For those who perhaps haven't read the Bureau of Investigation reports on Bailey and his efforts, or just want for a refresher-- with thanks to Frank Ballinger and Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout.. PDF's here for your review.
However, besides this most welcome and documented law enforcement info-- additional stories have come to light, as provided by the Tynes family. As research is a key element of my working within this history-- in 2009 I was preparing for a talk at the Bonnie & Clyde Festival in Gibsland. As part of that preparation, I searched out and was granted remarkable access to Tynes family remembrances concerning Bailey and his Bonnie & Clyde exploits. Things you surely won't find in the Dallas version.
Oddly enough and all these years later.. Bailey's family still wasn't sure about Bailey's said involvement with Bonnie & Clyde and his admissions as a government informant.. until those tales were verified independently within FBI records. And 6 years ago, when I reported on this story-- somehow my approach to Bailey Tynes was different than my other Bonnie & Clyde posts. So in reviewing these accounts for this current series of Bonnie & Clyde Rewinds-- I've now combined posts and photos, and refined my treatment of this hugely important story from Bonnie & Clyde History. So now-- let's travel back to 2009.. updated for 2015.
In speaking with the Tynes family in advance of my talk at Gibsland, I discovered some truly "remarkable" information, expressed by Bailey himself over the years-- regarding his covert activities with the U.S. Bureau of Investigation, in reporting on Bonnie and Clyde. These stories were relayed to me, by 4 Tynes family members. One of these individuals is a great nephew of Bailey's, who heard Bailey relate many of these accounts 1st hand while Bailey was still alive.
Bailey was known as a great story teller, and among the ghost stories and such he would tell the Tynes children-- he would also relate for the teenagers and adults, stories of his time working as a lawman-- and spying on his own family. No one knew whether Bailey's stories were embellished "tall tales" or not until 2009-- when in contacting his family, I was able to prove to them, that these remarkable accounts of his working with the FBI-- were indeed true. However, none of the accounts I will relate to you now, appear within the FBI's Dallas Field Office files-- which make them all the more insightful. As such.. this is the "insider stuff".
As relatives of Cumie's.. the Tynes family was well known to both Bonnie & Clyde and other Barrow relatives including of course Cumie and Henry Barrow. Sophronia Walker was Bailey Tynes' mother's maiden name. Clyde's mother Cumie Barrow was a Walker. Her father was W. B. Walker. Cumie's uncle W. E. Walker had 3 daughters. One of those daughters Sophronia married Calvin Buel Tynes-- Bailey Tynes' father. Thus Clyde and Bailey were cousins.
Bonnie & Clyde would visit various Tynes relatives, particularly in Waco, Texas from time to time. While there-- Tynes relatives would help B&C although reluctantly, in knowing both of their notoriety and bloodletting. Sometimes, they would meet with the outlaws under houses out of sight, and perform tasks for them-- such as going to local stores for needed supplies. At least one Tynes family member didn't think much of Clyde. B. C. Tynes described Clyde as a "trashy thug"-- and would help him a little but not a lot. He didn't want Clyde hanging around his kids. But when B&C showed up, what could the Tynes family members do, with a family relationship to uphold and weapons of death always at the ready??
Bailey Tynes, who was originally from Center, Texas-- was apparently involved with Bonnie & Clyde much earlier than the Bureau realized. Bailey was known to have met with Clyde, Bonnie, Clyde's brother, his wife-- and a man with initials (likely W. D. Jones) near the "big thicket" (The Davy Crockett National Forest)-- which is in East Texas, near Louisiana. With Bailey having met with this most famous incarnation of The Barrow Gang-- this would necessarily place this meeting, prior to Dexfield Park in July of 1933.
When Bailey went to the precursor of the FBI building in Dallas, he would enter an adjacent building, go to the basement-- and go through an underground tunnel to enter Bureau HQ's. "Boots" Hinton confirmed the existence of this tunnel and secret entrance, which he used along with his father Ted years ago-- to enter the same building.
Bonnie & Clyde came to Bailey's house in Waco, certainly on more than one occasion, to spend the night. Clyde and Bonnie were said to have been paranoid and very sporadic. They kept no schedule. They would sleep some and leave in the middle of the night. Notes were left by Clyde for Bailey, thanking him for his hospitality. This of course left Bailey in quite a spot. For at the same time Bailey was working for the Bureau, in helping them with information about The Barrow Gang-- Bonnie & Clyde would show up asking Bailey for help. Bailey was said to have been in fear for his life-- in hoping Clyde didn't figure out he was working for Bureau, against them.
This leads to another story, where Bailey may have actually run with Bonnie & Clyde for a short period to Southern Louisiana. It was said he camped out with Bonnie & Clyde there. Even in being so closely related to Cumie and as such a known relative-- apparently even Bailey wasn't trusted completely. Thus the wariness of Clyde evidenced in full. As such it was reported, Bailey wasn't allowed to go to town alone-- without one of them being with him. At this point Bailey was said to be fearful, that he was suspected of being a spy. This story may be likely, as Clyde was said to have had relatives in Southern Louisiana-- at Baton Rouge or Fields.
But perhaps the most remarkable revelation expressed to me, was that Bailey told of yet another Bonnie & Clyde ambush trap having been set-- and by no other than the U.S. Bureau of Investigation!! Bailey had planned to meet Bonnie & Clyde near a Pecan orchard or wooded area-- and had alerted the Bureau in advance, in order to put "the kids" as they were often referred to by family on the spot. According to Bailey-- Bureau agents had been stationed there-- and were waiting in those woods for Bonnie & Clyde to arrive for their rendezvous with Bailey. However, as often happened with the elusive pair-- they never showed-- for what could've been a deadly and fateful encounter.
I asked FBI Historian John Fox about this. John's take was, if this trap had been set-- that Bureau Agents would likely have attempted to capture Bonnie, Clyde and whomever else was with them. I also asked about an interesting question asked of me-- as to whether an order had ever been issued by Bureau Director J. Edgar Hoover, not to kill a woman-- which could have come into play there, within a capture attempt of Bonnie Parker. Dr. Fox told me to his knowledge-- no such orders were ever issued. I don't know about all of you-- but I get chills thinking of this newly uncovered revelation. For it seems a number of Bonnie & Clyde waylays were planned or attempted-- but only the last one proved successful.
Bailey was said to have been a soft spoken and kind man, who felt Bonnie & Clyde needed to be stopped. He was apparently not trying to be a hero, and was never admonished for spying on his own family. And during this period, in realizing the danger to himself and with great foresight-- Bailey handed his kids over to his brother Clarence Burean Tynes and wife Thelma, for safe keeping. Bailey was a single dad (unusual for those times)-- and made sure his fatherly obligations didn't slip out of focus while spying on Bonnie & Clyde. As such-- his kids wouldn't be placed in harm's way related to his doings.
|Handwritten Bailey Tynes correspondence to Dallas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Frank Blake.|
Based on this newly discovered family information on Bailey-- one is left to wonder about this fascinating and mysterious figure from Bonnie & Clyde History. Also with more of Bailey's activities known-- I now believe the Bonnie & Clyde sighting account noted by the Bureau, while later investigating Bailey. Seems the Bureau may have had their doubts concerning the loyalty of their key informant?? And according to info uncovered while trailing Bailey-- he had told a relative that while reporting to the Bureau from the Barrow residence-- Bonnie & Clyde had shown up there.
The date of this meeting as reported by the Bureau Agent, coincides with the date of one of Bailey's Barrow residence reports. Curiously, Bailey never notified the Bureau of this Bonnie & Clyde appearance (how about that)-- at least not in a documented way. As revealed in the Dallas FBI Files, Bailey provided quite good and detailed info to help in attempting to capture Bonnie & Clyde-- but there also seems to be evidence, he also may have held back info-- which could have been important to the law. Perhaps in the case of the Barrow residence Bonnie & Clyde encounter-- Bailey remained true to his instincts to keep his family safe, in not wanting to see innocent people hurt?? Would seem true to form.
But concerning that story and other things now known.. one is left to wonder?? Could Bailey have been in effect a double-agent, in benefiting both Bonnie & Clyde "and" the law?? What a question to consider-- to cap an already remarkable story. Seemingly, Bailey could've alerted the law when Bonnie & Clyde were going to stay with him-- but perhaps the risks were deemed too great concerning his family and children, to follow through on such a set up. Maybe better to keep his distance, report with the access he had and let the law follow through-- rather than put Bonnie & Clyde on the spot more directly, and risk a face to face confrontation-- or the possibility a trap could fail and leave him exposed and targeted himself.
However in the end (and not long after his involvement)-- Bonnie & Clyde were captured dead rather than alive.. victims of yet another betrayal which had been in the works for some time. As for Bailey-- he went on to live a long life.. passing from this world in 1977 at the age of 84.
My "profound thanks" to the Tynes family (Laura, Mark, Daryl and Dennis)-- for sharing with me, these wonderful revelations regarding Bailey. Without a doubt-- my favorite secretive info revealed within the Dallas FBI files on Bonnie and Clyde, involves Bailey Tynes. "What a story". What revelations!! I feel for the Bureau to have placed a family informant within the Barrow home-- was nothing less than astounding.. but so too are possibilities which may never be fully known concerning Bailey Tynes and his interactions with Bonnie & Clyde. But such is Bonnie & Clyde History. Not sure if I will.. but 'hope to have additional info on Bailey at some point-- and I surely hope you've enjoyed hearing about this fascinating figure from Bonnie & Clyde History.
Bailey Tynes revelations, info and photos-- 2009 by A. Winston Woodward, The B&CHB and the Tynes family with all rights reserved. Thank you.