Friday, September 25, 2009

More Wellington Insights

It's said a picture's worth a 1000 words. Well one look at the Barrow Gang car burned at Wellington that summer night in 1933-- says it all. It appears from this fabulous pic of the burned car seemingly taken the next day, that Bonnie, Clyde and W. D. may have cheated death that fateful night.

Quoting from the Winston Ramsey book (which all should own)-- "Jack and Alonzo rushed down the hill expecting to see the vehicle wrecked and the occupants dead. Instead they found the car-- a 1933 five window Ford coupe-- still largely in one piece sitting upright but facing the way it had just come. They tried the doors but found them jammed. Suddenly a voice came from inside the car. "Hey, can you give me a lift?" After working on the right- hand door for a few minutes they finally got it open and assisted the man out. He told them he didn't think he was hurt but that there were two more people inside. Both were unconscious and it was only with great difficulty that they were extracted. The woman's right leg was bruised and bleeding and had been burned with sulphuric acid from the battery, situated beneath the front floorboards, which had been smashed in the crash. The other passenger showed no visible injuries and his friend brought him around by shaking him."

"At this point Jack and Alonzo became somewhat alarmed as the men began passing out pistols, shotguns, rifles and ammunition and something which to the young farmers looked suspiciously like a machine gun. The slightly- built woman, wearing a plain gingham dress, was still unconscious so the taller of the two men ordered Jack Pritchard to carry her up to the house but, as soon as he had picked her up, she began struggling and kicking so violently that he nearly dropped her. Jack tried to quieten her by telling her he would go to fetch a doctor but this caused her to fly into a fresh frenzy of kicking, scratching and cursing. Meanwhile the guns were being moved by the other two men. When the woman asked Jack if he knew who they were, she is reported to have told them "they're Clyde and Buck Barrow" but this may either be misreporting or because Bonnie did not want to reveal the identity of Jones"

My thanks to Winston Ramsey, for this truly insightful photo and quote-- apparently reconstructed from eyewitness accounts. And from me to you, a not too shameless plug for this "wonderful" book-- On the Trail of Bonnie and Clyde Then and Now. To me, a must have and must read B&C resource.


Russ1934 said...

So, did the car just catch fire from being hot and maybe some fuel leakage, or did Clyde go back and torch it?

A. Winston Woodward said...

I've never heard anything about anyone setting the car on fire deliberately. Reports at the time, noted the car burned from the crash. It is documented now, that Clyde "wanted" to return to the car-- as witnessed by their hostages, to retrieve license plates from cars they had stolen. Clyde felt they could be traced via those plates, and he was right-- they were. But Bonnie was witnessed protesting that idea-- and she won out.

As there were 2 reliable witnesses with Clyde, Bonnie and W. D. until they were far away-- I feel you can be sure, Clyde didn't go back to Wellington for any reason.

BarefootOkieGal said...

This is the first time I've ever seen a photo of this car - awesome! As you can tell, I'm going back through some older posts, catching up - I've read just about every Bonnie & Clyde book that my local library carries, and I don't think this photo has been in any of them. Probably time for me to do a better library search!

It's amazing that Bonnie survived this whole ordeal - when I read of the scars that these burns left as reported in the Coroner's report, I can hardly imagine how much agony she must have been in. To me, one of the things that makes Bonnie and Clyde so fascinating is their love for one another - and the fact that Bonnie would not consider leaving Clyde although going into the hospital would probably have been the recommended things to do, and the fact that Clyde would not just desert Bonnie (didn't someone suggest that they'd find her shot by the side of the road, because Clyde wouldn't want to be saddled with the burden of someone who needed such care) touch me deeply.

BarefootOkieGal said...

It looks as if I will have to buy Ramsey's book - my public library does not seem to have a copy of it, although I searched their on-line catalog. (Grrrr - I don't think I've ever read this one, and now I need to chase down a copy!)