Criminal, Folk Figure. Clyde Barrow made a legend of himself as an American criminal during the first years of the Great Depression. Even though he lived on the edge of the law as a youngster, Clyde Chestnut Barrow's first crime was not until an auto theft in 1926 at the age of 17. Clyde, one of several sons of a poor East Texas sharecropper, had little formal education, but had learned "street smarts" from teenage gangs in the Dallas, Texas area. At a slim 5'7" frame with a face of an innocent baby, he was attractive to women. He met his partner in crime and romantic interest, Bonnie Parker, in 1930 while he was on a short parole from jail. They became inseparable. By slipping him a handgun, Bonnie helped him and two other men in a 1932 jailbreak. During the next two years, the couple traveled in a stolen 1932 Ford V8 Sedan from Texas through New Mexico and Oklahoma, to Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana robbing every type of business from banks, hardware stores to gas stations. Along the way, they killed twelve people including nine law enforcement officers in three different states. After kidnapping a man and woman in Louisiana, stealing another Ford getaway-car, and crossing state lines, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was brought into the picture to investigate federal laws being broken. Clyde would haphazardly spray a burst of gunfire from his machine gun killing in cold blood without much conscience. During their tour, they were captured by law enforcement at least twice, but escaped each time and continued on the way with their criminal activities. Clyde had several aliases: Roy Bailey, Carl Beaty, J.A. Callahan, Jack Halle, Robert Thomas, Eldin Williams, Elvin Williams. After being released from a Texas penitentiary, Clyde's older brother Buck and his wife Blanche ganged with the two in their crimes before Buck was killed and Blanche captured by law enforcement. It was on a farm at daybreak in Bienville Parish, Louisiana that the couple met their deaths. Bonnie and Clyde were shot and killed in a trap in a furry of gunfire. A viewing of their bodies was held in Dallas before they were buried each in separate cemeteries. The couple carried a Kodak box camera with them capturing many black and white photos of the them posing in front of a Ford automobile with machine guns in-hand, thus documenting history. Hollywood has made at least five movies telling the story of Bonnie and Clyde. The 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde” starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty portrays a glamorous version, whereas the 2020 version, “Highwaymen” starring Kevin Costner portrays a more realistic version.
Bio by: Linda Davis
Gone but not forgotten