Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blanche Caldwell Barrow Frasure Personal Items-- To Be Offered "Exclusively" On The B&CHB

The wait is over!! Last November on the blog, I published plans for a Blanche Caldwell Barrow Frasure auction, which was to include a number of items-- in particular the Blanche manuscript, which was slated to be the auction centerpiece. As many are so keenly aware, this rare and remarkable document-- Blanche's handwritten record of her days with Bonnie and Clyde, is the only 1st hand account known-- provided by a Barrow Gang member who was present, throughout a number of well known B&C escapades.

But instead of offering this historic manuscript via the internet as originally planned-- for a number of reasons important to it's owner, it was decided Blanche's manuscript would be offered privately-- which has been the case for many months now. Behind the scenes, I have worked closely with the Estate of Blanche Caldwell Frasure and it's Executrix-- within this effort. As of March 1st, I can now report that the manuscript has been sold.

With this said concerning Blanche's manuscript, many know that the bulk of Blanche's B&C related items were auctioned off at The Heritage Galleries in 2006. What remains of Blanche's Estate, for the most part are personal items. I let it be known back in November, that there would be some Blanche items offered here-- for the loyal followers of The Bonnie and Clyde History Blog. As I am a man of my word, this brings me to the exciting news that follows.

I have access to a limited number of personal items owned by Blanche Caldwell (Barrow) Frasure, which I plan to offer here for those who follow The B&CHB. At least with what is available now-- this will be an "exclusive" offering. These are not B&C related items per se, but rather are personal items owned and used by Blanche. Other than a personal check or 2 with Blanche's signature, I would term these items personal belongings or knick knacks ie: a ceramic tea pot Blanche served tea to friends with, a small decorative milk pitcher-- likely used for the same purpose, silver butter spreaders, Blanche's crocheting needles etc-- this sort of thing-- personal items, which Blanche used in her daily life. Authentic Bonnie and Clyde artifacts are nearly impossible to come by. However for those with a keen interest in these outlaws and their history-- I would think any personally owned item from a Barrow Gang member, would be of considerable interest.

Additional auction rules could be amended within other posts-- however some thoughts now. My initial ideas to be fair to all would include, that each item be offered for a reasonable period of time-- perhaps a number of weeks. Anyone who can view this blog would be eligible to participate. As I don't have the facility here to conduct an eBay style auction, bidding would be conducted via e-mails to me. I would offer these items to worldwide bidding, without a minimum and without a buy it now option-- completely wide open. I feel that's fair. I will publish current bids, so all will know where the bidding stands. I would ask that out of respect for Blanche and her legacy, that bidding for her personal items be responsible-- without frivolous bids.

No anonymous bids would be accepted-- however the identities of all who bid, would be confidential between the bidders and myself throughout the bidding process. I would leave it up to the winner of each item, to choose whether they be identified by name or in lieu of that-- just by their location. Fair shipping costs will be calculated worldwide via an accepted carrier, plus appropriate insurance and delivery confirmation if available. These costs would be paid along with the winning bid, in advance of shipping. Also, if a lot winner is overseas, I must be able to ship and you must be able to receive a package from the United States. U.S. Postal Service money orders, or International U.S. Postal Service money orders would be the accepted method of payment-- although I may expand upon this. A certificate of authenticity and specific to each item-- will be provided along with each item.

I have more to figure out regarding all of this, including working up the 1st lot-- about which I will communicate with you soon. I hope all are excited at the prospects of perhaps owning something from Blanche. I wish these could be B&C related items-- however as expressed to me, they were Blanche's. Speaking for myself-- I know if I could own "anything" from a number of historic figures, I would certainly want to. My sincere thanks to Mrs. Lorraine Weiser, for generously providing me with some of Blanche's belongings, to be offered to followers of The B&CHB. There's more to come, so please stay tuned. As always, please address any questions or comments to me-- concerning this or other B&CHB happenings.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Time Again-- For The Bonnie & Clyde Polls

It's time to reveal the latest B&C Poll answers-- so here we go. Prior to being killed at Joplin, in addition to his regular duties as a Joplin motor detective-- Harry McGinnis once served as Chief of Detectives for the Joplin Police Dept. McGinnis filled the Chief Detectives post, during an Ed Portley illness. It was Aug Atz, who was not at the Okabena, Minnesota bank-- at the time it was robbed by The Barrow Gang. According to reports at the time, when Aug's daughter Cleo Atz heard the bank alarm-- she summoned her father, along with men at the implement store nearby. Mr. Atz grabbed a .32 caliber revolver and shot at B&C from the the alleyway behind the bank. It was noted, that someone in the car returned fire with a machine gun-- missing Mr. Atz. W. J. Kelly and D. B. Hovenden, were both customers of the bank-- and Sam Frederickson was one of the bank cashiers present that day. Mr. Hovendon was also the man who stopped to ask a suspected Bonnie and Blanche if they needed assistance, as they were spotted stationed in their getaway car-- outside of town earlier that morning.

Only one law enforcement officer or posse member, was said to have been hit by Barrow Gang return fire at Dexfield Park. That lawman was Deputy Sheriff C. C. "Rags" Riley, who as it turns out was a lucky man-- having suffered just a glancing blow to the head, from what was thought to be a shot from a BAR. Just 4 of the 7 BARs present at the National Guard Armory in Ranger, Texas were stolen during The Barrow Gang's invasion on February 20th, 1934. The other 3 BARs were apparently deemed too old and used to be of much purpose to Barrow.

Regarding the shell casings found at the Grapevine murder scene-- all of the above was the correct answer. To me the variety of shell casings found there, illustrates perhaps a more brutal reality than the simple story so often recounted of the Grapevine killings. The sheer scope of firepower used from so many different weapons-- the (3) 16 gauge shotgun blasts, (5) .45 caliber auto shots and (3) 12 gauge shotgun bursts-- apparently used to bring down just 2 motorcycle officers, I feel points to more than one shooter. It doesn't seem the truth-- that it was just a matter of firing a couple of shotgun blasts, in order to fell officers Edward Wheeler and H. D. Murphy. As many make the case that Henry Methvin killed both officers that day-- based on the ballistics evidence l respectfully disagree, in feeling both Clyde and Henry pulled the triggers at Grapevine. Please feel free to comment.

It was Floyd Hamilton's wife Mildred Hamilton, who tied with Marie Barrow, for the shortest sentences at the 1935 B&C Harboring Trial. Both received sentences of just 1 hour. Of all the participants in the saga of Bonnie and Clyde-- interestingly only Henry Barrow, was saved from being charged and receiving time during the Harboring Trial. As we now know that Mr. Barrow participated in many acts of protection for B&C as well as sharing in monies given to Henry and Cumie by the outlaws-- I wonder why Mr. Barrow was precluded from serving time as the others?? Henry was even known to have offered to help Bailey Tynes obtain weapons hidden by Clyde, as brokered through 2 middle men. Even Ted Hinton was known to have gone out of his way to help the elder Mr. Barrow protect his family-- by providing him a weapon and possible insulation from prosecution. Apparently the gentlemanly Henry Barrow, garnered that much respect and perhaps sympathy-- based on his respectful dealings with others.

Gladys Cartwright's 4 month old son was named John. Alonzo was Gladys' husband's name-- while Jack and Mitchell, were Gladys Pritchard Cartwright's brothers. And finally, the Sutherland, Iowa farmer who it's said encountered The Barrow Gang at his farm, helped authorities by leading them to bloody clothing, spent shell casings and by detailing the license plate number 11-2399-- which was also noted in the Fort Dodge service station hold ups. So here too-- the correct answer was all of the above. My thanks as always, for your participation in the B&C Polls. Look for all new polls to be posted soon-- here on The B&CHB.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bonnie and Clyde Q&A-- What Did Bonnie Do, After She Helped Clyde Escape From Jail??

The question's been asked here on the blog-- what did Bonnie do after she helped Clyde escape from jail in Waco?? As Fugitives provides perhaps the best day to day account of Bonnie's actions from Waco thru Eastham-- I took this question to mean what did Bonnie do right after the Waco incident?? But as this query was a little hard to gauge, in an effort to be thorough-- I'll address both circumstances here.

As the story goes, on March 8th 1930, Bonnie visited Clyde at the McLennan County Jail-- and was introduced to Clyde's new friend William Turner. Turner who hailed from Waco, had been in prison previously-- where he had escaped and been re-captured. This time, he was up on a federal rap for robbing a post office. Having just re-entered confinement, Turner had an escape plan in mind, but needed help from someone on the outside. As Clyde liked Turner's plan, and felt he could provide the outside help needed-- in quick order he was in on the scheme. Clyde asked Bonnie to help them escape, to which she agreed. Clyde slipped her a map to Turner's parent's home, where she was to go and locate a hidden gun. This was the famous note where Clyde had included the message for Bonnie-- "You're the sweetest baby in the world to me".

Bonnie and her cousin Mary, who it's said wasn't such a willing participant in this unlawful endeavor-- went to Turner's parent's home while they were away and located the gun. Bonnie hid the pistol beneath her clothes and smuggled it to Clyde. On the night of March 11th, Clyde, Turner and another new inmate Emory Abernathy (also imprisoned for serious crimes)-- made their move, overtaking a guard and the prison's turnkey. Once the trio escaped, the plan was to pick up Bonnie-- who had returned to her cousin Mary's house along with her.

But by the following morning, Clyde hadn't shown to get Bonnie. As such, it's said Bonnie planned on returning home that evening. However, the young ladies became spooked by 2 men who knocked on Mary's door and then hung around-- waiting in their car outside the house for some period of time. Logically, Bonnie and Mary thought the 2 men might have been the law looking for them-- in having learned of their roles in Clyde's escape. But actually, these were 2 men sent by Clyde to get Bonnie. Unfortunately-- Bonnie didn't know this until later on.

When the men finally left, instead of taking public transportation-- Bonnie apparently hitchhiked back to Dallas. She didn't know Clyde was alright, until receiving a telegram from him-- sent from Nokomis, Illinois. In that telegram, Clyde told Bonnie he was OK-- and asked her to contact his mother and wait for him. Of course Bonnie's impending reunion with Clyde was not to be-- as soon afterward on March 17th, Clyde and his fellow escapees would be re-captured, after an eventful series of missteps in Middletown, Ohio.

After the Waco incident, Bonnie was known to have stayed close to the Barrow family for some period of time. However as the months wore on, she became less interested in Clyde. It's said Emma was pressuring Bonnie to dump Clyde, as to Emma-- Clyde was nothing but trouble. After some delay, apparently due to government acknowledged poor prison conditions, Clyde re-entered the Waco system. When he did and upon completing his paperwork, he apparently lied a number of times, including listing Bonnie as his wife. This could allow for visitation between them. But then upon being re-sentenced, he made the leap to the notorious Eastham Prison Farm.

Bonnie who initially had written to Clyde often, at more than one point-- pretty much stopped writing to him. She was said to have dated other young men during this period. Then for some reason before Christmas 1930, she began corresponding with Clyde again which rekindled their relationship. Of course after Clyde sacrificed 2 toes either to get out of work detail, or to go to Huntsville to be with Buck??-- less than a week later Cumie Barrow's work for her son's release paid off, when Clyde was granted a conditional pardon. On February 2nd, 1932 Clyde left prison on crutches. The rest as they say is history.

Now there are multiple stories, as to what happened to the gun Bonnie smuggled into the Waco jail-- that Clyde was said to have ditched in Middletown, Ohio. The purported gun from one account is pictured above. That's a fine topic for a future go round of Bonnie and Clyde Q&A. "Thanks" for another great B&C question.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Story of Bonnie and Clyde-- An Update

As The B&CHB receives regular inquiries, regarding Cypress Moon's production of The Story of Bonnie and Clyde-- every so often, I exchange e-mails with Tonya Holly to ask her for an update on how the movie is going. Tonya and I have communicated again, so I wanted to provide all of you with the latest concerning the upcoming B&C movie.

Tonya says 2009 was a tough year for both schedules and financing. As the recent economic realities have affected many industries including independent film making, apparently financing has been tough to come by-- resulting in promises made falling through. Cypress Moon is now dealing with new investment groups, and is hopeful to be shooting by the end of April.

I do have one significant news flash concerning the film, in that Tonya has revealed they do plan on shooting the ambush scene in Bienville Parish, Louisiana-- at the actual ambush location on old LA Hwy 418. If all goes well, they may be shooting the ambush close to the actual day B&C were killed. I don't know about all of you, but to me-- using that final turn and crested hill as the ambush location, is fabulous news!! You can't provide more realism for the ambush, than using the actual spot in which B&C were waylaid.

This is the latest information available as of now. As in the past, I'll do my best to keep everyone updated on The Story of Bonnie and Clyde as I learn more. My sincere "thanks" to Tonya S. Holly of Cypress Moon Studios-- for sharing her insights with the followers of The B&CHB, on this wonderful and highly anticipated B&C movie project.

Monday, February 1, 2010

January's B&C Polls-- A Look At Round 2

Round 2 of January's B&C Poll questions seemed to have stumped some but not others. This batch was largely based on reported accounts from the time. So here we go-- the 1st 2 questions had to do with the Ruston, LA incident. H. Dillard Darby and Sophia Stone were home for lunch and apparently enjoying some time together, when they witnessed the theft of Dillard's car-- upon which they jumped into Miss Stone's car and attempted to follow Darby's car. As the chase neared the town of Hico-- Dillard realized he wouldn't be able to overtake his car, and turned around in order to return to Ruston. According to published reports, Darby was subsequently flagged down by a man he thought was Warren Robinson-- a friend of his. But instead of being Robinson-- it was members of The Barrow Gang. Darby was reportedly slugged by one of the Barrow brothers-- and Stone was said to have been yanked from her car, and hit by Bonnie Parker on the back of the neck with a pistol butt. It was a local farmer who was said to have witnessed these events, and made the 2nd call to a local Sheriff.

Gun Crazy starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall, was the 1949 film noir production about the crime spree of a gun toting husband and wife-- which is credited as beginning the B&C movie craze. I would have also accepted this film's alternate title, Deadly is the Female as a correct answer. Regarding the Sowers ambush attempt, a number of items were reportedly recovered from B&C's car in addition to what is visible on Sheriff "Smoot" Schmid's desk the day after the ambush. Among these items, were 2 stolen parcel post packages from Montgomery Ward, Fort Worth-- addressed to a Mr. A. W. Harris on the U.S. mail route to Ivan, near Breckenridge, Stephens County, Texas. Also found in the car were a bottle of water, a jar of white whiskey, numerous sets of stolen license plates, a medical kit, clothing, a sack of pennies, and what was described as a large quantity of stolen merchandise. Also regarding Sowers, it was said B&C were traveling about 25 miles per hour--when the posse opened up on them.

Concerning Bonnie and Clyde books, there may be more-- but I am aware of at least 25 books which have been written on B&C. There are also numerous books, which include chapters or accounts of Bonnie and Clyde within them. James White was the name provided by Bonnie Parker to Millie Stamps as being her husband-- when B&C visited her aunt Millie in Carlsbad, New Mexico in August of 1932. As the story's told, Bonnie, Clyde and Ray Hamilton showed up unannounced at Bonnie's aunt's on August 13th of that year. Mrs. Stamps became concerned, when she was asked to wash bloody clothing and witnessed a large sum of cash stashed under a mattress. Although conflicting reports exist regarding this incident, it's thought Millie created a diversion along with Bill Cobb-- the cantaloupe farmer she had let land to, to allow Millie time to notify Deputy Sheriff Joe Johns of the strange occurrences at her home. Johns, the former Sheriff was captured by Barrow and Hamilton. A search for Johns ensued, which ended when Johns walked into the San Antonio, Texas Sheriff's office-- telling of being kidnapped by 2 men and an 18 year old girl.

And finally 5 people died in what's known as the Kansas City Massacre. On June 17th, 1933, 4 law enforcement officers were gunned down as they escorted their prisoner Frank "Jelly" Nash-- at Kansas City's Union Station depot. Nash was also killed during the melee. Nash was being escorted back to Leavenworth, where he had escaped 3 years before. Although credit for these killings is often given to a gang led by Vernon Miller as an attempt to free Nash, various notorious criminals of the day were investigated for this crime including The Barrow Gang. This incident was also rumored to have possibly been a hit on Nash. Interestingly, as 2 of the fallen officers and Nash were said to have been killed by shotgun blasts, and the only known shotguns at the scene were carried by the peace officers-- it's thought by some that friendly fire may have killed 2 of the officers and Nash. In addition to Nash, those who died included Bureau of Investigation agent Raymond J. Caffrey, McAlester, Oklahoma Chief of Police Otto Reed, as well as Kansas City Police officers W. J. Grooms and Frank Hermanson. After more than 75 years-- The Kansas City Massacre remains unsolved.

"Thanks as always"-- for your participation in the B&C Polls. Look for the 1st batch of February polls to be posted soon.