Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Sordid" Bonnie & Clyde Rumors and Innuendos Exposed

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker a nymphomaniac-- Clyde Barrow a homosexual-- W. D. Jones homosexual as well-- but never the less, he along with Henry Methvin judged useful gang members-- to drive Barrow Gang cars, assist in robberies & also satisfy Bonnie's aberrant sexual desires?!? Say it ain't so-- but many do, and can't say why?? All they know is they heard it somewhere, or it was intimated in the '67 movie??-- or they read it in some B&C book or another.

And many "keep" insisting-- there's something to these rumors, even though many close to B&C who knew them best-- have dismissed these innuendos as being nothing but creative fodder-- including W. D. Jones, in stating he never heard of these references, until the release of Bonnie and Clyde the movie. But as many know, it "was" the 1967 movie portrayal of the outlaws, which inspired resurgence of Bonnie and Clyde history and lore-- after more than 30 years of B&C having been forgotten. It was also this movie, which inspired the prolific publishing of many new books regarding the West Dallas desperadoes. 

In fact, few books were written about B&C prior to 1968, with the vast majority coming afterward. Fugitives (the families' account)-- was published in 1934-- Assignment Huntsville, the Lee Simmons book was offered in 1957-- and The Texas Rangers by Walter Prescott Webb, published in 1935-- contained a chapter on Frank Hamer, with references to Hamer's tracking of Bonnie and Clyde. I'm Frank Hamer by Jenkins and Frost came out in 1968. Most additional information concerning B&C, was contained within True Crime magazines-- with stories published at various times, but mainly nearer the time of the ambush.

But one thing seems likely-- although there were some vague references within older works where sources weren't the least bit clear, many may not have read much about these particular "sordid" Bonnie and Clyde rumors-- until the 1963 release of John Toland's The Dillinger Days. Toland's Dillinger book was one of many written by the Pulitzer Prize winning author. But one look at his body of work, makes it abundantly clear-- writing of crime wasn't his first love. Indeed Toland's forte, was in chronicling accounts of WWII history. 

Concerning his style, it's said Toland tried to write of history as straight forward narrative, with minimal analysis and judgment. This method may have been developed, from his original goal of wanting to be a playwright. After writing several plays not picked up as stage productions, Toland managed to publish an article on dirigibles in Look magazine. This article was viewed favorably-- and thus his career as an historian was born. John Toland won the Pulitzer Prize in 1971, for his book The Rising Sun-- which through interviews with high Japanese officials who survived the war, chronicles Imperial Japan from the rebellion of 1936, to the end of WWII. Toland was also acclaimed, for his biography of Adolph Hitler, for which he derived his best commercial success. While mainly a non-fiction author, Toland wrote 2 historical novels-- Gods of War and Occupation.

From a True Crime perspective, a listing of Toland's books is revealing--

> Aldolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography > Battle: The Story of the Bulge > But Not in Shame: The Six Months After Pearl Harbor > Captured by History: One Man's Vision of Our Tumultuos Century > The Dillinger Days > Gods of War > The Great Dirigibles: Their Triumphs and Disasters > In Mortal Combat: Korea 1950-1953 > Infamy: Pearl Harbor And Its Aftermath > The Last 100 Days: The Tumultuous and Controversial Story of the Final Days of World War II in Europe > No Man's Land: 1918, The Last Year of the Great War > Occupation > The Flying Tigers > and The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1936-1945.

Does anyone see a similarity, in comparing John Toland's
singular true crime effort, nestled conspicuously within his more prolific main interest-- to any modern "B&C" author's writing experiences as well?? To Toland's credit, at least his main experience "was" historical writing.

In the past I've keyed on Toland-- as to my thinking, having been the source of seedy innuendo regarding B&C's sexuality. However for this post, I felt it important to garner more B&C historical firepower. So I contacted noted Historians Jim Knight, Rick Mattix and John Neal Phillips-- to ask for their theories, concerning the source of these B&C sexual rumors. All agreed with my take, that John Toland within his 1963 book The Dillinger Days-- is likely the source of these B&C sexual expressions. Jim, Rick and John Neal-- were most gracious in weighing in with their opinions. Their thoughts combined, yielded the following appraisals in both crediting Toland for these rumors-- and dismissing credibility for these accounts within the light of reality:

John Toland indeed appears to be a major source, if not the only source of the myths of a nymphomaniac Bonnie and homosexual Clyde. As only weak footnotes exist in defending Toland's look into B&C, there is consensus-- that although he was a Pulitzer Prize winning author-- Toland used "considerable" literary license within his Dillinger book in general, and actually may have made up these risque stories concerning B&C. There seems to be no historical basis for these rumors, prior to Toland revealing them. 

I would add what I feel, is the importance of Nelson Algren's 1968 admonishment of John Toland-- for advancing these racy theories without substantiation. To me, Algren's criticism is important and timely-- as it came from a contemporary. Algren calls Toland's Dillinger Days "a volume of conjectures, surmises and easy assumptions". Algren goes on to comment, "one can only marvel at this writer's presumption. Clyde Barrow might have been a latent heterosexual without even his mother knowing".

In defense of Clyde's love and devotion to Bonnie Parker, Algren recounts Clyde's sister's comments that "Bonnie Parker was the answer to a sister's prayer for a wife for a best- loved brother". Algren theorizes that perhaps Toland derived his ideas of aberrant behavior within B&C-- from the W. D. Jones interviews, conducted once he was captured. In saving himself from the electric chair, Jones spun stories of B&C having manipulated and controlled him-- even to the extreme of W. D. having been chained to a tree. I would add, that Jones was also said to have sometimes slept in the same room as B&C-- which could also have contributed to this innuendo. But as Blanche was there to witness sleeping arrangements of the gang, and later wrote of them-- she didn't seem to find anything unusual within the haphazard circumstances the Barrow Gang often found themselves in. 

The young W. D. Jones was known to have idolized Clyde Barrow. My feeling is, although he became a killer due to his association with Clyde-- nevertheless Jones seemed to retain some touch of personal innocence, throughout the B&C years. I agree with Nelson Algren's view, that Jone's tales of manipulation-- could well have inspired the creation of some "great leap" of conjecture within John Toland-- to have caused him to create an aberrant B&C. But exactly how these sexually charged behaviors and cravings were arrived at in Toland's account-- I'm not sure anyone can say??

Some further expressions of Knight, Mattix and Phillips to this debate are that-- Clyde was known to have possessed a dominant personality. It would be unlikely for Clyde to have been thought homosexual-- and still have commanded the respect he did within criminal circles. Back in those days being tough, respected and feared-- would have been incompatible, with known homosexuality within a hardened criminal element. 

There's not much doubt concerning Clyde having been sexually abused while at Eastham. But there appears to be no link from Clyde's abuse while incarcerated, to belief's that Clyde may have changed his sexual orientation due to his Eastham experiences. Regarding the Wade McNabb story, where Floyd Hamilton claimed within his book, that Clyde was thought to have been McNabb's "wife" while at Eastham prison-- Hamilton although believed reliable for some B&C info over the years-- was thought to have been wrong in this account. Indeed McNabb and Barrow, are not known to have been within the walls of the Eastham Prison Farm at the same time.

And regarding Bonnie, although she was known to have been sexually active from a young age-- there apparently exists no bridge from her early sexuality, to any heightened out of control sexual tendencies. John Neal Phillips adds important insights, from some of his many B&C interviews, which can aid us here.  

"None of the many people I've interviewed (who actually knew Bonnie and Clyde) had any idea where the stories of Clyde's supposed homosexuality and Bonnie's alleged nymphomania (let alone the recent claims of prostitution) came from. As Marie put it to me one time, "If Clyde liked boys, what the hell was he doing with that girl (Bonnie) for two years?" Ralph Fults, Jack Hammett, Blanche Barrow, and even Floyd Hamilton described to me a Bonnie and Clyde deeply and utterly in love with one another. And TRUE to one another! Ralph took it further by telling me simply that in the underworld "you didn't mess with another man's girl. And NOBODY messed with Clyde Barrow's girl!" And the emphasis was Ralph's. W. D. Jones was equally perplexed. In an interview with reporter Kent Biffle in the late 1960's, Jones said he could not imagine where the stories about Clyde came from, adding that when he (Jones) was a convict at Eastham he never heard even the slightest hint that Barrow was homosexual, nor did he hear that Clyde had ever been another convict's 'wife'. Jones said the first time he heard such was in 1967, with the release of the movie, "Bonnie and Clyde". That would certainly fit chronologically with the earlier appearance of the Toland publication and its influence on later works, not the least of which would have been the Warren Beatty movie. I hope this helps. Thanks for the opportunity to add my two-or-three cents". 

I would add that even now, with new revelations known regarding STD's being present within the Barrow Gang and perhaps in some of it's followers-- one is still hard pressed to account for the portrayal of such lurid B&C reputations-- without looking to Toland. Unfortunately, other books have also contributed their share of unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo regarding Bonnie and Clyde. I feel there is justification and importance, in addressing some of these additional accounts of unproven lore within upcoming posts. But concerning B&C's aberrant sexuality, it appears that John Toland can firmly be credited-- for these unfounded but "scandalously memorable" innuendos.

It appears to me, that with so many questions concerning these scurrilous rumors asked so often, and accounts of these stories recounted in such a prolific way-- that oddly, there may be an element of B&C watcher, who might actually favor this scuttlebutt being true. I'm not sure why this might be so, but would hope common sense and research-- would win out over any gossip laden desires. I find it unfortunate, John Toland is no longer alive to defend himself, and explain his B&C conjecture. If anyone can locate comments from Toland, concerning his treatment of B&C within The Dillinger Days, I would appreciate your please sharing them with us. I welcome your comments, and feel many may be forthcoming.  

I wish to offer my sincere "thanks" to 3 great historians and friends in Jim Knight, Rick Mattix and John Neal Phillips-- for their gracious assistance, team effort and valuable insights-- into this great debate within Bonnie and Clyde History.


t o m said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russ1934 said...

I agree with Tommy on the idea of thinking "outside the box". It leads to the kind of thorough research in matters such as these that bring out the truth and dispel the rumors. Thanks to Jim, Rick and John Neil for helping Winston, and thanks to Winston for another great post!

Lori M said...

I'm new to the site...and I love it. Very interesting post. I agree with Tom...Clyde being a homosexual just doesn't make sense in context with the rest of the story. Would Bonnie really want to die with someone who was just her BFF?

Nor do I think someone with Clyde's personality type tolerate Bonnie sleeping around with all the gang members. It just doesn't make sense.

Thanks for the post! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Here is an account that claims that Bonnie and Clyde stopped at a Drugstore and one of the things Bonnie demanded was a box of rubbers:

The notion of Clyde preferring his own gender never made any sense to me with his devotion to Bonnie. It would have been so much easier to manage a criminal gang on the run without any women along. Why keep her by his side without a compelling reason?

Also, I am struck by the coincidence of both Bonnie and Blanche having early marriages to wayward men, and then not getting pregnant. Did they believe that all their lives? If so, why the rubbers (if that tale is true and if it really was Bonnie and Clyde and not some other hoodlums. Besides, Bonnie is depicted with a cigar in the tale.). If it is true and both were sterile, perhaps it was caused by untreated (and then untreatable) venereal disease such as gonorrhea?

A. Winston Woodward said...

As many know, I am currently involved in an investigation to determine (if possible)-- the reality of a Bonnie Parker pregnancy. Nicely done with the comment re: venereal disease and sterility. I have found it much more likely, for sterility to have been caused by gonorrhea in the 1930's-- than by any of the purported reasons given by family members, concerning sterility in either or both B&C.

But in an odd twist, venereal disease could also have been a contributing factor in causing a perceived pregnancy in Bonnie. However, there's too long a way to go within this investigation, to make any definitive statements at this point. More needs to be done, in following up the now multiple reports of a Bonnie pregnancy-- which didn't exist prior to release of the Dallas FBI Files. There's still the possibility Bonnie was indeed pregnant. I have not discounted that likelihood at all-- as of now.

So please stay tuned for more on these important developments. I am most serious in my determination to uncover if I can, additional facts or reliable information-- concerning this perhaps "most" passionate of all B&C mysteries.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed possible that Bonnie eventually got pregnant even if she did have a venereal disease that made it more difficult to concieve. It just would have been more difficult to unite sperm and egg due to tubal blockage, but then again it only takes one. The danger of ectopic pregnancy would also be high, but I've never heard of either of them reporting symptoms of that. There is also the possibility of false pregnancy or just wishful thinking. I can't wait to read what you find out about this. Obviously she wasn't visibly showing at the time of her death, or it would have been seen during the postmortem. I believe that in a skinny woman, there would have been a hard bump rising above the pubic bone, that could be easily felt once it got far enough along, even if she didn't seem pregnant when clothed. There are other signs that might have appeared that could be noticed in a superficial postmortem exam:

A. Winston Woodward said...

According to an end note in Running With Bonnie and Clyde, Dallas Daily Times Herald reporter Bill Duncan, was apparently allowed to view Bonnie's undraped body at Congers-- in addressing rumors she was 2 1/2 months pregnant when killed. Neither he nor anyone else present, was said to have been able to discern a pregnancy. It was also noted, Dr. Wade made no mention of pregnancy or the lack of it-- within his coroner's inquest report.

This is of course true, however I know now, Dr. Wade did form an opinion regarding this-- which was revealed many years later. Even though he didn't include any thoughts re: a pregnancy at the time, as Wade felt this had nothing to do with the cause of death (which was his purpose that day)-- it does seem he was aware of the possibility of a pregnancy, and thus did form an opinion.

Much yet to do on all of this. Many angles-- many roads to travel. Your medical observations are good ones. Drop me an e-mail if you'd like.

The Bonnie pregnancy discussion seems a natural progression for many, from the B&C sexual innuendo debate-- through the STD portal. Sometimes it seems, all roads lead to a Bonnie pregnancy discussion. That's why I've undertaken the quest I have-- in search of the truth.

Anonymous said...

This is totally intriguing and it would be very valuable to hear what the doctor had to say. If Clyde really was the active heterosexual that his history suggestes (as he had girlfriends, including serious girlfriends, before he met Bonnie), then Bonnie's relationship with him would - over time - involve at least the theoretical risk of pregnancy (birth control was limited in effectiveness at the time). I will try to email you today.

Anonymous said...

Reading through all of these I have to lend a women's opinion that if Bonnie was not damaged due to an STD....could she have suffered from amenorrhea (no period) due to malnutrition? I mention this because my sister who amazingly is 4'10'' and weighed under 90lbs until she was 21 had issues with this until she was on the pill. The rest of the women (four) in our family who were average sized had no problems at all. My sister's issues stemmed from the fact that she was underweight through her genes alone...I can only imagine someone who is her size not eating regular meals for days or weeks at a time!!!

Again this is just a thought from a personal experience...but something that might have merit!

A. Winston Woodward said...

Thanks for your info re: amenorrhea. I was not aware of that previously. Re: my inquiry into a possible BP pregnancy, actually I'm currently traveling a different road. As in fact it's been confirmed that Bonnie did have a STD, there are reasons why she could have experienced symptoms of a false pregnancy.

"However"-- thanks to the Dallas FBI Files and other sources, there are now enough Bonnie pregnancy accounts "independent" of one another-- so as not to discount her possible pregnancy out of hand. All the accounts need to be examined for consistencies and inconsistencies, and all efforts made to discern what was known and when-- in order to then compare these accounts with a false pregnancy scenario.

As mentioned, there's much to do. There's also a brand new wrinkle I just learned of, which is a long shot-- but could come into play within my inquiry. So please stay tuned. Thanks much for your thoughts.

Lori M said...

On a kind of related note....where did the "Clyde was impotent" rumor come from? The movie or somewhere else? I work in a library and I've come across a few articles that state he was impotent like its a proven fact. Any thoughts on this?

A. Winston Woodward said...

According to Marie and at least one of Clyde's girlfriends, Clyde was not impotent. Marie apparently claimed he was sterile, from perhaps a combination of childhood ailments, however many including myself are not so sure about that. As far as the source of seemingly yet another B&C sexual fallacy-- I can't say. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised, if John Toland's claims didn't have a ripple effect of sorts, in opening up the possibility of augmenting Toland's claims-- resulting in additional sexual issues surfacing concerning Clyde??

Lori M said...

I can see it being a rippling effect from the Toland book. I have to find a copy of that.

Oh interesting about Marie saying Clyde was sterile...especially when you read W.D. Jones' Playboy interview where he said that he heard Clyde got a previous girlfriend in the "family way". Now that could be just a rumor that was around at the time but it shows that, at least W.D., didn't think Clyde was sterile/impotent/gay...whatever.

A. Winston Woodward said...

I tend to trust in W.D.'s comments re: B&C. Even though he seemingly protected himself from the electric chair, in his interviews with the Bureau of Investigation and Dallas Sheriff's office, and likely made a deal for leniency-- I believe his comments and observations are important, in helping to sort out fact from fiction.

Anonymous said...

If one chooses to forget about the latest generation of writers and their presumptions or assertions concerning the sexual morals of Clyde where does that leave one? The statements of those who knew Clyde best. W.D. stated that he never saw any indications of homosexuality from Clyde. Marie may or may not have known. One other person who knew Clyde as a boy, a man and during the last years of his life was Joe Francis. In a very interesting conversation regarding Clyde's sexual habits Joe stated flatly that it was "hogwash". He did state that Clyde was "used" during his prison stay but that at no time did he show any signs or actions that would make one wonder if he was hetrosexual or not. One can believe revisionist history or not. I would lean more on those who knew Clyde best and had no reason to mistate the truth.

YoSafBridg said...

as far as Clyde's impotency goes according to
it was merely an invention for the film as Beatty didn't wish to play a homosexual:
"The original script had Michael J. Pollard's character, C.W., as this football
player who was to be a sexual partner to both Bonnie and Clyde. Beatty said "I'm not playing a homosexual", but Arthur Penn thought that Clyde should have
some sexual dysfunction, so they came up with him being impotent."

Jim from Atlanta said...

I disagree--WD Jones was a pathological liar--I interviewed him in 1973 in Houston Texas concerning a suicide of a soldier--Jones was obviously living with a man who supported him--Jones conveniently lies whenever it suited him--Clyde experienced homosexuality in Eatham prison--he even killed one of his rapists--Remember, murderers are not very truthful.

Jim from Atlanta said...

I never gave a hack about B&C until this year--I saw the car at a tent show in 1969, shortly after the movie came out--but I ddn't see the movie--in 1973, I interviewed WD Jones in a suicide case in Houston Tx--Jones was being supported by his male paramour--that much was obvious--he smoked continuously and was apparently a drunk--his occupation was selling qualudes and speed--I strongly suspect that he had sex with both B&C--remember, murderers in his day wanted respect--their not goin to admit homosexuality.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Jim from Atlanta--

As a number of your comments address similar issues-- for this post, I've chosen to respond to this particular comment. Since you've admitted B&C History is new to you, if you haven't already-- might I suggest familiarizing yourself with some of the better resources concerning this history. Because Eastham's affect on Clyde, seems a focus of yours in making a number of your points-- I would start with John Neal Phillips' Running with Bonnie & Clyde. Within his book, John provides well researched and valuable insights into The Eastham Prison Farm, Clyde's experiences there-- and it's influences on Clyde after being released.

Although those who believe Bonnie & Clyde were sexually deviant, often espouse pointed commentary concerning such matters-- to my knowledge, no credible evidence exists to support these assertions. Clyde "was" likely abused in prison-- but that in and of itself-- doesn't appear to be enough, to surmise a change in sexual orientation as a result of that experience. Family, friends, an ex-lover and associates of Clyde Barrow (who knew him intimately)-- have denied such accusations.

For a number of years now, I've politely challenged all who believe B&C were either gay, maladjusted sexually or sexually deviant-- to produce "facts" and discernible evidence-- not innuendo, 1/2 truths and in some cases apparent wishful thinking-- to support such claims. To this point I've heard not a word-- in building a valid case to support such rumors. For some, this topic seems fun to bandy about-- especially for those at the one extreme, who promote disparaging opinions of Bonnie & Clyde. However from an historical point of view-- that's as far as its gone.

Concerning Bonnie Parker-- again where's the proof to support sexual rumors concerning her?? To my mind, poorly researched contentions by a writer more versed in the realm of fiction-- and a vintage cartoon spoof without a noted source-- do not truth in life make. I'd be happy to listen to whatever verifiable evidence anyone might provide, in support of these claims. Throwing about opinions concerning someone's sexuality to some I suppose is fun-- and to those who enjoy casting shadows on Bonnie & Clyde, an even greater pleasure.

But without more to go on except "hey I think it's true"-- or "it must be true"-- or "I heard it was true"-- or "the movie intimates it's true"-- I don't feel the case has been made.

Many thanks for your comment.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello again Jim from Atlanta--

Regarding your previous comment-- you are the singular person I've heard of, who's called W. D. Jones a pathological liar. I might point out, your experiences with W. D. occurred some 40 years after his time with The Barrow Gang-- and which found him in likely a diminished state of character, due to what I understand was the death of his wife-- loss of his job and possibly related involvement with drugs.

So I would ask if you feel it's fair, to attempt to derive some parallel or example concerning W. D.-- from such a time so far removed from the history of Bonnie & Clyde?? And then do you also feel it fair, to make what appears to be a quite mighty leap-- of intimating some related experience concerning Clyde, due to W. D.'s circumstance of living with a man, whom you feel was helping him financially??

Some might think that, too long a leap to attempt.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Dear Winston,

I enjoy reading the posts and your articles. And, I agree with you, to wit: The previous post shows my unqualified opinion without any specific historical sources that support the claims except circumstantial evidence printed by so-called historians. The historical facts are that B&C were in love to an extreme tragic end. They seemed to feed on the exhileration of going fast, stealing, and run-ins with the law.

There does not exist any diect evidence that Clyde was homosexual or bisexual or that he and Bonnie had sex with other men--just that WD slept in the same room, night after night seems odd. Then he is replaced with Henry Methvin seems circumstantial at best.

I also found it odd when WD ran away once, B&C went out of their way to track him down and rejoin their threesome in crime.

I have read only 4 books: Go Down Together, Running with B&C, The Strange History of B&C, My Life with B&C.

There appears to be familiar undertones that show Bonnie may have been a manic-depressant, and as such, she probably had at times an aggressive sexual desire--Case studies show that such a strong desire for attention at the peak level requires more than one paramour.

And yes, in 1973, WD JOnes was a stinky degenerate when I interviewed him some 40 years after B&C. It did not dawn on me to ask specifics about his association with B&C. I was thankful to leave his stinky residence as soon as I was satisfied that he was not truthful.
Yours truly.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Jim from Atlanta--

I enjoy reading your comments, and offer thanks for your kind words. Perhaps after a few exchanges, we have a better idea of each others expectations & commenting styles. I'm pretty matter of fact, and not much for stretches of "unconfirmed truth"-- to suit extremes within this history. I would encourage you to comment, whenever you like.

Plus anyone from Atlanta is most welcome here. Even though I was born in the north, my father was from Atlanta. The old homestead was up in the NW section. I have many fond memories of visiting there over the years. I come from southern families, on both my mother and father's sides. Some key members of the early Atlanta Constitution newspaper, were family members including Clark Howell. Remus Harris, Joel Chandler Harris' grandson-- was my father's best friend, and Henry Grady who I believe is a direct descendant of the Henry Grady from the paper's early days-- was a friend and family banker with the Fulton County Bank, later Bank of the South. Etc-- etc-- so lots of history in Atlanta for me.

As a further example of my southern roots-- I'm the gr gr gr grandson of Edmund Winston Pettus-- Senator and CSA General from Selma, Alabama. Senator Pettus may be best known for his bridge in Selma-- made famous during Martin Luther King's Selma march. The General's grand daughter, was my grandmother.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Thank you--look us up if you are ever in "Atlanna-Georg-Ahh" I grew up in Inman Park near the Asa-Candler Mansion.

I often credit my career in law enforcement after having seen the B&C car at a tent show in Decatur. After helping assist in setting up the tent, I was invited to "stick my head inside but I didn't sit in it. It was smelly like a moldy smell.

I saw the Hinton movie just recently. Its a shame that forensic science was so primitive in 1934.

As for warning B&C before shooting--I doubt very seriously Hamer or Jordan said anything but "shoot."

Hamer was adamant in his biography about shoot first. ("I'm Frank Hamer" 82-3). In fact, I read somewhere that the posse was taken by surprise when Prentis Oakley shot Clyde in the head.

And, a lot of people do not comprehend that it was acceptable law enforcement practice in 1934.

Another circumstantial assumption of mine, is that Ivy Methvin was not "tied to a tree" but instead was in the road and signaled the posse when Clyde stopped to chat.

I contacted the mortician at JE Foust in Dallas. He states that he was told that Wheeler and Murphy dies of shotgun pellet wounds. 16 & 12 gauge. One has fewer pellets. There is a picture on Texas Hideout that shows pellets removed.

Which leads me to my next circumstantial assumption--Methvin claimed he shot one officer or both with a 30.06 Browning rifle. Yet there was no evidence of such wounds--then Methvin lied.
More credible that farmer Schiffer saw B&C shoot with auto shotguns--
Just my opinion--strictly circumsatntial.
Very truly, Jim

A photograph exists that shows two auto-shotguns propped at the rear of the B&C car taken shortly after the ambush. I can positively identify the models as one 16 gauge auto and one 12 gauge auto both sawed off.

A. Winston Woodward said...

There are 2 or 3 clear photos of the death car shot from above, seemingly from the blind where the posse was positioned. The camera was apparently facing west, showing a number of ambush posse weapons on top of the Warren car. Auto shotguns, a BAR (Hinton's)-- and what appears to be one of the Remington Model 8s, it seems are visible. I'm not convinced Hamer had a Colt Monitor there. And with all respect to "I'm Frank Hamer"-- I don't feel many B&C Historians would put much faith in the accounts from that book. Jordan stated within a detailed interview, that Hamer used an automatic shotgun as his weapon of choice that day.

Within interviews after the ambush, Hamer said he shouted out a warning at Sailes. Then Jordan within a true crime mag interview later that year, said he shouted out the warning. Also Bob Alcorn within his day of ambush interview for The Dallas Morning News, said he shouted the warning. Then we have the Hinton version from Ambush, where he said that Alcorn called out the warning. That's 2 Alcorns, one Hamer and a Jordan. If this were cards-- I suppose Alcorn would win the hand.

I'm not fully convinced by any of the ambush accounts. This latest Baker account is intriguing, but may not have enough to back up it's accuracy. But then again, none of the ambush accounts in my mind are convincing. However, this latest account does provide what other ambush accounts haven't-- an explanation for the discernible pause heard after Oakley's first couple of shots, by those in the fields nearby. I'll address this within my Retribution follow up.

According to "Boots" Hinton, his father related that the shotgun shells used at the ambush, were loaded with the largest shot for maximum impact.

If you have a copy of the coroner's report from Grapevine, or any official document detailing Wheeler and Murphy's wounds-- please e-mail me. I would like very much to obtain a copy of that, if you'd be so kind. It seems from the shell casings said found at Grapevine (one of which was a rifle casing)-- that many shots were fired. I still feel one individual, would have trouble firing the number of weapons apparently involved within that short a period of time. It just doesn't seem logical to me. It seems more likely, for 2 shooters to have used say 2 weapons each-- than for 1 shooter to have fired multiple times-- then pick up more weapons to fire again.

Henry Methvin was said to have told Emma Parker that he killed both officers. That was supposedly later that day, when Bonnie dropped off Sonny Boy the pet rabbit-- as an Easter gift for Emma.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Dear Winston,

I was referring to a picture of the weapons stacked at the rear of the death car--it cleraly shows two auto shotguns leaning on the rear bumper. However, the inventory shows they were 12 gauge and 10 gauge not 16 gauge as I had previously thought.

Which leads us to the next problem.

According to your article, "Was Grapevine the Turning Point" you show that:
"News accounts from the time, list the spent shell casings found as including-- (3) 16 gauge shotgun shells, (5) .45 caliber auto shells, (3) 12 gauge shotgun shells and (1) rifle shell (thought to be from a BAR)." That would indicate at least three shooters, eh?

But, the Gibsland posse's inventory did not show a 16 gauge only a 12 gauge auto and a 20 gauge auto.

I'm guessing that the 16 gauge shells found at Grapevine were actually 20 gauge from Bonnie's whipit shotgun.

BTW: In 1969, the death car was owned by Ted Toddy an Atlanta film producer--I think he was the "tent-man" who showed the car in Decatur.

Jim from Atlanta said...

According to Hamer, he used a Remington .35 caliber with 20 round clip. Id. 232.

Popular history records that Hinton borrowed Hamer's Colt Monitor. Prentis Oakley borrowed a Remington Model 8 from the town banker.

The posse obviously lied about yelling a warning--LOL

I believe that Clyde slowed down to a stop with his foot holding the clutch when he saw Ivy Methvin in the road.

As the car stopped, Methvin asked Bonnie if she saw Henry--then Metvin jumped behind his Chevrolet truck--at this sign, Oakley accidentally shot Clyde in the head--Bonnie screamed--the posse opened up--the end of B&C. On a good note, I believe Bonnie died instantly, because she still held her bacon sandwich in her hand at the funeral home and her cigarette pack rested in her lap. All signs of instant death.

Jim from Atlanta said...

I think we agree:

"It seems more likely, for 2 shooters to have used say 2 weapons each-- than for 1 shooter to have fired multiple times-- then pick up more weapons to fire again."

Yes, I think the collection of shells aupports Schieffer's eye witness account of the Grapevine shooting. You can see him live on youtube.

I am a little perturbed as to Bonnie's whipit gun--and the 16 gauge shells--I suspect the shells found at Grapevine were 20 gauge noy 16.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Please search out the posts entitled Bonnie's Sweet 16-- and Bonnie's Sweet 16 Re-Visited. Jim Knight clarified, that Hamer's inventory from the death car was botched when re-printed. Hamer's original inventory, apparently showed that gun to be a 16 gauge. Jim notes the source material for Hamer's inventory. Both Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton said that was a 16 gauge, which they called Bonnie's Sweet 16-- as it was found near her in the Warren car. Clyde was believed to have killed a number of his victims, with that 16 gauge shotgun.

Concerning Ted Toddy-- did you know when Ted Hinton testified at the Toddy trial to authenticate the Ted Toddy car as "the" death car-- that Hinton testified under oath, that Ivy Metnvin was handcuffed to a tree at the ambush site??

And you seem to be doing your best to pin a murder at Grapevine on Bonnie. Why?? Don't forget-- Billie Mace and Floyd Hamilton were arrested based on William Schieffer's account of the shootings. Schieffer couldn't ID Bonnie as the woman he saw. I believe Schieffer's account was noted to have changed as he re-told it.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Well, popular history is apparently wrong.

One of the posse weapons noted within photographs as seen on top of the death car, is a BAR. Ted Hinton was said to have had a BAR-- I don't think there's much doubt about it, as noted by himself-- other posse members and those photos. It seems to me, you may be putting a bit too much emphasis on believing all that's written within "I'm Frank Hamer". I don't.

Also concerning B&C post Grapevine-- you are right, my mistake-- brain freeze. It was said the family actually did set off for their clandestine meeting, but never found B&C-- and didn't know what had occurred earlier, until Henry Barrow told them of the murders. However I don't think it's known to be clear, exactly where B&C headed 1st?? April 1st to 4th seems a mystery. On April 4th they were spotted in Durant, Oklahoma-- then in DeKalb, Texas and by the 5th had been noted in Texarcana, Arkansas.

Also Marie and Cumie Barrow seemed to do their best to deny Clyde's wrong doings. It was written, that Cumie even thought Clyde was being framed. Marie was noted to have followed in her brother's footsteps, into low level crimes-- but was rumored to have perhaps murdered someone herself?? Ah those rumors.

A. Winston Woodward said...

The 16 gauge shotgun shells said to have been recovered at Grapevine, lend support to the contention that 16 and 20 gauge shotguns were recovered from the death car.

I've reviewed Jim Knight's comments, in response to the original post entitled Bonnie's Sweet 16. Jim's comments can be found within the follow up post-- Bonnie's Sweet 16 Revisited. As I recall, Jim and I also discussed the death car weapons inventory by phone.

The original Hamer inventory, was published in the 1935 book Texas Rangers. When Frost and Jenkins did I'm Frank Hamer-- apparently they transcribed the death car weapons inventory wrong. They listed both 10 and 20 gauge shotguns being present-- when Hamer's actual inventory showed 16 and 20 gauge weapons. I hope this helps to clarify questions over the 16 gauge gun, which is thought to have been Clyde's weapon of choice in killing a number of his victims.

To me, the key to Schieffer's eye witness account is whether he was positioned close enough to the Grapevine scene-- to discern whether it was a man or woman who was likely the 2nd shooter?? It seems possible that William Schieffer saw what he said he saw, but then the Giggals came upon the scene with Clyde and Henry standing over the bodies. However I don't believe Schieffer's account, was noted to have been consistent when told. Then you have the Henry Methvin story as told to Emma Parker. Now of course it's likely, that the families would stand up for their own. However, I don't believe it's fair to state that because criminals lie, that Methvin wasn't telling the truth concerning Grapevine-- or that if lying-- he wasn't covering for Clyde instead of Bonnie. There are a number of possibilities here.

Jim from Atlanta said...

Dear Winston,

Re: A follow up on our previous dicussions.

After carefully re-reading and watching all eyewitness accounts of the Grapevine Murders of two Texas Police Officers, consideration of the shell casings found at the scene, your information concerning the two sawed-off automatic shotguns, undertaker's comments etc., I am of the following belief that what occured Easter morning at Grapevine, Texas, to wit:

Bonnie and Methvin had just polished off a bottle of liquor and one of them tossed the bottle close to the car into a field. (Bonnie's fingerprints were found on the glass bottle and I suspect so were Henry Methvin's).

Bonnie sat on the running board next to Clyde. They were both armed waiting for Ray hamilton to drive by at any time. The plan was to ambush Hamilton.

The aforementioned facts are not in dispute. The following is my opinion only.

According to farmer Schieffer, he was curious as to the persons parked up the hill from his house. Under the pretense of hauling a few stones, he positioned himself at a parallel angle approximately 100 feet from Clyde's position. Scheiffer would then be at a slightly higher elevation from B&C.

Schieffer specifically stated at each interview that a man and a woman stood up as the two motorcycle officers approached and parked a little below where B&C parked.

He went on to say that both man and woman then fired weapons at the officers while a taller man fired a pistol from in front of the parked car.

Scheiffer then became confused because it was Methvin who picked up a BAR and shot one of the officers as he lay prone and mortally wounded on the dirt road.

His recollection was diminished due to the duck effect--that is when shooting erupts, it is instinctive to duck for cover.

After the shooting ceased, Scheiffer heard someone say his head bounced like a ball. I suspect that was Methvin's words, not Bonnie.

As for Ivy Methvin, he blackmailed Hamer into helping with Henry Methvin's murder case in Oklahoma. Hamer protected Ivy from public scrutiny for his part in putting B&C "on the spot" as they said. I believe Hamer and Texas knew that Henry committed murder on that day in Grapevine, Texas. That is why certain officials to this day are very relunctant to share information regarding the specific evidence found at the scene.

There had to be more than one shooter--It is more likely that three shooters were involved.

Just my educated guess--

Bonnie's Scream Ambush:

B&C were on their way to pick up Henry Methvin at Ivy Methvin's place. B&C saw Ivy Methvin apparently broke down on the side of the road. Clyde slowed to speak with Methvin which accounts for Clyde's head tilted to his right when Ivy jumped for cover. Clyde's attention shifted to his left side when Oakley's bullet found it's mark.

Prentiss Oakley fired a 30 caliber round striking Clyde on the left side of his head at a 45 degree angle. The bullet entered front of the left ear (temple) and exited 2 inches over the right ear. The high caliber projectile passed through Clyde's head and struck Bonnie in her spine causing instant body paralysis and her unnerving piercing scream--this would account for the clutched sandwich and pack of cigarettes on her lap.

This would also follow common sense that her body was lifeless at the first shot.

Gruesome but that would be my analysis.

Your friend,

A. Winston Woodward said...

A lot of detailed supposition-- however Mr. Scheiffer was believed much too far away to have heard any conversation, and perhaps too far away to give an accurate view of the carnage. As it turned out, he could not identify Bonnie Parker as the woman he saw. The Giggals' eyewitness account seems more credible to me-- in viewing the tall and shorter "men" from down the hill straight on. If you've ever been to the Gravevine scene-- that corner isn't that far away.

Also the law used Grapevine to accuse Billie of the crime. Now of course, this could well have been an attempt in vain to pressure her. But if Mr. Scheiffer's account was that reliable-- they couldn't have fingered Billie.

A. Winston Woodward said...

P.S. Nobody knows the timing, angles and marks of each shot-- unless you believe in the Jeff Guinn millisecond by millisecond analysis, via a report he used-- which to me was dubious and crafted without proper expertise or authentication. To me, Guinn employed undue sensationalism based on unfounded supposition.

Charles J. Conrad said...

As far as the Bonnie and Clyde movie from 1967, I did not see anything in that film to give me the impression Clyde was bisexual. The Ed Crowder abuse situation wasn't even mentioned. In the script, he told Bonnie "I ain't no lover boy." But we find out later that meant he was impotent...until near the end of the movie where he finally consummated the relationship with Bonnie in the country field. From everything I have read, I haven't known of any true indication Clyde engaged in sexual oddities or suffered with any serious dysfunction. Perhaps only Bonnie knew if he was ever impotent or not, but it's not like that would be some's quite common among men. Whoever was spreading these rumors was obviously expressing their wild imagination, as is also common among human beings. Anyway, thanks for adding some clarity to these rumors.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Charles-- You're welcome. Still looking into this. Hope to have more insight, perhaps with a renewed examination of Frank Hamer. Feel there may be more there to sort out re: B&C rumors.

Melissa Noonan said...

I read somewhere that the "Clyde is impotent" thing was invented by the movie because the writers wanted to give him a "sexual oddity" and Warren Beatty refused to play as a gay man so they decided to have him being impotent.

Clyde had girlfriends before Bonnie and according to W.D. Jones got one of them in the family way(impregnated)and her family sent her to live with a relative in another state. So I doubt he was sterile or impotent. Ray Hamiltons girlfriend said Bonnie was pregnant and Henry Methvins sister was pregnant at the time and stated that Bonnie was as far along as she was. It's possible if she was that some or all of their family members legitimately didn't know.

Conroegal said...


You mentioned in your previous comments that "As in fact it's been confirmed that Bonnie did have a STD". Just an idea here. Isn't there a big possibility that Bonnie got the STD from Clyde who was apparently sexually assaulted when he was imprisoned at Eastham Prison Farm? Just because Bonnie was confirmed to have an STD does not mean that she was sleeping around while he was in jail or sleeping with other gang members like some comments have mentioned. This could be a potential reason as to why she never got pregnant, despite family members belief that she had complications during her marriage with Roy.

But then again, Bonnie met Clyde before he was imprisoned and supposedly raped and possibly before the STD transfer??

Just thoughts.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Conroegal-- So many possibilities here. An interesting fact though-- giving rise to rumor and fodder alike. Based on evidence both published and unpublished-- I am one who does believe it likely Bonnie was pregnant when killed. Research still ongoing, but the STD thing is an interesting twist. However remember in those days, STDs were not unusual-- especially in sexually active young people. Thanks for your comment.

episonik said...

Why is being gay sordid? This article is weirdly written. Seems rather homophobic

A. Winston Woodward said...

So you have evidence Clyde Barrow was gay?? Let's hear it. There is no evidence I am aware of which would support your view.. or your nonsensical comment.

Tony M said...

ever since the film in '67 I've been interested in this pair. the movie is indeed partly responsible for the rumors about Clyde's sexuality.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Tony--

I responded to your comment on the "Was Clyde's Sexuality Ambiguous" post.. including providing a link to the pic you inquired about.. the one with Clyde holding Raymond Hamilton's hand. Thank you for your comments.