning the ambush-- should she have been in a position to save Bonnie. Wow!! As usual, accounts from Billie's manuscript are re-told verbatim. I believe this time, I've only corrected a spelling error or 2 along the way-- where they obviously needed to be. In the words of Clint and Billie Jean--

"Billie Jean Parker Moon is a rare lady who has mastered the art of forgiving and, in some cases, forgetting. She bears no anomosity toward anyone, even though her life and her family were irrevocably shattered during the three bullet-spattered years her sister Bonnie rode the outlaw trail with Clyde Barrow. With hindsight born in the 40 years since those fateful days, Billie has sorted out her feelings and has attempted to sort out the fact and fiction surrounding the famous duo. In this book, she is not attempting to vindicate Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. She is trying, simply, to set the record straight. "I want to tell their side of the story as they told it to me during those years when it actually was occurring," she said."

"Bonnie Parker was never in any trouble at all until she met Clyde Barrow. But when the trouble started, she stood by him and rode out the storms. In the process, since Billie was extremely close to her only sister, she found herself drawn into situations on which the law frowned. In one case, Billie was arrested and charged with the slayings of two motorcycle patrolmen, killed in a brief battle with elements of the Barrow gang. She wasn't there, as later was proven to the satisfaction of officials, but her arrest and confinement would have left scars on a lesser person. Eventually, she was sentenced to serve a year in prison as an accessory to Bonnie and Clyde."

"W. D. Jones, a member of the Barrow gang for several months, did exactly what Clyde Barrow told him to do if he ever was arrested. Jones gave police a statement saying Bonnie and Clyde had forced him to join the gang and keep him with them through use of force. Jones also said in the statement Billie was a member of the gang. While it was true that she frequently rode with Bonnie and Clyde and helped nurse them after shootings and assorted accidents, she never actually participated in any crime perpetrated by any member of the gang."

"In retrospect, Billie says she can't really hate even the Methvins, who "sold out" Bonnie and Clyde in 1934 and set up the ambush that led to their bloody deaths. "Old man Methvin was simply trying to save his son (gang member Henry Methvin)," Billie said. "I can understand his making a deal with the law to help kill Bonnie and Clyde in return for charges being dropped against Henry. If I could have made the same deal to save Bonnie, I might have done it."

"The only man she really hates is a former friend whom she refuses to identify. He was the man who drove the family car on a windy night in Grapevine when Bonnie and Clyde almost were killed as they attempted to meet with their families. "That man sold them out for a used car and a few dollars, she said. "His only motive was profit. He didn't have a son to save like Mr. Methvin did." Billie's close association with Bonnie and Clyde during their period on the run has given her valuable insights to their lives and valuable details of their triumphs and failures. As a "non-member" of the gang, she is the only person associated closely with the facts who can afford, emotionally and legally, to disclose details."

"Writing a book with Billie has proven difficult because of this attitude she has built up over the intervening 40 years. She has, in some cases, refused to name people involved with the gang, even though those names are well-known and already have been associated publicly with Bonnie and Clyde. "I know how I would feel if one of those people wrote a book and used my name," she said. "I've stayed out of the public limelight since Bonnie and Clyde were killed and I wouldn't appreciate someone stirring all that up again."

"While some people would attempt to capitalize on such a relationship, Billie has not. Ironically, her neighbors in a quiet section of Mesquite, Texas, where she resides, have no idea she is the sister of Bonnie Parker. And that's the way Billie wants to keep it. "My only interest is telling people some of the things Bonnie tried to tell them before she died." Billie said. "The kids led a rough life and they wouldn't want anyone-- then or now-- to follow in their footsteps."

Clint Kelley
January 1975
Dallas, Texas

"The world was a miserable, wretched place to be in the 1930's. It was a time when death lurked around every street corner-- death which could be as slow as starvation or as quick as a whistling machinegun bullet. It was a time when normally strong men took the easy way out and suicides became as common as sunrise. It was a time when bedraggled mothers worried because their spindle-legged children were sporting painfully bloated stomachs, heartbreaking symptoms of malnutrition. And it was a time when the pall of despair lay more heavily over the countryside than the air pollution and stench of more modern times."

"It was not a time for decision-making. Everyone and everything-- including the immediate future-- was in doubt. But it was a period when decisions were forced.. when they were wrung from the hearts and souls of every person by sheer force of poverty and circumstance. Texas, like the rest of the world, was in turmoil. While a handful of men were getting rich in the massive oil boom, the average citizen was hard-scrabbling a niggardly existence in which the staff of life was being whittled shorter with every skimpy meal. Farmers and laborers worked 18 hours a day for short wages, hoping and praying times would get better and the dinner table eventually would be laden with something besides the beans and cornbread which stood between them and death."

"The 1930's were tough times-- for everyone, everywhere."

Billie Parker Moon's manuscript is © 2010 The Bonnie & Clyde History Blog by A. Winston Woodward-- with all rights reserved. Many thanks

Monday, March 21, 2016

"Smoot" Schmid Artifacts-- For Bonnie And Clyde History, A Lost Opportunity.. At Least For Now.

For me.. one of the great joys of being involved so closely with Bonnie & Clyde History, is being contacted by those feeling they have Bonnie & Clyde-related artifacts and new historical information.  Wonderfully, sometimes it's so.. and oft times, unfortunately not.  Then there are those unique moments, when families related to Bonnie & Clyde History reach out to me.. to ask for assistance related to one endeavor or another.  I am always humbled and appreciative for such approaches and trust, re: whatever I can do to assist.  And whether my help be a little or a lot-- I always do my best to help.

So when I was contacted in November of last year by "Smoot" Schmid's family-- it was so exciting to know that a slew of quite nice Bonnie & Clyde related artifacts, had survived in his possession and had been passed down to his family.  The family talked of not wanting to pass these treasures on any longer, and of their desire to sell them. And apparently, they had already traveled a more traditional road of action, without fruition.  Thus their approach, concerning my take on what other vehicles of sale could be explored??

Well after working behind the scenes, in 1st approaching a handful of individuals I thought may be uniquely interested in pursuing this chance-- I suggested opening the opportunity up to all through an announcement here on The B&CHB.. which was agreed to and I did.  A number of individuals made their interest known.. which I forwarded promptly to the family. However outside of what seems cursory communication-- little response occurred as follow up to leads asked for.

Thus, after my too not receiving replies concerning requests for clarification regarding a stark lack of communication-- I've decided to back away from my involvement with this endeavor.  Rather-- I'll just post an e-mail address for anyone interested, along with my best wishes for all who pursue this. My take is that basic courtesy should always be in play-- especially from those who initiate desire for action in the 1st place.  Also when someone asks for my help.. reputation be respected please-- along with some appreciation for my willingness to utilize a Bonnie & Clyde historical Internet vehicle with good reach, to help achieve a goal for others.  For when I agree to help someone within this history-- I give it my all.  

It's routinely my great pleasure, to assist others within Bonnie & Clyde History.  However, when I can no longer judge the sincerity of motive or reasons for inaction.. well, that's enough for me.  I had also hoped to be able to create a post on "Smoot" the man.. which this history would benefit from. That too was agreed to but never got off the ground.. despite my attempts to make it happen. That offers till stands, and is up to "Smoots" family, should they wish for it to happen here.

My sincere apologies to all I couldn't deliver for.. and to all who've hoped Bonnie & Clyde History would benefit from "Smoot's" artifacts.  Please know, I've done my best.  

During the time of Bonnie & Clyde-- the U.S. Bureau of Investigation thought "Smoot" Schmid so uncooperative within law enforcement circles-- they nicknamed him "Smooth" Smith.. while also utilizing informants like Red Webster (a friend of "Smoots") to gain info concerning his Bonnie & Clyde investigative activities.  It was only after "Smoots" failed Sowers Ambush attempt, that Sheriff Schmid sent word through a Deputy, that from that point on.. he would cooperate with others for the good of law enforcement.

Well, apparently without a Sowers-like event.. I wish the family well, with whatever their desires are with their "Smoot" collection. It's been a distinct honor to help them, as far as I've been able to. Also, to show my sincerity in having previously felt so good in having helped with this, I leave up in it's entirety.. my previous blog post on this, visible for all to view. The only thing I've changed.. is the contact info.  Perhaps too many people take advantage of the trust they are given.  For my part-- I always appreciate trust when extended.   

For all interested in pursuing "Smoot's" artifacts further, the direct e-mail address is 

My thanks to all.. for your time, trust and understanding.