The Newton Boys were a gang of brothers from Uvalde, Texas operating mostly in the 1920s. Probably many people had never heard of them until the 1998 film by that name. The Newtons were Willis, Joe, Jess and Dock (Willis’ twin brother whose birth name was Wylie). In total, they robbed six trains and over 80 banks. They were active for about four years before they were apprehended. All spent some of their lives in prison and after being released, most returned to Uvalde, living there into their senior years.
Category Archives: outlaws
The Texas Prison Rodeo (earlier known as the Huntsville Prison Rodeo) was an event that Texans looked forward to for many years. It began in 1931 when Marshall Lee Simmons, then serving as general manager of the Texas Prison System, conceived of it as a means for the prisoners to have recreation and as entertainment for the prison employees and their families but it quickly grew to a ticketed event that would play to a full grandstand of 14,000 to 15,000 people per performance. The event covered costs and raised money for an inmate treatment, education and recreation fund for the prisoners. Eventually the performances were held each Sunday in October and would total as many as 100,000 attendees per season. In its later years, it would not be unusual for the prison rodeo to earn $450,000 in a season for the inmate fund.
(Image credit: IMDB.com)
This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the release of the feature film Bonnie and Clyde. It was directed by Arthur Penn (1922-2010), who also directed around two dozen other films including The Missouri Breaks, Night Moves, Little Big Man, Alice’s Restaurant and The Miracle Worker. Penn had received his start in the early days of television, having been involved with productions in series including The Gulf Playhouse, Goodyear Playhouse, Playhouse 90 and others.
Saturday, December 29, 1950, there was a funeral in Hico, Texas for O. L. Roberts (some accounts call him William Henry Roberts) who claimed to be Billy the Kid. He had come to Hico in the late 1930s from his previous home in Gladewater, claiming to be Billy the Kid, who was born Henry McCarty and also known as William Bonney. We’ll refer to the outlaw as Bonney.
Wellington, Texas is in Collingsworth County, located where the Texas border departs from the Red River and heads due north, on the eastern edge of the Panhandle. At its peak, Wellington’s population was around 3,700 people and since the 1990s, it has hovered around 2,000 to 2,500 people.
(Book cover: pictured are Chaplain Ray Hoekstra and Floyd Hamilton)
Floyd Garland Hamilton was born June 13, 1908 in Henrietta, Oklahoma to John Henry and Sarah Alice Bullock Hamilton and died July 24, 1984 in Grand Prairie, Texas at the age of 76. According to his wishes, there was no funeral service, his body was cremated and his ashes were spread near the grave of his wife in Irving, Texas.
While living in Waco, I would occasionally drive past the old McLennan County courthouse. I had first seen the feature film Bonnie and Clyde while living there. However, I mistakenly thought that both Bonnie and Clyde had escaped from the jail at the McLennan County Courthouse in the midst of their short crime spree. Only years later would I learn the details about how Bonnie had helped Clyde and two others escape.