The Barrow Brothers

Henry Basil Barrow (1874-1957) married Cumie Tabitha Walker (1874-1942) on December 5, 1891.  They had seven children:

Elvin Wilson Barrow (1894 – 1947)
Artie Adelle Barrow Keys (1899 – 1981)
Nell May Barrow Francis (1905 – 1968)
Marvin Ivan Barrow (1905 – 1933)
Clyde Barrow (1909 – 1934)
Leon C. Barrow (1913 – 1979)
Lillian Marie Barrow Scoma (1918 – 1999)

Sisters Artie Adele, Nell May and Lillian Marie Barrow all survived their parents.  The brothers were Elvin Wilson “Jack” Barrow, Marvin Ivan “Buck” Barrow, Clyde Chestnut Barrow and Leon C. “L. C.” Barrow.  Clyde and Buck were well known at the time, due to newspaper reports of their criminal activity.  The comments below mainly deal with the lesser known brothers, Jack and L. C.

Their father, Henry Basil Barrow, is known to have had at least two jobs.  As his young family was growing, he was working as a sharecropper near the small community of Telico, Texas.  Around 1932, Henry started running a small gas station called the Star Service Station, located at 1620 Eagle Ford Road (now Singleton Boulevard) in West Dallas.  They lived in the small living quarters at the rear of the building.  The gas station is no longer in use, but it is still standing.

The oldest son, Elvin Wilson “Jack” Barrow, was born in Ellis County, Texas and lived his whole life in Texas.  He was married and had a family.  Jack had reportedly tried to distance himself from Clyde and Buck to stay away from the criminal world.  However, all his good intentions came unravelled when one night he killed a man named Otis Jenkins in a bar fight.

Newspaper reports say that Jack and his brother L. C. were at the Dreamland Cafe, a tavern located on Eagle Ford Road on the evening of October 14, 1939.  According to Bill Decker, then serving as Chief Deputy Sheriff, Jack and a cousin of the victim were engaged in an argument.  Otis Jenkins allegedly interfered, causing the situation to escalate further.  According to the reports of the fight, Jenkins pushed Jack Barrow to the floor.  Barrow happened to be armed and shot Jenkins, who was dead on arrival at Parkland Hospital.

An inquest was held and Jenkins’ cause of death was listed as a gunshot wound to the left breast, contributing to hemorrhage of the lungs.  At the time of his death, he was 27 years old, was married and had worked as a garbage truck driver for the Town of Highland Park.  The Barrow brothers drove to the Sheriff’s office and turned themselves in.  A four day trial in December of 1940 resulted in Jack Barrow’s conviction of murder with malice for which he received a sentence of 99 years.  Though the details of the trial are not public, this particular verdict may seem harsh today, given the known circumstances.  The verdict was appealed by Barrow’s counsel, but was affirmed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.  Accordingly, Jack began serving the sentence in Huntsville, Texas on April 30, 1941.  Prison records reflect that on March 20, 1944, his sentence was commuted to 15 years, making him eligible for release on June 6, 1956.  The circumstances of the commutation are unknown.  However, not long afterward, Barrow died of heart failure at age 52 in 1947 at St. Paul Hospital in Dallas.  It is unknown if he was released prior to his final illness and death.  Jack is buried in Western Heights Cemetery in West Dallas.

Their second son was Marvin Ivan “Buck” Barrow.  Buck was also born in Ellis County, Texas and is believed to have been married three times, his third wife being the former Iva Blanche Caldwell whom he married in 1932.  Buck was well known as being a member of his younger brother Clyde’s gang and died on July 29, 1933 in Iowa of wounds received in two earlier shootouts with police.  Buck is buried next to Clyde in Western Heights Cemetery in West Dallas.  Blanche received lesser wounds, survived him and lived until 1988.

Clyde, the third son, was born in March, 1909 in Ellis County, Texas.  He was 25 years old at the time of his death.  Clyde died in 1934 in the Louisiana ambush  and is buried next to Buck in Western Heights Cemetery in West Dallas.

The fourth son, Leon C. Barrow, was born in 1913 also in Ellis County, Texas.  At the time of Clyde’s death, L. C was in jail on a robbery charge but was released on a $2,500 bond so that he could attend his brother’s funeral.  It is believed that Leon spent a few years in jail on that charge, but after that he had no more brushes with the law, save for the above incident in which in which Otis Jenkins was killed.  L. C. was not charged in that incident.  He also married and had a family.  At the time of his death, he had been living in Mabank, Texas for about three years following his retirement.  His last job was as a driver for the Overhead Door Company and he had held that job for 13 years.  He was a member of the Baptist Church and had been baptized in 1957.  L. C. is buried at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas.  Of the four brothers, L. C. was the only one to live beyond the age of 52.

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2 thoughts on “The Barrow Brothers”

  1. I believe I told you before that I had people by the name of Barrow in my ancestry. Now it gets even stranger – 2 were Lillian; one of which was Lillian Francis Marie

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    1. How interesting! Several people have done the Barrow ancestry on, GP. Do you have access to it? Seems like a lot of Henry Barrow’s kinfolks were buried in or near Dallas County and the records for Texas are pretty accessible.


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