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Clyde Barrow Mugshot
Bonnie and Roy Thornton
Bonnie and Her Mom,
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
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
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.
11, 1932, the gang robbed a store in Sherman, Texas, killing its owner, Howard
Hall. The robbery netted twenty-eight dollars and groceries.
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.
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.
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!