Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Texas Tidbits : Bonnie and Clyde

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
The 1930's will be remembered for at least two things : The Great Depression and legendary criminals...Dillinger, Capone, Baby Face Nelson and perhaps the two most famous of all, Bonnie and Clyde. Texans, both, Clyde was born in Ellis County in 1909, Bonnie in Rowena in 1910. Both were gunned down by just-as-legendary FBI man, Melvin Purvis and other law enforcement officers in Bienville Parrish, Louisiana on May 23, 1934. I've (and I'm sure you have, too) heard about Bonnie and Clyde literally my whole life and am somewhat familiar with their escapades. But, it struck me like somebody hit me between the eyes with a Louisville Slugger when I actually looked at their birthdays and death date. Clyde was 2 months past his 25th birthday and Bonnie was still a young woman ("lady" hardly seems like the appropriate word) of only 24. My KIDS are older than that! Wow! Bonnie and Clyde have been memorialized in song (Merle Haggard, The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde, 1968), movies (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, 1967) and a enough books, if laid side-by-side, to reach from El Paso to Texarkana. The way these two have been romanticized, you'd think they were John F. and Jackie Kennedy. Just remember, they were bank robbers and cold blooded killers, no different than Al Capone or John Dillinger. I checked out the FBI site for some information, and they've got a thumbnail sketch of their rundown of Bonnie and Clyde. It's a quick and interesting read. Until next time, y'all !

1 comment:

  1. My family was strongly connected with these two outlaws, in the last day of their lives.
    My grandparents farm sat on U.S. 80 between Bossier City and Minden, La. Those were hard times, especially for cash, so while the farm, the critters and the garden gave them most of what they needed to get by, they still needed cash for flour, sugar and other items for daily life, as well as for fuel and parts to keep the farm implements working.
    So they turned the front of the house(the den and office area) into a store front and added a few gas pumps. It was a working farm/country store, which also served hot food from my grandmother's kitchen.
    My grandfather had been keeping the store open as late at night as he could, he needed every dime. One evening, just as it was getting dark, he saw a white Buick turn into the driveway and park on the side of the house, not in front. I looked out the window to see who it was and he saw a young man and woman get out the car, each carrying guns, she with a pump shotgun.
    He hurriedly called my grandmother to the kitchen door and told her to get their children into the back of the house and stay there.
    It was Bonnie and Clyde. He knew who they were and they knew he knew who they were. They ordered a bunch of BarBQue sandwiches, with their guns on the counter, while they kept scanning the highway. The food came out, they paid cash and left.
    The next day they heard on the radio that they had been gunned down near Gibsland, not that far away in neighboring Bienville Parrish. Their farm was in Webster Parrish.
    The day they were gunned down, my father was in school in Minden. As word spread that they had been gunned down, kids started leaving school with their parents and headed to Gibsland to see for themselves and collect souvenirs. My father asked his step father(Webster Parrish Sheriff) to come and get him so he could go too. His step Dad said no, but he would take him after school.
    My Dad said that when they got there after 4p.m., there was nothing left. Not a spent casing, not a drop of blood or a tree left standing that might have had a slug in it.
    I had those stories told me so many times growing up, verified by so many, I have no doubt that it was told for true.
    As for Melvin Purvis, I don't think he was anywhere near Gibsland, La. that day.



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