Did the Real Josey Wales Die in Texas?

Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) lists the origin of the 1976 film “The Outlaw Josey Wales” to be a screenplay by Phillip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus which was in turn based on a fictional book believed to have been written by Asa Earl Carter under the pen name Forrest Carter. Carter’s book was first published in 1973 as “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales,” republished two years later as “Gone to Texas” and published once more under the name “Josey Wales.” In the film the time period of which is set during the Civil War years, the character Wales’ family is killed and his home is burned by Union irregular troops. Seeking revenge, Wales aligns himself with a Confederate irregular group (Quantrill’s Raiders). After the Confederate surrender and the end of the war, the character Wales continues to seek revenge on those individuals who were responsible. The story continues with Wales eventually finding peace and a relationship with a female rancher, presumably escaping his violent past and living out his days.

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Murder Victims of the Barrow Gang – Private Citizens

Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker are believed to have first met around January of 1930 in Dallas where they both were living.  At the time, Clyde was 21 and Bonnie was 19.  Clyde was arrested a few weeks later in the latter part of February for the burglary of the Motor Mark Garage in Denton.  In early March of 1930, while he was awaiting trial for that burglary, Clyde was transferred to McLennan County in connection with burglary and automobile theft charges there.  Barrow was indicted along with William Turner by the McLennan County grand jury for these charges.  Clyde pleaded guilty to a number of them, including the theft of an automobile belonging to W. W. Cameron, a Waco lumber dealer.  It’s unclear if Barrow had also been sentenced by then, but newspaper accounts say that Turner had been sentenced and was awaiting transfer to the Huntsville prison at the time that Bonnie smuggled a gun into the McLennan County jail.  Turner, Barrow and another prisoner named Abernathy were able to escape with the aid of Bonnie Parker and the smuggled gun.  Bonnie remained in Waco as the three escapees left Texas, but the trio were captured in Ohio and returned to the state less than two weeks later.  Barrow was held a few months before being sent to the Eastham Prison Farm to begin serving a fourteen year sentence.  He was paroled in February, 1932 after which he and initially his brother Buck and a number of different associates over time would operate as the Barrow Gang for a little more than two years until he and Bonnie Parker were killed in the ambush is Louisiana in May, 1934.

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Law Officers Killed By The Barrow Gang: Murphy and Wheeler (Victims 7 and 8)

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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Law Officers Killed by the Barrow Gang: Major Crowson (Victim Number 6)

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.

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Law Officers Killed by the Barrow Gang: Henry D. Humphrey (Victim Number 5)

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.

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