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The Hideout in Joplin
The Famous Cigar Photo
W.D. Jones and Bonnie Parker
 

The Joplin Shootout

On April 13, 1933, two police cars arrived at the rented apartment to confront the “bootleggers.” Immediately, the gang started firing, killing one officer and fatally wounding another. Leaving most of their possessions behind, they jumped into the car and sped away, stopping only to pick up Blanche, who had been trying to catch her fleeing puppy! In the encounter, W.D. Jones had been shot in the side, Buck had been hit by a ricochet and a bullet that struck Clyde had miraculously been deflected by a suit button!

Behind them were left a small arsenal, some of Buck and Blanche’s personal papers, such as their marriage license and his parole papers. There was a poem written by Bonnie and a camera with several rolls of exposed film. Many of the famous photos seen today of Bonnie and Clyde were taken from those rolls of film, which were developed by the Joplin Globe newspaper. Among them was the picture of Bonnie with a cigar in her mouth, enough that the press could use in helping paint a picture of a demented person when describing Bonnie. The facts are, Bonnie smoked Camel cigarettes, never cigars! Following the Joplin shootout, the Barrow Gang became big news.

Their photos were in the newspapers and on wanted posters in every Post Office in the country. They were spotted in areas of Texas and Louisiana north to Minnesota. Everyday life became tedious at best and they had to travel with the knowledge that at anytime, someone could identify them and report them to the authorities.

In April, 1933, in Ruston, Louisiana, they kidnapped Dillard Darby and Sophia Stone while stealing Darby’s car. They drove the couple a distance from the abduction scene then released them, giving them enough money to return home. During the kidnapping, Bonnie learned that Darby was an undertaker and commented, "Well, one day maybe you'll work on me!" This kidnap and release pattern had been repeated several times by the gang. These little acts of kindness were told of in the papers, also, but the public’s attitude toward Bonnie and Clyde was based more on the violence, the murders of police officers and civilians. It was apparent to the general public that the Barrow Gang would kill anyone!

In May, 1933, they robbed a bank in Lucerne, Indiana, followed by another bank in Okabena, Minnesota.

Life on the run was difficult with two couples living in one car and W.D. Jones driving. Arguments developed and an air of general discontent developed among the gang. At some point in May of 1933, W. D. Jones used the car he had helped steal from Dillard Darby to get away from the gang. He was gone until around June 8, 1933.

THE SALT FORK RIVER ACCIDENT

Seven miles north of Wellington, Texas, in the early evening of June 10,1933, farmer Sam Pritchard, his wife, daughter and son-in-law were sitting on the front porch of their farm home when a Ford Sedan, traveling at a high rate of speed, went past. Driving the car was Clyde Barrow and his passengers were Bonnie and W.D. Jones.

Clyde failed to see detour signs along the highway, directing traffic to a new bridge across the Salt Fork River. The old bridge had been removed. The car left the highway and turned over in the almost-dry riverbed. Clyde and W.D. escaped the car, but it appeared Bonnie was trapped. As the car caught fire, Clyde and W.D. worked feverishly to free her. Bonnie‘s right leg was severely burned. So serious and painful were the burns that Bonnie would never walk properly again. Her right leg contracted and she either hopped on one foot or Clyde carried her.

Immediately following the accident, Sam Pritchard and his son-in-law, Alonzo Cartwright ran to the scene, about two hundred yards from the Pritchard home, to offer assistance. They moved Bonnie into a bedroom at the Pritchard home. Pritchard became suspicious of the three and quietly asked Alonzo to go get the sheriff. Collingsworth County Sheriff George Corry arrived at the Pritchard home, accompanied by Wellington City Marshal Paul Hardy. They immediately walked through the house and saw that Bonnie was in very serious condition, lying in one of the bedrooms. At this point, the lawmen’s main concern was getting Bonnie to proper medical attention.

As the lawmen returned to the front porch, they found themselves staring down the barrels of firearms held by Clyde and W.D! At that point, they were handcuffed and Clyde then fired into the tires of Alonzo Cartwright’s car to flatten them. At one point, Clyde asked the lawmen, “Have you ever heard of the Barrow Boys?” This was a grave mistake; it told lawmen their names, plus the fact that they would be shopping for medical supplies to treat Bonnie's serious burns.

Clyde, Bonnie and Jones used Sheriff Corry’s car to escape. In the earliest reports of this incident by eyewitnesses, W.D. Jones was incorrectly assumed to have been Buck Barrow.

Continued on Page 3

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