Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

More Adventures of Bonnie and Clyde

After the Barrow gang’s infamous shootout with Joplin police in April 1933, Bonnie and Clyde fled to Texas, where Bonnie was seriously injured in a car accident in June. The gang’s adventures in Missouri and the Ozarks, however, were far from over. Immediately after the car wreck, the gang retreated to northwest Arkansas and checked into a tourist camp in Fort Smith to lie low while Bonnie recuperated.
W.D. Jones and Clyde’s brother Buck, though, started pulling off a string of robberies to pay the gang’s bills. On June 23, they robbed a grocery in Fayetteville and were headed back to Fort Smith when they rounded a curve near Alma and rear-ended a slow-moving vehicle. Alma city marshal H.D. Humphrey and a deputy, on the lookout for the Fayetteville bandits, happened upon the scene and stopped to investigate. When Humphrey got out of his car and started toward the two disabled vehicles, Buck knocked him down with a shotgun blast, mortally wounding him. The deputy returned fire, but during the lively gun battle that ensued, Buck and W.D. managed to commandeer the police vehicle and roar away to reunite with the rest of the gang in Fort Smith.
Over the next few weeks, the Barrows stayed on the run in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. In mid-July 1933, they landed in Iowa, where they pulled off a string of robberies on the 18th. They then fled south into Missouri and checked into the Red Crown Cabins near Platte City north of Kansas City late that night.
The manager grew suspicious of the mysterious group occupying his double cabins and informed authorities. Lawmen soon concluded that they were facing the notorious Barrow gang, and they closed in during the wee hours of the morning on July 20th. Another wild gunfight erupted, reminiscent of the shootout with Joplin lawmen nine months earlier, as Clyde, Buck, and W.D. shot their way to freedom. Buck was seriously wounded during the exchange. He died about a week later in Iowa, after being seriously wounded a second time in yet another shootout with officers. His wife, Blanche, was captured, and W.D. left the gang shortly afterwards.
Meanwhile, Bonnie and Clyde retreated to Texas, where Bonnie helped Clyde break his old pal Raymond Hamilton and several other inmates, including Henry Methvin, out of the Eastham Prison in January 1934. The next month, Bonnie and Clyde showed back up in Missouri with Hamilton and Methvin.
On February 12, the gang stole a car from the Thompson Tire Company in Springfield and fled in two vehicles. As the gang roared through Hurley, twenty-five miles to the southwest, Hamilton and Methvin were in a red Chevy sedan, and Clyde was at the wheel of the Thompson auto. Bonnie, his “cigar-smoking sweetheart,” as one newspaper called her, was at his side.
Notified of the gang’s approach, Stone County sheriff Seth Tuttle and three deputies drove out on the highway north of Galena in search of the desperadoes, and the gang roared past them at a high rate of speed. The lawmen turned around to give chase and found the Thompson car abandoned two miles east of Galena.
Tuttle took charge of the Thompson vehicle, while his deputies resumed the pursuit. The gangsters, who’d all piled into the red Chevy, approached an underpass leading into Reeds Spring and came upon a roadblock set up by local constable Dale Davis. They turned around and retreated, briefly exchanging gunfire with Davis in the process.
On a side road, the gang kidnapped pedestrian Joe Gunn and forced him to guide them. Coming out on the road between Reed Springs and Cape Fair, they met the Stone County deputies, who had continued through Reed Springs and doubled back. The two vehicles stopped a couple hundred feet apart, and the two sides exchanged fire until the lawmen ran out of ammo. The gangsters piled back into the Chevy and roared past the deputies.
Near Berryville, Arkansas, the gang took another hostage, but they let both him and Gunn out unharmed between Berryville and Eureka Springs.
Three and a half months later, Bonnie and Clyde were killed in a police ambush in Louisiana after Methvin betrayed them.


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