The event of Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow meeting for the first time, has been told and re-told-- but seemingly from the same source material-- Fugitives.
As related by Emma Parker within Fugitives, the 1934 Parker and Barrow account-- "I had never heard Clyde Barrow's name and didn't dream that such a boy existed until January, 1930. Bonnie, still out of work after the closing of Marco's Cafe, had gone to stay with a girl friend in West Dallas. This girl had broken her arm, and Bonnie went to help with the work. Clyde's folks lived near, and here it was Clyde came and meet my daughter. It all came about so simply, as such momentous and life-changing things often do. Clyde dropped by this girl's house. Bonnie was there, and they met. That was the beginning."
However ultimately it would take some 79 years, along with the release of a long secret file-- for the mystery woman with the broken arm to be known with any certainty, who by her own admission introduced Bonnie and Clyde. As with a number of known or suspected individuals, who's names were seemingly "changed to protect the innocent" within this family memoir-- this person's identity too was shielded. However in reality, one needn't look far-- to discover the truth concerning this close family relation.
Dallas FBI File 26-4114, is a treasure trove of little known or previously publicly unknown Bonnie and Clyde info-- documented from the time of B&C. Such is the case, concerning the key individual within this mystery. On January 5th 1934, renown B&C and Dillinger Bureau of Investigation Agent Charles Winstead filed a report-- of which both handwritten and transcribed versions exist within the Dallas FBI files. This 5 page memo signed by Winstead, had to do with interviews conducted by himself and a peace officer named Carroll in Gladewater, Texas. Many pieces of valuable information were garnered from the more talkative female interviewed (who it's said was against officers generally)-- however much less was learned from the less talkative male.
Some of this knowledge revealed by the woman questioned, included her clarifications concerning the identities and relationships of various Parker and Barrow family members-- the correct ages of B&C-- the story of Clyde's previous love affair with Grace-- information concerning Frank Clause and Clyde Barrow, along with revealing Frank's employer-- the identity of Bonnie's husband Roy Thornton and prison term he was serving-- info on Billie Parker Mace, her age and the deaths of her children-- the fact that this woman's husband who was also interviewed, is questioned regularly by Dallas lawmen concerning B&C-- along with the revelation that B&C won't come near this couple, due to her husband's dislike for B&C's mode of living-- and B&C's concern for their safety, as alcohol was often present. But paramount to a long pondered B&C mystery, was the revelation that it was she-- who introduced Bonnie to Clyde.
If you don't already know, or haven't guessed by now, these were interviews conducted with Buster Parker and his wife Edith Clay Parker. In writing of his interview with Edith Parker, Agent Winstead wrote-- "She said she introduced Bonnie to Clyde." So apparently the woman with the broken arm, who helped to facilitate a fateful love at first sight-- was none other than Emma's daughter in law-- Edith Ray Parker. According to Billie Parker's well documented family history, Edith Ray Clay married Buster in 1929. So I suppose she could be described as a friend to protect her identity-- but in reality as of 1930, Edith was Bonnie's sister in law.
By the way-- these were the same interviews which led to poignant statements by Buster Parker. Buster said he knew Clyde was going to get Bonnie killed, and would rather know Bonnie in a penitentiary than with Clyde. Buster then promised, if ever he should learn of Clyde's whereabouts while separated from Bonnie-- he would give that information to 2 named lawmen. It seems that like a number of others both inside and outside the families near the end-- Buster was willing to turn on Clyde, in his case unabashedly-- in order to save his beloved sister Bonnie.
From time to time, some seem critical of the Dallas FBI files on Bonnie & Clyde, but I never understand why??-- nor do I feel those impressions logically justified. Perhaps for some, it's just a matter of coming to terms with contrary views of heroes-- from one side of this history or another?? But as info like this concerning Edith and Buster Parker is priceless to Bonnie & Clyde History-- I for one am grateful for so much additional B&C knowledge now being available, after so many decades shrouded in darkness. As I see it, an objective view of history should necessarily include all the good, bad and ugly-- and the more info to help discern the truth, the better. Based on new B&C knowledge being revealed, I remain more & more intrigued by accounts within Fugitives-- now being proven as other than told. As always, I welcome your comments.