There was a season in my life when I lived in Michigan. One summer, while I was there, I worked at Ford’s Greenfield Village and museum. I loved exploring that place! One of the things I found interesting was a letter from Clyde Barrow, of the infamous Bonnie & Clyde, telling Mr. Henry Ford how much he liked Mr. Ford’s V8 cars. The following is a copy of that letter from April 10, 1934;
You may have noticed that the letter from Clyde to Mr. Ford has the middle name Champion instead of Chestnut. And there is some question as to whether it was Bonnie who wrote the letter. It is known, however, that Clyde used the middle name “Champion” when he entered Texas State Prison.
I noticed that the letter was from Tulsa, Oklahoma. I had attended college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Part of my family lived in Joplin, Missouri and they had mentioned that there was something attributed to Bonnie and Clyde located here. Years passed and I thought that Bonnie & Clyde would make an interesting blog post, so I decided now would be a good time to check out those leads. Sure enough, there is an apartment located at 3347 ½ Oakridge Drive in Joplin, MO, that Bonnie, Clyde, Clyde’s brother and his wife stayed in at one time. There was a police raid on that apartment. Here’s a picture of that apartment in 2014;
The following is an article about that incident from the South Homepage;
”On April 13, 1933, two police cars arrived at the rented apartment to confront the “bootleggers.” Immediately, the gang started firing, killing one officer and fatally wounding another. Leaving most of their possessions behind, they jumped into the car and sped away, stopping only to pick up Blanche, who had been trying to catch her fleeing puppy! In the encounter, W.D. Jones had been shot in the side, Buck had been hit by a ricochet and a bullet that struck Clyde had miraculously been deflected by a suit button!
Behind them were left a small arsenal, some of Buck and Blanche’s personal papers, such as their marriage license and his parole papers. There was a poem written by Bonnie and a camera with several rolls of exposed film. Many of the famous photos seen today of Bonnie and Clyde were taken from those rolls of film, which were developed by the Joplin Globe newspaper. Among them was the picture of Bonnie with a cigar in her mouth, enough that the press could use in helping paint a picture of a demented person when describing Bonnie. The facts are, Bonnie smoked Camel cigarettes, never cigars! Following the Joplin shootout, the Barrow Gang became big news.”
This is a picture of Bonnie and Clyde in March 1933, found by police at the Joplin, Missouri, hideout, it came from a camera confiscated at that time, that belonged to Bonnie Parker.
I got out some maps and started marking the places that Bonnie and Clyde were spotted, confronted, and eventually killed. They were said to have traveled by night. It appears they traveled along Route 66 East and West (established in 1926) and Highway 71 North and South (also established in 1926). That means that they were traveling all over this area. Who knows? They could have even stopped in Anderson, Missouri where Grandma’s Attic is now located! They were killed in Bienville, Louisiana. The following is a letter authenticating the car that Bonnie & Clyde were killed in.
For two years from 1931 to 1934 during the Great Depression (1929-1941) Clyde Chestnut Barrow (March 24, 1909 to May 23, 1934) and Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (Oct 1, 1910 and May 23, 1934) roamed this area, knowing they would die violent deaths. Bonnie deeply in love with Clyde and Clyde bent on revenge toward the government, whom he believed had allowed him to be sexually abused in prison.
If you are traveling the old Route 66 or old Highway 71 you could be traveling the road Bonnie and Clyde travelled!
If come by MO Exit 10, off new Highway 71 and old Highway 71 in Anderson, Missouri, stop by and visit us! We’d love to meet you!
Enjoy your exploring!
-The GA Gang