Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Daughter for Bonnie Parker and W. D. Jones in 1932?!?-- How About Twins?!&?#%?!! You'd Better Brace Yourselves for This One

Is this the face of an outlaw's daughter-- or the inquisitive look of a young lady destined to know her own happiness, while also searching in vain for a truth she may never know?? One thing's for sure within Bonnie & Clyde History-- there's never a shortage of stories regarding these most iconic of American outlaws-- no matter how outlandish the claims. It can also be said, that among some closest to Bonnie & Clyde's families-- there can exist an "extra" measure of defensiveness and oft times unwillingness, to consider points of view unlike their own.

Now I myself don't consider "it ain't so-- 'cause it ain't so"-- a viable defense, in choos
ing not to explore B&C stories in search of the truth. With so much new and credible information having come to light in recent years, I believe new avenues of thinking need to be employed, in order to fully understand reality within B&C History. Within that unabashed spirit of seeking transparency within this diverse and less than certain historical journey, I'm proud to say here at The B&CHB-- I don't shy away from controversy and I won't sweep things under the rug. Thus if I were to tell you that an adopted woman living in California, has waged a decades long crusade to learn the truth regarding her identity-- in feeling she may be the daughter of Bonnie Parker and W. D. Jones what would you think??

"That's a good one"!@%$?! might come to mind-- or "that's not possible-- is it"?? Well even as immersed as I am within this history, I was unaware of this monumental claim until earlier this year-- when it was brought to my attention by a friend I trust implicitly within this history. Apparently the B&C Families and some close to them, have been approached quietly over time-- in seeking their help to sort out this hard to fathom matter of B&C contention. However due to media coverage of this story, the circle of knowledge has widened concerning this bold assertion. As such when brought to my attention, my curiosity was jogged. However based on the thoroughly "sensational" nature of this claim, I must admit that even I in possessing a normally "wide open" mindset concerning this history-- didn't concentrate much on it, until the story re-surfaced for me again. Recently, I was sent a link to a KCBS news story concerning this allegation-- which aired in Los Angeles on June 16th, 2009. With many thanks, this link was sent by Cindy-- who's a regular contributor to this blog.

Now there have been many people over the years, who've claimed a kinship with Bonnie, Clyde or some member of The Barrow Gang. In the vast majority of these cases, although the amount of banter and self assertion can be voluminous, viable proof is rarely forthcoming. Thus most who make these claims are often exposed as egocentric opportunists, or those who as a practical matter-- perhaps may need to find more to do with their lives. But in viewing this CBS news video, which was broadcast in the major market of Los Angeles-- I was struck by this woman's determination and conviction, in seemingly truly believing she was somehow the child of W. D. and Bonnie. Plus she had an intriguing story to tell, which on the face of it-- seemed less vulnerable to being "knocked out" as quickly as most "I'm related to B&C" stories.

But let's get real you'd say. How could this be?? This person has to be mistaken. There's no way, or is there?? For the record, this quite pleasant & outgoing lady is Grace Davies-- who hails from the hinterland area of Southern California. Grace is 78 years old-- having been born in March of 1932. Concerning her perceived affiliation with B&C History, Grace's story goes something like this. From the time she was a young girl, Grace wondered about her true identity. As many children do, she had overheard family members talk of her-- and came to the realization she may have been adopted.

As she became of age, Grace began asking her relatives the emotionally laden questions she just couldn't shake-- and which left a wanting feeling within her. At one point, Grace had asked her uncle Jim for insights regarding her adoption. However, instead of the usual story one might expect this relative to tell, Grace's uncle took a most curious detour-- in providing comment seemingly unrelated to her question. Jim proceeded to tell Grace of her aunt Lillie, who in her younger days had been said to run liquor for bootleggers. According to uncle Jim, Grace's aunt Lillie Ruth Brown (pictured here)-- brought Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow to the family farm in North Carolina for a weekend stay. But what on earth, did this knowledge have to do with Grace's adoption?? Understandably, Grace asked if aunt Lillie was her mother?? No said Jim-- but aunt Lillie was said to have been the relative who brought Grace to her adopted parents Glennie Bell Johnson and William Raleigh Johnson as a baby. And in a perfect spot for this phrase-- here's where the plot thickens.

Although Grace's relatives were reluctant to provide the vital information she craved, with each relative questioned-- Grace Marie seemed able to piece together more and more of a puzzle, with what appeared to be ominous possibilities. Grace was told that she was born in another state while her natural mother was in jail. She was then brought to NC by aunt Lillie, and given to her adoptive mother-- Lillie's sister Glennie. Grace also recalls a one time meeting with a mysterious yet friendly man. When Grace was 8, she had taken ill. While she was sick, she remembers a man visiting her-- a "handsome" man, whom she remembers saying he loved her and who cried upon leaving their brief encounter. More on this mystery man in a moment. In later years while searching for proof of her identity, Grace has been told 2 quite different stories by records workers in NC concerning her adoption records. One story is that her records were destroyed by a fire in Smithfield, NC. The other account, has Grace unable to view her sealed records since she was related to "high criminals".

In having uncovered what Grace believed was some connection with Bonnie & Clyde, in 1971-- Grace began looking into B&C History in earnest for information. She read avidly about the outlaws, and began making the rounds of those she felt might assist her-- in deciphering what seemed to be a haphazard but intriguing batch of clues. She approached Phillip Steele, who'd worked on a memoir with Marie Barrow Scoma-- among others, who are recognizable names within the realm of B&C Historical analysis. Remember the mysterious and handsome man from a moment ago?? Now enter Kent Biffle.

After years of searching B&C streams with but a trickle of useful knowledge concerning her quest, on September 12th, 2000-- Grace says she spoke with renown Dallas newsman Kent Biffle. Many familiar with this history are aware of Kent Biffle's work, which included a number of articles on Bonnie & Clyde which he authored over the course of his storied career. According to Grace, in having told Kent what she's learned of her earlier life-- and after some questions from Mr. Biffle in apparently feeling out Grace and attempting to verify knowledge of his own, Kent Biffle laid some "mother load" info upon Grace.

As Grace remembers it-- Kent said W. D. Jones was his friend and a nice man. According to Grace, it was Kent Biffle who told her that W. D. Jones was indeed her daddy. And although never mentioning her by name, Grace says Kent also made what she thought was a veiled reference to Bonnie Parker. Oddly, Kent made this inference within an unexpected and disparaging comment concerning Grace's mother. But as Grace knew Kent Biffle would have had no way of knowing anything of Grace's adoptive mother Glennie Johnson in order to offer comment on her-- she was left with the impression that Kent was referring to Bonnie Parker as being her mother.

As someone once said-- now "those" are revelations within B&C History-- but hold on-- were they really revelations at all?? Now I'll take a moment here to comment, that apparently Kent Biffle has his detractors among some who've dealt with him over the years. I would think anyone in the news game as long as Kent was, could draw a mixed hand when impressions concerning him are tallied. However Kent also has his supporters, one of whom told me Kent is an honest man, who's always intent on getting historical facts right. From my point of view, a review of Kent Biffle's B&C articles-- shows a reporter who seems to express a decidedly negative slant and critical opinion of Bonnie & Clyde, along with those who would laud them. In some ways, this popular news reporter seems to resemble a sort of home town Dallas crusader-- intent on protecting the image of Dallas from the scourge of these young punk criminals who gave Dallas a bad name. But you know what-- there "are" many who would support this sort of B&C bashing, and support Mr. Biffle's opinions concerning B&C wholeheartedly.

I should also note, a most interesting comment which Grace brought to my attention. Grace told me that according to Kent Biffle, not all of W.D.'s interview with Playboy was published in November 1968. There were said to have been portions left untold, which Grace feels may have included info regarding this story. Grace says she made contact with Playboy, who told her no other records of W.D's interview could be located beyond the published interview. I've also communicated with Playboy Enterprises, in an attempt to learn what notes containing unpublished info-- may exist from W.D.'s 1968 interview. In addition, I've tried to clarify just who it was-- who worked with W. D. in bringing his story to press. In a curious response (at least to me)-- Playboy has politely declined my request for info, in citing proprietary privilege. It seems without exception, only Playboy employees can view Playboy materials. One thing I know as I've specifically asked-- Playboy hasn't denied the existence of additional notes from the W. D. sessions. Also so far, Playboy has refused to reveal the source who was responsible for obtaining W. D.'s story.

Well I must say-- I hadn't realized the need for such protections, regarding a 42 year old interview in Playboy magazine?!? I would politely ask why?? My response to this development, is when people start declining requests for historically related info of a seemingly benign nature-- that gets my attention. Based on their response, I've made a newly enhanced request-- in trying to shake the bushes over at Playboy. I find it curious that after all these years, there would be such hesitation concerning this information. It's easy I suppose to hide behind the cloak of proprietary concern. But concern over what?? I wonder if this proprietary focus, is really all there is-- to this apparent lack of professional graciousness?? Could there indeed be secrets revealed within W. D.'s Playboy liner notes?? I hope eventually to gain some insight into W. D.'s Playboy interview, as it relates to this story.
I've seen it written that a reporter from Houston was responsible for the W.D. Playboy article. How Kent Biffle seemingly knew of insider info from W.D.'s Playboy confessional, leaves one to wonder whether he may have been a go between to W.D.-- knew the reporter who conducted the interview-- or in fact, may have "been" the reporter who obtained W.D.'s comments on a free lance basis??

Ah but there's more. Just as our journey through the thick woods of uncertainty was nearing a clearing-- we arrive at the road never taken. Through a family held conversation which Grace witnessed early in her life, and via medical evidence uncovered in 1983-- Grace had suspected that she may have been one of twins born to her natural mother. Now if Bonnie Parker was indeed Grace's mother, that would mean that Bonnie had twins in 1932. Next enter Ken Holmes. Ken who's known to many of us, as a Dallas based Historian with a substantial knowledge of B&C History-- has also dealt with Grace over the years. According to Grace, at one point Ken told her that in the 1970's a TV news anchorwoman in Houston, Texas had also claimed to be the daughter of Bonnie Parker.

Grace said she contacted many Houston television stations in an attempt to find this woman. The closest she got, was to have co-workers of this mystery woman ask Grace her date of birth over an open line. When Grace responded-- an audible gasp was said to have been heard among those listening. Grace felt this could mean, that the woman who was fired for telling her sensational claim over the air-- may have had the same birth date as hers?? Now this possibility, just plain opens up the proverbial 'ol extra large can o' worms to sort through.

If true, what would the odds be of "2" women trying to verify themselves as daughters
of Bonnie Parker-- and both having the same birthday?? I'm not sure-- but those odds would likely be very long indeed. To me, this seeming connection to another woman who's thought of as a possible twin daughter of Bonnie Parker by Grace-- seems a perception perhaps built on a quantum leap of faith. Such is the case with a number of aspects of this story. Yet interestingly, Grace says she possesses Internet records from 1999 of a Ron Johnson and others from NC-- searching for the twin daughters of Bonnie Parker the outlaw on genealogy.com. Remember, Grace's adopted name is Johnson from North Carolina. I too was able to locate records on genealogy.com, of an forum search for Bonnie Parker twins from 1999 which involved Grace, but no mention yet within my searches of a Ron Johnson or multiple inquiries concerning this. Getting back to Ken Holmes-- Ken was also said to have offered the possibility to Grace, of having DNA analysis performed on a swatch of the B&C death car seat upholstery which he owns.

Ken Holmes graciously responded to my call for comment for this article. According to Ken, he heard the report regarding the Houston, Texas TV news anchorwoman over the radio in the 1970's. Ken recalls this woman was indeed fired from her job, for mentioning on the air that she was the daughter of Bonnie Parker. Ken is familiar with Grace's claim of perhaps being a twin-- but doesn't remember any reference to twins being involved in this story concerning the Houston newswoman. Ken also confirmed his willingness, regarding possible DNA testing of the death car swatch he owns. However as this testing could involve destruction of this rare swatch toward that goal-- it would likely be an expensive endeavor, both concerning this artifact's value and cost of DNA analysis.

Point by Point, Pro and Con--

With considerable background now established in this case, I thought it best to proceed point by point with many of the nuances needed to examine this claim. This format would seem to provide an effective way to impart additional info-- while also providing a much needed airing of arguments pro and con.

Due to difficulty in obtaining her adoption records, although not set in stone-- Grace believes she was born in March 1932. She would prefer to shield her precise birth date in considering the chance that a twin with the same birth date may be searching for her. For the record, I am aware of this date. W. D. Jones was born on May 15th, 1916. Therefore for W. D. to be Grace's father, he would have been just 15 years old both when she was conceived in roughly June 1931-- and also when Grace was born in March of '32. Certainly not impossible-- but many might think this possibility unlikely. And to involve Bonnie Parker-- this fact would also necessitate the image of a married 20 year old Bonnie, already separated from Roy Thornton and involved with Clyde-- having had some sort of fling with a much younger W. D. I'm not sure where it can be shown, that W. D. Jones and Bonnie Parker knew one another prior to December 1932-- when W. D. joined up with Clyde. However as W. D. was friends with Clyde's brother L. C. and had known Clyde for years, it's conceivable that W. D. "could" have crossed paths with Bonnie. How this could be proven I'm not sure.

In
order to support this claim based on reported B&C Historical events-- you'd also have to envision Clyde leaving prison in January 1932 and returning to a pregnant Bonnie, who reportedly was elated in seeing Clyde once again. As one B&C Historian expressed to me within a recent talk we had concerning this-- that's "too much of a stretch". Now with Grace's adoption records at this point unavailable-- there could be some play in Grace's birth date. But based on the timing told within this story, I would think it unlikely that Clyde wouldn't have known about a Bonnie pregnancy. How that reality would have gone over with Clyde, after spending 2 years in prison and returning to Bonnie-- that "is" frankly, quite a long stretch.

As I see it, the main element which "could" support this claim-- is the time period in which a Bonnie and W. D. union could have occurred. This timing just happens to coincide precisely, with the period in which a woman born in March 1932 would have been conceived. Any time significantly earlier or later-- and this story wouldn't work. It seems little is known concerning Bonnie's acquaintances and activities between December 1930 and January 1932. Within Fugitives, the family's 1934 account of B&C's story-- notably, Bonnie's exploits appear to pretty much drop from sight during this 13 month period. Although some B&C authors have provided some insight-- with all that's been written about Bonnie Parker both before and after this time, I would ask-- why so little is chronicled of Bonnie from this period?? It's been reported that after Clyde entered prison, Bonnie corresponded with him regularly for months. Their published love letters, seemingly verify a love that carried forward for a good portion of Clyde's confinement. However it's also been noted, that eventually their relationship cooled-- to the point where it's said Bonnie "was" dating other young men during this very time. Is it possible that Bonnie could have been attracted to a younger and notably handsome W. D. Jones-- whom she could have known, and had at least a one night relationship with?? Yes it is. Is it also possible that the family(ies) could have held such a secret as a Bonnie pregnancy tight lipped for generations?? According to some willing to state a belief held for many years-- one would suppose so, depending on the circumstances.

As the Kent Biffle angle is "key" to Grace's story, I've made a number of attempts to contact Kent but so far without a reply. I've learned that Kent who's in his 70s, may not be in the best of health these days. It's certainly not my intention to be impolite to Mr. Biffle or his family. I continue to hope for some response to my approaches-- in asking Kent to please confirm, deny or clarify-- the statements attributed to him by Grace Davies. Based on some candid conversations held between myself and others who either know Kent or know of him-- I've been told it's possible that Kent knew W. D. Jones. However based on known B&C accounts I feel it must be asked-- is it possible that Kent Biffle somehow misspoke regarding the story he reportedly told Grace, in linking her to W. D. and or Bonnie?? Perhaps Kent was right about W.D. but wrong about Bonnie?? I suppose many things could be possible within this story-- including that contention as well.

According to Emma Parker, once Bonnie's marriage to Roy Thornton dissolved, Bonnie lived with her up until the time she and Clyde went away. In 1932 the Parker's Dallas residence was noted to have been located at 2430 Douglass. It seems logical that for this story to be true, the Parker family would have needed (for some reason)-- to cover it up, and do so most effectively for close to 80 years now. From speaking with a number of folks old enough to remember the 1930's, I understand that events such as we're discussing here (a birth out of wedlock-- or involving a minor-- or a child born to a woman already married)-- were considered scandalous circumstances, and would be considered an embarrassment to the families involved. However-- Bonnie's niece Rhea Leen Linder, reveals a touching perspective concerning The Parker Family-- within her rebuttal to this claim which accompanies this post. Rhea Leen asks-- with all the love and care The Parkers had exhibited in searching for her, when she had been placed in a home away from her family-- why they wouldn't have had the same love for any children of Bonnie's?? It's known that Bonnie loved children. Thus what are the odds, she would have given away one much less 2 children-- if presented with the opportunity to have her family care for them?? Not a chance according to Rhea Leen.

As a practical matter, there seems a stark reality standing in the way of Grace's view of the "handsome" man who she recalls visiting her when she was 8-- and believing this gentleman to be W. D. Jones. I have requested documentation from The Texas Department of Criminal Justice concerning the incarceration of William Daniel Jones. It's been written that W. D. was sentenced to 15 years in prison as an accomplice to the January 6th, 1933 murder of Tarrant County Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis. Also that 2 years were later added to W. D.'s sentence, as a result of his conviction in the B&C harboring trial in 1935. If W. D. was indeed confined for anywhere near 17 years after his time with Bonnie & Clyde-- then unless W. D. was granted a furlough to visit Grace when she was 8-- the mysterious handsome man who Grace remembers couldn't have been W. D. As soon as I have the info needed to verify W. D.'s sentence-- I'll update this post.

Update-- The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has confirmed that W. D. was released from prison on December 13th, 1940. This info makes it possible, that W. D. could have been the mysterious man who visited Grace when she was 8 years old. Please review additional info from W.D.'s prison record in a post dated October 27th, 2010.

As far as Grace being born to Bonnie while Bonnie was in the Kaufman, Texas jail-- as expressed in the CBS coverage of Grace's story-- here's another spot, where the facts may stand squarely in the way of a good story. Grace is said to have been born in March 1932. But after her involvement in the Maybank incident with Ralph Fults-- Bonnie was imprisoned from April 20th or 21st, 1932 and released after being no billed, on June 17th of that year. Again, there could be some play withing Grace's birth date-- and effectively there would need to be-- in making this timing element of her story possible. Concerning CBS's handling of this story, Peter Wilgoren-- the Senior Executive Producer of CBS News Los Angeles, expressed to me his belief that CBS pretty much went with Grace's story as told-- and without contacting The Parker Family, although their reporter Stacy Butler, was said to have made many phone calls concerning her report.

Divergent views and a family's response. There's "a lot" happening within this assertion of a possible Bonnie & W. D. kinship with Grace Davies-- which may or may not have grounds in reality. Many may feel there's about as much chance of this claim being true-- as a snowball in hell being hit by a shot in the dark!! At this point although I'm not willing to dismiss this claim, I'm not convinced there's enough evidence to substantiate Grace's assertion. However-- there "are" intriguing aspects of this story, which remain unexplained. From the Parker family's point of view, although it's unfortunate that Grace has spent such energy and time within her quest-- it's their view she is mistaken. For her part, although Grace has apparently expressed no monetary desires within the search for her true identity-- she has drawn the ire of some for her persistence, in the face of few verifiable facts. Grace says she just wants to know the truth, concerning the emotionally charged question of who she really is. She has stated if her feelings concerning W. D. and Bonnie are deemed to be false-- she would apologize for any trouble she may have caused. I believe Grace in making that heartfelt statement. In fairness, I feel it needs to be known that Grace also claims a psychic sensitivity-- which she admits to for as long as she can remember. As one who believes in those possibilities, and at this point in my life-- I wouldn't downplay or cast doubt on that admission. So could it be true, that Grace is the daughter of W. D. Jones and Bonnie Parker?? I feel it quite unlikely, but I'm not willing to shut the door on that possibility. In response to Grace's assertion, Bonnie's niece Rhea Leen Linder has asked me to publish an e-mail she sent me-- in response to my approach to her for comment concerning this story. It's my pleasure to do so. This e-mail was dated September 29th, 2010.

Winston - BONNIE HAD NO CHILDREN AT ALL - EVER - NOT BY ROY, NOT BY CLYDE OR NOT BY "ANYONE ELSE" PERIOD.

This must be the woman that keeps calling Buddy, Don't you know that our family would certainly know if she EVER was pregnant and definitely if she had a child or twins - for one thing the baby would never be adopted out - it would have definitely been taken care of by Emma and Jean and rest of family - when they searched for me constantly for 3 years - not having any idea of where I might be - but kept looking - with no help from anyone but the "Welfare dept." - you know darn well that they would have kept any child of Bonnie's - no matter who the daddy was.There were ONLY 3 grandchildren in Bonnie's family - Billie Jean's 2 children, Buddy and Jackie - who passed away at age 2 and 4 - and Buster's daughter, me, Bonnie Ray Parker - and Jean had my name changed to Rhea Leen Frazier when I was in 5th grade.

When does common sense prevail in anything that concerns B&C - I have missed Marie so much - not only for the friendship and things we had planned - but for her knowledge - to at least put so much of this B.S. to rest.

Billie Jean and Marie both - many more times than once - told me that BONNIE NEVER HAD ANY CHILDREN - and I defer to them as the "ONLY EXPERTS" ON THIS SUBJECT.

To ALL of the self-claimed experts and FAMILY WANNA-BE'S - I ask - "WHY IN THE WORLD WOULD YOU WANT TO BE KIN TO BONNIE AND CLYDE?????" No matter what the circumstances - they were still outlaws and did wrong - I thank God that Bonnie never shot anyone - but still she chose to remain on the wrong side of the law with Clyde - eventho, Clyde, Emma, Billie Jean and Buster tried to get her to come home before it was to late - she could have but she chose to stay with Clyde - knowing the ultimate end was to come.

I know that Jeff Guinn said that "HISTORY IS "YOUR BEST GUESS" and preceded to write his book on that opinion - doing whatever it takes to "spice up" his book - and naming it the "true and untold story of Bonnie and Clyde" and then proceeds to lie in it - how can that be considered to be "True and Untold" - in all the other books written and stories told- it was NEVER intimated that she was a "prostitute". That was an out and out lie - I checked with historians that I trust - John Neal Phillips, Jonathan Davis and Boots, as well as others- and they all said that was not in anything that they had seen- nothing had been intimated to that effect - so I guess that was Jeff's "Best Guess" in his mind. Someone said that he chose to use that BECAUSE she wrote the poem about a prostitute - she wrote a poem about "Suicide Sal" but we all know that she DIDN'T commit suicide.

Winston - I would like to see my letter put on your blog - in full - and see what effect, if any, that it has. Take care. Rhea Leen

No DNA-- Grace Davies has expressed her willingness to provide DNA samples to help solve what she feels is a valid question both personally and historically. Rhea Leen Linder has refused to consider providing DNA-- in feeling Grace's claim not credible enough for consideration. For what it's worth-- from both a personal and historical perspective, I've expressed my feeling that DNA analysis may be the "only" way to put this B&C contention to rest. I can appreciate both the Parker and Barrow families' frustration, in having endured kinship related claims for years. But by the same token if it were me-- I would agree to DNA. My feeling is-- why allow a story such as this to fester, and survive those living today who could deal with and possibly dispel it?? My suggestion is, after many decades of uncertainty-- prove or disprove this story. Remember there does exist the death car swatch. To me, all involved-- Grace, The Parkers and Jones (should relatives of W.D. be located)-- would all benefit in knowing the truth. A weight lifted from many shoulders, for the sake of a simple swab in the mouth or testing a piece of fabric. Plus there's the very human element of Grace Davies trying satisfy a lifelong desire to discover her roots. Even one of the most discerning and careful investigators I know-- thinks Grace looks very much like W. D. What do you think about all of this?? I welcome your comments. My thanks for your patience, during the research and construction of a most involved post.

Many thanks as well to L. J. "Boots" Hinton, for allowing the rarely seen photo of W. D. and Bonnie at the rocky outcropping to be published here on The B&CHB. That photo is © 2010 The Hinton Family Archive. BTW-- I find it interesting that in the other photo of Bonnie and W. D. shown above, W. D. Jones has his arm around Bonnie Parker. Maybe it's just me-- but I've always felt Bonnie looked uncomfortable just standing next to other members of The Barrow Gang when photographed. By contrast-- of course Bonnie always seemed at ease when standing with Clyde. What impact might this perceived closeness of Bonnie to W. D. have on this story-- who knows?? Perhaps none at all. But why do you suppose W. D. was able to get close enough to Bonnie, to seemingly express an outward affection in holding her as he did?? And when that photo was taken-- Clyde was almost certainly standing right off camera. I find that photo a curious thing.

Also it was W. D., who carried a wounded Bonnie on his back through thick and thin for a mile at Dexfield Park-- likely saving Bonnie's life, or at best certain capture and separation from Clyde. According to Billie via a story told by Bonnie herself-- W. D. was trusted by Clyde to choose life or death for Bonnie, should the law close in on them at Dexfield Park (B&C's suicide pact). Per Billie's account-- prior to Clyde, Bonnie and W. D. escaping-- when W. D. and Bonnie thought they heard the law near them-- Bonnie said W. D. had a gun to her head with the hammer cocked and his finger on the trigger. That's perhaps the ultimate trust-- to place your life in the hands of another. Apparently both B&C trusted W. D. with that responsibility concerning Bonnie. Then again, if Grace's contention were true-- would W. D. be able to pull the trigger, and end the life of the mother of their child(ren)?? I'm not sure that would make sense. Did Bonnie Parker & W. D. Jones share more in common, than just the element of survival?? It's a most interesting thought.

If anyone anywhere, has additional info concerning Grace Davies or the search for a child or children of Bonnie Parker and W. D. Jones-- please send an e-mail to me at bchistory@optonline.net

31 comments:

Frances said...

DNA seems to be the way to go. Remember the Russian princess? DNA proved that she wasn't any relation to the royal family. End of story. This is a very interesting article, Winston, thanks for sharing!

BarefootOkieGal said...

I had noticed that in that photo of Bonnie and W.D., Bonnie definitely doesn't look very comfortable and appears to be leaning away from W.D. There could be many reasons for this - maybe they were on the outs at the moment (the whole gang could fight like wildcats) but you're right - Bonnie definitely looks most relaxed and happy when she's with Clyde in the photos. I don't think there was a relationship between Bonnie and W.D. - he was so much younger, and I haven't seen any indication that she was attracted to younger men. Matter of fact, didn't she refer to Clyde as "Daddy?" Given the fact that her own father had died young, I think Bonnie would have not been so likely to be interested in younger men, but rather men of her own age or older who were strong and could take care of her. Also, while Bonnie did "date," there's no indicating that "dating" meant anything more back in the 1920's-1930's than it does now; I don't necessarily think that Bonnie was sleeping with every man she dated!

I tend to believe Rhea Leen Linder when she adamantly states that Bonnie never had a child. She was old enough to have heard all the family stories, and then there is her own story, showing that Bonnie's family valued all the children born to them and more than likely would have claimed any child that was known to have been born to any of their family members.

Sad to say, I believe that even if Rhea Leen were willing to undergo DNA testing, it would not prove anything in the case of this poor woman. Rhea Leen was Buster's daughter, and her mitochondrial DNA would not have been the same as that of Buster's mother or sisters Bonnie and Billie - mitochondrial DNA comes down through the mother's side only, and so if Bonnie had had a daughter, that daughter would have had Bonnie and her mother's mitochondrial DNA, while Rhea Leen's mitochondrial DNA would be that of HER mother, who was not related to Bonnie Parker.

The only hope of any DNA match that would prove anything is if there is any DNA left to be tested in anything B&C left behind. If they can find a bit of Bonnie's DNA, they could settle this once and for all. Failing that, DNA from anyone descended from Bonnie's mother or grandmother would work - mitochondrial DNA can be found in hair, and so if anyone has any hair from anyone descended from Bonnie's mother or grandmother, it's possible they could extract the mitochondrial DNA for comparison purposes. Even Buster's hair would work - his mitochondrial DNA would have been the same as that of his mother, and therefore the same as Bonnie's.

I can certainly feel for this poor woman - as an adopted person, I have seen so many people desperate to know who their ancestors are - hey, when you're adopted, even your parents count as "ancestors" - and some people just can't feel at peace until they have some answers. Also, from this story, it appeared that poor Grace was told a story, NOT that she just made up a story, and I can how see someone who is given a hint that promises to reveal a lifeline mystery would go to great lengths to follow it up.

I can appreciate all the hard work you went through to bring us this story, and greatly appreciate it! I surely hope that all your work managed to give this woman some closure, even if it just shows her that she was wasting her energy going down the wrong track.

A. Winston Woodward said...

I am aware of some, who firmly believe there is a substantial B&C family secret-- which may have been kept under wraps for decades. Could Grace Davies claim be that secret?? At this point, I'm not sure how to know. And there are many unsubstantiated rumors which have been floated over the years concerning the families.

There's the one that has Buster Parker and or L. C. Barrow having knocked off either or both Ivy and Henry Methvin as revenge for the deaths of B&C. There are the Bonnie pregnancy rumors from the time of her death. Then there are the instances such as within this story, of those who claim a kinship to Bonnie, Clyde or other family members. So these types of assertions are actually not that rare. However this case does seem to have it's share of interesting twists and nuances.

Plus based on a response I received just today-- it seems Playboy is unwilling to share info from it's files, which as stated within this story-- may contain useful info not published within it's 1968 W.D. Jones interview. Playboy in effect has citing proprietary privilege, in politely declining my request for information. All these years later I would respectfully ask-- why??

Perhaps there "was" something revealed by W.D. that others don't want known?? Or perhaps Playboy just wants things their way with their stuff-- regardless historical importance. But when seemingly benign historical requests are denied-- that gets my attention. Concerning Grace's claim, my comment has been there doesn't seem to be enough evidence to support her assertions.

However-- there "are" some quite interesting aspects of this case which seemingly cannot easily be dismissed. Also with DNA testing so simple and routine today, it causes me to wonder-- when even the idea of providing a sample is rejected out of hand. That gets my attention too. Why not just provide a sample you know will prove negative??-- and be done with this??

Since there's nothing to this in some people's eyes-- I feel that's a fair question.

BarefootOkieGal said...

Well, Winston, even if Rhea Leen did agree to a DNA test, it wouldn't prove anything - I don't believe they can find any DNA other than mitochondrial to test from any of the principals, here, and Rhea Leen would have the mitochondrial DNA of her mother, NOT that of her father. Perhaps that is the reason she is not willing to provide a swab - it would not match, even if Grace IS Bonnie's daughter.

If DNA could be obtained from hair or bloodstains known to be Bonnie's (or hair from her sister, or her mother, or Buster, or any of the relatives who would share Bonnie's mitochondrial DNA, that would serve to answer the question, hopefully. I sure would like to see this woman find some closure - even if it is only to find out that she's not related to either Bonnie or W.D.

I will note, just from my personal observation, that Grace does look a lot like W.D. when he was an older man...

BarefootOkieGal said...

Since it's getting close to Halloween, I thought I'd inject a bit of spookiness...

Faye Dunaway's mother's name was Grace!

(The plot thickens...)

I surely wish someone would come up with a way for this poor woman to find out SOMETHING. I can understand Rhea Leen's being a bit irritated with people who want to be related to either Bonnie or Clyde, but I don't think Grace wants anything more than to know who she is, and she's just pursuing possibilities that have been brought up to her. Rather than being irritated with her, I think I'd be more irritated with whoever put the idea in her head, if it's completely untrue (I'm pretty sure about Bonnie not being her mother, but I'm not sure about W.D. not being her father) because I can't fault her for wanting to pursue something that might give her a biological family history - something that adopted people often yearn for!

I am reminded of the DJ who recently discovered that his father is more than likely Charles Manson... he was actually rather horrified to find out that he's related to someone notorious!!! (Google the man - wow, does he look like Charlie!) I don't think he was hoping to find out he was related to a criminal, but I do think that part of him was relieved to know SOMETHING...

Bob Fischer said...

You might check with Bill Helmer who told me he had just started working at Playboy when the W.D. Jones piece came in. He may have some memories regarding it.

Rigby Reardon said...

I do not believe this story one bit, if there was any children birthed by Bonnie {which there was not}Billie or other family members would know about it and would have gotten the children, Billie went through 3 years of hell to get Rhea Leen, I have talked to many of my fellow B&C friends about this story and they laughed about it, some folks will do or say anything they can about thier heros be it bad or good just to be part of the story, this is one of those stories, if anyone pursues this story my guess is they will be made fools of by this, WD and Bonnie met for the first time ever on the 1st of december 1932, in my opinion the only time {I believe} Bonnie could have been pregnant was when she met Roy, I think this may be why Bonnie and Roy married at such a young age because she was pregnant {maybe} if you look closly at the photo of Roy and Bonnie the dress she was wearing looks quite large, possibly a maternity dress, and had complications with the pregnancy and possibly lost the child {maybe}, this being the reason why Bonnie could no longer have children as stated by family members that Bonnie could not get pregnant because of something that happened when she was with Roy,I am not saying she was pregnant, I am just saying what me and others in the B&C community think....... Rigby Reardon

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Rigby--

Thanks much for your comments. I've heard the jist of your observations many times before, with the exception of the maternity dress observation concerning the pic taken of Bonnie and Roy Thornton. Thank you for a new twist, regarding that photo.

The reasoning you mention for Bonnie not being able to become pregnant after her time with Roy-- is the family line through and through. As I've mentioned to many, including those within and closest to the families-- based on my investigation (so far) into a possible Bonnie Parker pregnancy near the end for her, I am not at all convinced-- she wasn't pregnant or honestly thought she was, at the time she was killed. Whether some like it or not-- there is quite a bit of independent evidence, pointing that way. Also and with the greatest respect-- I'm also not convinced the families honestly know enough at this point, with those alive today now so far removed from the 1st generation folks alive at the time of B&C-- to provide definitive comment.

Concerning the B&C Community, and again with respect-- my feeling is those closest to the families may not possess the objectivity needed to aid in sorting out this particular question. There's nothing wrong with loyalty-- and the families' viewpoints are of course useful. But loyalty for loyalty's sake, can indeed be a detriment in attempting to find an independent truth. It's just that the families' views (although they carry a quite significant weight)-- are but one set of views. Regarding a Bonnie pregnancy, in the face of other compelling evidence, it may just be that the families' views are not the "end all" views. In addition to the families' insights-- there "are" other witnesses and documented accounts concerning a possible BP pregnancy come ambush time. And as such, there may be much more to this end story for Bonnie-- than some are willing to acknowledge or even consider with an open mind.

To me, it's wrong to promote closing out other credible viewpoints-- in the name of any one viewpoint, or any community. As I've said, my feeling is independence is "vital" in trying to discern truth within this veritable "maze" of darkened and obscured history.

Now regarding the Grace Davies claim-- this circumstance seems a much different matter. I feel there's too little evidence (at this point)-- for this story to have involved Bonnie Parker. Now when you read the next post up concerning W.D.'s stint in jail-- there could be the chance that W.D. is Grace's father. But linking Grace to Bonnie-- is a much tougher sell for me. I do find it interesting however, that so little is known concerning Bonnie-- during the 1931 period needed with W.D. to back Grace's assertions.

I would also suggest caution regarding talk that any iron clad date exists, in which W. D. may have met Bonnie. I would ask based on what source?? Within the circle that W. D. roamed-- in having known Clyde for years, and also having associated so closely with L.C. who was also close to Clyde-- who's to say W. D. couldn't have crossed paths with Bonnie Parker before December of 1932?? I don't believe it can be established even based on known accounts, what date Bonnie met W.D.

Thanks again for your input and participation concerning this topic.

BarefootOkieGal said...

Coincidentally, I was reading a book last night with the photo of Bonnie and Roy in it... I looked especially hard at the dress to see if it could have possibly been a maternity dress. (I believe some of Bonnie's family members claim that she could not get pregnant due to some botched gynecological work while she was married to Roy and I was thinking - a miscarriage or abortion, perhaps?) It's hard to tell in that photo, but she does seem to have a waistline - I'm thinking that perhaps the overly large look of the dress was a combination of the fashions of the day (shapeless was pretty much "in" in 1926!) and the possibility that because Bonnie was so small, it may have appeared larger on her than it should have!

averagejoe said...

Remember, W.D. was known for telling stretchers. By that picture, Grace sure resembles W.D.. Assuming he is the father, couldn't the mother be someone other than Bonnie Parker? After all, didn't they circulate through the area, and wasn't North Carolina where W.D. escaped fromB&C? Perhaps he conceived a child with a local lass? Or maybe the meeting with the mysterious stranger was the result of some prisoner romance correspondence, like how women will write to convicts and propose marriage and whatnot...

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi averagejoe--

Thanks much for your comment. Actually W. D. admitted to leaving B&C-- after stealing a car about 50 miles from Clarksdale, Mississippi. With some, W. D. seems to have the reputation for telling tales-- but I believe that reputation may have been a by-product of him trying to save his hide.

All in all, I've always viewed W. D.'s info as being among the most reliable of all the Barrow Gang. His interviews with law enforcement after his capture, seem straight forward and provide considerable insight-- into B&C and The Barrow Gang's activities, habits and travelings during the time W. D. was with them. W. D. seemed loyal and brave. He took many hits from bullets and shotgun pellets, and likely saved Bonnie at Dexfield Park-- with a his heroic 1 mile long trek, with a badly bleeding Bonnie on his back.

I certainly agree, that if W. D. is somehow Grace Davies' father-- that someone other than Bonnie could well be her mother. It's interesting however, that the timing of the conception of Grace-- just happens to coincide with the possibility of a Bonnie/W. D. union. Clyde was in jail-- W. D. was apparently out of jail-- and Bonnie's circumstances and whereabouts in 1931, seem murky and a mystery?? I find myself wondering very much, why Bonnie seems to have this roughly 13 month period-- where so little is known about her?? Hmmm-

BarefootOkieGal said...

That gap in what is known of Bonnie's life is interesting, and the timing makes the whole idea of Bonnie and W.D. having a child at least theoretically possible, but it just doesn't seem plausible to me - while W.D. was a good-looking kid, I don't know if Bonnie (who had lost her father at an early age, and who seemed to like men who were at least a little bit older than she was) would have been interested in "dating" a 15-year-old kid! I can see a few reasons for the silence that don't have anything to do with Bonnie being pregnant, though. It may be something as simple as people being unwilling to give up their romantic view of B&C as having taken one look at one another and immediately falling in love never to stray! We know that at some point Bonnie stopped writing Clyde and started dating; perhaps to some people who are caught up in the idea of an immediate and unshakable romance, the reality is not to their liking! It's entirely possible that Bonnie wasn't really doing much of anything in 1931 except just getting by, working and going out a little bit.

Grace DOES look like W.D., though, doesn't she? I don't know what W.D. was up to in 1931 or thereabouts, but it's possible that he fathered a child at a very young age - I've known 16-year-old fathers - and no one paid attention at all because he wasn't anyone of much import at the time.

A. Winston Woodward said...

It's so hard to surmise-- and frustrating too!! One of the interesting things about this history, is that all the supposition in the world-- may not equal or be anywhere near the truth. We just don't know, why Bonnie's usually pretty well chronicled activities-- seemingly dropped out of sight for such a prolonged period?? Perhaps this reality encompassed quite run of the mill explanations-- but maybe not. I also see no reason, that Bonnie couldn't have known W. D.

These are fair and fascinating questions-- which could well impact the Grace Davies story. Unfortunately all the guess work possible-- may not be able to shed light on this mystery. But it's certainly fun to wonder.

faith said...

Everyone has an opinion on the Bonnie and Clyde story.. This is a good thing. Reguardless of positive or negative; this is how people try and come to the truth…Notice I said (TRY)… You know “Truth is treason in an empire of lies”. Anything is possible. It always brings on a good debate but to insult each other is unacceptable. Hurtful words do not accomplish anything. Nobody knows about what the two of them went through unless you were them… Of course we can speculate all we want but the facts of their life, died with them on that horrible day…I know one thing; I would not have wanted to live in those days and suffer how all ancestors suffered.

Many blessings and much love; Peace to all!

s2 said...

It's impossible for me to betray Clyde, also inconceivable at that rate (beginning a relation), that in one hand. And seeing the chronological order of the events you can know clearly that Bonnie had no time to even be in an advanced state of pregnancy occasioned by no one. Unreality is for people that can't bear the situations of suffering, so this poor woman has to search a better history of speculation and "coincidences" for talk about maternities.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello s2--

There's still the question of Bonnie's whereabouts and activities, between December 1930 and January 1932. This mysterious 13 month lapse in any history of Bonnie that I am aware of at least-- "could" have presented this opportunity.

If anyone knows anything about Bonnie during this time period, I would be interested in hearing from you.

s said...

A. Winston that's a very simple question, like Bonnie said at her poem The Story of Suicide Sal:

Then I left my old home for the city
To play in its mad dizzy whirl, Not knowing how little pity It holds for a country girl.

And she also left writed:
You've heard of a woman's glory
Being spent on a "downright cur,"

That all talks about her loneliness, says that her time was being so wasted; if Bonnie felt in love with her honey in early 30, why she is going to change of mind and search for another affair in those 13 month or more. There are "gurls", and "gurls".

When she was imprisoned, she began to write The Story of Suicide Sal I mentioned before, and she also explained about that precise moment of his life:
But there's no chance of his ever coming, For he and his moll have no fears... But that I will die in prison, etc

A sassy girl that jumps from man to man, will write that? Those first two verses I posted talk about the period post-Roy. Let's say between 29 and 32.

In early 29 her marriage go down, in early 30 she knows Clyde; that don't mean she don't see him until his imprisonment. Where is arrested Clyde?: At Bonnie's mother's house at february of same year, that make it personal for Bonnie in some way, and just after Clyde exit from prison they reunited together at the moment. And criminal life continues. So let's think a little, seems more easy than nothing else.

s said...

What was doing Bonnie while Clyde was imprissoned? Was visiting him, was lettering him, was visiting Barrow family, was crying at Lamar street, was travelling to Waco because Clyde was transfered there and writing: "if you have to go down I'll be good while you're gone and be waiting-waiting-waiting for you"

At Go Down Together by Jeff Guinn is described a very important detail that states the next:
"Bonnie loved children and wanted a baby [note: from Roy at the moment]. Emma Parker and Marie Barrow hinted later that were unspecified gynecological problems, and that some medical procedure left Bonnie unable to concieve. But the result was no children then or ever."

We the don't have to go to wonder about it so much, we have go the sources and derivated. The most trustly possibily.

A. Winston Woodward said...

I'm not convinced by "around the edges" accounts of Bonnie's whereabouts or actions while Clyde was in prison. If anyone can document her activities specifically re: the dates in question-- please do so.

I'm also not impressed by Jeff Guinn's account of Bonnie & Clyde History-- plain & simple. And the other bits of hearsay you mention, having been attributed to the families also have no proof to back them. If anything, having heard those accounts for so long-- but now with counter claims so prevalent-- to me, the burden of proof for those rumors lie with the families-- to provide some discernible evidence to back those stories.

Kenneth Starr said...

She hung out with killers so she didnt think clearly maybe at some point she did sleep with wd.jones.i found out yrs ago my real dad was ajones.he was abad ass.but time he decided to stop beingwild aguy at work killd him as he was walking away n it was over dumb stuff.i was 8.when he was killd but didnt no i was ajones untill i was12.now iam40ive been lucky to found my half sisthers.i playd with y. Myhalf brother atschool didnt no untill yrs later.my buddy was my brother.my dad was tall slim.dark hair.n my dad loved carsn.women.lol.my sis by mom told me n d yard while we playd my real dad was ajones my mom said yes it true sorry i didnt tell u sooner.my g.mom told my sis

Me, Only Smaller said...

I would think there would be plenty of items with Bonnie's blood on them in a museum somewhere. All Grace needs is a court order to swab one of them. No "person" need be involved or give permission.

A. Winston Woodward said...

No, not plenty of items-- in fact very few if any, that could be useful. And I've listened to Grace discuss options she might employ. Not an easy road for her-- as key evidence (such as birth records)-- either no longer exist, never existed or can't or won't be unsealed. That's a whole 'nother can 'o worms, within this real or imagined mystery.

Shirley Ward said...

Lol that's was no kid of bonnie parkers. The person writing these is crazy he's teaching for stories.Lol that's funny. The woman that thinks she's bonnies daughter needs to think again lol funny

Shirley Ward said...

Its imagined obviously

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Shirley-- Perhaps not so obvious. As I view it-- the only thing this story has going for it, is that missing time period in Bonnie history-- which just happens to coincide with the timing here. Hmmmm. I would very much like to know, any element of that missing time period. In being an old friend of Clyde's, W.D. could've been known to Bonnie.

Plus unlike other B&C sites where points of view are set in stone-- here, I will venture into the realm of the unknown-- and provide a forum for the possible yet far fetched. Why not?? Most of B&C History is fraught with so many holes-- my feeling is let's explore, and see what's there.

Shaelynnmoody said...

and here i thought you were only after the truth...

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hello Shaelynnmoody. Pretty narrow minded of anyone to dismiss a claim like this, without investigation don't ya think?? Since you seem so judgmental-- perhaps you can fill in all the missing months within Bonnie's history. As I see it, that would go a long way toward dismissing this claim-- as it just so happens, those many months (enough to have a child)-- are apparently unaccounted for in historical accounts I am aware of. If you have info to share-- please do.

Elisha said...

I know this may be quite strange to say but at least keep an open mind when I say this. According to my mother, Bonnie and Clyde somehow escaped being shot up by Louisiana bounty hunters. According to my mother, Bonnie and Clyde came to her home on serveral occasions years after the Louisiana shootout. My mother said that they drove up in the ford V8 as seen in their pictures and talked to my grandfather long enough to provide him with instructions on Bonnie's and Clyde's execution. According to my mother, Clyde took Bonnie's life then after the shot was heard by my grandfather, he went down to the stripmine where Clyde was then shot by my grandfather. These incedents took place in Zanesville, Ohio. According to my mother, the Louisiana shootout was a staged event to re-gain the trust of the people so that they would deposit money in their banks due to the fact that money supply dropped significantly.

Mrs. Honey Bee said...

Hi, I'm new to all this but I just wanted to throw in my two cents. Bonnie was a small woman...I would think there would be obvious marks (stretch marks in various places, surgery scars, etc) if she had carried and birthed a baby.I would also think that all those reporters who went to view her body to draw their own conclusions on whether she were pregnant would notice any marks, or any indication at all, that she had been pregnant at that time or any other time.
I think it's all very interesting and I thank you for the effort that you put into your work.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Elisha-- Please know I have an open mind. However concerning the ambush in Sailes-- Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow were killed on May 23rd, 1934. Hundreds witnessed their bodies in Louisiana and thousands later on for their funerals in Dallas. Other stories told, depicting some alternative end for them-- are just that.

A. Winston Woodward said...

Hi Mrs. Honey Bee-- Never thought of stretch marks concerning a previous pregnancy. Good thinking. "Thank you". However, based on timing told by more than one source-- when viewed in death, Bonnie wouldn't likely be showing yet. And since no internal or pregnancy test was performed, although Dr. Wade didn't think she was pregnant-- she could've been.