1934 Fifty Years Ago

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Frank Hamer, a former Texas Ranger, got a tip that the bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker would be coming down a road near Arcadia, Louisiana. Hamer had been after them for six months. On May 23 he set up an ambush, on top of a little hill, with a handful of fellow lawmen. Among them was R. F. Alcorn, who knew the pair by sight. “That’s them, boys,” Alcorn said as the car approached. They shouted for Barrow to halt, but he and Parker went for their guns; the posse produced a lethal fusillade, and fifty bullets hit the bank robbers. Bonnie Parker was found with a machine gun in her lap, Barrow with a sawed-off shotgun in his hand. There were two more machine guns, another shotgun, six automatic pistols, and a revolver in the car. Among Bonnie Parker’s effects was a poem she had written:

Now Bonnie and Clyde are the Barrow gang, I’m sure you all have read How they rob and steal And how those who squeal Are usually found dying or dead . If they try to act like citizens And rent them a nice little flat , About the third night they are Invited to fight By a submachine gun rat-tat-tat . Some day they will go down together , And they will bury them side by side , To a few it means grief , To the law it’s relief , But it is death to Bonnie and Clyde .

A year earlier John Dillinger had read of their exploits in his prison cell and given his opinion: “They’re giving bank robbing a bad name.”

The pair were not buried side by side, because their mothers objected.