Saturday, December 17, 2016

RIP L. J. "Boots" Hinton-- Without you.. Bonnie & Clyde History Will Never Be The Same.


For those interested in the true story.. more than 10 years ago now, Alan Olson Curator of The Dallas Historical Society Museum, introduced me to the cantankerous, yet charming and "oh so" street-smart Bonnie & Clyde legend-- L. J. "Boots" Hinton.  I had gone to Alan 1st.. concerning my quest to authenticate the dual signatures of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow I had taken a gamble on.. a gamble which would ultimately pay off.

Without even seeing the signatures, Alan asked me to describe the Bonnie signature.  When I did.. Alan said "I know who can help you".. and referred me to "Boots".  You see.. unbeknownst to me.. Alan had recently viewed an authentic Bonnie signature with family provenance.. which at that point as far as authenticated Bonnie signatures go, was perhaps one of a kind.

Bonnie's signature has some rather unusual elements to it.. which matched my description. Anyway, long story short-- that began what became a close relationship between "Boots" and I.. for he not only helped me with my signatures-- but over time, became a friend as well.  We talked often.. early on, multiple times a day, and later, multiple times a week, and that year I attended the festival in Gibsland and met "Boots".

From that point on, just as with many friendships he shared with others-- "Boots" and I would often share sensitive aspects of our lives.. our joys and frustrations-- and as a more senior and worldly man-- "Boots" would often give me advice.. and usually, good advice it was.

Many don't know-- "Boots" battled cancer a number of times.. and was sensitive about others knowing all the straight and skinny concerning such personal matters.  "Boots" could always count on me to keeps his secrets, whether regarding his health.. the doings in Gibsland for which he played such a large role, both for the town and festival-- and which sometimes rivaled "Peyton Place" in their scope and quirky nature.. his not always terrific relationships with others (business and personal)-- which "Boots" always seemed to find the right balance for.. or his contingency plans (he had many).. for keeping The Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum going, come hell, high water.. unscrupulous doings.. shady characters, leaky roofs.. or whatever may stand in the way of his father's dream-- which he always kept paramount within his mind.

I'll miss "Boots"-- and am so sorry towards the end.. some with seemingly selfish goals, were able to influence a wonderful 'ol guy in ways they never should have attempted.  But you see.. Bonnie & Clyde History is fraught with "characters"-- and with some quite devoid of character.  So when I say "Boots" protected his father's dream "come hell, high water" or anything else-- that's just what I mean. And seems he did, or thought he did until the end.. which I hope along with his happiness, is all that matters.

"Boots" would always say.. "The good Lord doesn't want me yet". Well-- seems this time he did.

One thing's for sure.. the Lord surely has a good man by his side now.  Rest In Peace "Boots".  I'll always love you.  

                  

4 comments:

t o m said...

Boots Hinton was a good man. As well as being a valuable source of history, with a unique perspective, he was a great friend. I looked at Boots sort of like a grandfather figure, to me. He will be greatly missed by many.

Joe said...

I spoke with Boots on a regular basis and had many long conversations.I will cherish those conversations. I also knew of his health issues. I will miss him dearly. he always gave his undivided attention. I don't know of any other person who would walk to the post office and get me a quote for postage to mail to Canada. No matter the question, Boots new the answer and let's face it, he got it from his father which says it all.

Rest in peace and as you knew me

Joe from Canada

Jimmy Franklin said...

Rip Boots I wish I could of met you

Max Rebos said...

I met booted when I stopped off at the Bonnie and Clyde Museum in October 2014 on my cross-country drive across the United States. The museum attendant allowed us to enter the museum without paying since he could not operate the credit card machine and said the owner would be back anytime and we could pay on the way out. The museum was fascinating. When we were leaving the owner was behind the counter in a motorized wheelchair smoking Virgina Slims. When I said I wanted to pay, he asked me to guess a number between 1 and 10. I picked one and he said that was the number he had and we won the prize was free admission to his museum. He then told us the story of the demise of Bonnie and Clyde since there were I think 3 stories posted in the museum. He then pointed to a photo on the wall showing the lawmen who were involved in the ambush. He said the men decided what story they would tell and that the last man alive could decide to tell the truth or take it to his grave. He said his father told him the story on how they died. I asked who was your father, he pointed to Ted Hinton and said he was my father.

I saw a documentary on Bonnie and Clyde and remember a man named "Boots", who was a child at the time of the killing. He then introduced himself as "Boots".

Who would ever have thought that on a 9400 mile drive across the USA, from Boston to San Diego and back, and stopping in a small town to see a museum and the spot where Bonnie and Clyde died, you would meet the son of one of the Sheriffs who shot Bonnie and Clyde!

What a small world and full of amazements.

Boots was a very hospitable man and I am glad to have met him on that day. RIP BOOTS!