After the May 23, 1934 ambush of Bonnie and Clyde on a Wednesday morning near Gibsland, Louisiana, their bodies were taken about twenty miles away to a local funeral operation in the back of the S. A. Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Parlor in Arcadia, Louisiana. An undertaker who worked for a nearby funeral parlor in Ruston came to identify the bodies. The undertaker, H. D. Darby, and Sophia Stone had actually been kidnapped by the gang about a year earlier in Ruston. The couple was eventually released in Arkansas, but while they were captives of the gang, Bonnie had laughed when she found out that Darby was an undertaker and speculated that one day he might be working on her. It turned out to be prophetic, since Darby did indeed assist with the embalming process. A coroner and five other individuals conducted an inquest, the bodies were formally identified and the embalming process began. The authorities tried to maintain control, but the news got out in the small town, creating a buzz of interest. Arcadia briefly was crowded with media and other curious visitors.
Tag: outlaws and crimes
Charles Wiley Stanley, the Crime Doctor
Charles Stanley, not to be confused with the minister from Atlanta, lived in Abilene, Kansas and was in the entertainment business all his life. The opportunity presented itself for him to first rent and then purchase the so-called “Death Car” of Bonnie and Clyde.
Sam Bass was born July 21, 1851 in Lawrence County, Indiana and died on his 27th birthday, July 21, 1878 in Round Rock, Texas He had lived a life that had made him famous to the point that he had become a folk hero to some. Sam had been orphaned at the age of 13 after which he began to live with an uncle who was stern and strict with him. As soon as he could, young Bass left his uncle and relocated to Rosedale, Mississippi where he worked for about a year in a saw mill. In the summer of 1870, he set out for Texas, traveling with a family named Mayes who were returning to their home in Denton County, Texas. He had heard about Texas and the cowboy life and wanted to try it.
Unsolved mystery: Jesse James’ grave site
The outlaw Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882) is generally thought to have been shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882. Ford, a James gang member, reportedly shot James, then 34 years old, in the back of the head at the Kearney, Missouri home of Ford’s sister as they prepared to head out for another robbery. Ford’s motive was to obtain a reward. Ford and his brother pled guilty to murder but were pardoned by the Missouri governor Thomas Crittendon. Although James body was identified and buried in Kearney, Missouri, alternative accounts persist that he somehow faked his death and moved to Texas. Continue reading Unsolved mystery: Jesse James’ grave site
Tom Hickman, Texas Ranger
A good friend of mine grew up seeing a revered old cowboy walk the small downtown area of Gainesville, Texas. When he asked about the identity of the man, he was told that he was a retired Texas Ranger who had captured some famous outlaws. My friend eventually learned that the old gentleman was former Texas Ranger Tom Hickman.