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Clyde Barrow Mugshot
Bonnie and Roy Thornton
Bonnie Parker
Bonnie and Her Mom, Emma

Clyde Chestnut Barrow was born near the town of Telico in Ellis County, Texas on March 24, 1909. He was the fifth of the seven children of Henry and Cumie Barrow, a very poor sharecropping family.

In the early 1920s, the Barrow family relocated to West Dallas where others of like backgrounds had moved. It was considered a slum even then, where the more fortunate families slept in run down shanties and others, like the Barrow family, slept under their wagon until Henry earned enough money to buy a tent.

At some point, Clyde learned to drive an automobile. In 1926, he rented a car, but did not return it on time. The police approached him about the car and Clyde ran from them. He was arrested for auto theft on December 3, 1926 for the first time. The charges against him were dropped.

In December, 1926, sixteen-year-old Clyde and his twenty-three-year-old brother, Marvin “Buck” Barrow were arrested with a truckload of stolen turkeys that they had planned to sell for the Christmas Holidays. Buck had been involved in minor criminal activity in West Dallas for at least three years. Luck was again with Clyde, he was not sentenced. In fact, that luck remained with Clyde through another three years and many minor crimes. He was arrested and detained for questioning as a suspect in several crimes, but always released.

It is generally believed that Bonnie and Clyde met in January, 1930 at the home of a mutual friend. She was married at the age of sixteen years to a con named Roy Thornton and she remained married to him until her death. She was still wearing their wedding band when she died.

In April, 1930, Clyde Barrow was sentenced to fourteen years at the dreaded Eastham Prison Farm. While in prison, he was sexually assaulted, repeatedly by a much larger inmate. Finally, Clyde attacked the man with a pipe, fracturing his skull and killing him! Following much pleading from his mother, he was paroled in February of 1932 and departed Eastham Prison Farm as a tough, hardened criminal, he no longer had the school boy appearance of the person that arrived there less than two years earlier. According to inmate, and later gang member, Ralph Fults, he watched Clyde "change from a schoolboy to a rattlesnake.”

Immediately following his release, Clyde reunited with Bonnie. He and Ralph Fults organized a small group of like minded criminals and began a series of store and gas stations robberies. On April 19, 1932, Bonnie was involved in the burglary of a hardware store in Kaufman, Texas, where she and gang member Fults were captured.

On April 30, while Bonnie was in jail, Clyde was involved in the robbery of a store in Hillsboro, Texas, in which the store owner, J.N. Bucher was shot to death. Clyde was identified as one of the gunmen by use of mug shots.

On June 17, Bonnie was released from jail when the Kaufman County grand jury refused to indict her. The two were immediately reunited.

Bonnie was visiting her mother in Dallas on August 5, 1932, when Clyde, Ray Hamilton and Ross Dyer were drinking at a country dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma. The consumption of alcoholic beverages was an illegal act during the days of Prohibition. Sheriff C.G. Maxwell and Deputy Eugene C. Moore confronted the men in the parking lot. Clyde and Hamilton opened fire, killing the deputy and critically wounding the sheriff.

On October 11, 1932, the gang robbed a store in Sherman, Texas, killing its owner, Howard Hall. The robbery netted twenty-eight dollars and groceries.

During the Christmas Season of 1932, a Barrow family friend, young sixteen-year-old W. D. Jones, rode out of Dallas with Bonnie and Clyde as a gang member on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, Clyde and the young Jones killed Doyle Johnson while stealing his car in Temple, Texas.

On January 6, 1933, Bonnie, Clyde and Jones accidentally entered a police trap that had been set up to capture another criminal. They shot their way out of the trap, leaving Deputy Malcolm Davis dead.

Clyde’s older brother, Marvin “Buck” was finally granted a full pardon and released from prison on March 22, 1933. Almost immediately he and his wife, Blanche traveled to Joplin, Missouri to visit Bonnie and Clyde at a hideout there.

Speculations vary as to the reason for the visit by Buck and Blanche, but family members say the couple was in hopes of talking Clyde into surrendering to the authorities. Others claim they were there to join the gang.

At the time of their visit, beer had just been made legal again, therefore the men were engaged in heavy drinking. During their visit, the group became very noisy. At one point, an intoxicated Clyde accidentally discharged a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), waking most in the neighborhood. It was not that their identities had been discovered, it was their unruly and suspicious behavior that brought the police. However, the report of the automatic rifle fire alerted the police and they approached them thinking they were bootleggers!

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