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.

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