Well I guess you never know with the Bonnie & Clyde Polls. What to me were a group of B&C queries which took no more time than usual to form, and seemed benign to many-- ended up as perhaps the most challenging group of B&C polls to date. Admittedly, some of these latest B&C questions were built around well known perceptions-- which may have different realities than many believe. But that's so often the case with Bonnie & Clyde History. Some have commented that the B&C polls, help them learn about or clarify B&C events. As that seems a fitting sentiment for this go round-- lets have fun with this edition of The B&C Polls.
The Dallas FBI Files formed the basis for 4 of the August poll questions. As much information exists within this priceless archive which remained unseen by the public until fairly recently, I wholeheartedly recommend becoming familiar with this treasure trove of new B&C knowledge. What seemed like "end all" B&C info prior to this file's release, has been augmented and in some cases corrected-- by well documented accounts of B&C History, which date back to the time in which these events occurred.
Within a 6 page handwritten letter to Dallas Bureau of Investigation SAC Frank Blake penned in early May 1934-- Barrow cousin and Bureau informant Bailey Tynes told of his overhearing Cumie Barrow, her sister and niece speaking of Colorado Springs, Colorado. A Barrow relative Joe Walker was said to have lived there, and Bailey was alerting Agent Blake to the possibility that Colorado Springs may be a place for Bonnie & Clyde to hide out. Bailey also relayed info, that perhaps Clyde had visited Colorado within the previous year.
A May 5th, 1934 report from New Orleans SAC Whitley to Dallas SAC Blake-- provides details on two men named Williams and Drew, who it's believed may have harbored Bonnie & Clyde. Although one of these men was said to have been a bootlegger, it seems both were thought friends of Clyde-- and that info regarding them was deemed reliable.
Another Bureau of Investigation document dated May 8, 1934, tells of renown Agent Charles Winstead having interviewed Raymond Hamilton at the County jail in Dallas. This interview is noted to have occurred on May 4th, 1934. Ray stated that if he ever had the opportunity, he would kill Clyde Barrow. Hamilton also said he knew how to contact Clyde, but wouldn't divulge that info even to save himself from the electric chair. In addition, Ray stated that after separating from Clyde in Terre Haute, Indiana-- he met Clyde about a week before Easter Sunday at a lunch stand on a road in Decatur, Texas. According to Ray, at that time-- Clyde asked Hamilton when they were going to join up again. To which Ray told Clyde, they were never going to join again.
The Dallas Files also document-- that on May 16th, 1934 a San Antonio Texas Salesman named Tommy Anderson, was said to have informed San Antonio police chief Owen Kilday (good police name)-- that Anderson had positively identified Clyde Barrow in a car traveling nearby. This report triggered a series of events which involved L. G. Phares, Chief of the Texas Highway Patrol, an airplane and other common and uncommon police equipment in a manhunt-- which culminated in the capture of 2 brothers, Paul and Robert Amick. After being questioned, it was determined that the Amicks had nothing to do with The Barrow Gang, and they were released. Even before the apprehension of these men erroneously believed to be Barrow and an accomplice-- the Bureau noted that local San Antonio papers had reported that Barrow had escaped the police trap, and were being hotly pursued in the area of Thelma, Texas and points south of San Antonio.
September 12th, 1934 was the date Henry Methvin was added to the warrant for the murder of Cal Campbell.
And the best answer concerning the Buddy Goldston question-- was that his account of the ambush, made a shielding scenario of B&C by the wood pulp truck unlikely. That's because contrary to I think all other eyewitness accounts, Buddy claimed he was driving this famous logging truck north to south, "not" south to north. That's the same direction B&C were headed, as they approached the Sailes waylay. In fact when interviewed years later, Buddy claimed B&C had passed him prior to his coming upon the ambush scene. Therefore according to Goldston, he was "behind" B&C-- not facing them from the other direction. This discrepancy concerning the ambush, is one of the more fascinating aspects to this mysteriously less than well documented event. Also according to Goldston, there were 2 men riding on the load of the wood pulp truck-- not just one as other witnesses claimed, making for a total of 3 men on the truck-- not 2. To my knowledge, neither of these other 2 men were ever positively identified.
The way I look at this, surely Buddy Goldston knew which direction he was traveling that fateful day. Jim Knight advances the theory, that either some of the witnesses to the ambush were unsure of their facts-- or perhaps there could have been 2 trucks present that day, one coming from each direction?? Or to believe Ted Hinton's account, perhaps the cover up story got twisted around and told wrong-- and by that time the story stuck?? That's surely a possibility as well. As always with the ambush-- there seem to be many more questions than answers. In his account of the ambush, Henderson Jordan has the B&C death car coming to rest on the west side of the road. And Frank Hamer has the Warren car still moving at a fair rate of speed, as Ivy Methvin was supposed to have been talking with Bonnie & Clyde through the open window-- of a vehicle later found in 1st gear. Many aspects of the ambush accounts as we know them, don't make sense. So why should the direction the wood pulp truck was traveling-- be any different??
Regarding the Grapevine killings-- many B&C authors have described the 2 differing eyewitness accounts from both Mr. and Mrs. Fred Giggal and William Schieffer. Both Jim Knight and John Neal Phillips do a commendable job in sorting out this event. John Neal Philips points out that based on having viewed the Grapevine scene from a considerable distance, during the time of the investigation-- Mr. Schieffer was never able to identify Bonnie or Clyde from police mugshots, not to mention Henry Methvin. In fact remarkably, Schieffer would later identify Bonnie's sister Billie Mace and Floyd Hamilton as being the shooters.
John goes on to criticize Schieffer's account as stated within the controversial book I'm Frank Hamer. By the time the Hamer book was published, Bonnie & Clyde were clearly fingered by Schieffer, who had miraculously improved his vantage point-- from his porch where he was originally noted to have been, to get close enough to overhear Bonnie Parker's words in allegedly finishing off one of the officers and joking about it. Many inconsistencies have been observed, concerning that perhaps self serving chronicle of Frank Hamer-- where the Schieffer account, is but one example of some seemingly blatant literary inventiveness.
And finally page 160 of Winston Ramsey's book, was the location of the text from the Kansas City Star article, concerning Buck Barrow. According to this news account, Sheriff Bash of Kansas City was told "The Wounded man said he was shot in the head Thursday morning in the battle at Platte City while firing from inside one of the cabins." So contrary to popular belief, movie portrayals and other known accounts-- Buck being hit while making a dash for the car at the Red Crown, seems to have had a contrary version told. Even though claimed to be the words of Buck Barrow, as this account seems to contradict the statements of others and B&C lore (whether true or untrue)-- I would like to find a corroborating piece of evidence to back this account, rather than just a second hand report.
So there you have it-- the August B&C Polls. A challenging batch, concerning some well tread B&C misconceptions. Even the most seasoned B&C experts around here, had trouble with these. Look for more polls to be posted for September. As always-- thanks for your participation in the B&C Polls.