Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hamer, Jordan & Alcorn-- "But I Thought "I" Gave the Warning"?!?

As this year we commemorated the 76th anniversary of the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde, I thought it only appropriate that the May 23rd, 1934 Sailes, Louisiana ambush-- be the focus of May's B&C Polls. From the poll results, it seems wonderment over a number of these queries-- was as profound as some of the varying ambush stories themselves. I suppose that's not surprising, as within the saga of B&C-- it's the ambush that seems to provide the greatest mystery. With a prompting to view the title of this post-- here we go.

Question 1 may have been a bit tougher than it seemed, for those unfamiliar with Frank Hamer's interview made the day after the ambush. Hamer stated "Clyde was driving less than 30 miles an hour-- I raised up and commanded them to halt." That's strange, I've always thought B&C stopped at Ivy Methvin's truck?? Also as the Warren car was reportedly found in 1st gear, and with the limited synchromesh technology available in 1934-- it's my understanding cars would need to be stopped, in order to be placed in 1st gear. Ah those pesky details!! Anyway, in adding Hamer's admission that "he" shouted a warning to B&C, to that of Jordan and also to Hinton's statement that he thought he heard Bob Alcorn shout a warning-- and you end up with "3" of the 6 ambush posse members, who it's claimed warned B&C at the ambush site.

An aside here-- From my perspective, somehow the total lack of agreement concerning such disjointed claims of warning-- seems revealing. That along with the care seemingly exercised in making it known that the posse gave B&C a chance-- and thus at this point, I question whether any warning was given. Of course many would say, a warning was never needed-- and in 1934, I'm not sure those searching for fairness concerning the ambush-- would find much sympathy for any. By the way, new info now uncovered-- seems to confirm the lack of warning for Sowers as well. I feel I can also now question the directive, not to engage B&C when civilians were at risk. Concerning the ambush-- although it's possible, I'm not sure it would be thought likely-- that at Sailes all 3 lawmen shouted at B&C. Also you would think that among the 6 who witnessed this event close up, at least 2 participants could agree on a single person who shouted a warning-- if one was echoed at all?!? Lawmen are trained to note detail within their duties.

Question 2 was clarified by Jim Knight in July of last year, based on a B&CHB poll question concerning "Bonnie's Sweet 16". Based on Jim's research, it seems Hamer's inventory of the Barrow Gang weapons from the 1935 book "Texas Rangers" by Webb, was mis-copied by Frost & Jenkins in writing I'm Frank Hamer. According to Webb-- Hamer listed the shotguns as 16 and 20 gauge. Thus the correct line up of heavy weapons found in the Warren car appears to be, 16 and 20 gauge shotguns and 3 BARs. Known photos exist to substantiate this reality.

Concerning the critically important photos known to exist, showing the posse member's weapons on top of the death car-- I would have accepted either 4 or 5 as the number of weapons visible. One photo seems to show 4 and the other 5. It's said the posse members placed their weapons on top of the car, to keep spectators who were assembling from getting to them. Also according to Ted Hinton, his personal armaments at Sailes, included a BAR, a shotgun and (2) .45 caliber automatic pistols.

Many were right, in knowing that the conventional wisdom is that the Barrow Gang hideout (likely the John Cole house)-- was said to have been 3 1/2 miles from the ambush site. This can be discerned based on maps published in 1934, showing both the ambush site and hideout locations. These maps noted the mileage between spots. In perhaps the most recognized B&C Poll question of the bunch, it was John B. Gasquet who took many of the famous Arcadia pics of B&C and the death car. Then the following question seemed one of the least known-- that Prentiss Oakley served 3 terms as Bienville Parish Sheriff, following the 2 terms of Henderson Jordan which concluded in 1940.

And finally, it was Blanche who reportedly said "I'm glad that they were both killed; it was the easiest way out." In a similar statement, Roy Thornton reportedly said-- "I'm glad they went out the way they did. It was better than getting caught." As always my thanks, for your loyal participation in the B&C Polls. Look for June's B&C Poll offerings to be posted soon.

No comments: