Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow
Bonnie and Clyde were American criminals who traveled the
southwestern United States during the Great Depression, robbing
banks and generally causing chaos with their cohorts. It is
estimated that they were responsible for as many as thirteen
murders, about a dozen small bank robberies and holdups of
stores and gas stations too numerous to count.
Their exploits, along with those of other criminals such as John
Dillinger and Ma Barker dominated the attentions of the American
press and its readership during what is sometimes referred to as
the public enemy era between 1931 and 1935, a period which led
to the formation of the modern FBI.
Bonnie Parker was born on October 1, 1910 in Rowena, Texas. She
was fond of creative writing and the arts, and her poem The
Story of Bonnie and Clyde is a remarkably personalized account
of her escapades. Bonnie was married at sixteen to Ray Thornton,
who was in prison on a fifty-five year sentence by their first
wedding anniversary. Out of monetary necessity, the young bride
took up a waitressing job.
Clyde Barrow was born on March 24, 1909, in Telico, Texas (near
Dallas) as one of many children in a poor farming family. His
life of crime began when he was arrested in 1926 for auto theft.
Undeterred, he continued a series of oft-successful Dallas-area
robberies over the next four years. After meeting Bonnie in 1930
in the Dallas neighborhood of Oak Cliff, he was arrested and
taken to prison. His subsequent escape attempt was only
partially successful--he was free for a week before being caught
in Ohio--and so Clyde remained incarcerated until 1932.
After his release, he and Bonnie stole a car in Texas. There
ensued a police chase, after which Clyde escaped and Bonnie went
to prison for a few months. She was released in June of 1932.
The duo became the leaders of a small group of like-minded
criminals later known as the Barrow Gang. Clyde's brother Buck
and his wife Blanche are two of its more infamous members.
During a police raid near Platte City, Missouri, in 1933, Buck
was mortally wounded and his wife captured.
Bonnie and Clyde then killed two young highway patrolmen near
Grapevine, Texas on April 1, 1934 and another policeman five
days later near Commerce, Oklahoma and were in-turn ambushed and
gunned down on May 23 later that year near their hide-out in
Black Lake, Louisiana by Texas and Louisiana peace officers.
Clyde Barrow is buried in the Western Heights Cemetery and
Bonnie Parker in the Crown Hill Memorial Park, both in Dallas,
Barrow had been a criminal long before he met Parker in January
1930. After 20 months in prison in 1930–32, he teamed up with
Parker, and the two began a crime spree that lasted 21 months.
Often working with confederates—including Barrow's brother Buck
and Buck's wife, Blanche, as well as Ray Hamilton and W.D.
Jones—Bonnie and Clyde, as they were popularly known, robbed gas
stations, restaurants, and small-town banks—their take never
exceeded $1,500—chiefly in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and
In December 1932 the FBI learned of an abandoned automobile in
Michigan that had been stolen in Oklahoma. A search in Oklahoma
of a second stolen car linked both automobiles to Barrow and
Parker through a prescription bottle that had been filled for
Barrow's aunt. Further investigation led the FBI to issue a
warrant against the couple for interstate transportation of the
second stolen automobile on May 20, 1933. During that year
Barrow and Parker engaged in several shootouts with police. In
November 1933 police in Dallas, Texas, attempted to capture them
near Grand Prairie, but they escaped. In January 1934 in Waldo,
Texas, they helped engineer the escape of five prisoners, during
which two guards were killed. On April 1, 1934, Barrow and
Parker murdered two police officers in Grapevine, Texas, and
five days later they killed a police constable in Miami,
Oklahoma, and kidnapped a police chief. They were eventually
betrayed by a friend, and police officers from Texas and
Louisiana ambushed the couple along a highway in Gibsland,
Louisiana, on May 23, 1934. After they attempted to flee the
roadblock, police opened fire, killing them.
The legendary quality of Barrow's and Parker's careers is not
difficult to understand, given the extreme desperation of the
times. Their crime spree occurred at the height of the Great
Depression, which hit particularly hard in states such as
Oklahoma. Several bank robbers during this period became famous
as “Robin Hood” figures who struck back against the banks, which
many people viewed as oppressive.
JACANA HOME PAGE
CLASSIC VIDEO CLIPS
JACANA ASTRONOMY SITE
JACANA PHOTO LIBRARY |
OLD MAUN PHOTO GALLERY |
MAUN PHONE DIRECTORY
FREE FONTS |
PIC OF THE DAY
GENERAL LIBRARY |
MAP LIBRARY |
HOUSE PLANS LIBRARY
MAUN E-MAIL, WEBSITE & SKYPE LIST
BOTSWANA GPS CO-ORDINATES
MAUN SAFARI WEB LINKS |
FREE SOFTWARE |
JACANA WEATHER PAGE
JACANA CROSSWORD LIBRARY |
JACANA CARTOON PAGE |
This web page was last updated on:
09 December, 2008