A visitor from Douglasville, GA has keyed into the blog-- asking about perhaps an eternal Bonnie & Clyde mystery. The identities of the loggers who witnessed a lurid ambush of Bonnie & Clyde that fateful day in May of '34-- has been a maze of conjecture for decades. Some Bonnie & Clyde historical accounts, identify just 2 men being associated with the logging truck-- which it seems to the ambush posse members who talked, was traveling north and in danger of disrupting their waylay-- by passing in between the posse and Warren car. However true to the unique controversy which surrounds the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde, the one known individual who steered the logging rig that fateful day-- told a decidedly different story.
Some seem content to further gossip and lore within Bonnie & Clyde History-- even to the remarkable point of espousing historical fact as guesswork, while at the same time attempting to promote a true story of Bonnie & Clyde. Others question much of this history-- in arriving at little result, by viewing Bonnie & Clyde History as a perpetual Catch 22 of factual mistrust. Thank goodness for the Bonnie & Clyde researchers and authors, who've been most diligent in compiling the best accounts of this Depression Age Saga.
I along with many who care for this history-- are proponents of "truth" within Bonnie & Clyde History. The danger of Bonnie & Clyde conjecture being printed, borrowed and re-published over the years can be obvious. When Bonnie & Clyde lore is advanced and recounted multiple times, the illusion of lore morphing into fact-- can become reality to many. And that danger is well illustrated, within a number of aspects of the ambush.
Buddy Goldston has been identified at times, as having been the lone rider positioned upon the logging rig-- when all hell broke loose that hot spring day in Louisiana. However within more accurately researched Bonnie & Clyde chronicles and based on rarely known conversations, Mr. Goldston confirmed that he was indeed the driver of that renown logging truck. Furthermore Buddy revealed within discussions held with him, that there were "2" men riding on the back of his logging rig that day-- not just one.
That makes 3 individuals in addition to at least Bonnie, Clyde, Ivy Methvin and the 6 ambush posse members-- who were present to witness the carnage that ensued. One motto I've stood by in investigating this history has been-- "get closest to the source". To me, the best source of information which remains concerning Buddy Goldston-- is my compadre' and friend to many within this history-- L. J. "Boots" Hinton. "Boots" knew Buddy, and as it turns out-- spent time in direct conversation with Mr. Goldston concerning Buddy's involvement at the ambush.
At times, stories concerning the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde have seemed a bevy of misinformation-- with multiple conflicting accounts having been told by eyewitnesses who were there. To my reasoning, whether these varying stories as told by trained and experienced lawmen smack of a cover up, some mass hallucination or just honest disagreement under the stress of the moment-- stand a good chance of remaining an impenetrable mystery. Fortunately for us-- there were others present that day who could independently tell what occurred. But unfortunately-- these common citizens with objectivity to spare, would never reveal much of what they knew.
Contrary to what's often been written-- as Buddy Goldston told it, he would've approached the ambush site from the north in proceeding south as Bonnie & Clyde were traveling. This crucial departure from what's been reported by posse members including Ted Hinton, would have the logging truck pulling up to Bonnie & Clyde from behind as the shooting started. Although Buddy didn't use a directional term in his description, to illustrate this point-- Buddy revealed that Clyde had passed his logging rig back up the road. Then presumably, Buddy caught up to Bonnie & Clyde at the ambush location. With Ivy Methvin's truck thought positioned in the southbound lane, in forcing Clyde closer to the posse in the northbound lane-- this scenario would have the logging truck approaching Ivy's truck straight on, with little or no room to maneuver between the 2.
Buddy described what happened next, by saying when the shooting started-- he quit the truck and ran into the woods. Buddy said he dove into a hole, which had been made by the root ball of a fallen tree. He commented that he wasn't concerned with snakes, as he sought that hole in trying to escape flying bullets-- which he creatively described as "those singing bees". Buddy later made his famous exclamation is saying "that car was shot up-- them people were shot up".
Within repeated attempts, "Boots" Hinton tried his best to get Buddy to reveal the identities of the other 2 men present that day-- who besides trying to save themselves, could have provided much needed independent accounts of the ambush. But at least within the friendly confines of his encounters with Mr. Hinton-- Buddy never divulged his secrets. "Boots" has 2 theories, as to why Buddy would never reveal this potentially monumental information. The first is perhaps Buddy wasn't supposed to have riders on the rig, and thus was protecting his position with the logging company. Maybe these 2 men had hitched a ride with Buddy?? If so, what a rig to choose that day for conveyance!! The other theory is perhaps these 2 men were associated with the logging company, but were supposed at work elsewhere-- when so conspicuously discovered at the ambush.
There's also the straight forward possibility, that those men were meant to be on that truck-- but just never talked about their Bonnie & Clyde encounter. My comment concerning Buddy's reluctance to expound on his story, in either protecting the other men or himself??-- would be to ask what difference would those concerns have made so many decades later?? To my mind it's more likely, someone in that posse under the threat of repercussion-- may have made it clear to these men, not to tell of what they saw. Apparently and unfortunately-- it seems they never did.
Then there's the somewhat obtuse, but to many very real idea-- of a Bonnie & Clyde curse. Many in Louisiana where the West Dallas Desperadoes traveled, are said to be a superstitious lot. Based on tragic events believed to have befallen some who revealed Bonnie & Clyde secrets over the years-- Bonnie & Clyde reprisals from the "other side" are considered by some, to be a legitimate and feared reality. As such, it's thought this "blood money" curse has over time-- prevented many thought to know Bonnie & Clyde secrets, from revealing them. Indeed many a Bonnie & Clyde story, may have gone to the graves of those too afraid to tell what they knew. From having spoken to locals and researchers alike-- I can attest to the existence of this perceived reality.
Unfortunately as Buddy Goldston passed away nearly a decade ago, and it's logical to believe the other 2 men have passed on now as well-- we may never know the entire truth concerning the logger's story. So who were the loggers who witnessed Bonnie & Clyde's deaths?? Apparently the best answer is Buddy Goldston and 2 unknown individuals, who by design or default-- have remained protected all these years. And as to the question of what these men witnessed??-- unless some account is forthcoming from the families of Buddy Goldston and these mystery men from the past-- that knowledge may have forever been lost. It does seem clear based upon info related to "Boots" Hinton, and from Buddy's filmed interview which appears in the documentary Remembering Bonnie & Clyde-- that from Buddy Goldston's perspective, he was behind Bonnie & Clyde's car not facing it as was reported by the lawmen.
According to Ted Hinton, when the smoke cleared-- Bob Alcorn proceeded to the logging truck, which like the B&C car ended up in a ditch. As the rig was still running and noticeably smoking, Alcorn felt the truck might catch fire. Thus as Hinton recalls, it was Bob Alcorn who entered the truck's cab, and shut the truck down. At that point it was noted the 3 men who had quit the truck-- walked out of the woods. One could only assume, whatever these men perhaps failed to see with such a profusion of bullets flying about-- they "could" see when re-emerging onto the scene. It should be noted there's agreement between Ted Hinton and Buddy Goldston concerning there being 3 men on the logging truck. Apparently they were the only witnesses to say so. So then I would ask-- why the disagreement regarding the direction the truck was traveling?? Or was Buddy's recollection somehow faulty, or unduly influenced by retribution or fear??
Both Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn, related stories of the ambush to "Boots" Hinton directly over the years. But no matter the account, I as many-- have trouble reconciling conflicting stories of the ambush. You would think Buddy Goldston would know full well, which direction he was traveling that day. Also how could Buddy have been mistaken, concerning his account of Clyde having passed him-- in such a conspicuously new and expensive car within such a rural area?!? In a well noted gaffe as told by Ted Hinton in his book Ambush-- Hinton had Bonnie & Clyde traveling east on the Old Sailes Road. However as that road runs north and south, it can only be thought Hinton made an honest mistake-- in believing the road to run east and west.
It seems there are missing pieces to this great ambush puzzle, which are vitally important. What that missing info is??-- has always been the question. Even in thinking well outside the box, I can see little way that Clyde could have passed Buddy a short time before-- and have Clyde & Bonnie arriving at the ambush site headed south, without Buddy coming in just behind them. In presuming Buddy's story to be true-- that would call into question Henderson Jordan's account, in turning to note the oncoming logging truck arriving at about the same time as Bonnie & Clyde from the opposite direction. But I would ask, even with a lawman's cover up as Hinton described-- how would a misstated direction for the logging truck fit into that contrived story??
Based on the lay of the land around the ambush site, it seems there's just one way for the logging truck to have been passed by Clyde heading south-- and end up facing Clyde heading north. This would involve a convoluted run, with the logging truck turning left atop the final hill before the ambush approach-- coming out on Route 516 (opposite what was likely B&C's hideout)-- then turning right and traveling a mile and a half to the Sailes Corner-- then turning right again-- and proceeding nearly 3 miles to the ambush site heading north. In effect, a nearly 7 mile run to turn the logging truck around without stopping. I believe that possibility to make little sense, and be beyond reason. Plus with a such a heavy rig, it would've taken too long for such an unlikely trip-- prior to the ambush posse opening up on the Warren car. Interestingly, if Bonnie & Clyde had taken that shortcut to their hideout-- they likely wouldn't have been killed that day.
Many ask-- doesn't anyone know what really happened at the ambush of Bonnie & Clyde?!?!? Yet another conflicting account, which may create more questions than it answers. There are indeed indisputable facts we know. As far as the rest-- there are many questions to be answered. As an interesting aside, it was noted that Buddy Goldston thought highly of Ted Hinton-- as Ted didn't show prejudice toward him. "Boots" said that's the way Ted was. As always, I welcome your comments for this and other B&CHB posts. My thanks to L. J. "Boots" Hinton, for his invaluable Bonnie & Clyde knowledge-- truly available no where else.