DEATH IN THE MORNING
Just before 9 A.M. on the morning of Wednesday, May 23, 1934, Bonnie and Clyde drove their tan colored Ford V-8 down Ringgold Road just off of LA HWY. 80, eight miles south of Gibsland, Louisiana. Bonnie was dressed in her best red dress with matching hat and shoes. Clyde was dressed in a classy suit with a western-style shirt that had a tiny blue square print pattern and a tie. He also wore a brown fedora as he drove at a considerable speed down the gravel back road. Clyde usually drove bare footed with his guns, cocked and ready, at his feet. Bonnie was sitting beside him eating a sandwich purchased earlier at Mrs. Canfield's Cafe. A road map of Louisiana and a magazine lay in her lap along with a Colt .45 ready to hand to Clyde if he were to needed it. A small, silver pair of glasses rest atop her tiny nose as she read her magazine when all of a sudden, Clyde spotted a Model A logging, or "poll" truck parked at the crest of the hill in the distance. The truck belonged to a familiar face, Iverson, or Ivan, Methvin, father of fellow gang member and friend to both Bonnie and Clyde, Henry Methvin. Ironically, the same truck had been purchased by Clyde for Iverson Methvin, who used it to haul timber. Clyde began to slow down and coasted to a stop beside Methvin and his truck, which was jacked up with its left front tire removed and set in the middle of the narrow road. The truck was also parked facing north in the southbound lane. Clyde came to a stop in the passing lane and greeted Methvin. Suddenly, Clyde spotted a slow moving truck on the top of the hill less than a quarter of a mile away. Realizing he was blocking the road, Clyde shifted into first gear and pulled out of the oncoming truck's way. When Clyde looked back, however, Methvin was gone. Puzzled he turned to Bonnie. Out of the corner of Bonnie's eye, she saw saw a man rise out of the bushes. A shot went off prematurely and pentrated Clyde's skull, killing him instantly and sending his hat flying into the back seat of the car. Bonnie "screamed like a panther," as lawmen would later recall. Suddenly, she saw the other five lawmen rise from the bushes, weapons to their shoulders. There was no time to react. In an instant, steel-jacketed 30.06 slugs ripped into the driver's side door. As the bodies of both Bonnie and Clyde were shredded, Bonnie's bright red hat also flew into the back seat as a bullet smashed through head and exited out the top of her skull. Clyde slumped against the driver's side door as his spinal chord was severed in several places. Bonnie's 90 pound body was thrown against the passenger's side door as a slug ripped through the left side of her face shattering her teeth and jaw. Another bullet severed several of the fingers on her right hand. Stray bullets began to set off several of the guns in the Barrow car as Clyde's foot slid off the clutch, sending the car coasting down the road about 100 yards. Lawmen chased after the car with .45's screaming "they're getting away!" as they fired round after round into the back of the car. Both Bob Alcorn and Frank Hamer had been yelling at the men to stop, but went unheard. The bullet riddled car finally rolled to a stop in an embankment, and the lawmen stopped firing. The violence was over.
|"...But it's death for Bonnie and Clyde..."
"These violent delights have violent ends..." William Shakespeare
|The "death car"|
|Clyde leaning up against the window|
|The remains of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow only hours after their deaths|
|To the Coroner
Word spread fast to neighboring small towns in Louisiana, and souvenir hunters began to gather, scouring the nearby trees and bushes for stray bullets or just hoping to catch a glimpse of the notorious outlaws. Some of the people began to reach inside the car, tearing off pieces of blood-soaked clothing from Bonnie and Clyde. One man tried to cut off Clyde's trigger finger, and yet another tried to cut off Clyde's ear. One man reached in and cut off a lock of Bonnie's hair. Hours later, the car with the bodies of Bonnie and Clyde decomposing in the hot Louisiana sun was towed to the coroner in Arcadia, Louisiana, but on the way, it broke down in front of a school house, and children with morbid curiosities found themselves staring into the mangled faces of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. One young girl fainted as she stared into the eyes of Bonnie Parker, but her classmates were packed around the car so tightly, unknowingly pushing her body against the car, that her body did not hit the ground. Eventually, the bodies ended up at the coroner's office in Bienville Parish, Arcadia, Louisiana. Dr. J.L. Wade was the coroner in Bienville Parish at the time of Bonnie and Clyde's death. Clyde and Bonnie's bodies were prepared for burial at Conger's Furniture Store and Funeral Parlor where yet another crowd gathered in hopes to get a glimpse of the dead outlaws. The bodies were cleaned up and a number of pictures were taken for various sources. Bonnie's hair had to be cut short to an even length, due to a large section of her hair being cut off by souvenir hunters.
|Clyde lying on the coroner's table|
|Crowds lining up outside the funeral home to view the remains of Bonnie Parker|
|Clyde's funeral, which was much smaller than Bonnie's|
|Summary of Coroner's Report: Record of a Violent Death
On the coroner's report for Bonnie Parker, Bonnie was reported wearing a gold wedding ring on her left hand and a small broach on her dress. Underneath her dress, she wore a small cross. For tattoos and marks, she was recorded having a tattoo on her right inner thigh of a two hearts with the names Roy on the right and Bonnie on the left. She was recorded wearing a red dress with red shoes. On right side from hip to heel, a long burn scar. Her wounds included: bullet wound in left breast going into chest, bullet wound below left ear, two bullet wounds in left leg, two bullet wounds in right leg, one bullet entering just below the hair line, exiting at top of jaw, bullet wound in shoulder, just missing the bone in the shoulder, bullet wound entering left side of neck, bullet wound through chest entering just below shoulder on left side, bullet wound on left elbow, bullet wound entering chest above the heart, bullet wound entering back on the left side, bullet wounds from buckshot (pellets from a shotgun) on left side, cuts on ankle from glass, cuts on left foot from glass, cuts on right thigh from glass, severed first and middle fingers on right hand.
On the coroner's report for Clyde Barrow, Clyde was reported wearing a western-style, blue square patterned shirt, and a blue silk suit. For tattoos and marks, he was recorded having a tattoo of a girl with "Grace" written underneath it on the right arm. Also, an anchor and a shield with "USN" written on it. On the left arm, a heart with a knife through it and the initials "E.B.W". On the inner arm, the name "Anne" was written. Also, a rose and leaves on his shoulder. On his right foot, the last and second to last toes were missing. His wounds included: bullet wound entering through head, bullet wound through left ear, exiting just above right ear, bullet wound entering above left eye, bullet wound entering left shoulder, seven bullet wounds around right knee, bullet wound right leg, bullet wound on outer left knee, several bullet wounds entering through chest and exiting through back, several bullet wounds entering through back, cuts from glass on right hand, cuts from glass on ankle, portion of middle finger severed.
|The "death car" after being siezed by police|
|Bonnie lying peacefully in her casket. A blue veil covered her face in a failed attempt to hide the bullet wounds. Her service was held at McKamy-Campbel Funeral Home on May 25, 1934|
|Emma Parker, Bonnie's mother being led away in tears at Bonnie's funeral|
|BONNIE AND CLYDE'S LAST RIDE
The Bonnie and Clyde "death car" is a 1934 Ford model 730 deluxe sedan. It, to Clyde's liking, had an eighty-five horse power V8 (that means it had eight cylinders) engine. It had a manual three speed transmission. Originally, it had Firestone 525/550x17 tires, which were later replaced with BF Goodrich tires sometime after the ambush. The original owners of the car were Ruth and Jesse Warren of Topeka, Kansas, who were married but later divorced. They purchased the car in 1934 for $835 brand new at the Mosley-Mack Motor Company. The "deluxe sedan" included such luxuries as an Arvin hot water heater and a "potter's" trunk (see above picture) with safety features such as safety glass windows, bumper guards on the front and rear bumpers, and a solid steel frame with solid steel spare tire mount. When stolen by Bonnie and Clyde on April 29, 1934, the odometer read approx. 1,000 miles. After the ambush, however, the odometer read approx. 2,500 miles. Bonnie and Clyde had also swapped the original license plate, a Kansas license plate with the numbers 3-17832, with an Arkansas license plate with the numbers 15-368 (see above picture). After Ruth and Jesse Warren divorced, Ruth obtained possession of the car and sold it to a carnival operator named Charles Sanley for $3,500, just about four-times what she had paid for the car brand new.
|"The Law." Manny Gault and a highway patrolman posing triumphantly with the deceased couple's car and the hundreds of license plates from various states they used to avoid capture|
|"...They wouldn't give up till they died..."
After the ambush, police found quite an impressive stash of weapons in the impounded "death car". Police had considered the Barrow gang deadly because of Clyde's vow to never be taken alive, and was prepared to duel to the death. The police found enough guns and ammunition in the Barrow car to stock a small militia. The inventory included:
-Over 3,000 rounds of ammunitions including 100 rounds of machine gun clips
-(3) .30 Browning Automatics
-(2) sawed off shot guns (one 16 gauge and one 20 gauge)
-(2) Colt automatic pistols (one .32 caliber and one .38)
-(7) .45 caliber automatic pistols
-(1) .45 caliber Colt revolver
|Bonnie and Clyde on the coroner's table, side by side, still wearing the clothes they had died in only hours before. Although not recorded in the coroner's report, Bonnie was rumored to be pregnant at the time of her death.|
|THE 12 WHO DIED AT THE HANDS OF THE BARROW GANG
John N. Bucher, Hillsboro, Texas: Died April 27, 1932
Eugene Moore, Atoka, Oklahoma: Died August 5, 1932
Howard Hall, Sherman, Texas: Died October 11, 1932
Doyle Johnson, Temple, Texas: Died December 25, 1932
Malcolm Davis, Dallas, Texas: Died January 6, 1933
Harry McGinnis, Joplin, Missouri: Died April 13, 1933
Wes Harryman, Joplin, Missouri: Died April 13, 1933
H.D. Humphrey, Alma, Arkansas: Died June 26, 1933
Major Crowson, Huntsville, Texas: Died January 16, 1934
E.B. Wheeler, Grapevine, Texas: Died April 1, 1934
H.D. Murphy, Grapevine, Texas: Died April 1, 1934
Cal Campbel, Commerce, Oklahoma: Died April 6, 1934
|Souvenir hunters and the morbidly curious alike gather around the car in hopes of getting a glimpse of the infamous couple|
|NOTARIZED STATEMENT FROM THE FORD MOTOR COMPANY
This statement by the Ford Motor Company certified that the car we believe to be Bonnie and Clyde's death car is indeed authentic. The statement is a follows:
This is to certify that I, O.K. Hester and my associate, H.L. Evans have worked with the Ford Motor Company since 1955 and presently employed by the Wade Ford Motor Company of Atlanta, Georgia, do hereby swear that we have carefully examined the motor of the Bonnie and Clyde Death Car and find the number to be the same as recorded in your legal papers of this Ford V-8.
This number is stamped on the Ford car on the front left side. Nothing insofar as we are concerned in our examination shows that it has been tampered with or changed. The true number of the motor, #649198, corresponds with the original number, therefore this is the original car in which Bonnie and Clyde were shot in Louisiana.
Signed this day, November 26, 1966
S. Harris Notary Public Georgia State at Large
My Commission Expires November 6, 1971