Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Bonnie & Clyde Holiday Polls-- "Ho Ho Oh"-- A Most Challenging Lot

The Holiday Edition Bonnie & Clyde Polls lived up to expectation, in being challenging to many. So along with the wonder of the Holidays-- an always keen interest in Bonnie & Clyde and perhaps a well deserved Holiday beverage in place-- here we go.

Prentiss Oakley's death certificate, reveals that Dr. J. L. Wade noted Arthritis as being a contributing cause of the vascular heart disease which killed Prentiss Oakley. Oakley died on October 15th, 1957 at his home at 904 Third Street in Arcadia, Louisiana. There have been rumors published, that Prentiss Oakley may have committed suicide. That dramatic an end for Oakley would appear to fit well to some, in drawing a macabre Bonnie & Clyde connection-- with the mysterious head on collision which killed Henderson Jordan not long afterward in June 1958. However Oakley's death certificate, which a well respected Dr. James Wade affixed his signature to-- seems to rebuff that assertion.

Ivy Methvin was struck and seriously injured in a reported hit and run accident on December 21st, 1946-- on highway 71 outside of Elm Grove, LA. A week later on December 28th-- Ivy would die from his injuries. Whether Ivy Methvin and/or his son Henry were killed deliberately as retribution for the deaths of Bonnie & Clyde as some believe, or died as a result of a tragic accidents-- has been a matter of contention for decades.

The Livingston Ranch was a suspected Bonnie & Clyde hideout near Sayre, Oklahoma. It was located in the area near the bridge where Bonnie, Clyde and W. D. Jones along with their lawman hostages Corey and Hardy-- met up with Buck and Blanche Barrow after the Wellington incident. The ranch was owned by Col. Bert Livingston, who it's said positioned machine guns as a deterrent to those who would snoop there. This suspected outlaw stronghold apparently also had a more official protection in place, as according to the U.S. Bureau of Investigation-- law enforcement near the Livingston Ranch couldn't be counted on. It was also thought The Barrow Gang, may have been harbored by Bert Livingston's son George Livingston who lived nearby.

It was U. S. Bureau of Investigation Dallas Special Agent in Charge Frank Blake, who called The Barrows "the toughest bunch of outlaws at large". And not surprisingly to some, it was Tommy Harryman brother of slain Joplin lawman Wes Harryman-- who showed up in Dallas in July of 1933, admittedly resigned to wanting to kill Bonnie & Clyde or assist others in doing so.

Concerning the January 6th, 1933 shooting at the Lillie McBride house-- reportedly a wanted and on the run Odell
Chambless (Gene O'Dare's brother in law)-- had come and gone at the McBride house at an earlier time, having looked to Ray Hamiton's sister for assistance. As such, it was Clyde Barrow who it's said showed up at the McBride house at about sundown on January 6th, to check on the unrelated status of hacksaw blades being smuggled to Ray who was jailed at Hillsboro. Clyde, Bonnie and W. D. Jones would return later that night, for what would result in the deadly encounter with Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis. Davis was part of a joint Dallas and Tarrant County lawman's task force, charged with locating Chambless. Unbeknownst to Clyde-- and thanks to quick thinking by the law who figured out the outlaw's warning light, he walked right into the wrong trap-- and escaped in a hail of bullets, shotgun blasts and death.

It was a pretty good bet, that Bonnie & Clyde were involved in the hold up of the 1st National Bank of Stuart, Iowa on April 16th, 1934-- once the Iowa license plates 13-1234 witnessed during the robbery were found in the B&C death car. Until that time-- Bonnie & Clyde had not officially been linked to that robbery. And finally I suppose, Blanche Barrow would be most closely associated with Christmas-- as Blanche passed away on Christmas Eve 1988, at the age of 77.

So there you have it, the 2010 Holiday Bonnie & Clyde Polls. The inaugural batch of 2011 polls will be up and running by mid January. As always, I hope you've found the B&C Polls interesting and informative. Might I suggest that at some point-- all obtain a copy of the Bonnie & Clyde Dallas FBI Files from whatever source you can. They're great historical reading, and to my thinking provide a vital historical supplement-- to the many B&C books written prior to this newly found wealth of B&C knowledge being available. In addition, the Dallas files can sometimes come in handy concerning the B&C Polls. If interested, look for my dual CD offer here on the blog-- and I'll be happy to send some indispensable B&C info your way. Thanks as always-- for your participation in The B&CHB Bonnie & Clyde Polls.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bonnie's Bloodied Glasses-- Another Bonnie & Clyde Mystery Searching for Focus

With thanks to Cindi-- a teaser of a 2010 year end Bonnie & Clyde topic. Cindi had e-mailed asking about Bonnie's bloodied glasses, which were said to have been worn by Bonnie Parker at the time of the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde. I as many have been aware of Bonnie's purported eyeglasses, which possess such a uniquely personal and poignant reminder of Bonnie's life through the image of her blood-- but I must admit I've never spent an adequate time focused upon them.

The story goes that after Bonnie Parker, the next owner of the glasses was Sheriff Thomas R. Hughes of Caddo Parish, Louisiana. Caddo Parish includes the Shreveport area of the state, which is located approximately 50 miles from the ambush site. How Sheriff Hughes obtained them, I'm not sure is known. In 1938 Sheriff Hughes was said to have presented the glasses to Art Olson of East Tulsa, Oklahoma. To my knowledge, what connection these 2 men shared is also a mystery. There was also an intermediary noted within that transaction named Cecil Harberson. Mr. Olson was then said to have given Bonnie's glasses to a man named D. A. Bryce. Upon the death of Bryce, his niece in settling his estate-- returned the glasses to A. O. Olson in 1976. The current owner of the glasses is a man from Massachusetts known as Steve E. At least one photo of Bonnie's Death Glasses, depicts the glasses within a case from the Southern Optical Company-- which if this case was found along with the glasses, may well indicate these to have been prescription eyeglasses.

Cindi points out that there is no mention of Bonnie needing glasses within popular Bonnie & Clyde accounts. Also, I don't believe there are any photos known with Bonnie wearing glasses. This leads us to the obvious question of why and when Bonnie needed help in seeing clearly?? Also why no one over the years has seemingly thought to research mention of these glasses from the death car, and attempt to link them to the provenance documented concerning these spectacles of Bonnie's-- is also unclear.

Interestingly-- Clyde's sunglasses were most conspicuously noted at the time of the ambush, and can be seen still dangling from his face both when Clyde was removed from the Warren car-- and also when photographed upon 1st being displayed in Congers. Mention of Clyde's sunglasses, is also written of within Professor Carroll Rich's Bonnie & Clyde accounts. There are also accounts known, of Bonnie having had a road map in her lap when killed. If so, then glasses would make perfect sense with which to read the fine print of that road map. I've viewed images of a 1934 road map perhaps similar to the one Bonnie was scouring. I know even when blown up-- it's hard for example, to discern the route number (LA Route 418)-- that Bonnie & Clyde were traveling that fateful day.

Perhaps it was just never thought of, to reveal Bonnie's need for glasses within family accounts concerning her. I found the same held true within my B&C Signatures investigation, in trying to determine whether Bonnie & Clyde were right or left handed. As it turned out, those who would ultimately provide that human detail not found elsewhere-- had never been asked that question before. A close examination of Bonnie's bloodied glasses shows perhaps a small crack within the right lens-- but otherwise sans the obvious blood present along with a missing nose guard-- these glasses seem in remarkably good shape for the number of shots Bonnie took to the head. Whether or not they were still resting upon Bonnie's face when the shooting stopped, or found later within the car and by whom would be interesting to know-- as no clear image of Bonnie's face in death, seems to exist prior to those taken at Congers.

Many thanks to Cindi, for a great B&C talking point for this year end post.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Bonnie and Clyde Q&A-- What Affect Did Bonnie & Clyde Have On Society??

The fact that throngs of strangers felt compelled to attend their funerals-- is a testament to the living legends Bonnie & Clyde became within their time. But what impact did Bonnie & Clyde's well publicized reign of terror and subsequent bloody demise, have on a Depression torn populous-- and what lasting legacy if any, did their martyrdom have which may have survived until today??

One way to ponder these compelling thoughts is to ask-- what affect did Bonnie & Clyde have on society?? Now that's as loaded a question as a BAR locked on full auto-- and one asked here often in one form or another. But as I suppose a doctoral thesis could be disseminated on this subject, I'm not sure an historical post can do this topic the justice it deserves. However I'm willing to take a stab at this engaging query, while also asking others to please add their perspectives as well.

Outside the parameters of the Southwestern United States and within a much larger picture, Bonnie & Clyde were very much a product of their times-- The Great Depression. This impoverished paradox of a time period, created "both" some of the most painful malaise and heroic feats of human determination ever witnessed. Those uniquely dramatic years, were filled with more than their share of heartache and misery for many-- which levied heart wrenching pressures on people's hopes, dreams and lives.

Gender roles were altered during the Depression, when the traditional image of a strong male breadwinner was lessened. Wives and children of most any age, were thrust into odd but necessary positions as family providers. Often, just keeping families intact was a challenging task. Otherwise motivated couples put off weddings, while many delayed divorce-- as often it wasn't deemed a responsible choice, to contemplate beginning or dissolving a family during such hard times. Indeed the reality of The Great Depression from a perspective of survival-- was "all hands on deck". Young children were compelled to grow up fast, and often forgo schooling-- in order to be useful for more practical endeavors. Pressures within the family unit ran high, as both money matters and disagreements over the most basic of human necessities-- lay at the heart of everyday life.

Not unlike the pressures exerted on families-- pressures tearing at the fabric of society during the Depression Years could be extreme. Mistrust in government and institutions ran high, as many in the mainstream seemingly lost trust in the ability of their leaders and others in authority-- to make a difference in helping facilitate basic human needs. While it's been reported that the general crime rate decreased during this period-- crimes of passion and murders due to robbery increased. Suicide rates also rose, although the image of people jumping to their deaths wasn't as common as has been portrayed in Depression Age lore. However 17.4 suicides per 100,000-- did become a painful statistic and reminder of a most troublesome time.

Concerning outlaws such as Bonnie & Clyde, they seemed a not unexpected by-product of what some might call an understandable lawlessness. At it's worst, this rash of violent crime had the potential of erupting into anarchy. And as within Civil War times just 70 years before-- any hint of anarchy needed to be repelled. Although the vast majority of law abiding citizens were just that-- when times were bad and champions were hard to come by-- emboldened criminals could indeed be envisioned as heroic figures. Then just as in creating the perfect blend of anything-- add the components of Bonnie & Clyde. Add the passion of 2 young lovers, who formed an exceedingly rare outlaw couple along with their gang. Throw in the image of a woman viewed as tough and gritty, flirting with people's imaginations and grabbing headlines. Then top it off with stories of this couple, who fought against all odds to survive over and over while pulling off nearly impossible feats of escape and bravery-- and well, the law perhaps never stood a chance-- in the court of public fascination versus such an impassioned pair of opponents.

In reporting on Bonnie & Clyde, the print media although portraying B&C events as accurately as they could-- also spun editorial content and satirical expressions-- which sometimes appeared to mock law enforcement's inability to bring one smallish man and his woman companion to justice. But of course in the end, the newspapers were also quick to point out 'ol sparky's patience-- in waiting in the wings for this loving pair of Texans, should they be caught. However the Texas electric chair would never be warmed by Bonnie & Clyde-- as instead, an ambush posse of 6 in Louisiana enacted their own brand of justice-- by both shooting their way to a much needed victory and propelling Bonnie & Clyde to immortality, through the sheer carnage of their actions. But some might question the level of victory these men achieved?? To me it's a fair question to ask, whether martyrdom has been more kind to Bonnie & Clyde-- than victory ever was to law enforcement?!?

I've chosen to comment, when others feel it fair to draw some comparison between today's moral standards and those of the 1930s. Based on a lack of public outcry-- as I view it, May 23rd, 1934 may have well been considered just another day in Depression Age America. Although the end for Bonnie & Clyde made for great headlines-- to my knowledge, this event caused little admonishment of the law, nor reform of outlaw hunting-- nor some congressional call for criminal rights adjustments. If anything quite the opposite seemed true-- as advantages held by outlaws of the '30's over law enforcement, fueled frustrations which led to laws and tactics being strengthened-- to help battle those who would aspire to be the scourge of society. The advent of a national law enforcement presence to combat using state lines as a shield, along with radio patrol cars and improved law enforcement weaponry-- would prove to be the undoing of many a criminal in the post Bonnie & Clyde era. And those criminals have Bonnie & Clyde to thank in part, for their more modern tactical misfortunes.

Indeed the tenor of the times in the '30's were so much different than today-- that realistically, a comparison of the 2 for purposes of providing argument supported by superimposing today's moral standards upon those which existed then-- seems uniquely unfair. As the 1930's were closer in both years and reality (just 50 years removed)-- from the mentality of an 1880's Wild West-- than we are now to the '30's (some 80 modern years later)-- things were more aptly "the way they were" then. Truly a different time and place in history. Bonnie & Clyde being hunted down and brutally ambushed by a posse laying in wait-- apparently just wasn't that unusual for those times. Imagine if that ambush occurred today. Many gangsters of the '20's and outlaws of the '30's met violent ends-- although not as dramatically. And just as within Wild West times, the bullet riddled bodies of Bonnie & Clyde were displayed before a morbidly curious public-- who didn't think twice of making it "an event" to view the dead bodies of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and then discuss it later over dinner.

Even Bonnie & Clyde's family members were noted to have held differing opinions of the inevitable and it's aftermath. It's been said, that Henry Barrow in talking with Ted Hinton told Hinton something to the effect that-- I know you're going to have to kill my boy, for he won't go back to prison. And then in a remarkably honorable expression, Barrow told Hinton-- I just want you to know there are no hard feelings. But conversely after the ambush, it was Emma Parker who may have echoed what many felt-- in seemingly criticizing the cowardice of the ambush posse-- for employing stealth laden tactics in waylaying Bonnie & Clyde, instead of facing them straight up. A similarly reported comment by Charles Stanley "The Crime Doctor"-- while displaying the Warren Death car at Austin, Texas-- resulted in Frank Hamer taking the stage and slapping Stanley for his right of free expression.

So what was learned concerning the deaths of Bonnie & Clyde?? I'm not sure. Perhaps a reinforcement of the age old adage that crime doesn't pay. Or that true love never dies. Or maybe some lesson in needing to end deadly rampages sooner, to prevent additional loss of life. Or for newsboys, it may have been thought "Shoot-- there go our best headlines". I'd love to find some well researched account of what affects Bonnie & Clyde had on society. What was the affect of the ambush carnage among members of law enforcement?? Were children counseled by teachers, in learning lessons from the example of Bonnie & Clyde?? And what about Bonnie & Clyde's influences on the treatment of criminals in their wake??

Perhaps we can point to the strengthening of public safety as a societal impact of Bonnie & Clyde, with law enforcement learning from weaknesses turned to strengths-- as a result of battling these and other 1930's outlaws, who turned the law's shortfalls into criminal advantages. However much as we might like to learn of these societal impacts, in reality it seems The Story of Bonnie & Clyde may be a more personal one-- filled with personal recollections, one on one anecdotes and family impacts. I'm also not sure it could be said that dubious police actions were in any way corrected, as a result of Bonnie & Clyde's ambush. Many famous examples exist, where loss of life may have resulted from questionable police judgment-- such as the 1993 Waco siege and 1969 Chicago Fred Hampton raid.

It was the '67 movie Bonnie & Clyde, that brought memories of the actual outlaws back to life after having fallen into obscurity. But the ambush scene as filmed-- somehow seems kinder to me, than I envision the hell and finality of the actual event having been. I would think just the overwhelming smell of cordite in the air, would have made breathing difficult and burned the eyes of the ambush posse members. In that regard it may have taken more than a few seconds, to really focus on the 2 shattered bodies which lay in front of them-- as a reminder of a job well done in the eyes of the law. Realistically Bonnie & Clyde had to be stopped-- and they were.

Whenever this topic arises, I can't help but think in terms better understanding the pain filled and socially complicated Depression driven years of the 1930's-- as providing the best opportunity to address this multifaceted historical question. To me it's wrong of us now, to attempt some self righteous moral kidnapping of 1930's America. Our grandparents and great grandparents were their own people in their own time, with their own values and sense of right and wrong. I'm sure many times that fateful May evening it was said-- "Yep--they got Bonnie & Clyde today-- shot 'em to pieces". I suppose comments like "it's a shame" or "should've gotten them sooner"-- were all the rage.

What impact did Bonnie & Clyde have on society?? That's a good question, but one with perhaps few clear answers. It may be that because it occurred within The Depression Age, the ambush which propelled Bonnie & Clyde to iconic status, was in fact a horrific event camouflaged among many horrific events. As such, I'm not sure being part of such tough and hardened times-- that Bonnie & Clyde had much of any specialized impact at all?? For among the pain and hardships of May 23rd, 1934 upon so many, with the exception of their families who knew no greater pain-- the deaths of Bonnie & Clyde may have been just a poignant part of another desperate day. And for the families of Bonnie & Clyde's victims, the events of May 23rd-- may have provided a sense of closure and redress.

Somehow-- I can see that being just the way it was. We remember the impact this daring duo and loving pair made based on a dozen murders-- their devotion to one another and for an unwavering love for their families. We remember the paradox of a murdering gang, who could also be kind to others. But in addition to those who knew Bonnie & Clyde had to be eliminated, these West Dallas desperadoes did seem to have a grass roots appeal for many. Let's not forget those throngs of common citizens, who went out of their way-- to pay their respects to Bonnie & Clyde upon their deaths. In such difficult and reflective times-- perhaps that outpouring of allegiance, was some sort of silent tribute to the defiance these outlaws represented within many?? I wonder what the law must have felt, in standing among so many mourners who chose to mark the passing of Bonnie & Clyde??

I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Arcadia Update-- Perhaps Now Closer to Redemption

Behind the scenes, there have been efforts made on the part of many caring individuals-- to affect a positive outcome concerning Prentiss Oakley being assured his rightful place, upon the Henderson Jordan Memorial Park Plaque. A reliable source has informed me, that according to an Arcadia official-- an updated plaque including mention of Prentiss Oakley has been created and is in the possession of Mayor Eugene Smith. At this point, it's believed Mayor Smith whom I will attempt to reach for comment-- is out of state celebrating the Holidays.

Besides working with others involved in this cause and posting blog comments to spur awareness-- I've reached out to a major Louisiana news outlet, for their help in trying to make a difference. It will be a great day for Bonnie & Clyde History, should this reported 3rd Henderson Jordan Park Plaque with Prentiss Oakley included-- prove to be true and be installed. Perhaps I should have been born in Missouri, as my reaction although hopeful is-- "Show me". It's often said the 3rd time's a charm.

I'll keep you updated as more is known.

Update-- 12/9/2010. Good news on the Arcadia front. I've now re-approached Arcadia Mayor Eugene Smith by e-mail to learn the truth re: info recently provided, that a 3rd plaque has been created for Henderson Jordan Park-- which includes mention of Prentiss Oakley. Mayor Smith has responded by saying "Yes, we did re-make the necessary changes. I have it in my office and when we get the proper materials we will have it installed. Eugene." I've responded with my thanks to Mayor Smith for his reply-- and thank him here as well.

I also got a lesson today in Arcadia politics, from a Louisiana based investigative reporter who's well acquainted with the down home realities there. She's going to try and help explain more of this story. I hope to learn what I can, of this seemingly inexplicable historical miscue. But of course most importantly-- when I know the historically correct plaque is in place-- you'll know here on the blog.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What Gives in Arcadia??-- When Will Prentiss Oakley Finally Be Given His Due??

"Revisionist" history can be a dangerous thing-- and rightfully should be guarded against wherever it be found. And as related to Bonnie & Clyde History, there seems to be a question of monumental proportions rising over the Town of Arcadia, Louisiana-- concerning what some might call an attempt at revising this history.

Back in May, the Henderson Jordan Memorial Park was dedicated with much fanfare-- seemingly with the pride of Arcadia's citizenry overflowing, and the demeanor of it's political brain trust beaming as brightly as the Louisiana noon day Sun. However among the grandeur of this festive celebration-- a problem with grand proportions of it's own arose, which needed to be addressed. It was noticed, that all Bonnie & Clyde ambush posse members had been memorialized upon the Henderson Jordan Park Plaque-- all that is, with the exception of Prentiss Oakley. But how could it be, that for purposes of a Bonnie & Clyde ambush memorial (and especially in Arcadia where he lived)-- that Prentiss Oakley be excluded??

As Henderson Jordan's Deputy and confidant, Prentiss Oakley was not only privy to the secret arrangements leading up to the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde-- but as it turned out, Deputy Oakley was credited as being the man who killed Clyde Barrow, with his 2 initial well placed shots at the beginning of the ambush carnage. After Henderson Jordan completed 2 terms as Bienville Parish Sheriff-- Prentiss Oakley served 3 terms of his own, in leading the Bienville Parish Sheriff's Department. Thus Sheriff Oakley was not only a renown figure in Bonnie & Clyde History, but many would say a favorite son of Louisiana as well.

So what gives?!? I had previously asked Arcadia's Mayor Eugene Smith to please explain this error. Mayor Smith's response although politically pat seemed optimistic, in saying he hadn't noticed the error-- but as it must have been an oversight, said he would work to correct the mistake right away. But as it happened, the original plaque erected for the park was vandalized almost immediately. This event both necessitated & provided the opportunity for a new plaque to be created. Many including myself, felt that strangely fortunate occurrence-- would provide the perfect chance to correct this egregious error.

However I've now heard from 2 individuals close to this history-- who've both reported that the current Henderson Jordan Park Plaque-- "still" doesn't acknowledge Prentiss Oakley. A ways back within an e-mail sent to Mayor Smith, I asked the Mayor with the obvious aspects of Bonnie & Clyde's ambush so well known concerning Prentiss Oakley-- whether there was any possibility that this "oversight" was somehow deliberate?? On that occasion, unlike Mayor Smith's previously generous responses to my e-mails-- this question received no reply. Well based on this latest development, it seems important to reach out to Mayor Smith once again.

There are people in this world, who actually don't believe the Holocaust occurred. Also at least one state within The United States, is seemingly led by those who don't acknowledge the Civil Rights Movement was a reality-- and as such, now mandate politically slanted textbooks be read by our schoolchildren.
There's no doubt, that Deputy Sheriff Prentiss Oakley played a significant role in Bonnie & Clyde History. It seems to me what's at question, is what some in Arcadia may know, not know-- or wish to portray now as having been their reality in the past??

It's interesting to note, there have been accounts chronicled-- highlighting the alleged improprieties of Sheriff Henderson Jordan, in handling the Ruth Warren car after the ambush. And I know for a fact, that reprints of an important B&C work sold in and about Arcadia have been edited-- in eliminating any harsh reference to Henderson Jordan, related to his legal admonishment and court ordered release of the Warren car. Could this apparent censorship of Bonnie & Clyde History, and exclusion of Prentiss Oakley within Arcadia's recently formed memorial be related??

With so much at stake in looking to help correct such an obvious historical misstep, I feel it necessary to ask with all respect-- how about a straight forward and non-political answer Mayor Smith-- to a quite straight forward and important historical question?? Why Sir-- has Prentiss Oakley not been commemorated along with the other Bonnie & Clyde ambush posse members, on The Henderson Jordan Memorial Park Plaque in Arcadia?? And is Prentiss Oakley's exclusion from this plaque-- still considered just an oversight??

Some might ask about the man with the gun belt hidden beneath his jacket, standing next to Ted Hinton in many ambush posse photographs-- but most know his name. Perhaps a proclamation can be issued, stating that man really wasn't there?? But we surely know he was. It seems to me without a correction being made, the people of Arcadia run the risk of having their plaque be best known for what it doesn't say-- more than for what it does.

As per Arcadia's website, Mayor Eugene Smith of Arcadia, LA can be reached by calling (318) 263-8456 or e-mail--

The image of the plaque used above, was taken in May of 2010. But as I understand it's wording hasn't changed-- I include it for reference.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hey-- Maybe Focusing on Bonnie & Clyde Truth is Working

I'm very happy to say, that the often prolific inquiries into Clyde Barrow's sexuality-- have now slipped to 9th place in the Nov. 2010 keyword entries to The B&C History Blog. Interestingly this month-- inquires into Blanche Barrow, lead keyword approaches.

I've spent a good bit of my time in chronicling this history, commenting, reporting & re-reporting on the seemingly never ending fascination into Bonnie & Clyde sexual wonderings-- and trying to dispel these unsubstantiated and sordid notions whenever I can. My feeling is, when someone-- "anyone" can ferret out any reasonable evidence to support such claims of Bonnie & Clyde sexual deviance, I'm sure I along with others-- will pay keen attention and work to help examine the basis for such assertions. Until then, Bonnie & Clyde sexual rumors are just that, rumors-- and should be judged accordingly.

It's nice to know, that other more legitimate topics within Bonnie & Clyde History, are at least for now-- leading the way in the hearts and minds of those who love this history.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

At What Cost Truth-- Regarding Bonnie & Clyde History??

If you look closely at this famous photo-- you'll note the expressions of hardened criminals. But embedded deep within those matter of fact looks, which include the heartfelt elements of love and camaraderie-- are the hopes & dreams of 2 young people which would never be realized. As many interested in this history, just focus on Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow the notorious outlaws-- their human sides are often overlooked. But just as sharks circle their prey-- within that human light, rumors have swirled for decades around Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow and other members of The Barrow Gang. And somehow, this fascination into Bonnie & Clyde's personal sides-- doesn't much involve mundane things, like topics of interest they liked to discuss, things they found funny or games they chose to amuse themselves with.

No-- somehow for Bonnie & Clyde, it's their most intimate details which seem most desirable to know. Was Clyde a dysfunctional homosexual?? Was Bonnie an insatiable nymphomaniac?? Were both Bonnie & Clyde aided by Barrow Gang members such as W. D. Jones and Henry Methvin,
not only in support of their day to day struggles for survival-- but also for more nefarious needs as well?? And according to Dr. James Wade who examined Bonnie & Clyde in death, both had Gonorrhea. As that account's apparently true, how do you reconcile that fact-- and therefore determine who else if anyone, was involved sexually with Bonnie or Clyde or both?? And in the larger scheme of this history, are those most personal of details which so many long to know-- even useful or important??

Bonnie was said to have become pregnant with her husband Roy Thornton?? But she had an abortion right?? No-- it was a miscarriage?? No-- it was some procedure that went wrong, that left her unable to bear children?? But what about Bonnie when ambushed-- she was pregnant then wasn't she?? No-- the families say that's wrong. Bonnie was never pregnant-- as "surely" the families would have known. But as reportedly related in an interview before her death-- Blanche Barrow who "was" in a position to comment, apparently said Bonnie had never been pregnant. That would have included all years prior to Blanche being captured in July of '33-- but not the months afterward, leading to the May 1934 ambush. As such, Blanche's expression concerning her knowledge of Bonnie-- could call into question, family explanations of why Bonnie in later years couldn't become pregnant-- (The Roy Thornton Defense).

But if the family is right, and Bonnie couldn't have been pregnant-- then how do you explain the numerous and unrelated accounts of a Bonnie pregnancy within just months of her death??-- some of which were related directly by those who shared their homes and meals and time-- with Bonnie & Clyde in Louisiana near the end. There were apparently even contingencies discussed-- women standing by to care for Bonnie's baby, while she was presumed in need of future help while still on the run. Such a keen preparedness, would be unnecessary for a woman who couldn't bear children. In addition other evidence exists pointing to this reality, not only from reliable and well regarded people in Texas who reported a Doctor was said to have been treating Bonnie-- but also it seems from an individual close enough to Bonnie & Clyde, to have appeared in photos with them and who shared their escapades in cheating death day to day in 1934. Thus as an offset to long held beliefs on the part of many-- could it be that one well placed individual, may have known the truth better than Bonnie & Clyde's own families??

And what about Clyde-- he wasn't said to be impotent but he was sterile?? It was Scarlett Fever and the Mumps that did in a young Clyde, from the point of view of his ability to father a child. Who was it again, who confirmed Clyde was tested and found to be sterile?? Without proof or documentation, perhaps it was just assumed Clyde's illnesses netted that result-- within a story passed down without question. And has anyone bothered to check, what possibility there was in the 1930's-- for a young man in having experienced this combination of maladies, to have become sterile?? Well I have-- and it doesn't seem as large a likelihood, as some might have you believe. Then of course there's that troublesome W. D. Jones, who reported that before meeting Bonnie-- Clyde had gotten a girl in a family way. Surely you wouldn't think W. D. could have known anything about Clyde, that others close to him didn't. Could he??

Bonnie never had children-- not with Roy not with Clyde, not with anyone-- and as such not with W. D. Jones?? But what about Grace Davies?? Could Grace possibly be right, in believing that she's the daughter of W. D. and Bonnie?? And some have asked-- Winston, what are you doing lending credence to Grace by reporting her story?? To those folks I would say-- a careful read of my expose' on this case, and you might ask yourselves what support I've provided in critically examining this story?? But unfortunately for those with narrow mindsets toward Bonnie & Clyde History-- there "are" some key and unanswered questions within the Grace Davies mystery-- some quite important ones, that from my point of view need to be explained.

This foreword, in highlighting so many controversial and unresolved Bonnie & Clyde mysteries-- is meant as a lead in to the topic of this post-- At What Cost Truth-- Regarding Bonnie & Clyde History?? Many would ask what difference does innuendo make to the reputations of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow?? Hell-- for some who despise the very thought of Bonnie & Clyde, they might well ask who cares?? For those who believe these West Dallas desperadoes, were just hell bound murdering marauders to begin with-- I doubt there would exist much concern. Then there are those like myself and I trust many of you, who possess an intense interest in this history-- and who are genuinely predisposed, to learning the truth about Bonnie & Clyde, no matter where that truth may lead.

As I view it, just as with many famous people-- there are varying degrees of caring, diligence and competence-- regarding how historical inquiries are conducted in seeking truth regarding Bonnie & Clyde. Also as many realize who've attempted research within the realm of this enigmatic history, the levels of insight into these iconic desperadoes-- are often complicated by a sheer lack of reliable information and verifiable fact. As such, sometimes sorting through Bonnie & Clyde History is a bit like walking blindfolded in the dark. The path you think you know, with information you've trusted in having been chronicled over the years-- upon further review, may not be as true as once thought. And I don't believe it's as stretch to say, that many facts regarding this history, unfortunately-- may never be known.

Logically you would think, family resources and associations might yield the most reliable insights into Bonnie & Clyde. But in fairness, that seems to depend on the extent those alive today can comment-- based on their knowledge of those who've lived before them. In many cases, we're now 3 generations removed from those who lived and interacted with members of The Barrow Gang. And as has been admitted to in recorded interviews, as well as through family admissions I've witnessed 1st hand-- as it's known those alive today were deliberately sheltered from Bonnie & Clyde insights, by many who lived when this history unfolded-- the families' knowledge as it exists today seems limited.

Sometimes within Bonnie & Clyde History, no matter how hard you try-- you can end up damned if you do and damned if you don't. And when you find yourself as I have on occasion-- within the useless realm of historical hell, where some who don't even give a damn about history, prefer to spend their time and attempt to spend mine-- by spreading hate and shooting at the messenger cowardly and anonymously, from behind a shield of loyal tidings, self righteousness and fictitious names-- rather than consider contrary historical possibilities through productive and legitimate research-- I would ask what are some afraid of?? That new and perhaps uncomfortable possibilities concerning Bonnie & Clyde become known?? That sacred beliefs regarding these outlaws be challenged?? That those related to Bonnie & Clyde nearly 80 years after the fact, are made aware of ongoing curiosities regarding these outlaws-- that likely will never go away. I don't think many would disagree, that unfortunately Bonnie & Clyde themselves-- assured the world and their families of that reality, through their actions long ago.

Perhaps some would prefer, that all knowledge of this history be frozen at some point in time-- and not explored any more than is known. That way, certain images of these outlaws could be preserved as if through cryogenics-- and some Bonnie & Clyde loyalties whether real or perceived, could perpetuate themselves within a closed circle of self importance. I view my "independence" in researching and reporting Bonnie & Clyde History-- to be my greatest strength, in attempting to learn the truth. However for some-- it appears that an impressive level of Bonnie & Clyde close mindedness, is somehow viewed as an advantage. It seems for those who proudly pledge their allegiance to what might as well be called The Bonnie & Clyde Head in Sand Society-- all is good, nothing needs to be challenged-- and "damn" those who would go so far as to question, long cherished Bonnie & Clyde beliefs.

As a response I must say, that my recent investigation concerning Bonnie, W. D. and Grace Davies-- has me thinking of Bonnie Parker well outside the box. I now find myself pondering comments which have shaken loose, from some well placed within this history which I never thought I'd hear. Are there indeed secrets concerning Bonnie Parker, which have been well protected over so many decades-- and as such, never been revealed?? Some seem to believe in that possibility. And what exactly did happen to Bonnie, within a much less than well documented 1931??

In getting back to the challenges of exploring this history-- I don't mention it much, but within my Bonnie & Clyde inquiries-- it seems when I tread too closely to hallowed ground where some B&C types feel I shouldn't go, I'll get an occasional threatening e-mail or pointed behind the scenes comment. I find that remarkable, but sadly it's true. It's the damnedest thing-- but when I went to bat for Bonnie in battling Jeff Guinn, I received praise and encouragement for defending Bonnie and The Parker Family. These expressions of thanks, included more than one from Bonnie's niece Rhea Leen Linder. However now that I'm digging into areas of uncomfortable or perhaps inconceivable thought for some, concerning a more human Bonnie Parker than her oft angelic image might normally allow-- well then, it seems I've crossed some self imposed line in the sand which rightfully should never be crossed.

It's a good thing I don't buy into these contradictory notions. One one hand, it's good that I defend Bonnie from likes of Jeff Guinn, and his ideas of Bonnie being a prostitute and having been slain by a raging and vengeful Frank Hamer at close range-- in pumping her full of holes from the right side of the death car to avenge Bonnie's brutal, and senseless killings of Officers Murphy and Wheeler at Grapevine. My goodness-- that's a lot of unsubstantiated supposition. I wonder if Jeff has the same sort of hateful comments directed at him, as I receive from "the anonymous ones". In those cases, I defended Bonnie because historically she deserved to be defended-- from dubious allegations which seemed far more sensational than accurate. Based on personal exchanges with Jeff Guinn and in questioning footnotes within his book-- I felt Jeff's diligence was lax in researching these points, and his decision to include these over sensationalized and unsubstantiated assertions within a "True Story" of Bonnie & Clyde-- was a disservice to this history. That's my educated opinion, for what it's worth.

Interestingly, when news of the Bonnie Parker Tijuana Bible "Amputated" hit the fan-- I began hearing more about cracks in the perception of Bonnie being so sweet and innocent. It seems a oversensitivity on the part of some, was evident in defending Bonnie from this scourge of an idea-- that Bonnie's own actions could have in any way formed the impetus, for such a sordid parody being created concerning her. I found it interesting to read comments critical of Bonnie's most avid supporters, revolving around the idea that perhaps a more discerning view into Bonnie Parker is not a bad thing-- and so what if Bonnie's not found to be the "precious angel" so many view her as. The point of these admonishments, was to highlight the fact that Bonnie was human-- and perhaps in reality wasn't the perfect young lady many believe her to be. The idea was even advanced, that perhaps Bonnie sought the outlaw life-- and that Clyde Barrow provided the conduit for that opportunity. I must say-- that's an interesting twist I had never thought of before.

It seems at least partially because of "Amputated"-- a new willingness to examine Bonnie beyond the legend, is being discussed. I cant tell you which came first, the Bonnie rumors or the Bonnie Tijuana Bible (although historically it would be good to know)-- but I myself, would rather trust in truths concerning the "real" Bonnie Parker-- than in 1/2 truths built upon an image supported by incomplete knowledge. As such until proven otherwise, I still see no real evidence to support either of the 2 major Bonnie & Clyde sexual rumors being true. Some may wish them to be true, but that seems another issue unrelated to Bonnie & Clyde.

It's not at all remarkable, that people do very human things. Contrary to what some might believe, beyond the myths and legends-- Bonnie & Clyde were indeed human and as such were fallible. But how much change from B&C's long held images, is too much change in the eyes of some?? For example, through many documented accounts, I believe we now know with a good sense of certainty-- that Bonnie swore a good bit. Apparently the sweet young lady, was prone to curse when unhappy. So is that a trait that might forever disrupt someone's image of Bonnie?? Perhaps. But at least, as it seems now-- that would be a true image.

Would it also be a stretch to say, that as sexual active young people on the run with little time to live-- that Bonnie & Clyde may have run a bit free and loose concerning that aspect of their lives?? Bonnie was also said to have loved children. Could it be, that if possible-- Bonnie would want her dream of having a child realized as well?? That is, unless all who say they know better are correct-- that she and Clyde could never have conceived a child?? Or that neither of them had children, before loving one another. But contrary to what some believe or wish to believe-- I'm not sure at this point, the evidence that exists at least of the time near the ambush-- doesn't support a different story. But whether or not there's enough evidence to be conclusive, may be in the eye of the beholder. As far as accepting B&C as they actually were versus the image some have of them-- for me it's easy to say there "was" a reality to this history and for those who lived it. Sometimes it seems emotions come into play with Bonnie & Clyde, where really they shouldn't. But that's human nature-- especially regarding all the dynamics of this story, involving these individuals and the times in which they lived.

And what about Kent Biffle's reported comment made to Grace Davies, concerning an intimated Bonnie Parker?? Well just as in the movie A Christmas Story, when Ralphie didn't say "fudge"-- according to Grace, Kent didn't call Bonnie a "bore"-- but rather a term which sounds remarkably like it. What did this seasoned Dallas reporter with presumably many contacts over the years, perhaps know about Bonnie Parker?? Was/is there an undercurrent of secret knowledge regarding Bonnie & Clyde-- that's never been brought to light??

But I would also ask-- why some choose to take up the cause, of attempting to suppress even the possibility of new Bonnie & Clyde info coming to light?? In my view, although it may be admirable to protect certain individuals from perhaps uncomfortable investigations into these outlaws-- no one should presume to have the right to conduct self righteous crusades of blatant impoliteness and censorship because of it. I don't believe this history is going away any time soon-- and based on the activity within this B&C forum, where nearly 1000 hits in one day have been registered here from all over the world-- it seems interest in Bonnie & Clyde remains strong where ever they are thought of. And although this is not a comment only forum, I appreciate very much when comments are expressed here.

Note-- As I've already had this fact questioned by those with little better to do, I went back and checked. I apologize for being just 13 hits off. The B&CHB which routinely receives strong activity daily from many corners of the world-- experienced a 987 hit day on February 10th of this year. Also the next visitor from any new country, will add the 103rd country or territory-- to the list of those areas of the world who have come here, in search of Bonnie & Clyde truth.

As a side note I would say, what some don't realize in addressing me sometimes in less than respectful ways-- is that once I sense inappropriate comments within messages directed toward myself or this blog-- those comments are usually erased unread. I suppose some feel by expressing crass comments, they will affect some change in my behavior toward this history. But as Romper Room is now so many decades removed from our psyches-- I have no time to play the useless games others seem to thrive on.

I'm more interested in doing all I can, to help those who wish to know the truth concerning Bonnie & Clyde History. I'm focused on bringing to light, interesting and little known aspects of this history-- as well as attempting to sort out certain Bonnie & Clyde truths from rumors, which are often inquired of. I also wish to dispel if I can, B&C rumors which I feel have been perpetuated erroneously over the years. My investigations as always-- are objective, fair and diligently researched. So for those who would rather not have Bonnie defended from the likes of those who would wrongly slander her and as such alter this history-- not have new Bonnie & Clyde knowledge from Billie's journal and her unpublished manuscript-- not have the advantage of numerous Blanche Barrow items and correspondence to view and learn from-- not have important W. D. Jones info now corrected-- not have new Bonnie & Clyde hostage info brought to light-- not know the truth concerning Millie Stamps along with many other Bonnie & Clyde insights as found here-- there's always that magical choice, of not visiting The B&CHB. For everyone else, as always-- my sincere "thanks" for your continued support.

So what really did happen to Bonnie in 1931?? Why is that seemingly the only year within this saga, with so little known about her??-- and how might that truth relate if it does, to the Grace Davies claim?? Did the law knowingly shoot not just an outlaw woman in 1934-- but a pregnant Bonnie Parker?? And is that why some within the ambush posse, seemingly couldn't handle their remaining years without self destructing?? Did The Barrow Gang make plans to leave The United States, as related to a Bonnie pregnancy?? As there seems to be a credible source who reportedly said Bonnie & Clyde did consider such plans-- what is to be made of that knowledge within this history?? What "were" Frank Hamer's actions at the death car, after the ambush posse shooting en mass stopped??-- and which ambush account is correct?? And why is it-- that the Henderson Jordan Memorial Park Plague in Arcadia, LA.-- may still lack any reference to the historic contributions of Prentiss Oakley-- the man generally recognized as having killed Clyde Barrow??

So at what cost truth-- regarding Bonnie & Clyde History?? Sometimes the cost can be high-- but within the realm of reality and respect, hopefully the truth can be learned without hurting others. As I see it, there's still much to do within Bonnie & Clyde History. So with or without unanimous consent, and with my thanks to so many-- we move forward. I dedicate this post to Rick Mattix, as I feel he would approve of it's content.

BTW-- How dare anyone choose to use the tragedy of Rick Mattix's death against me, in drawing disparaging comparisons between Rick and myself. Rick Mattix was a fine Historian, a gentleman and a friend of mine. What a low and despicable thing to do, which exemplifies the twisted mentality of some within this history.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rick Mattix-- A Champion for Truth Within History

I am saddened to learn of the passing of Historian Rick Mattix. I know all will join with me in sending our condolences to Rick's wife Linda and their families. I will always be a fan of Rick and his great work. Rick's books include The Bloody Barrows Come to Iowa-- Coauthor (with William J. Helmer)-- of Public Enemies: America's Criminal Past-- and The Complete Public Enemies Almanac. In addition Rick contributed to numerous other crime related books including, Thompson, The American Legend: The First Submachine Gun by Tracie Hill et. al-- Dillinger: The Untold Story by G. Russell Girardin and William J. Helmer (Expanded Edition) & The Ultimate Thompson Book by Tracie Hill et. al.

Rick's contributions to various historical publications include-- his work on the Oklahombres Journal-- Thompson Collector News-- Prohibition Era Times-- and satirical humor articles for the Chicago based tabloid The Planet. Rick was also a valued consultant to various radio and T.V. documentaries, including Bonnie & Clyde documentaries which have aired over the years. Rick and Linda also published the popular On The Spot Journal, which I'm sure will be remembered-- as an outstanding resource within the realm of criminal history.

I will miss Rick's immense knowledge, his dry matter of fact sense of humor and the wonderful conversations we had-- which would always last an enjoyably long time. On a personal note, I believe Rick was the 1st world renown Historian to publicly acknowledge me as an Historian. I must say, that's a humbling honor I shall always cherish. Rick Mattix always seemed a kind man, who possessed unique talents and a deep-seated passion-- in relating the history he loved. One thing I'll remember fondly about Rick, was his encouragement for me to always press forward with an investigation-- no matter the odds and regardless of any opposition expressed. He would say "go for it"-- and encourage me to stay the course, in searching out the truth.

Rest in Peace Rick-- for you will always be among the best, in contributing to and stating the case for truth within history. With so many complicated things happening in my life, I realize I've learned of Rick's passing well after the fact. As such, today is a sad day for me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The October Bonnie & Clyde Polls-- Loyalty, Mules and Bravery

The October B&C Polls were seemingly a rag tag batch of B&C questions. Never the less and true to form-- there "were" apparently a number of challenges, disciphering some of these latest B&C queries. The Bonnie & Clyde Harboring Trial began on February 22nd, 1935. As such, B&C "confederates" from near and far were brought to justice for aiding and abetting Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. Perhaps of all the sentences imposed, you would think Henry Methvin might have been given one of the stiffest. But in reality, only 15 months was doled out to the last B&C accomplice. After the killing of Cal Campbell and kidnapping of Percy Boyd-- the Miami Daily News Record described Bonnie Parker as being Clyde Barrow's gun-woman sweetheart. I kind of liked gun toting hellcat-- a phrase I created for this question. In another news related B&C story, according to the Kaufman Daily Herald-- Bonnie Parker and Ralph Fults told authorities the "tall" tale of having ridden in a rodeo at Tulsa, in explaining just how they were able to remain upon a pitching mule for a 5 mile stretch after the Maybank incident.

Blanche and Buck's date of marriage listed upon their marriage license as seized from The Barrow Gang's Joplin Hideout-- was July 1st, 1931. This Barrow marriage document, has been displayed most recently by The Dallas Historical Society Museum. During the Red Crown shootout, Sheriff Holt Coffey was said to have found himself in the precarious position-- of being located in between the 2 Barrow Gang cabins when the firing commenced. Coffey who was also noted to have carried one of the metal shields upon having knocked on the door of Blanche and Buck's cabin-- was wounded in the neck, shoulder and left hand. Apparently upon hearing the prearranged signal Blanche spoke loudly enough for Clyde, Bonnie and W. D. to hear from the adjacent cabin (of needing time to dress)-- Clyde apparently opened up on Coffey from behind. It seems in being caught in the middle of firing from both cabins, Sheriff Coffey was a lucky man to have survived this Barrow Gang escape determined onslaught.

The next question was one in retrospect, I wish I had worded differently. What I was after was the greatest longevity of the Barrow family members. Instead-- apparently all took this question to mean who lived until the most recent year. In the form I meant this question, Henry Barrow would be the correct answer-- as he outlived Marie in terms of being the oldest Barrow upon passing away. However in fairness, I must accept Marie as well-- in terms of having lived as the question stated-- the longest. And in perhaps the most unexpected question of the lot-- "Old Man" Methvin (Ivy Methvin)-- was just 49 years old at the time of the ambush of B&C. Based on this descriptive term used to identify Ivy, in which many seem to envision an elderly man-- Ivy's comparatively young age (younger than Frank Hamer at the time)-- is often surprising. And finally Gene O'Dare, husband of Mary O'Dare-- was reportedly serving 99 years for robbery, while Mary accompanying her new beau Raymond Hamilton on his adventures and misadventures.

"Thanks" as always-- for participating in the B&C Polls. Look for the November edition, of B&C question & answer fun to be posted soon. BTW-- the photo at the head of this post, is by far one of my favorite B&C related photos. How ironic is that shot of W. D. Jones and Henry Methvin handcuffed together at the B&C Harboring trial?? I've always figured this pairing, to have been a deliberate and perhaps hellish joke-- played on W. D. and Henry by law enforcement?? Or it could have been just a practical matter-- with authorities wanting to keep the Barrow Gang members who had killed, together in one spot?? But one thing seems certain-- well before The Odd Couple hit the stage, TV and movies-- somehow that photo qualifies as depicting an indisputable Odd Couple. I've considered the possibility that in looking away as decidedly as they did, that perhaps neither of them wanted anything to do with one another-- although they found themselves attached. I've wondered what W. D. and Henry must have been thinking the moment that photo was taken?? W. D. of course knew when he bailed on B&C, that he didn't directly contribute to killing them. I'm not sure the same could be said, of Henry's realization of any similar thoughts.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In Search of Just the Right Bonnie and Clyde Halloween Look

As Anoka, Minnesota is recognized as being the 1st city in the U.S. to celebrate Halloween (as we know it) in 1924, I wonder what if anything Bonnie & Clyde did to honor this holiday-- while trying to survive on the run?? I can't imagine Halloween being of much importance to these relentlessly hunted outlaws, but as it's known B&C would sometimes interact with kids in a kind way-- I wonder what if anything, they did differently on Halloween night??

Bonnie's sense of fashion gets attention, and her well known '30's sweater dress look is recognized as perhaps her most iconic image. This look is one Bonnie Parker Halloween idea-- although pretty much any combo with some sort of tam seems to work. With Clyde, the overt gangster look (although not accurate)-- gets play as a man's costume. And with the modern "gangsta" movement all the rage, a much sexier adaptation of this famous outlaw look now seems popular.

With a little time and effort, I'm sure a great version of B&C's well dressed look could be created for Halloween. Vintage & coordinated 1930's clothing would likely be the key. Now wouldn't that look be fabulous, strolling into a down and happenin' Hallows Eve party!?! BTW-- as reported here in the past, "Boots" Hinton's told me that according to his father Ted Hinton-- Bonnie's famous sweater dress was black-- with red, yellow and light green stripes bordered in black. It seems, Bonnie didn't always wear red.

Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

W. D. Jones Didn't Serve 17 Years in Prison-- Nor 15 Years. In Fact-- Not Even Close

In having requested official records concerning W. D. Jones from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, I had expecting to receive just cut and dry tabular records. What arrived instead, was a wonderful synopsis of W. D.'s early life and criminal career as stated by W. D. Jones himself, apparently as revealed within a Texas prison interview. But included along with this rich biographical info, was the specific knowledge I was after. Namely, the exact dates that W. D. Jones entered and exited prison-- in having served his time as an accessory, to the killing of Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis in January 1933. In addition to being of interest within the annals of B&C History, this info concerning W. D. would also impact the Grace Davies story-- in revealing the availability of W. D. Jones in possibly being the "handsome" man Grace remembers visiting her, when she was 8 years old.

But a pronounced roadblock seemed to stand squarely in the path of Grace's recollection, in that it's often been written that W. D. was sentenced to 15 years in jail for the Malcolm Davis killing plus 2 additional years-- having been tacked onto his sentence, as a result of the 1935 Bonnie & Clyde Harboring trial. Obviously if that contention were true, and W. D. served 15 years or more in prison and was released somewhere near 1950-- then W. D. Jones couldn't have been the mysterious man Grace remembers. Then as such, the possibility of W. D. being considered as Grace's father would be lessened. As Grace believes she was born in March 1932, she would have been 8 until turning 9 in March 1941.

Ah, but this aspect of Grace's story couldn't be that easy to disprove could it?? As it turns out-- No. And in fact-- the State of Texas prison records for W. D. Jones, just made it entirely possible that the mysterious man from Grace's memory-- could indeed have been W. D. Jones. But wasn't W. D. serving a term of 15 years or more in jail?? Well apparently-- that's not exactly the case. Many B&C books including the most notable ones, chronicle W. D.'s sentence as being the 15 years plus 2. However W. D.'s "actual" sentence as documented within Texas prison records-- was a much more pliable 2-15 years. And although 2 years were apparently added from the B&C Harboring Trial (to run concurrently-- more on this later)-- in fact W. D. was granted a reprieve of sentence in time for Christmas-- dated at Sugarland, Texas December 13th, 1940. I've included here, a scan of W. D.'s Reprieve of Sentence Receipt-- which includes the signatures of W. D. Jones and his Warden.

The Reprieve Of Sentence reads-- Sugarland Texas Dec 13th 1940. I W. D. Jones Register No. 77540, do hereby accept Reprieve of Sentence granted unto me, and agree to conditions stipulated therein, i. e., That I conduct myself in all things in an exemplary manner, and report to Hon. W. K. Howarth, Chairman, of Harris County, Texas, at such times and places as the said Hon. W. K. Howarth, Chairman, shall require. Signed in the presence of Warden or Farm Manager and Signature of Prisoner. Please have prisoner sign the above receipts and return all three to the office of the Bureau of Records and Identification, Huntsville, Texas.

Although W. D.'s Dallas prisoner number from his 1933 mugshot was 11711-- I've learned the register number on this receipt, and W. D.'s 1934 Texas state prisoner number were one in the same-- #77540.

Now when the Grace Davies story was brought to my attention, I thought I remembered W. D. having served a shortened sentence for the Malcolm Davis killing. However, in not remembering exactly where I saw that info-- I sought to review W. D.'s prison term as chronicled within some well respected B&C works, which many of us know. But even in viewing like descriptions of W. D.'s incarceration within these well researched accounts-- I've always been one to prefer learning of B&C historical elements such as this, from their source. Thus I contacted the Texas Prison System for this info. It does seem, many B&C authors used the 15/2 model for W. D.'s 1934 prison sentence without question-- and without elaborating regarding W. D.'s actual time served. It seems now that W. D.'s Reprieve of Sentence Receipt, puts an end to the long held perception that W. D.'s sentence must have equaled his time served. It also helps Grace Davies better understand, an important aspect concerning the possibility of W. D. somehow being her father.

As mentioned earlier, in addition to this most useful prison info concerning W. D.-- his prison records also include some quite insightful biographical knowledge concerning this long tenured Barrow Gang member. As W. D. puts it-- in 1933, he ran around some with Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. One day Malcolm Davis a Ft. Worth police detective, came to Dallas in search of Gene O'Dare. Davis entered a house where he believed O'Dare was hiding. He did not find O'Dare, but decided to wait. Sometime afterwards, Barrow, Parker and W. D. drove to the house. Barrow and Parker started into the house. Davis attempted to arrest them, and when he attempted to do so-- Barrow killed him. Barrow and Parker escaped, and were killed before being tried on charges from the Malcolm Davis killing. W. D. was captured, identified and tried for Davis' murder. He remained in jail in Dallas for 9 months before his trial.

W. D. was born somewhere in East Texas on August 12th, 1916. **Note the difference in W. D's birth date as revealed here-- versus the date which appears on his headstone of May 15th, 1916. His father was a farmer but moved the family to Dallas in 1922. That year W. D.'s father and 2 of his siblings died of pneumonia. As a result of their family's tragedy, all the Jones children quit school and started to work. W. D. sold newspapers and did odd jobs, and thus had contributed toward his family's maintenance from the age of 9. He attended school for only a short time, and never completed the 1st grade. He attended school in West Dallas.

W. D. states he grew up with the Barrow boys and other known criminals from West Dallas. However, he claims he was with them on very few of their escapades. W. D.'s first trouble occurred when he was 11 years old. He was arrested on a charge of bicycle theft, but states that the case was dismissed because he was not guilty. His next trouble was in 1931. W. D. and L. C. Barrow stole an automobile in Dallas and drove it to Shreveport, Louisiana. They were arrested there and returned to Dallas. W. D. was held in jail for 4 months before being tried in Federal court for violation of the Dyer act. He was sentenced to one year and a day, and his time was dated back to the time of his arrest. For the unserved portion of 8 months-- he was placed on probation.

Hardly was W. D.'s probationary period over before he was arrested for car theft in 1932 and given a 2 year suspended sentence. Later in 1932 W. D. was in Beaumont, Texas with Charley Britton and Jack Murphy. The three were arrested on charges of auto theft and failure to stop and render aid. W. D. claimed they were not guilty of the charges, and were released-- without being held for the grand jury.

W. D. continued to associate with the West Dallas gang and was with Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker on several of their shooting scrapes. However, he claimed not to have been with them on the robberies. In 1935, W. D. was returned to Dallas from the penitentiary and tried on a Federal charge for harboring Barrow and Parker. W. D. stated that he was given a 2 year sentence to run concurrent with his sentence in the Texas Prison system. **This is the info as noted before, where W. D.'s 2-15 year sentence wouldn't have been added onto from the harboring trial. W. D. stated he had gotten along well every place he has been assigned since coming to the penitentiary-- and at the time of this accounting, was working in the laundry.

Within a review of his personality, it was noted that W. D. could neither read nor write. However it was further noted that he had a vocabulary comparable to the average urban grammar school graduate. During this interview, W. D. was said to have been frank and cooperative. His prison report reveals that W. D. rationalized his offenses on bad associations. He claimed not to have killed Malcolm Davis, but admitted to being present at the time Davis was killed. He believed he was pleaded guilty to being an accomplice, when he was tried.

The following Summary and Recommendation is quoted verbatim from the Texas Prison interview and evaluation of W. D. Jones--

"Subject, W. D. Jones, #77540, was admitted 11-7-34 from Dallas County with a sentence of from two to fifteen (2-15) years for murder with malice. He had previously served a jail sentence for violation of the Dyer Act and admits one previous suspended sentence. He is also under a federal conviction for harboring a fugitive from justice. Subject was a member of the Clyde Barrow - Bonnie Parker gang. He has one brother serving a sentence in the Texas Prison System."

"Subject is twenty one years of age, practically illeterate, (an interesting spot for a misspelling)-- and single. He has no employment experience that is verifiable. During interview he was cooperative but seems to have been unstable and maladjusted and to have had a poor family background (shown by conviction of one brother and early family breakdown.). He will probably adjust fairly satisfactorily to prison routine but a future prognosis is problematic."

"Tentative classification: 2-A, Medium custodial care, rehabilitation rating 35, Employment Rating: Poor. Subject will probably be most valuable as a common laborer but if he becomes eligible for promotions construction work of a simple trade is recommended."

I hope all have enjoyed learning of some interesting aspects, of W. D. Jones' Texas Prison record. Of significance to me, is yet another W. D. Jones interview to mull over, along with the details confirming his prison confinement-- 2-15 years with 2 years added from the Bonnie & Clyde Harboring Trial to run concurrently. W. D.'s Reprieve Of Sentence Receipt-- shows he was released from prison on the Malcolm Davis accessory charge on December 13th, 1940. This date is important to the Grace Davies claim, in showing W. D. to have been a free man-- and available to have visited North Carolina in late 1940 or early 1941. However a careful read of W. D.'s prison interview, in detailing his activities within 1931-- leaves open the question of exactly when in that year he would have been free to conceive a child?? As I see it, the dates as stated by W. D. himself-- are inconclusive, but leave open that possibility.

My sincere thanks to an old friend at The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Rachel Williams-- and a new friend in Rebecca Matcek, for assisting me in this endeavor. In addition, my thanks to Laura Saegert of The Texas State Library at Austin-- for her consistently kind help, within these searches for B&C historical truth. As always-- I welcome your comments.