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Law Officers Killed By The Barrow Gang: Cal Campbell (Victim 9)

Constable Cal Campbell was the last lawman to be killed by the Barrow gang.  The list of law officers who were victims of the gang is as follows:

Eugene Moore, Atoka, OK, 8/5/1932
Malcolm Davis, Dallas, TX 1/6/1933
Harry McGinnis, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Wes Harryman, Joplin, MO 4/13/1933
Henry D. Humphrey, Alma, AR 6/26/1933
Major Crowson, Huntsville, TX 1/16/1934
E. B. Wheeler, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
H. D. Murphy, Grapevine, TX 4/1/1934
Cal Campbell, Commerce, OK, 4/6/1934

The bold headline on April 6, 1934 in the Miami (Oklahoma) Daily News Record read “Posse Trails Killers Believed to Include Barrow and His ‘Moll.'”  Campbell and another officer had gone out to the location of a mine to investigate a stalled car stuck in the mud.  That area of Oklahoma had experienced considerable rainfall in the recent days.  Another headline out of Elk City, Olahoma in the same newspaper referred to twelve individuals having died from flooding with another five being unaccounted for from the same storm system.


(Image credit: Officer Down Memorial Page)

Campbell and other officer, Marshal Percy Boyd also of Commerce had driven out to investigate the apparent stalled car a short distance outside Commerce on Highway 66.  When they found the car and stopped at the scene, the suspect’s vehicle backed up about one hundred yards into a ditch, stuck in the mud.  Campbell started to follow the car, but returned to his own vehicle.  An individual then exited the suspect car while holding a Browning automatic rifle as another individual got out and began shooting at the officers.  Boyd was immediately wounded in the head and Campbell was shot in his midsection, likely dying instantly or very soon thereafter.  Witnesses said that two bullet holes were seen in the windshield of the Barrow car and three were noticed in Boyd’s car.  Campbell’s revolver had three empty shells and both his and Boyd’s weapons were found at the scene along with a spent clip from the suspect’s rifle.

The shooters were later identified to have been Barrow and Henry Methvin.  Campbell is believed to have died from his wounds, but Boyd survived.  Boyd testified that the shooters then approached him and ordered him to get up and come with them, first saying that they were going to take Boyd with them.  Boyd put his hands in the air and complied.  When Boyd got close enough, he could see Bonnie Parker in the driver’s seat.

Barrow secured another vehicle from across the road at the residence of Clarence Robinson and attempted to pull their stalled car out of the ditch, but the tow rope he was using broke.  A truck later came by.  Barrow ordered the driver, C. M. Dodson who had approached the area after hearing the gunfire, to attach a chain to the stalled car and pull it from the ditch, and was successful.  The suspects then ordered Boyd into the back seat.  A short distance away, the bandits and Boyd came across another car owned by Commerce farmer A. N. Butterfield, stalled in the middle of the road.  According to the newspaper article, the bandits told Butterfield that they had just killed two men and were in a hurry, that “the law” was after them.  The bandits, Butterfield and his brother were able to move Butterfield’s disabled car out of the road, allowing the bandits to speed away.  Various individuals identified members of the gang as they exited the area, including mail carriers and others.  A manhunt was organized, but the suspects escaped.

Boyd later testified that the group then drove away to Fort Scott, Kansas where after stopping several times for supplies, Boyd was released about eight miles out of town.  Boyd eventually made his way back home.

Campbell’s body was taken to the Mitchelson Undertaking company. The victim was said to have been shot on the left side. Campbell was survived by his two sons and five daughters. He was buried in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Cemetery in Commerce.  He was sixty years old at the time of his death.  This was in an old cemetery built in 1899 by the G.A.R., formerly a fraternal organization made up of Union veterans of the Civil War.  Other people buried at this site include the parents of former New York Yankee baseball player, Mickey Mantle.

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were not brought to trial in this case, since the pair were killed a month and a half later in Louisiana by a posse of lawmen.  Methvin was eventually tried and convicted of homicide for his role in aiding and abetting the killing of Campbell.  Under the law, he was guilty as a principal in the crime, regardless of whether he, Barrow or someone else did the killing. In his trial, the clarification was made that it did not matter if the defendant acted under thread of death from other defendant and that such coercion would not necessarily eliminate the existence of malice or premeditation.  It was further stated in Methvin’s appeal that a law officer did not require a warrant to attempt to arrest a fugitive.  However, Methvin originally received the death penalty, but his sentence was reduced to life in prison.  Methvin was unable to pay for his defense, and made an agreement with his lawyer, giving the lawyer the right to write a book about the case, after its conclusion.

Parker and Barrow were killed by the posse on May 23, 1934.  Methvin died under the wheels of a train on April 19, 1948. Boyd recovered from his wounds and became Police Chief of Miami, Oklahoma.  He died in 1940 of a heart attack at the age of forty-one and is also buried in the G.A.R. cemetery.

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NASA Comes to Texas

In the 1960s, the expansion of the United States space program was rightfully associated with President Kennedy.  However, it had begun during the presidential terms of President Eisenhower.  In January of 1960, President Eisenhower urged Congress to give a new civilian space agency full responsibility for the development of nonmilitary space exploration.  This article is intended to be an overview of the early days of the space program in Texas.  We would like to expand on this topic as we find more information.

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Posted by on January 30, 2020 in space program


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Jack Lummus, Medal of Honor Recipient

Jack Lummus was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II.  According to a May, 1945 newspaper report based upon an interview with a fellow Marine, 1st Lt. Lummus was killed while leading an infantry and tank attack on the island on March 8, 1945.

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Posted by on January 23, 2020 in biography, heroes, medal of honor, world war 2


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Alvis Edgar “Buck” Owens, Jr.

Buck Owens was born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. to Alvis Edgar and Macie Owens in Sherman, Texas in 1929.  He is said to have given himself the nickname of Buck after his favorite mule (alternately said to be a donkey or a horse in different accounts) when he was young.  His father, Alvis Edgar, Sr., was a sharecropping farmer in Grayson County, Texas.  In 1937, the family moved west to Arizona.  The family legend is that their trailer broke down near Phoenix, Arizona where they had other relatives, so they elected to settle there.  Similar to the stories of many other musical artists, Buck’s mother sang and played the piano at their home and in church.  Buck learned to play the guitar, mandolin and other instruments when he was a youth.  He dropped out of school at age thirteen to help the family survive and did all sorts of jobs to raise money.  As a young man, Buck began performing in honky-tonks to earn his living.  When he was about twenty, he married his first wife, the former Bonnie Campbell, a singer in a band both she and Buck played in called Mac and the Skillet Lickers.  Buck and Bonnie eventually moved to Bakersfield, California where Buck began to play around town and in the surrounding area. Buck and Bonnie would remain married for about five years.  He was married three more times.

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Posted by on January 16, 2020 in biography, entertainers


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Henry and Ivy Methvin

Ivan “Ivy” Terrell Methvin was born April 5, 1885 in Louisiana to Hamilton Terrell and Mary E. Barron Methvin.  Ivy was one of five children and their names all began with the letter I:  Iverson Victor (1876-1952), Izaarh (or possibly Isaiah, 1877- about 1894), Isaac (1879- about 1894), Idonia (the only sister, 1882-1910) and Ivy, all born in Louisiana.  In the 1880 census, Hamilton Methvin’s profession was listed as being a farmer.  In some listings, Izaarh and Isaac have the same years of birth and death, but in the 1880 census, Isaac is not quite one year old while Izaarh (possibly just a misreading of the written name) was at least one year older.  Of the children, Iverson survived the longest, living until 1952, working as a farmer for many years and later working as a cobbler of shoes in Louisiana.  Iverson and his wife Sarah Huggins Methvin had a large family.  The sister Idonia married a man named Campbell and had a small family before she passed away at around the age of 28 in Oklahoma. Hamilton Terrell Methvin died a about eighteen months after Ivy was born.

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Posted by on January 9, 2020 in biography, bonnie and clyde, outlaws and crimes


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Governor John Connally, Jr.

Governor John Bowden Connally, Jr. was born February 27, 1917 to John Bowden and Lela Wright Connally in Floresville, Wilson County, Texas, the third of seven children.  In 1920, his father’s occupation was listed as being a stock farmer (rancher) in Floresville, which is located on the southeast side of San Antonio.  By 1930, the family had moved into San Antonio for a time, as John, Sr. was operating a bus on a bus line.  Governor Connally attended San Antonio Harlandale High School but graduated from high school in Floresville.   After his graduation, he entered the University of Texas in Austin where he received his undergraduate degree and later earned a law degree.

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Irene Ryan

The actress Irene Ryan was born Jesse Irene Noblitt on October 17, 1902 to James Merritt and Catherine J. McSharry Noblitt while her family was living in El Paso, Texas.  James was stationed at Fort Bliss and the family did not remain in Texas long, but El Paso has always claimed Irene.  The Noblitts lived off the base on Franklin Street near downtown.  Irene recounted that she was born at home.  James was a sergeant in the United States Army and soon after she was born, they moved to California.  Irene began entertaining when she was a teenager and recalled winning a talent contest when she was eleven years old.  When she was nineteen, she married actor Tim Ryan.  The couple appeared as Ryan and Noblette in vaudeville until that venue declined.  After this, the couple appeared on radio as Tim and Irene.  Ryan was a character actor who appeared in many films over the years, including From Here to Eternity (1953).  The couple was married for about 16 years, and had no children.  Ryan died in 1956 of a heart attack.

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Posted by on December 26, 2019 in biography, entertainers


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