There is so much history in our backyard as I have learned from my travels to nearby places.
During a visit to Stringtown in November, I came across a historical marker for the Stringtown shootout.
The monument is inscribed: “Near this place on Aug. 5, 1932, Atoka County Sheriff C.G. Maxwell and Deputy Sheriff Eugene Moore were involved in a shoot-out with Clyde Barrow, Raymond Hamilton, and Everett Milligan. The incident occurred when the two lawmen tried to arrest the men at a dance in Stringtown. As the lawmen approached, the threesome opened fire, killing Moore instantly and severely wounding Maxwell.”
I learned that Deputy Moore is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Calera, so I visited his grave the next day.
Saturday, I took photos of the grave marker for Clyde Barrow and his older brother, Marvin “Buck” Barrow, who are buried at Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas. I also visited Crown Hill Memorial Park in Dallas where Bonnie, Clyde’s girlfriend, is buried. The Barrow gang was responsible for numerous robberies and 12 murders, including the slayings of two police officers in Grapevine, Texas. Bonnie, however, is not thought to have ever killed anyone.
Buck was shot in the head during a shootout on July 19, 1933, near Platte City, Missouri. He intially survived his injury, but was shot again in another shootout five days later near Dexter, Iowa. He died July 29.
Bonnie and Clyde were spotted on April 4, 1934, driving on Main Street in downtown Durant. Posse members searching for them knew they could not turn the downtown into a shooting gallery and by the time they turned around to try to catch up to them, Bonnie and Clyde had gotten away, perhaps driving on the stretch of road now called Old Highway 70.
They died in a hail of gunfire on May 23, 1934, in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. A posse led by former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer tracked them down. Clyde’s favorite weapon was the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and he had several he had stolen from Army National Guard Armories.
A couple members of the posse also had BARs, then sold commercially as the Colt Monitor, and the 20-round magazines were loaded with .30-06 armor-piercing ammunition.
The posse, hidden in the bushes, waited until Bonnie and Clyde approached in a stolen Ford Deluxe, powered by a V-8 motor, Clyde’s favorite because it allowed him to outrun lawmen. This time, however, Bonnie and Clyde would not get away.
The first two shots were fired by Bienville Parish Deputy Sheriff Prentiss Oakley, who was armed with a Remington Model 8 rifle, and the .35-caliber bullets hit Barrow in the head. The other lawmen then opened fire with a barrage that temporarily deafened them. The car was riddled with at least 130 bullets.
Bonnie and Clyde wished to be buried together, however, Bonnie’s mother Emma would not allow it. Originally buried at Fishtrap cemetery in Dallas, Bonnie’s remains were moved in 1945 to Crown Hill Memorial Park to be buried next to her mother, Emma, who died in 1944.
Bonnie’s grave is inscribed: “As the flowers are all made sweeter by the sunshine and the dew, so this old world is made brighter by the lives of folks like you.”
There was a live .45-caliber cartridge left on the Barrow grave marker when I took photos. A spent and tarnished 7 mm Remington magnum cartridge had been left on Bonnie’s grave marker. The Barrow grave is inscribed : “Gone but not forgotten.”
There is a monument at the ambush location in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, that I plan to visit and photograph in the near future. Perhaps I will try to imagine the deafening roar of gunfire 83 years ago that put an end to a multi-state robbery and murder spree.
Contact Matt Swearengin at 634-2160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.