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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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.
A paragraph in a 1939 issue of a newspaper in Decatur (Illinois, not Texas) began “No. 1 Name of the year, so far, is that of Sheriff Smoot Schmid of Dallas, Texas.”
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(Image credit: findagrave.com)
Roy Thornton was the husband of Bonnie Parker. He was born in 1908 to Wilmer Harrison Thornton (1863-1945) and Florence May Marcy Thornton (1878-1920). Roy was killed in an attempted prison break from the Huntsville State Prison on October 3, 1937. His remains were interred at the Hutchings-Alston-Haden Family Cemetery, also known as the Eastham State Farm Cemetery. He and one other inmate were slain when they and two dozen other inmates attempted to break out of the prison.
(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.
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.