During the 1930s crimes rows to record levels and the Great Depression was instilled in American minds. Bonnie and Clyde weren't just violent hoodlums in a nation with a growing list of brutal criminals, which included Al Capone, John Dillenger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and the Barker Gang. Not until Bonnie and Clyde joined forces did the public become intrigued. Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of Barrow gang were viewed as criminals, though in a broweder aspect as heroes. They were popular for numerous reasons. Mainly, because they rebelled against the government and maybe more importantly the banks. People felt powerless but he Barrow gang seemed to have what America was lacking “control”. Of course the high speed police chases and the miraculous escapes helped develop the superhero aura, which seemed to be revolving around the gang. Bonnie and Clyde were two of the most notorious, yet respected criminals during the Great Depression.
Bonnie Parker was born on October 1, 1910 in Rowena, Texas. She was the second of three children. Her father who was an experienced bricklayer died in 1914, forcing her family to pack up and move to her grandparents in Cement City near Dallas. As a student in Cement City School he excels to become a very respectable student. At 4 foot, 10 inches and 85 pounds, Bonnie was an addicted fan of romance and confession magazines.
In 1925, she met Roy Thornton, with in the year the couple were married. Bonnie even got a tattoo on the inside of her thigh of two intertwined hearts with their names in the middle. Though this romance would only last a year, before Thornton begins to wander. Bonnie, only 18 years old was now a lonely and depressed waitress in Marco's Cafe. She battled her emotions until the beginning of 1930, when she was going to visit a friend in East Dallas. It is here she meets a respectable and well mannered gentleman by the name of Clyde.
Clyde “Chestnut” Barrow was born in Telico, Texas on March 24, 1909. He was the third youngest of eight. Clyde's schooling was periodic and indefinite, only reaching the fifth grade. With Depression engulfing farms around them, Clyde's father decides to sell their farm and moved to the city. Here he opens a service station and gets Clyde enrolled in Cedar Valley School. Though shortly after Clyde quits and becomes involved in selling stolen turkeys with his brother Buck. This will be the start of his criminal life. Throughout these years Clyde is arrested three times for investigation of auto theft and safecracking but let go. His criminal ways would not slow down; instead he thrived off the adrenaline. This would spiral him into deeper mischief with much harsher consequences.
He would continue this pattern, getting arrested on October 16, 1929 with William Turner and Frank Hardy at the Roosevelt Hotel in Waco, Texas. Through a stream of tears Clyde tells the Chief of Police Hollis Barron that the two men had picked him up hitchhiking and he was unaware of their reputations. After numerous questions Barron would let Clyde go.
Clyde too in January of 1930 went to visit a friend East Dallas and met Bonnie Parker. There romance begins. Still juvenile Clyde felt ten foot tall and bullet proof (though standing only five feet six, three and a quarter inches tall). His luck would not continue much longer. Bonnie soon became aware of his criminal past, after finding law enforcement officers looking for him. Before long Clyde was found and taken back to Denton, Texas about some stolen merchandise. Though they had valid evidence they could not make it stick. After being transferred to Waco, were he confessed to a couple of burglaries and several car thefts. He couldn't cry his way out of this one. Clyde was sentenced to two years.
Consequently his cell mate was William Turner, an old friend form Dallas. Almost immediately tougher they were trying to find ways to escape. Bonnie, who had be visiting every day, smuggled a colt to Clyde and that night Clyde, Turner and another prisoner escaped.
This freedom would not last long. Clyde and Turner would find themselves back in prison only this time with fourteen years, after being intercepted in Middletown after their escape. Clyde seeking for help reached out to his mother how intervened and Clyde was relived from prison on February 2, 1932. Ironically Clyde has another inmate to cut off two of his toes on his left foot during a work detail, to avoided working in the cotton fields. He leaves prison in crutches, to return home to bonnie. Off they went in a stolen car.
The law soon caught up to the Barrows, Clyde managed to escape but bonnie was not so lucky; spending a few months in the Kaufman, Texas jail. Thought Clyde kept busy, robbing Sims Oil Company in Dallas and a jewelry store. During the jewelry store incident Clyde took his first life, the owner of the store by the name of John Bucher. Clyde's career took off; he would continue to rob a series of gas stations.
Once June rolled around Bonnie was released from prison and rejoined Clyde. Though Bonnie was absent on Clyde's next confrontation. On August 5, in Atoka, Oklahoma, Clyde and Hamilton killed two police officers, C.G. Maxwell and Eugene Moore. When the officers were approaching a car that Hamilton and Clyde were in, Clyde instinctively shoots and killed both men.
Several months later Hamilton was captured and sentenced to a mere 263 years in a Dallas prison. Needing a replacement for Hamilton Clyde looked to W.D. Jones, as the newest member on their road to nowhere. Meanwhile Clyde takes the life of yet another officer. The gage begins to from once Clyde's brother, Marvin (Buck) Barrow was released from the Texas Penitentiary. He and his seconded wife came aboard. The five set up house in a garage apartment in Joplin, Missouri. Soon the law got wind that the gage was harboring illegal gin brewers and the authorities closed in. A deadly gun battle killing two offices and stray bullets hit both Clyde and Jones, though they still escaped.
In the apartment the officers found some undeveloped film. When developed, one of the shots was Bonnie holding a shotgun and the most famous one of Bonnie smoking a cigar. In reality, bonnie she had borrowed the cigar from Jones. Thought the myth was created, bonnie would be known as the cigar smoking accomplice of the Barrow gage. This was one myth that bonnie hated.
The Barrow gage fled to Red Crown Tourist Camp in Platte City, Missouri to reside; renting a double cabin with a garage in between, but the cops where on their tail. Soon the police paid yet another visited and hit Buck in the forehead and his wife Blanche was hit in the eyes with flying glass. They put sunglasses over her face and escaped once again but were found three days later in a park in Dexter. Clyde's content to escape may have been too much he ran his stolen Ford into a stump and the police engulfed it with bullets hitting Buck several more times in the hip and shoulder. Clyde and Jones took Bonnie and escaped through a stream, buck was too injured to walk. He and his wife Blanche were apprehended. Buck died of his wounds a few days later and Blanche served her time at the Missouri State Penitentiary.
The crippled three member gang was about to lose one more, W.D Jones scared of his own demise left the two but was later captured in Texas. He claimed to law enforcement officers that he was held captive by the pair in fear of him squealing. Scared to death of the dangerous duo, and rightfully so he was only 17 years old.
On Easter Sunday, 1934, on a side road off Highway 114 Clyde drew first and killed two police officers who thought they needed help. Just five days later he killed another office and kidnapped kidnap Chief Percy Boyd. They let Boyd go but not after Bonnie asked him to tell the public that she does not smoke cigars.
After Chief Boyd's kidnap the law pressed harder, harassing Bonnie and Clyde's relatives with any information they may have. Lee Simmons, who is head of the Texas Prison System, receives permission from Texas Governor Miriam Furguson to hire a special agent. He hires retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, working $150 a month to stay hot on Clyde's trail. He knew that Clyde would only drove a Ford V8, so he positioned himself in one as well. He seemed to have found them, but always found himself a day late.
Eventually the word spread about giving up any information on Bonnie and Clyde's ware bouts. Ivan Methvin, Henry's father, who had once let the Barrow gage hide in his home. Now fearing for his son's life, made a deal with Lee Simmons, a full excusal of his son in Texas Penitentiary for information on the Barrow gang. Methvin told Hamer of a “Post Office” I which he overheard the Barrows talking about. Hamer immediately investigated the scene and found only a large board that lay on the ground near a stump of a pine tree. The “Post Office” was the only way for Bonnie or Clyde to communicate with their friends and relatives. Hamer knew now that it was only a matter of time.
Knowing his stakeout, Hamer picked five of his old friends to join him. At 1:30 a.m. Hamer and his men set up blinds with tree branches approximately 25 feet from the road, positioning them on the east side so that they could look down on the road. Spacing each body approximately and just waited.
The men waited for seven hours when at about 9:10 am Hamer heard the screaming sounds of a Ford V8 approaching at a high rate. The remains are still unclear if Hamer or Alcorn(one of Hamer's friends) stepped in the road to challenge them. Once the car came to a stop they were told to give up. Both almost immediately reached for their guns but never had the chance to fire them. The car rolled forwarded and halted in a ditch beside the road. Though the firing continued long before the car came to a halt.
Even after pumping 167 rounds into the car, the officers approached the machine slowly. The man how appeared to have “more lives than a cat” lucks run out. Out of the 167 bullets, fifty ripped throw their bodies. Some bullets flew through the driver's door, through both Clyde and Bonnie and out the passenger door. The officers used steel jacketed, high velocity bullets that could easily have shredded through any automobile. Bonnie's fingers on her right hand had been shot away. She died with her head between her legs and a shotgun across her lap. Bonnie was 23 years old, Clyde 24, the dangerous duo was up to a stop.
Inside the car Hamer found: saxophone, 3 Browning automatic rifles, 1 10 gauge Winchester lever action, sawed-off shotgun, 1 20 gauge sawed-off shotgun, 1 Colt 32 caliber automatic, 1 Colt 45 caliber revolver, 7 Colt automatic pistols, and approximately 3,000 rounds of ammunition. They found license plates from Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio and Louisiana.
The car and their bodies were towed together to Arcadia, Louisiana. The crowds were already waiting. Their bodies were taken to an undertaker's parlor, which was the rear room of a furniture store. The crowds grow to great numbers. One report said that the crowed was so bad that the undertaker had to fight them off by squirting embalming fluid at them.
Clyde was buried at West Dallas West Dallas cemetery on May 25 next to his brother Buck. Thousands of fans were present wondering how, a man how seemed to be “immortal” died, staring in disbelief. As for Bonnie, she did not get buried alongside Clyde like she would have wanted, her mother refused, so she was buried on May 27 at the West Dallas Fishtrap Cemetery.
Frank Hamer was perceived by many as a hero and was flouded with congratulation letters and was also honored on the floor of congress. Henry Methyin received his pardon form Texas as promised by Hamer, but not from Oklahoma. He was arrested for murder, and sentenced to death. After only serveing 12 years, Henry was released. Thought his luck didn't change in 1948 he was run over by a train.
It is said that Bonnie never killed anyone. This is stell heavily debated to this day, thought one thing that cannot be, the love and her longing for Clyde. She clearly justified her criminal activities in an effort not to leave her man.
These outrages actions and the impulse killing of nine police officers, place Bonnie and Clyde among the Even John Dillinger, who had less than a month to live himself, commented that Bonnie and Clyde gave bank robbing a bad name.