The seventh and eighth law officers to be killed by the Barrow Gang were Texas Highway Patrol motorcycle officers H. D. Murphy (22) and Edward Wheeler (26). At about 3:00 PM on April 1, 1934, they were driving down a lane with another officer, Polk Ivy. Ivy was in the lead and Murphy and Wheeler were trailing some distance behind. The three patrolmen were heading to a rural location to do some target shooting when the incident occurred.
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The headline of the Corsicana Daily Sun, January 16, 1934, read “Noted Texas Desperado Shoots Down Guards On Eastham Prison Farm,” referring to Clyde Barrow. Though Clyde was directly involved in the prison break, the headline overstated Barrow’s role in the death of one guard and the serious injury of another. Guard Major Crowson (Major was his given name) was said to have been shot point blank in the abdomen by convict Joe Palmer. Another guard by the name of Olin Bozeman was shot in the hip, apparently by convict Raymond Hamilton although in early accounts, various other prisoners were said to have shot the guards. Bozeman recovered from his wounds, but Crowson succumbed to his gunshot wound some eleven days later, after identifying Palmer as the one who shot him.
The fifth law officer to be killed by the Barrow Gang was Town Marshal Henry D. Humphrey on June 22, 1933. On July 30, 1933, the Sedalia (Missouri) Democrat and Capital ran an Associated Press article that began as follows, “Hubert Bleigh, 26, alias Herbert Blythe, of Tulsa, faced murder charges at Van Buren, Ark, five miles from here, tonight after he was brought to Van Buren by Sheriff Albert Maxey of Crawford County, from Oklahoma City. Bleigh waived extradition.” Bleigh was charged with the slaying of town marshal Henry G. Humphrey of Alma, Arkansas on the night of June 23, 1933.
The Barrow Gang is reported to have been involved in the deaths of a total of nine law officers during the two year period that they were at large. This post concerns the first four individuals and we hope to cover the remainder of them as time permits.