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isuredid

Bonnie and Clyde in Houston

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Back in the 70s and 80s I used to often hear the story that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow robbed the Heights State Bank back in the 30s and that before they robbed the bank, they stopped for gas at the old gas station (Benny's) that they just tore down at the corner of Waugh and Welch across from Rudyards pub. Have these stories ever been substantiated or are they just Houston Urban Legends. Were Bonnie and Clyde ever in Houston?

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Back in the 70s and 80s I used to often hear the story that Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow robbed the Heights State Bank back in the 30s and that before they robbed the bank, they stopped for gas at the old gas station (Benny's) that they just tore down at the corner of Waugh and Welch across from Rudyards pub. Have these stories ever been substantiated or are they just Houston Urban Legends. Were Bonnie and Clyde ever in Houston?

I dont remeber that from the movie! :lol::lol::lol:

I think most of thier crime spree took place in N Texas and central Texas--also into Louisiana i think. Dont remember a mention of Houston but the main man responsible for thier capture/deaths was Frank Hamer who was an officer in Harris County and spent time in Houston.

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I thought I would add this acedote to this topic. When I was a teenager in 1971, I worked a summer job at the Shell Oil Refinery in Deer Park as a contractor. Back then they used to use mule teams to cut the grass around the tank farms. One of my jobs one day had me digging up a flange close to the stables for the mules.

I think it took all of 30 minutes to dig up the flange and then I had to kill time until someone came by with an air tester to test the air around the flange. I spent most of the day sitting in front of the stables talking to an old black man that worked with the mules. He had lots of stories, but one of the stories was most interesting. He told me was that he was originally from Arcadia, Louisiana and that when he was a boy, he witnessed the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde. He said that he was riding in a truck and coming up the road (or down the road) at just the moment when, or right after, the ambush took place. I think he said that the truck was carrying watermelons and they were on their way to town to sell them. I believed him. He wasn't bragging about it, he just told the story in a very matter-of-fact way.

As a side note, they used to have a glass blower shop at the refinery too. When the glass blowers didn't have any flasks to make they would make glass animals and give them away. That place was like it's own little city. There were also some graves out in the middle of the tank farms of some pioneers who had died while travelling through the area.

Edited by isuredid

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Here is a link to a timeline the Dallas Morning News put together on Bonnie and Clyde. It doesn't mention Houston.

Yet, I've also heard of Bonnie & Clyde robbing the Heights State Bank (Rockefellers). It was attributed more to legend than anything factual. While I don't believe B&C robbed the place, it's possible that members of the Barrow gang may have held it up at one point.

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Here is a link to a timeline the Dallas Morning News put together on Bonnie and Clyde. It doesn't mention Houston. Yet, I've also heard of Bonnie & Clyde robbing the Heights State Bank (Rockefellers). It was attributed more to legend than anything factual. While I don't believe B&C robbed the place, it's possible that members of the Barrow gang may have held it up at one point.

It's worth noting and remembering that at the height of their murderous spree, B&C were blamed for just about every bank robbery in the country at one time or another, including many they couldn't possibly have done. Banks hundreds of miles apart were robbed at almost the same time and B&C got the blame.

It was the Depression. Banks and bankers were blamed for all the country's problems and nobody felt sorry for those that were robbed. A lot of people were robbing banks, and B&C just joined the trend and, for the most part, they just robbed the easy ones.

That's why I don't think B&C would have robbed the Heights Bank, or any bank deep inside a large city. Most if not all the banks they robbed were in small out-of-the-way towns where it was easy to make a quick getaway and disappear into the countryside.

And by the way, Frank Hamer wasn't a cowboy. He was one of the greatest Texas Rangers who ever wore the badge, and he came out of retirement to track down Bonnie and Clyde. He was famous for his dogged persistence -- he never gave up on a manhunt because he knew his prey would make a mistake sooner or later.

If you want to see a place where Bonnie Parker may have worked as a teenager, go to Nacogdoches and visit the Old Time String Shop on the town square next to the fire station. That shop was a drug-store in the 1920s and 30s, and they say Bonnie worked there for a time before she met Clyde.

Edited by FilioScotia

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And by the way, Frank Hamer wasn't a cowboy. He was one of the greatest Texas Rangers who ever wore the badge, and he came out of retirement to track down Bonnie and Clyde. He was famous for his dogged persistence -- he never gave up on a manhunt because he knew his prey would make a mistake sooner or later.

This statement you made here is true, but it also fits my definition of cowboy. A rugged individual that is highly determined and resourceful at achieving the job at hand. Also an individual that stands tall in the face of trouble and doesnt scare easily.

He was a pretty cool guy in my book B)B)

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Interesting...I never knew that Clyde Barrow lived in Houston at one time. Did he move here on his own as a teenager?

I read online that the Root Square Gang operated out of Fifth Ward. This would make more sense to me than The Heights. The Fifth Ward has a very long reputation as a home for folks on the wrong side of the law. The Historical Fifth Ward was much closer in towards downtown than the areas which are referred to as the Fifth Ward today. The near Northside was originally part of the old Fifth Ward.

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wddcert.jpg

Here is WD Jones death certificate where he was killed in North Houston in 1974

Not sure that either of the Barrow brothers ever lived there but the ran with WD Jones and the thugs in the "Bloody Fifth"

wdssap.jpg

wd4.jpg

Houston Chronicle paper clipping

jones_8_21_74.jpg

Another clipping

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This statement you made here is true, but it also fits my definition of cowboy. A rugged individual that is highly determined and resourceful at achieving the job at hand. Also an individual that stands tall in the face of trouble and doesnt scare easily.

He was a pretty cool guy in my book B)B)

Hamer_Frank.jpg

Captain Frank Hamer (pronounced Hay-mer) was born on March 17, 1884 in Fairview, Wilson County, Texas. He grew up on the Welch Ranch in San Saba County. The family moved to Oxford, Texas in 1894. Hamer worked in his father's blacksmith shop and later as a wrangler on the ranch of Barry Ketchum. In 1905, while working as a cowboy on the Carr Ranch, Hamer helped to capture a horse thief. Afterwards, the sheriff recommended Hamer to the Texas Rangers.

Hamer joined the Rangers in April 1906. He became part of Captain J. H. Rogers' Company C, patrolling the border in south Texas. In 1908 he resigned from the Rangers to become the City Marshal of Navasota, Texas. He served in this position until April 1911 when he became a special officer in Harris County. Hamer rejoined the Ranger in 1915. He was once again patrolling the south Texas border from the Big Bend to Brownsville. The Rangers dealt with arms smugglers, bootleggers, and bandits throughout the area. In 1921 Hamer transferred to Headquarters Company in Austin (now part of Company F) and served as Senior Ranger Captain.

In the 1920s Hamer was instrumental in helping to bring order to the oil boom towns such as Mexia and Borger. In 1928 he took on the Texas Bankers' Association "reward ring." Hamer charged that some people were framing others and also tracking down and killing small-time outlaws to collect the Bankers' $5,000 reward for every dead bank robber. Once the scam was made public, the Bankers' Association changed their policy to a reward for every legally killed bank robber. Hamer retired from the Rangers in 1932, but retained a special Ranger commission.

In 1934 the retired Capt. Hamer was hired as a Special Investigator for the Texas prison system to track down gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The notorious outlaws had killed more than a dozen law enforcement officers and unarmed citizens in a crime spree spanning several states. The Texas prison system became involved when the Barrow gang broke into a State prison, freed a gang member and killed an officer. After a three-month search, Hamer and Texas and Louisiana law enforcement officers ambushed and killed the criminals near Gibsland, Louisiana.

During the 1930s Hamer worked for various oil companies and shippers helping to prevent strikes and breaking up mobs. He was called again to Ranger duty in 1948 by Governor Coke Stevenson to help check election returns in Jim Wells and Duval County in the U. S. Senate race.

Frank Hamer retired in 1949 and lived in Austin until his death in 1955. He is buried in Austin's Memorial Park.

Suggestions for further reading:

H. Gordon Fronst and John H. Jenkins, I'm Frank Hamer, Austin: 1968

Lee Simmons, Assignment Huntsville, Austin: 1957

William W. Sterling, Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger, Norman, OK: 1968

Vertical files, Barker History Center, University of Texas at Austin; Texas Ranger Adjutant General's Service Records, Texas State Archives, Austin, TX

Vertical files, Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, TX

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This is the 1920s-1930s gas station, since destroyed. Part of the rumor said that Bonnie and Clyde stopped in here for gas on the way to rob the Heights State Bank.

I saw someone in the Montrose thread refer to this as an eyesore, but I always liked this old gas station and lament it's passing. It's not like Montrose is in dire need of more townhouses.

Bennys.jpg

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I may have found their Houston connection.

"Jesse Keathley and Ted Walters stole a pick-up truck while traveling with Floyd Hamilton and Clyde Barrow to Houston after their unsuccessful attempt at finding work in Wichita Falls. Jesse Keathley is Floyd Hamilton's cousin/brother-in-law, and is from the 5th Ward section of Houston."

This was supposedly from notes in Bill Deckers journals.

hintonpic.jpg

cbinlg.jpg

These still frames from Dallas County Deputy Ted Hinton's 8mm film .Bodies of Bonnie & Clyde seen still in car.

"The Last Day for Bonnie & Clyde"

Dallas Morning News Article

The Methvin farm was located southwest of Mount Lebanon.

The posse team was expecting Bonnie and Clyde to show up there,

in search of Henry. They selected a spot in the brush just off

of the road leading up to it. They were able to see any approaching

cars from their vantage point, yet remain hidden from view.

Ivy Methvin, Henry's father, was traveling on that road in his

old Model A Ford truck, when he was stopped by the lawmen, standing

in the middle of the road. They took him into the woods and handcuffed

him to a tree and proceeded to remove one of the truck's wheels, so

that it would appear to have broken down at that spot.

The trap now set, they took their positions in the thick underbrush.

By dawn, after having spent the night in the woods, dirty, tired and

tormented by the ferocious insects and no sight of the desperados,

they were ready to head back to their motel rooms for a hot meal and a

bath. However, they agreed to wait it out another thirty minutes before

"calling in the dogs".

At about that time, the sound of a car could be heard in the distance

traveling at a high rate of speed. The lawmen then checked their weapons

and readied their positions. As the grey Ford V8 came into view, it's

occupants were now clearly visible. Frank Hamer said, "It's him"!

then Bob Alcorn turned and whispered to the others - "This is it, it's Clyde"!

The car slowed down, upon seeing the familiar truck lying on the side of

the road disabled. It was now about twenty feet away from the lawmen. At

Alcorn's command to "HALT", Bonnie let out a scream! Barrow and Parker

reached for their weapons, but never got to fire them.

The bullets found their targets!

167 BULLETS LATER

With dozens of rounds striking their bodies, Clyde's head flew back

and Bonnie's toppled forward. Clyde's foot slipped off of the clutch

pedal and the car rolled into a ditch.

The lawmen stood looking at the bullet-riddled car for several seconds,

and when no return fire came back at them, they lowered their weapons.

Inside the car they found, a bloodstained map of the state of Louisiana,

Clyde's sunglasses, Bonnie's cosmetics, a detective magazine and her

partially eaten sandwich.

Clyde had over five hundred dollars in his wallet, when inspected!

Besides the large arsenal of weapons found throughout the car, the

lawmen found under the back seat, fifteen license plates from various

states.

licensedisplay.jpgdcplates.jpg

posspic.jpg

"The Posse"

Former Ranger Frank Hamer in the center

Former Ranger B. M. "Manny" Gault far left

Sheriff Henderson Jordan Far right

Deputy Prentiss Oakley of Bienville Parish, Louisiana, 2nd from right

Dallas County Deputies Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton. Flanking left and right of Frank Hamer

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I thought I would add this acedote to this topic. When I was a teenager in 1971, I worked a summer job at the Shell Oil Refinery in Deer Park as a contractor. Back then they used to use mule teams to cut the grass around the tank farms. One of my jobs one day had me digging up a flange close to the stables for the mules.

I think it took all of 30 minutes to dig up the flange and then I had to kill time until someone came by with an air tester to test the air around the flange. I spent most of the day sitting in front of the stables talking to an old black man that worked with the mules. He had lots of stories, but one of the stories was most interesting. He told me was that he was originally from Arcadia, Louisiana and that when he was a boy, he witnessed the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde. He said that he was riding in a truck and coming up the road (or down the road) at just the moment when, or right after, the ambush took place. I think he said that the truck was carrying watermelons and they were on their way to town to sell them. I believed him. He wasn't bragging about it, he just told the story in a very matter-of-fact way.

As a side note, they used to have a glass blower shop at the refinery too. When the glass blowers didn't have any flasks to make they would make glass animals and give them away. That place was like it's own little city. There were also some graves out in the middle of the tank farms of some pioneers who had died while travelling through the area.

WOW, that guy was even in the movie

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harbortrial3.jpg

Shown seated in front row (photo above) from left to right...

Floyd Hamilton, S.J.Whatley, L.C. Barrow (Clyde's brother), Henry Methvin,

W.D. Jones, Joe Bill, James Mullens, Joe Chambless, Steve Davis

In 1935, everyone who helped, hid, or conspired with Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, while they were fugitives from justice, were tried and sentenced in a court of law, including their parents...

fetrial.jpg

Ladies day in court......

Mildred Hamilton (Floyd's wife)

Billie Mace (Bonnie's sister)

Emma Parker (Bonnie's mother)

Alice Davis (Raymond Hamilton's mother)

Lillian McBride (Raymond Hamilton's sister)

Marie Francis (Clyde's sister)

Audrey Fay Barrow (L.C. Barrow's wife)

Cumie Barrow (Clyde's mother)

Blanche Barrow (Buck's widow)

Mary O'Dare Pitts (Ray Hamilton's girlfriend)

Edited by Mark F. Barnes

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While on a Heights Home Tour in the 80's, there was a house on the tour (near studewood) that was said to have been B&C's residence at one time.

I know they spent some time in Waco TX as well...

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Here's an interesting article I found

3_3_1935-2.gif

3_3_1935-3.gif

Ted Hinton's account of the ambush is radically different from anything stated before. According to Hinton, the posse had tied Henry Methvin's father to a tree the night before the ambush, to keep him from possibly warning the duo off. The conventional belief that Methvin cooperated with authorities was a lie, according to Hinton, one that Hamer came up with to keep from getting in trouble over kidnapping a citizen not wanted for any crime.

Hinton claimed Hamer made Methvin a deal: keep quiet about being tied up, and he would get his son a pardon for the murder of the two young highway patrolmen. Hinton then claimed Hamer made every member of the posse swear they would keep this secret as long as any of them lived. Hinton only released this story after his death, through his son. It is notable that Hamer did indeed obtain the pardon for Henry Methvin for the two murders of the young highway patrolmen.

Edited by Mark F. Barnes

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This may be all folklore, but my grandparents lived on Fairview near shepard when they first moved to houston in the late 1920s. My grandmother continued to live near there till the late 1950s. She told me that Bonnie and Clyde were living in a house in the neighborhood, and that they robbed piggly wigglies (more than one) on Shepards Dam road (now shepard).

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This may be all folklore, but my grandparents lived on Fairview near shepard when they first moved to houston in the late 1920s. My grandmother continued to live near there till the late 1950s. She told me that Bonnie and Clyde were living in a house in the neighborhood, and that they robbed piggly wigglies (more than one) on Shepards Dam road (now shepard).

My dad said he remembered a police chase in the late 1920's. He was playing at Milroy park in the Heights when the kids heard the chase coming up Yale St. All the children in the park were by then hanging on the fence as the chase went by, with the robbers firing out the windows at the police in pursuit doing the same. It was of course rumored later to be Bonnie & Clyde, so this legend may have some truth to it.

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Here is a link to a timeline the Dallas Morning News put together on Bonnie and Clyde. It doesn't mention Houston.

Yet, I've also heard of Bonnie & Clyde robbing the Heights State Bank (Rockefellers). It was attributed more to legend than anything factual. While I don't believe B&C robbed the place, it's possible that members of the Barrow gang may have held it up at one point.

This is from The Encyclopedia of American Crime by Carl Sifakis.

Bonnie & Clyde never qualified as public enemies because their thefts were minor-league: grocery stores, filling stations, and a few small-town banks (none in Houston are mentioned).

When Trapped, Clyde never abandoned his woman, often fighting his way back to her and leading her to safety. It was an odd relationship: a homosexual and a near nymphomaniac.

The entry in the book on Bonnie & Clyde makes it sound like the farthest south that they ever went was Dallas.

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Have you all been to this site?

http://texashideout.tripod.com/bc.htm

I'd scan back up to see if any of you posted that link, but I HATE seing those death pictures. Makes me ill! I don't believe that Bonnie was in East Texas any or doing too much else in the 1920's. In addition, she was married before and while estranged from her first husband, met Clyde. When she met Clyde, se was working at a cafe on Swiss Circle in East Dallas, which is just off of the older part of Swiss Avenue. Bonnie grew up in the Cement City area (La Reunion french colony) of what's now West Dallas. Her elementary school is still standing on Chalk Hill Rd, barely visible from I-30. I don't know too much about Clyde's whearabouts before he met Bonnie. HIs dad built a gas station on Eagle Ford Rd (Now Singleton BLVD) with a small attatched residence at the read. He aquired the money to build the gas station after he was run over by a horse or buggy or combo of both. Anyway, most of this info is in the link above. That website has A LOT of information in it, and maybe something about Houston?

John

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Great work- I had concluded that it was all folklore, since no one could come up with newpaper articles about their being in houston. Now we know that in Dec 33 to Apr 34 there was enough interest in bonnie and clyde being in houston that the papers did stories about them. What paper(s) were these articles from?]

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Great work- I had concluded that it was all folklore, since no one could come up with newpaper articles about their being in houston. Now we know that in Dec 33 to Apr 34 there was enough interest in bonnie and clyde being in houston that the papers did stories about them. What paper(s) were these articles from?]

The articles were from the old Houston Press.

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Have you all been to this site?

http://texashideout.tripod.com/bc.htm

That website has A LOT of information in it, and maybe something about Houston?

John

That's a great website on B & C.. Best I've seen so far.. Has so much stuff I couldn't see it

all last night.. And yes, some of the pages do mention them/him being in Houston, and even

being part of a gang at one point.. I forgot the name of the gang though..

Also has a link to Blanche Barrows website, which was good too. She was actually kind

of a hottie in some pix when she was young... :) Ditto for Bonnie in some older pix, before

she hooked up with Clyde.. :/

MK

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I did a bit more research on Clyde Barrow living in Houston and being part of the Root Square gang. There was another Clyde Barrow living in Houston during that time and it appears he was a bit older than the more famous Clyde...like 8 years older. It also appears that he also got into some trouble with the law and I think some of the folks writing about Clyde living in Houston were confusing the two. It may well be that there is no evidence at all that the infamous Clyde Barrow was ever in Houston.

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I just came upon this today and found it interesting. Bonnie and Clyde are on Tv now. I live near San Diego, CA now. Anyway, my dad, born in 1921 in Lavaca County, TX, told me when he was young that his family lived In Houston when he was Seven years old (1929). He said my grandfather, W H Lampley, ran a gas station and was left alone and Bonnie and Clyde gang stopped and borrowed a car jack for their flat tire a few blocks away. The brought the jack back to him. I thought I would share since there wasps discussion about the gang in Houston. Dad passed on in 1989 so I can not ask him for details.

David Lampley

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https://goo.gl/images/AoX1zS 

My Grandfather owned the gas station across from the "Bonnie & Clyde" house on the corner of 14th & Oxford. He'd told me when I was a kid that he'd actually given Clyde a ride to Heights Bank a few days before it was robbed as he didn't realize who Clyde was.  Said he was very nice and they had visited a few times during their occupation of the house. 

 

Above is a link  to the house they were supposed to have stayed.  Glad I stumbled upon this thread to bring back a great memory of my grandfather.

 

 

image.jpg

Edited by Andy Dufresne

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There's a family rumor that my Great Grandfather patched up the radiator on a car of B & C's, not realizing who they really were... Sadly, My G-Grandfather passed shortly after I was born, and as a jackwagon youngster, I never spoke to my Great Grandmother about it before she passed on...

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Since I was a kid I heard that B&C did come to Houston actually near downtown to Harrisburg (called them) and robbed a bank at the corner of broadway and cypress street ( the building is still there and is a restaurant.)

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