Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Heros Have Always Been Cowgirls

I was just telling some friends yesterday on another blog that Maria is the only gal that can talk me in to sitting down long enough to watch TV. Always thought there was just too much violence. Especially when JR got shot! As a work-a-holic it takes time for her to get used to me working so much, either in the big city of Dallas in my real job or out on the W-Bar-E. But she is finally bringing me around to the idea to take a break every now and then. I guess she know better than anyone that my settling down days have arrived...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My New Avatar

Need I say more?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Haunted Ranch House of Marshall Ranch, Texas

Stories from the Austin Star of an old Ranch, Marshall Ranch.

The Footsteps Upstairs
Between 1966 and 1969 me and a group of my friends ages 12-15, spent a lot of time at the Marshall Ranch - overnights and days. If we were not going to camp overnight in the house, we tried to be away from there by sundown. Once (on a Friday night), four of us went there to spend the night knowing that a bad storm was blowing in. We always slept on the bottom floor in the room with the fireplace. We put the bed frames against the doors in the room so the two doors could not be opened and the remaining beds frames were placed so that those people could watch the two windows. We then slept in sleeping bags on the bed frames and we always built a fire in the fireplace to cook and provide light at night. We all carried our rifles back then out there. That night we went to sleep and were awakened by footsteps on the floor above us. We yelled to "come down or we would begin to shoot". The footsteps stopped. We yelled again and the footsteps began. We all began to shoot through the ceiling into the upstairs room many times. The footsteps stopped. After a short while, they began again. We began shooting again and they stopped. This went on into early into the morning throughout a nasty thunderstorm. The next morning, we went upstairs and saw nothing other than the furnishings and our bullet holes through the upstairs floors. The Marshall Ranch - when we were there, we always knew we were not alone and not only that, there was a feeling of MANY presences there--not just one.

Ghost Horses Pull a Wagon
T. J., a good friend of mine, lived directly across Bee Caves Road from the ranch. He and his father told me it was not unusual for them to see strange foggy patches appear and cross the road at night. They said that they could sometimes hear what sounded like a wagon with horses walking on Bee Caves Road at night. They would never go outside at night unless they stayed in a lighted area right around the house.

The Ghost of a Man and Dog
On another occasion, three of us went to the Marshall Ranch on an afternoon but did not plan to stay the night. On the West hill above the house, we saw an older man wearing a worn cowboy hat and coat. He had a hound dog with him and was about 40 yards away. We saw him from behind, on a side angle and he did not seem to be aware of our presence although we were talking and such. He disappeared over a ridge and we followed. A short ways away in that direction we came across a large cemetery but the man was gone. We looked all around, did not see him or the dog and left pretty quickly thereafter to get off the ranch before dark. Back then, the nearest highway was Bee Caves Road. That was a pretty strange sighting.

The Seance
There was a seance that was held there in 1966 producing the name "Tom Burns", who had been murdered driving cotton into town at the turn of the century. Supposedly, he was buried there at the Ranch by the creek and the grave was found and dug up and then closed again. Actually, the man's name was Morris Moore (or Maurice Moore) and my grandmother told me the story when I was very young. There is a hill named Morris Moore Hill west of the Marshall ranch about 2 miles (past Camelot entrance) on Bee Caves Road. The old timers out there all knew that but it has probably been lost in history over the years. I also knew the Roy sisters (sisters of Rob Roy of the Rob Roy subdivision there off Bee Caves). They lived on the corner there below where the NIKE missile base radar used to sit up on the hill. They were older and never married. Both epitomized the idea of the Southern lady and they would always give me cats eye marbles when I would visit them with my Grandmother and Grandfather--just another interesting bit of Westlake history.

(credit the following web site:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Adios Josi

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

For a couple of months Maria and I have been blessed with the company of a wonderful young lady from San Palo, Brazil. This is her last week with us. There is unexplainable beauty in listening to Maria and Josi talk Portuguese when we are all together. Maria and I decided to take Josi to Austin Saturday for the night life and then to San Antonio to the River Walk on Sunday.

We had a wonderful time. So many pictures and memories have been made and all I can say is, what a beautiful world.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

On A Personal Note

I love conservative women. It is recorded in Biblical scripture that "Man is the glory of God, Woman is the glory of man."

Maria is my girl. Texan for the last 16 years after finishing an internship of living in Texas 7 years ;-), the daughter of a high ranking officer in the Brazilian military, speaks the beautiful language of Portuguese, a better CEO than I will ever be. Strong woman. Scary strong. Just like Palin, Pamela Geller, Michelle Malkin, Dcat, BG, Joanne, Carrie Prejean. Schooled in a Catholic school she has morals. If she has caught a person in a lie she will pull them off to one side and tell them she thinks they just lied in that passionate Brazilian way. If she thinks a person is weak, she does not hesitate to find a respectable place to pull them off to one side and lecture them about why it is important to be strong in life. She has no problem with one going behind closed doors and shedding a tear about stress in ones life but when that person gets out there on the playing field, they better not show weakness.

She is my right hand man. I have seen her fill the roll of executive expecting to see the employees not take this women serioulsy who one employee was asked by another employee, "I heard that rg's Maria is beautiful" to which the other employee replied "She is not beautiful. She is gorgeous." But a day later I was in awe. The employees treat me with "yeah he's the boss" attitude which is typical in any enterprise. But when Maria was filling in, they treated her with almost total reverence. They loved and respected her. In a days time she knew in detail what each employee's responsibilities were and Maria knew how each one was doing. The first chance I had to sit and watch her work with the employees who dropped by "the office", she gently and professionally talked to them about what their expectations were that day and the next day.

I see the power exuded by her, the women on the front lines of the battle for freedom in Iran, and on the home front in America's culture war by the women I mentioned above, and I gotta tell you something cowboys - we are proud of them and should give the girl 110% of our all - nothing less.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

25,000 to 35,000 Attend Dallas Tea Party

Michelle Malkin was there, too.

12:07 PM CDT on Sunday, July 5, 2009
By WENDY HUNDLEY / The Dallas Morning News

An estimated crowd of 25,000 to 35,000 people attended the Independence Day tea party at Southfork Ranch on Saturday, one organizer said.

While the official figures haven’t been tallied yet, Debbie Meyers said the bulk of the crowd arrived after 7:30 p.m. to avoid the heat of the day. The temperature reached a high of 101 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

“I was standing on the stage and couldn’t see the end of the people,” said Meyers, president of the event-planning business Bravo Entertainment.

The event had been billed as the largest tea party in the nation, and some organizers had said the crowd could reach 50,000.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Little Music...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The County Farm was No Gitmo

During the early 1900’s and possibly as far back as the late 1800’s there was a farm established in East Texas that was called during my school days, The County Farm. It was located up in the Upper Eastern part of Smith County Texas. It was almost impossible to find. To get to the sprawling farm you had to get off highway 69 or County Road 2710 and then take blacktop, back roads to either the front or back gate. When I was in elementary school, our school bus cut right down the middle of the picturesque farm.

Nestled above the Sabine River, the farm had a large white ranch house, several small houses for the families of the hired hands, a vast orchard of huge pecan trees, large wide open meadows where the cattle and other livestock grazed, the meadows enclosed on all sides by the deep East Texas forest that the massive farm was cut out of. The ranch house was a part of the large cluster of buildings which included the afore mentioned hired hand houses, a long tractor barn, a huge barn and a two story square concrete cell block. That’s right, a cell block.

The cell block could hold, it appeared, up to 24 prisoners. The prisoners were county prisoners. Ordered to “hard” labor by county judges. Across a small ravine to the left of the cell block was an old hickory tree. Underneath that hickory tree was a small grave yard of men who died in that cell block and then were buried there.

I recently tried to research detailed information about the County Farm but could not find any information. The farm has been sold several times since those days for millions of dollars per each sale to rich people. The old ranch house has been torn down, replaced a few hundred yards on down the old county road that runs through the middle of the place with a new sprawling one story ranch style house. The farm recently was opened as a place for people to go dove and quail hunting if they called ahead and paid a fee to do so, as well as its own going function as a cattle ranch. The old county road that cuts through the middle of the County Farm has since been privatized and gates block both ends of the road.

One thing I do know. The prisoners there were required to work. Not lounge around in a jail house or jail yard. They worked from dawn to dusk. They provided their own food. They built the buildings, cleared the forests, and planted the pecan trees, and dug out the stock ponds and tended to the large number of livestock on that farm.

Now that is what I call rehabilitation.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day in America

Have you ever looked, really looked, at a soldier's face? Sometimes it's young, barely
an adult the
hopes of youth still painted in its features. Sometimes it's old older
than faith, older than wisdom, older than time. And sometimes...sometimes it's a bit
of both all at once.
Sometimes it's gritty and pained, remembering the face of another who has fallen.
Sometimes it's laughing, pleased to have a moment of peace. Most of the time it's
proud because it knows, oh yes it knows, the world is a different place a
place because
of it.
Next time you look at a soldier's face, see if you can find that glint of pride.
Sometimes it’s hidden, and you have to search it out. You'll find it in the eyes always
in the eyes. For the eyes are indeed the windows to the soul, even a soldier's
And when you've carefully examined every feature of that soldier's face, stand up
straight and tall and smile your best smile. Thank that soldier, because it does what
some cannot or will not. It defends what it believes to be right with
it's very life.
But more important, it defends a perfect stranger you.
And when you see a flag covered casket, stand in memorium of all the soldier's faces
you've examined. For when one of them falls, they all fall. And when one of them
stands, they all stand.
Shouldn't we stand with them?
Lilian Leader
June 2, 2006

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Stephen Ray Vaughan was born to Martha and Jimmie Lee Vaughan at Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas on October 3, 1954, three years after his brother, Jimmie Vaughan. Stevie's father, whose nickname became "Big Jim", was an asbestos worker whose job carried the family to cities across Texas. Wherever there was an opening, the family would pack up and move to another city.

The Vaughan family finally moved into a small house in Dallas. The tension in the home was high, however, as Big Jim had a temper when he drank alcohol.

Big Jim and Martha loved to dance to Western Swing, and it was the boys' first exposure to music. The Texas Playboys, a country band, would hang out at the Vaughans' house often, playing dominoes with Big Jim. The Playboys would bring alcoholic beverages to the house and Stevie would sneak sips when nobody was looking. This started him on his addiction to alcohol.

When Jimmie broke his shoulder playing football when he was 12, family friend Michael Quinn gave him his first guitar. Soon after, Stevie got one of his own: a plastic Roy Rogers toy guitar from Sears, with only three strings. Stevie recalls that it also came with a set of blankets.

The boys, uninterested in taking formal guitar lessons, taught themselves to play by listening to records by Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, and The Beatles, that Jimmie brought home. The brothers were also drawn to blues music and taught themselves the guitar techniques of blues guitarists like Albert and B.B. King, Otis Rush, and Buddy Guy.

At the age of 15, Jimmie was the lead guitarist in a local cover band called The Chessmen, and played gigs all over Texas. One day when bandmate Doyle Bramhall came to pick up Jimmie for a gig, he saw young Stevie playing along to the song Jeff's Boogie by The Yardbirds. Bramhall became the first to tell Stevie Ray Vaughan that he was actually good.

Success and Fame

Texas Flood
The band sent the tapes to legendary talent scout, John Hammond, Sr., a veteran of the record business who discovered Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, and Bob Dylan. He got the band a major contract with Epic Records. The mixed and mastered tapes were morphed into an album called Texas Flood. On June 3, 1983, the album made it to #38 on the Billboard 200 charts, received positive reviews, and sold over 500,000 units. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were an overnight success. The band then embarked on a successful tour for the album.

Note: On March 3, 2009, Harmonix released Texas Flood in its entirety as downloadable content for the game Rock Band via Xbox Live. The Playstation Network was set to receive it on March 5, 2009.

Couldn't Stand the Weather
In mid-December 1983, the band took two weeks off to write material for a new album. They went to The Power Station in New York City to record in January 1984. The new album took two weeks to record, but finally finished and released the album as Couldn't Stand the Weather. They went on another successful tour and played many TV shows including Solid Gold and Rockpalast.

On October 4, 1984, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble played a show at Carnegie Hall in New York City to celebrate his 30th birthday. The whole eleven-piece band wore custom-tailored mariachi suits. The band rehearsed for two weeks to prepare for the show. After the show, MTV invited all the guests to a local club where the new TV network would throw an after-party.

With several more shows after Carnegie Hall, the band flew to Australia and played two sold-out shows at the Sydney Opera House. Then it was off to New Zealand, with a several concert halls and stadiums on the itinerary. While in New Zealand, Stevie received word that he won two W.C. Handy Blues Awards: one for Entertainer of the Year and one Instrumentalist of the Year. He was the first white person to win both awards. He was presented the awards on November 18, 1984, and played with B.B. King, Rufus Thomas, Robert Cray, and Albert King. The ceremony was held at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis on Beale Street.

Soul to Soul
By early 1985, Stevie's performance contract required a fifth of Scotch in his dressing room each night and his cocaine habit rose to 4 grams/day. He would dissolve the cocaine in a glass of Scotch or Crown Royal every morning as a morning pick-me-up. This ritual lasted for 9 years.

Stevie and Double Trouble went to the Dallas Sound Labs in March 1985. After a couple of weeks of trying to come up with new material, it became evident that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble needed a stronger rhythm section. Desperate, he got in touch with, Reese Wynans, an ace keyboard player who was playing with Delbert McClinton at the time.

On April 10, 1985, Stevie Ray was asked to play The Star Spangled Banner on opening day at the Houston Astrodome. Unfortunately, he didn't get a good audience response, as he played his rendition with slide guitar work.

The new quartet finished the album in May 1985 and was named Soul to Soul. The album was released on September 30, 1985, but lacked the fire and bite of previous albums.

By 1986, the band was touring the world non-stop, sometimes sharing the bill with The Fabulous Thunderbirds--and Stevie's cocaine habit had risen to 7 grams a day. Both bands were on tour in New Zealand when Stevie saw a group of schoolgirls walking back to a nearby hotel. He homed in on one girl in particular: stunningly beautiful 17-year-old model Janna Lapidus. The olive-skinned brunette had fled from Russia with her parents when she was a child. Stevie took Janna with him on tour in Australia.

Live Alive
In mid-1986, Stevie and Double Trouble were ordered to record another album. As they didn't wish to do this, they decided to record a live album. They would simply record shows at the Austin Opera House and the Starfest in Dallas. This proved to be more difficult than they thought: many of the recordings were flooded with technical difficulties that needed touch-ups or errors that needed correction. The band started booking studio time to overdub drums or vocals.

Stevie's marriage to Lenny was also on the verge of collapse. His fame, fortune, success, and attention pushed her to the sidelines, and she reacted bitterly. One night after a long stretch on the road, he came home to find their house in Austin padlocked: the electricity was shut off and Lenny and their dog were gone. She had left with the money Stevie had been sending her frequently. This shocking discovery guaranteed that Stevie's alcohol and drug abuse would escalate.

Stevie moved to Los Angeles where he moved in with an old Austin acquaintance, Timothy Duckworth, who later became Stevie's personal assistant.

"Live Alive" was released on November 30, 1986.

On August 27, 1986, after years of suffering from Parkinson's disease, Stevie Ray's and Jimmie Lee's father, "Big Jim" Vaughan, died from heart failure. The boys rushed home to comfort their mother, but there was little time to mourn over the death of their father. Immediately after the funeral three days later, a jet rushed Stevie back on the road with Double Trouble.

A month later, on tour in Europe, Stevie's addictive lifestyle finally caught up with him. Drummer Chris Layton recalls being out in the street with Stevie when he suddenly dropped to his knees and acted confused, then began retching blood and bile. He said he needed a drink, but no drug stores were open. When Stevie had composed himself, the two walked back to their hotel in Ludwigshafen. Then Stevie began shaking, sweating and his eyes "were like the eyes of a dead animal." When the animation came back into his eyes, he sat up and quietly said, "I need help." Chris called an ambulance; the paramedics later described the trip to the hospital as a near death dehydration. Stevie was admitted under the care of Dr. Victor Bloom in London, the same doctor who helped Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend kick their addiction to heroin. Bloom monitored Stevie overnight to see his stomach reactions; it turned out that the whiskey was eating away his stomach lining, and the cocaine was crystallizing again and eating into his intestines.

After a failed attempt to get sober in London, Stevie asked his mother to fly the band to Atlanta, Georgia, where Stevie checked into Peachford Hospital, and Tommy checked into a hospital in Austin; both men spent a month in the Charter treatment program.

Stevie made a phone call to his wife Lenny, asking her to visit him in rehab, but she refused. In turn, he filed for a divorce which wasn't finalized until June 1988 due to a delay in an agreement between Stevie and Lenny.

By late 1986, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble went back on the road with confidence and energy as Stevie and Tommy now played clean and sober. On February 28, 1987, the band played MTV Mardi Gras in New Orleans with The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Stevie also made an appearance with B.B. King for an HBO special that was broadcast at the Ebony Showcase Theater in Los Angeles, California on April 15, 1987. It was a lineup that included B.B. King, Albert King, Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield (who died only a few weeks later), Phil Collins, Gladys Knight, and Etta James.

Stevie Wonder hosted a TV special called "Characters", in which a number of musical guests came to perform his hits. Stevie Ray played with Wonder on "Superstition" and "Come Let Me Make Your Love Come Down" and was broadcast in April 1988.

Stevie wanted to help others recover and overcome their problems with alcohol or drugs, as during the song "Life Without You", he would often speak to the audience about recovering and being there for others when they need love. On the road, he would attend Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings regularly, sharing the lessons of his ordeal.

In Step
By 1988, the band was ready to return to the recording studio. For the new record, they traveled to Memphis to record in Ardent Studios, a pro recording studio that has such clientele as ZZ Top, Tina Turner, and Led Zeppelin. Together, old friend Doyle Bramhall and Stevie began writing songs about walking the tightrope to recovery, including "Tightrope", "Wall of Denial", and "Crossfire". The album was named appropriately, "In Step", released on June 6, 1989. "Crossfire" reached the #1 position on the Mainstream Rock Charts. It was the only hit single that they ever had.

In the spring of 1990, Stevie and his brother recorded an album together, one that would feature the music they had grown up with. They recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis and was produced by Nile Rodgers. The brothers agreed to name it "Family Style". That summer, Stevie and Double Trouble went on tour with British soul singer Joe Cocker, touring places like Alaska and the Benson & Hedges Blues Festival.

To complete the summer portion of the "In Step" tour, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble played two shows on August 25 & 26 at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, WI. The shows also featured Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Robert Cray with The Memphis Horns.

After Double Trouble's set at the final show, Vaughan originally planned to return to Chicago by car. Bass player Tommy Shannon and keyboardist Reese Wynans had already departed. The venue was difficult to reach via highway and Vaughan wanted to get back to Chicago to talk to his girlfriend, model Janna Lapidus, who was staying with him at the time.

Tour manager Skip Rickert had hired helicopters from Omni Flights to circumvent congested highway traffic. Most of the seats had already been reserved, but one was available. Vaughan took it.

The helicopters departed at 12:44 a.m. in thick fog. Just past the landing zone was a 200-foot hill. Vaughan's helicopter was piloted by Jeffrey Browne, who was unfamiliar with the flight pattern for exiting the area. He guided the helicopter to about half of the altitude needed to clear the hill before crashing into it. The force of the impact scattered the aircraft over a 200-foot area. The coroner's report stated that Vaughan died of severe loss of blood due to a force-of-impact rupture of the aorta.

On August 31, 1990, funeral services were held for Vaughan in his hometown of Oak Cliff. Thousands of family members, friends, and musicians gathered to say goodbye. With brother Jimmie, mother Martha, and girlfriend Janna among the mourners were all three members of ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, and Jackson Browne. Vaughan was interred at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Texas.


Vaughan memorial at Lady Bird Lake, in Austin, Texas.September 1990 saw the release of Family Style.

The 1991 album The Sky Is Crying was the first of several posthumous Vaughan releases to achieve chart success. Jimmie Vaughan later co-wrote and recorded a song in tribute to his brother and other deceased blues guitarists, titled "Six Strings Down".

The 1991 album of Bonnie Raitt, Luck of the Draw, was dedicated to him.

Many other artists recorded songs in remembrance of Vaughan, including Eric Johnson, Tommy Emmanuel (the song Stevie's Blues), Buddy Guy and Steve Vai ("Jibboom" on the album The Ultra Zone, 1999) and guitarist Wayne Perkins ("Big Stratocaster", from the album Rambling Heart).

In 1991, Texas governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, Vaughan's birthday, to be "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day." An annual motorcycle ride and concert in Central Texas benefits the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Scholarship Fund.

In 1992, the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation released the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster, which Vaughan had helped design. As of 2007, the model is still in production. In 2004, Fender also released a limited edition exact replica of "Number One".

Stevie Wonder included a song on his 1995 live album Natural Wonder titled "Stevie Ray Blues". On the album, Wonder refers to the song as "Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues".

Stephen King's short story "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" concerns a small town called Rock and Roll Heaven that's populated by late rock musicians, one of whom is Vaughan.

In 1994, the city of Austin erected the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake,(30°15′47.1774″N 97°45′2.4228″W / 30.263104833°N 97.750673°W / 30.263104833; -97.750673) the site of a number of Vaughan's concerts. It has become one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.

In 2000, Stevie Ray Vaughan was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

The last guitar that Vaughan played before his death is on display in the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

In November 2007, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation released a second tribute to Vaughan, an exact replica of his second beloved guitar: Lenny. This guitar was given to him by his wife Lennora ("Lenny") on his 26th birthday and Vaughan was very fond of it. According to Fender, the original Lenny was a 1965 Strat that he saw in the window of a pawn shop that he was unable to afford. The guitar is sold with a strap, a case with Vaughan's name embroidered in the fabric lining, a number of brochures and memorabilia and a leather bound certificate of authenticity.

"A little over four years ago on June 24, 2004 Lenny was put up for auction and was sold to Guitar Center for $629,500. "

Also in November 2007, Sony BMG, Epic Records, and Legacy Records released the CD Stevie Ray Vaughan & Friends: Solos, Sessions & Encores.

Stevie Ray Vaughan became eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

In 2008, residents voted to rename Dallas' Industrial Boulevard, with Vaughan's name being one of the finalists alongside Stanley Marcus, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and Cesar Chavez.

His music has been used in the popular rhythm-based video game series Guitar Hero, featuring Texas Flood and Pride And Joy. The entire Texas Flood album has also been released for download for Rock Band 2.

Personal life
Not much is known about Stevie's personal life. However, he did have several girlfriends in his early career, one of them being Lindi Bethel, the inspiration for "Pride and Joy."

Stevie married Lenora "Lenny" Bailey on December 23, 1979 between sets at the Rome Inn in Austin, TX. They divorced in 1988.

Stevie met model Janna Lapidus in New Zealand in March 1986. They remained a couple until his death.

He did not have any children.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Doc Holliday: Arrived in Dallas a Dentist, Left as a Gunfighter

In September 1873, he went to Dallas, Texas, where he opened a dental office at 56 Elm Street, about four blocks east of the site of today's Dealey Plaza. He soon began gambling and realized this was a more profitable source of income, since patients feared going to his office because of his ongoing cough. On May 12, 1874, Holliday and 12 others were indicted in Dallas for illegal gambling. He was arrested in Dallas in January 1875 after trading gunfire with a saloon-keeper, but no one was injured and he was found not guilty. He moved his offices to Denison, Texas, and after being found guilty of, and fined for, "gaming" in Dallas, he decided to leave the state.

In the years that followed, Holliday had many more such disagreements, fueled by a hot temper and an attitude that death by gun or knife was better than by tuberculosis. The alcohol Holliday used to control his cough may also have contributed. He would regularly use the term; "I'll be your Huckleberry." This may have been merely slang of the period for "I'm your best gun/man." Further, there was the practical matter that a professional gambler, working on his own at the edge of the law, had to be able to back up disputed points of play with at least a threat of force. Holliday continued traveling on the western mining frontier, where gambling was most likely to be lucrative and legal. Holliday was in Denver, Cheyenne, and Deadwood (site of the gold rush in the Dakota Territory) in the fall of 1876.

By 1877, Holliday was in Fort Griffin, Texas, where Wyatt Earp first met him (per his later account). They were initially introduced through mutual friend John Shanssey. The two began to form an unlikely friendship; Earp more even-tempered and controlled, Holliday more hot-headed and impulsive. This friendship was cemented in 1878 in Dodge City, Kansas, when Holliday defended Earp in a saloon against a handful of cowboys out to kill Wyatt, and where both Earp and Holliday had traveled to make money gambling with the cowboys who drove cattle from Texas. Holliday was still practicing dentistry on the side from his rooms in Dodge City, as indicated in an 1878 Dodge newspaper advertisement (he promised money back for less than complete customer satisfaction), but this is the last known time he attempted to practice. In an interview printed in a newspaper later in his life, he said that he only practiced dentistry "for about 5 years."

Holliday also met Mary Katharine Horony ("Big Nose Kate") in Fort Griffin and began his long-time involvement with her. Horony also met Wyatt Earp there. Holliday once stated he considered Horony to be his intellectual equal.

Dedicated gambler, gunman reputation

An incident in September 1878 had Earp, at the time a deputy city marshal, surrounded by men who had "the drop" on him. Holliday, who currently owned a bar in the town and was dealing faro (as he did throughout his life), left the bar, approached from another angle to cover the group with a gun, and either shot or threatened to shoot one of these men. Earp afterward always credited Holliday with saving his life that day.[citation needed] Many other accounts of Holliday's involvement in gunfights, however, are sometimes exaggerated. He had several documented saloon altercations involving small shootings, where he was accounted as fast as Wild Bill Hickok.

One documented instance happened when Holliday was employed during a railroad dispute. On July 19, 1879, Holliday and noted gunman John Joshua Webb were seated in a saloon in Las Vegas, New Mexico when a former U.S. Army scout named Mike Gordon began yelling loudly at one of the saloon girls. When Gordon stormed from the saloon, Holliday followed him. Gordon produced his pistol and fired one shot, missing. Holliday immediately drew his gun and killed Gordon. Holliday was placed on trial for the shooting but was acquitted, mostly based on the testimony of Webb.

Tombstone, Arizona Territory

Dodge was not a frontier town for long; by 1879, it had become too respectable for the kinds of people who had seen it through its early days. For many, it was time to move on to places not yet reached by the civilizing railroad, places where money was to be made. Holliday, by this time, was as well known for his prowess as a gunfighter as for his gambling, though the latter was his trade and the former simply a reputation. Through his friendship with Wyatt and the other Earp brothers, especially Morgan and Virgil, Holliday made his way to the silver-mining boom town of Tombstone, Arizona Territory, in September 1880. The Earps had been there since December 1879. Some accounts state the Earps sent for Holliday when they realized the problems they faced in their feud with the Cowboy faction. In Tombstone, Holliday quickly became embroiled in the local politics and violence that led up to the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in October 1881.

The gunfight happened in front of, and next to, Fly's boarding house and picture studio, where Holliday had a room, the day after a late-night argument between Holliday and Ike Clanton. The Clantons and McLaurys collected in the space between the boarding house, and the house west of it, before being confronted by the Earps. Holliday likely thought they were there specifically to assassinate him.

It is known Holliday carried Virgil's Coach Gun into the fight; he was given the weapon just before the fight by Wyatt Earp, as Holliday was wearing a long coat which could conceal it. Virgil Earp took Holliday's walking stick: by not going conspicuously armed, Virgil was seeking to avoid panic in the citizenry of Tombstone, and in the Clantons and McLaurys.

The strategy failed: while Virgil held up the cane, one witness saw a man, almost certainly Holliday, poke a Cowboy in the chest with a "large bronze pistol" (probably the shotgun), then step back. Wyatt Earp and Tom McLaury were the first men to fire, almost at the same time according to Wyatt's testimony. Shortly after, Holliday used the shotgun to kill Tom McLaury, the only man to sustain shotgun wounds — a fatal buckshot charge to the chest. This probably happened quite early in the fight, before Holliday fired a pistol, though scenarios in which Holliday held a pistol with one hand and a double-barreled shotgun in the other during the gunfight are postulated.

An inquest and arraignment hearing determined the gunfight was not a criminal act on the part of Holliday and the Earps. The situation in Tombstone soon grew worse when Virgil Earp was ambushed and permanently injured in December 1881. Then Morgan Earp was ambushed and killed in March 1882. After Morgan's murder, the Earps, their families, and Holliday fled town. In Tucson, while Wyatt, Warren Earp, and Holliday were escorting the wounded Virgil Earp and his wife Allie to California, they prevented another ambush and this could have been the possible start of the vendetta against Morgan's killers.

Earp Vendetta Ride

The first victim of the vendetta was Frank Stilwell, a former deputy of Johnny Behan's. Stilwell was in Tucson to answer a stage-robbery charge but wound up dead on the tracks in the train yard near the Earps' train. What Stilwell was doing in the train yard has never been explained (he may have been waiting to pick up another man who was supposed to testify in his favor), but Wyatt Earp certainly thought Stilwell was there to do the Earps harm. In his biographies, Wyatt admitted to shooting Stilwell with a shotgun. However, Stilwell was found with two shotgun wounds and three bullet wounds. Holliday, who was with Wyatt that night and said Stilwell and Ike Clanton were waiting in the train yard to assassinate Virgil Earp, is likely the second shooter. Holliday never directly acknowledged his role in Stilwell's killing or those that followed.

After the Earp families left for California and safety, Holliday, Wyatt, Wyatt's younger brother, Warren, and Wyatt's friends Sherman McMasters, Turkey Creek Jack Johnson, and Texas Jack Vermillion rode on a vendetta for three weeks, during which Curly Bill Brocius and at least two other men thought to be responsible for Morgan's death were killed. Eventually, with warrants out for six of the vendetta posse (including Holliday) in the Arizona Territory for the killing of Stilwell, the group moved to New Mexico, then Colorado, in mid-April 1882. While in New Mexico, Wyatt Earp and Holliday had a minor argument and parted ways, going separately to different parts of Colorado.

After the vendetta ride, neither Holliday nor any other member of the party ever returned to Arizona to live. In May 1882, Holliday was arrested in Denver for the Stilwell killing. Due to lack of evidence, Colorado refused to extradite him, although he spent the last two weeks of that month in jail while the issue was decided. He and Wyatt met again in June 1882 in Gunnison after he was released. There is controversy regarding whether any of the Earp vendetta posse slipped briefly back to the Tombstone area to kill Johnny Ringo on July 13, 1882. Biographers of Ringo do not believe it is very likely. Several other known gunmen were also implicated in the death, including "Buckskin" Frank Leslie, little known gunman Lou Cooley, and gambler Mike O'Rourke. Some believe, however, that Ringo's death was in fact a suicide, as reported.

Final illness and burial

Holliday spent the rest of his life in Colorado. After a stay in Leadville, he suffered from the effects of the high altitude; as a result of this and his increasing dependence on alcohol and laudanum, often taken by consumptives to ease their symptoms, his health, and evidently his gambling skills, began to deteriorate.

In 1887, prematurely gray and badly ailing, Holliday made his way to the Hotel Glenwood near the hot springs of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He hoped to take advantage of the reputed curative power of the waters, but the sulfurous fumes from the spring may have done his lungs more harm than good. As he lay dying, Holliday allegedly asked for a drink of whiskey. Amused, he looked at his bootless feet as he died — no one ever thought that he would die in bed, with his boots off. His reputed last words were, "Well I'll Be Damned. This is funny." Recent Holliday biographer Gary L. Roberts, however, considers it unlikely that Holliday, who had scarcely left his bed for two months, would have been able to speak coherently, if at all, on the day he died. Despite legend, Wyatt Earp was certainly not present when Holliday died, and did not know of his death until months afterward. Though she later attested to attending him in his final days, it is also highly doubtful that Big Nose Kate was present at his death.

An Episcopalian minister presided at Holliday's burial, which was on the day of his death, Nov. 8, 1887. His grave stone sits in Linwood cemetery, which overlooks Glenwood Springs. Entirely on the basis of the late date in the year, it has been speculated (for example) that he was not actually buried in his marked grave, or even in the cemetery itself, on the theory that the ground was frozen and he must have been buried the same day in what was probably a temporary grave, not in the old cemetery, which was up a difficult road on the mountain. However, the weather was evidently mild at the time of Holliday's burial, as biographer Gary Roberts has located evidence of other bodies being transported up the mountain to the same cemetary at the same time in 1887. Roberts argues that it is thus possible Holliday's body is indeed where the modern gravesite is, but no exhumation has been attempted.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Bonnie and Clyde

"The country’s money simply declined by 38 percent." "Gaunt, dazed men roamed the city streets seeking jobs... Breadlines and soup kitchens became jammed. (In rural areas) foreclosures forced more than 38 percent of farmers from their lands (while simultaneously) a catastrophic drought struck the Great Plains... By the time Bonnie and Clyde became well known, many had felt the capitalistic system had been abused by big business and government officials... Now here were Bonnie and Clyde striking back.", explains Milner, author of The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde.

Bonnie Parker (October 1, 1910 – May 23, 1934) and Clyde Barrow (March 24, 1909 – May 23, 1934) were notorious outlaws, robbers, and criminals who, with their gang, traveled the Central United States during the Great Depression. Their exploits were known nationwide. They captured the attention of the American press and its readership during what is sometimes referred to as the "public enemy era" between 1931 and 1934. Though their gang was notorious for their bank robberies, Barrow preferred to rob small stores or gas stations. The gang was believed to have killed at least nine police officers, among several other murders.Though the public at the time believed Parker to be a full partner in the gang, and thus its crimes, her role in the Barrow Gang crimes has long been a source of controversy. Gang members W. D. Jones and Ralph Fults testified that they never saw Bonnie fire a gun, and described her role as logistical. Writing with Phillip Steele in The Family Story of Bonnie and Clyde, Marie Barrow, Clyde's youngest sister, made the same claim: "Bonnie never fired a shot. She just followed my brother no matter where he went." In his interview with Playboy magazine, W. D. Jones said of Bonnie: "As far as I know, Bonnie never packed a gun. Maybe she'd help carry what we had in the car into a tourist-court room. But during the five big gun battles I was with them, she never fired a gun. But I'll say she was a hell of a loader."Writer Joseph Geringer, in his article Bonnie and Clyde: Romeo and Juliet in a Getaway Car, explained part of their appeal to the public then, and their enduring legend now, by saying "Americans thrilled to their 'Robin Hood' adventures. The presence of a female, Bonnie, escalated the sincerity of their intentions to make them something unique and individual—even at times heroic."

Bonnie Parker

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker was born in Rowena, Texas, the second of three children. Her father, Charles Parker (? - c.1914), a bricklayer, died when Bonnie was four, prompting her mother, Emma Krause Parker (c.1886 - 1946), to move with the children to West Dallas, where they lived in poverty. An honor roll student in high school where she excelled in creative writing, she won a County League contest in literary arts, for Cement City School, and even gave introductory speeches for local politicians. Described as intelligent and personable yet strong willed, she was an attractive young woman, small at 4 ft 11 in and weighing only 90 pounds.
On September 25, 1926, less than a week before her sixteenth birthday, Parker married Roy Thornton. The marriage was short-lived, and in January 1929 they separated but never divorced; Parker was wearing Thornton's wedding ring when she died. His reaction to his wife's death was, "I'm glad they went out like they did. It's much better than being caught." On March 5, 1933, Thornton was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary. He was gunned down by guards on October 3, 1937, during an escape attempt from Eastham Farm prison.

There are a number of versions of the story describing Bonnie and Clyde's first meeting, but the most credible version indicates that Bonnie Parker met Clyde Barrow in January 1930 at a friend's house. Bonnie was out of work and was staying in West Dallas to assist a girlfriend with a broken arm. Clyde dropped by the girl's house and Bonnie was supposedly in the kitchen making hot chocolate. They did not meet, as legend has it, while she was a waitress.
When they met, both were smitten immediately and most historians believe Bonnie joined Clyde because she was in love. She remained a loyal companion to him as they carried out their crime spree and awaited the violent deaths they viewed as inevitable. Her fondness for creative writing and the arts found expression in poems such as "The Story of Suicide Sal" and "The Trail's End" (aka "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde").
Jimmy Fowler, writing for the Dallas Observer noted, "although the authorities who gunned down the 23-year-old in 1934 conceded that she was no bloodthirsty killer and that when taken into custody she tended to inspire the paternal aspects of the police who held her ... there was a mystifying devolution from the high school poet, speech class star, and mini-celebrity who performed Shirley Temple-like as a warm up act at the stump speeches of local politicians to the accomplice of rage-filled Clyde Barrow."

Clyde Barrow

Clyde Chestnut Barrow was born in Ellis County, Texas, near Telico just south of Dallas. He was the fifth of seven children, in a poor farming family. Clyde was first arrested in late 1926, after running when police confronted him over a rental car he had failed to return on time. His second arrest, with brother Marvin "Buck" Barrow, came soon after, this time for possession of stolen goods (turkeys). Despite holding down "square" jobs during the period 1927 through 1929, he also cracked safes, robbed stores, and stole cars. Known primarily for robbing banks, he focused on smaller jobs, robbing grocery stores and gas stations at a rate far outpacing the ten to fifteen bank robberies attributed to him and the Barrow Gang. Barrow's favored weapon was the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (called a BAR). According to John Neal Phillips, Clyde's goal in life was not to gain fame and fortune from robbing banks, but to seek revenge against the Texas prison system for the abuses he suffered while serving time.

The Spree
Buck joins the gang

During Buck Barrow's time in jail, Clyde had been the driver in a store robbery during which a man was shot and killed. The wife of the murder victim, when shown photos, picked Clyde Barrow as one of the shooters. In March 1932 Bonnie was captured in a failed robbery attempt in Kaufman, Texas, and was subsequently jailed. Clyde murdered merchant J. W. Butcher of Hillsboro on April 27, 1932. Bonnie remained in jail until June 17, 1932, when the grand jury for Kaufman County met in Kaufman and no-billed Bonnie, which led to her release. Within a few weeks she joined up with Clyde. They were again on the run together. On August 5, 1932, while Parker was visiting her mother, Barrow and two associates were drinking alcohol at a dance in Stringtown, Oklahoma (illegal under Prohibition). When they were approached by sheriff C.G. Maxwell and his deputy, Eugene C. Moore, Barrow opened fire, killing the deputy. That was the first killing of a lawman by what was later known as the Barrow Gang, a total which would eventually amount to nine slain officers.
On March 22, 1933, Buck Barrow was granted a full pardon and released from prison. By April, he and his wife, Blanche, were living with W.D. Jones, Clyde, and Parker in a temporary hideout in Joplin, Missouri. According to some accounts, the Buck Barrows were there merely to visit and attempt to talk Clyde into giving himself up. As was common with Bonnie and Clyde, their next brush with the law arose from their generally suspicious behavior, not because their identities were discovered.
Not knowing what awaited them, local lawmen assembled only a two-car force to confront the suspected bootleggers living in the rented apartment over a garage. Though caught by surprise, Clyde, noted for remaining cool under fire, was gaining far more experience in gun battles than most lawmen. He and W.D. Jones quickly killed one lawman and fatally wounded another. The survivors later testified that their side had fired only fourteen rounds in the conflict.
Between 1932 and 1934, there were several incidents in which the Barrow Gang kidnapped lawmen or robbery victims, usually releasing them far from home, sometimes with money to help them get back. Stories of these encounters may have contributed to the mythic aura of Bonnie and Clyde; a couple both reviled and adored by the public. Notoriously, the Barrow Gang would not hesitate to shoot anybody, civilian or lawman, if they got in the way of their escape. Clyde was a probable shooter in approximately ten murders. Other members of the Barrow Gang known or thought to have committed murders are Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones, Buck Barrow, and Henry Methvin.
The Barrow Gang escaped the police at Joplin, but W.D. Jones was wounded, and they had left most of their possessions at the rented apartment, including a camera with an exposed roll of pictures. The film was developed by The Joplin Globe, and yielded many now famous photos. Afterward, Parker and Barrow used coats and hats to cover the license plates of their stolen vehicles when taking pictures.
Despite the glamorous image often associated with the Barrow Gang, they were desperate and discontented, as noted in the account of their life written by Blanche Barrow while jailed in Missouri, following the death of husband Buck from wounds suffered in a shoot-out.

Platte City

In June 1933, while driving with W.D. Jones and Parker, Clyde Barrow missed some construction signs, dropping the car into a ravine. It rolled, trapping Parker beneath the burning car and causing third degree burns to her left leg. After making their escape, Barrow insisted that Parker be allowed to convalesce. After meeting up with Blanche and Buck Barrow again, they stayed put until Buck bungled a local robbery with W.D. Jones and killed a city marshal. On July 18, 1933, the gang checked into the Red Crown Tourist Court south of Platte City, Missouri (now within the city limits of Kansas City, Missouri across I-29 from Kansas City International Airport). The courts consisted of two brick cabins joined by two single-car garages, where the gang rented two cabins. Several yards to the south stood the Red Crown Tavern, managed by Neal Houser, who became interested in the group when Blanche Barrow paid for dinners and beer with silver coins instead of dollars.
When Blanche Barrow went into town to purchase bandages, crackers, cheese, and atropine sulfate to treat Bonnie's leg, the druggist contacted Sheriff Holt Coffey, who put the cabins under watch. Coffey had been alerted by Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas to be on the lookout for strangers seeking such supplies. The sheriff contacted Captain Baxter of the highway patrol, who called for reinforcements from Kansas City including an armored car. At 11 p.m. that night, Sheriff Coffey led a group of officers armed with Thompson submachine guns toward the cabins. But in a pitched gunfight at considerable distances, the submachine guns proved no match for the Clyde Barrow's preferred Browning Automatic Rifles, recently stolen from an armory.
Although the gang escaped once again, Buck Barrow had been shot in the side of the head and Blanche Barrow was nearly blinded from glass fragments in her eye. Their prospects for holding out against the ensuing manhunt dwindled.
On July 24, 1933, the Barrow Gang was at Dexfield Park, an abandoned amusement park near Dexter, Iowa. After they were noticed by local citizens, it was determined that the campers were the Barrows gang. Surrounded by local lawmen and approximately one hundred spectators, the Barrows once again found themselves under fire. Clyde Barrow, Parker, and W.D. Jones escaped on foot. Buck was shot in the back and his wife hit again in the face and eyes with flying glass. Buck died five days later, at Kings Daughters Hospital in Iowa, of pneumonia after surgery.
Although Jones parted ways with the pair the next month, Barrow and Parker regrouped, and on November 22, 1933, again escaped an arrest attempt while meeting family members at an impromptu rendezvous near Sowers, Texas.

Final run

In January 1934, Clyde finally made his long-awaited move against the Texas Department of Corrections. In the infamous "Eastham Breakout" of 1934, Clyde's lifetime goal appeared to come true, as he masterminded the escape of Henry Methvin, Raymond Hamilton, and several others. The Texas Department of Corrections received national negative publicity over the jailbreak, and Clyde appeared to have achieved what Phillips describes as the burning passion in his life: revenge on the Texas Department of Corrections.
It was an expensive revenge, for all concerned, as the killing of a prison officer by another escapee, Joe Palmer, brought the full power of the Texas and federal governments to bear on the manhunt for Bonnie and Clyde, ultimately resulting in their deaths. As the officer, Major Joe Crowson, lay dying, Lee Simmons of the Texas Department of Corrections reportedly promised him that the persons involved in the breakout would be hunted down and killed. He kept his word, except for Henry Methvin, whose life was exchanged in return for betraying Bonnie and Clyde. The Texas Department of Corrections then contacted former Texas Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer, and convinced him to accept a commission to hunt down the Barrow Gang. Though retired, Hamer had retained his commission, which had not yet expired. He accepted the assignment immediately, as a Texas Highway Patrol officer seconded to the prison system as a special investigator, given the specific task of hunting down Bonnie and Clyde, and the Barrow Gang.
Clyde and Henry Methvin killed two young highway patrolmen in what is now Southlake, Texas, on April 1, 1934; an eyewitness account stated that Methvin fired the fatal shots. John Treherne exhaustively investigated this shooting, and confirmed that Methvin fired the first shot, after assuming Clyde wanted them killed (though Treherne found, and Methvin later admitted, Barrow did not intend to kill them, but had been preparing to capture them and take them on one of his famous rides, and that Bonnie approached the dying officers to try to help them). Having little choice once Methvin had begun a gun battle with law officers, Barrow then fired at the second officer. Methvin, however, is believed to have been the primary killer of both. (Ted Hinton's son states that Parker was actually asleep in the back seat when Methvin started the gun battle and took no part in it; it is notable that in accepting a pardon for these killings, Methvin admitted to both.) Methvin confessed in open court to being the sole killer in both killings. These particularly senseless killings shocked and outraged the public, which to this point had tended to romanticize the pair. Another policeman, Constable William Campbell, was killed five days later near Commerce, Oklahoma, which further soured public sentiment.
DeathBonnie and Clyde were killed on May 23, 1934, on a desolate road near their Bienville Parish, Louisiana hideout. They were shot by a posse of four Texas officers and two Louisiana officers (the latter added solely for jurisdictional reasons — see below). Questions about the way the ambush was conducted, and the failure to warn the duo of impending death, have been raised about the incident.

Texas officers
Frank Hamer

B.M. "Manny" Gault

Bob Alcorn

Ted Hinton

Louisiana officers
Henderson Jordan

Prentiss Oakley

The posse was led by Hamer, who had begun tracking the pair on February 10, 1934. Having never before seen Parker or Barrow, he immediately arranged a meeting with a representative of Methvin's parents in the hope of gaining a lead. Meanwhile, federal officials, who viewed the Eastham prison break in particular as a national embarrassment to the government, were providing all support that was asked for, such as weapons. Hamer obtained a quantity of civilian Browning Automatic Rifles (manufactured by Colt as the "Monitor") and 20 round magazines with armor piercing rounds.
Hamer studied the gang's movements and found they swung in a circle skirting the edges of five midwest states, exploiting the "state line" rule that prevented officers from one jurisdiction from pursuing a fugitive into another. Bonnie and Clyde were masters of that pre-FBI rule but consistent in their movements, allowing them to see their families and those of their gang members. It also allowed an experienced manhunter like Hamer to chart their path and predict where they would go. They were due next to see Henry Methvin's family, which explained Hamer's meeting with them within a month of beginning the hunt.
On May 21, 1934, the four posse members from Texas were in Shreveport, Louisiana when they learned that Barrow and Parker were to go there that evening with Methvin. Barrow had designated Methvin's parents' Bienville Parish house as a rendezvous in case they were later separated. Methvin was separated from the pair in Shreveport, and the full posse, consisting of Captain Hamer, Dallas County Sheriff's Deputies Bob Alcorn and Ted Hinton (who had met Clyde in the past), former Texas Ranger B.M. "Manny" Gault, Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan, and his deputy Prentiss Oakley, set up an ambush at the rendezvous point along Highway 154, between Gibsland and Sailes. They were in place by 9:00 p.m. and waited through the next day (May 22) but saw no sign of Bonnie and Clyde.

The car riddled with bullet holes after the ambush.

At approximately 9:00 a.m. on May 23, the posse, concealed in the bushes and almost ready to concede defeat, heard Clyde's stolen Ford V8 approaching. The posse's official report had Clyde stopping to speak with Henry Methvin's father, planted there with his truck that morning to distract Clyde and force him into the lane closest to the posse, the lawmen opened fire, killing Bonnie and Clyde while shooting a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. By 9:15, the couple was dead. The posse, under Hamer's direct orders, did not call out a warning, or order the duo to surrender. Barrow was killed instantly from Oakley's initial head shot. Parker did not die as easily. The posse reported her uttering a long, horrified scream as the bullets tore into the car. The officers emptied the specially-ordered automatic rifle, as well as rifles, shotguns and pistols at the car. According to statements made by Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn:
"Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns ... There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren't taking any chances."
The memorial at the ambush site in Gibsland, LouisianaSome sources say Bonnie and Clyde were shot more than 50 times, while other sources claim a total closer to 25 bullet wounds per corpse, or 50 total.
Following the ambush, officers inspected the vehicle and discovered a small arsenal of weapons including stolen automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, assorted handguns, and several thousand rounds of ammunition, along with fifteen different license plates from various states.
When later asked why he killed a woman who was not wanted for any capital offense, Hamer stated "I hate to bust the cap on a woman, especially when she was sitting down, however if it wouldn't have been her [sic], it would have been us."
Bonnie and Clyde wished to be buried side by side, but the Parker family would not allow it. Parker's mother had wanted to grant her daughter's final wish, which was to be brought home, but the mobs surrounding the Parker house made that impossible. Over 20,000 people turned out for Bonnie Parker's funeral, making it difficult for her family to reach the grave site. Clyde Barrow is buried in the Western Heights Cemetery, and Bonnie Parker in the Crown Hill Memorial Park, both in Dallas, Texas. The following words, from a poem of Parker's, are inscribed on her stone:
As the flowers are all made sweeter: by the sunshine and the dew,So this old world is made brighter: by the lives of folks like you.

Funeral and burial

The bullet-riddled Ford containing the two bodies was towed to the Conger Furniture Store & Funeral Parlor. The firm was located on Railroad Avenue in downtown Arcadia, Louisiana across from the Illinois Central train station (which is now a historical museum containing Bonnie and Clyde artifacts.) Preliminary embalming was done by C.F. "Boots" Bailey in the small preparation room in back of the furniture store. It was estimated that the northwest Louisiana town swelled in population from 2,000 to 12,000 within hours, the curious throngs arriving by train, horseback, buggy, and plane. Beer which normally sold for 15 cents a bottle jumped to 25 cents; ham sandwiches quickly sold out.
H.D. Darby, a young undertaker who worked for the McClure Funeral Parlor in nearby Ruston, Louisiana, and Sophie Stone, a home demonstration agent also from Ruston, came to Arcadia to identify the bodies. Both Darby and Stone had been kidnapped by the Barrow gang several weeks previously in Ruston and released near Waldo, Arkansas. Parker reportedly laughed when she asked Darby his profession and discovered he was an undertaker. She remarked that maybe someday he would be working on her. As it turned out, she could be no closer to the truth: Darby assisted Bailey in embalming the outlaws.
Parker's family used the now defunct McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home, then located on Forest Avenue in Dallas to conduct her funeral. Hubert "Buster" Parker accompanied his sister’s body back to Dallas in the McKamy-Campbell ambulance. Her services were held Saturday, May 26, at 2 p.m. in the funeral home, directed by Allen D. Campbell. His son, Dr. Allen Campbell, later remembered that flowers came from everywhere including some sent by Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger. Soloists at the funeral included the late Dudley M. Hughes Sr., who later became the prominent operator of four large Dallas funeral homes. Initially, Parker was buried in the Fishtrap Cemetery, but in 1945, was moved to the new Crown Hill Cemetery in Dallas. The next year, services for Raymond Hamilton, a member of the Barrow Gang, who was executed May 10, 1935 by the State of Texas, were also held at the McKamy-Campbell Funeral Home.
Barrow's family used the Sparkman-Holtz-Brand Morticians, located in the A.H. Belo mansion in downtown Dallas. After identifying his son's body, an emotional Henry Barrow sat in a rocking chair in the furniture part of the Conger establishment and wept. Thousands of people gathered outside both Dallas funerals homes hoping for a chance to view the bodies. Barrow’s private funeral was held at sunset on Friday, May 25, in the funeral home chapel. He was buried in Western Heights Cemetery in Dallas, next to his brother, Marvin. They share a single granite marker with their names on it and a four-word epitaph previously selected by Clyde: “Gone but not forgotten.”
The bullet-riddled Ford in which the pair was killed and the shirt Barrow wore the last day of his life, were, as of March 2008, on display at the Gold Ranch Casino in Verdi, Nevada.
The life insurance policies for both Bonnie and Clyde were paid in full by American National of Galveston. Since then, the policy of pay-outs has changed to exclude pay-outs in cases of deaths caused by any criminal act by the insured.

Controversy and aftermath

Controversy lingers over certain aspects of the ambush, and the way Hamer conducted it. Historians and writers, such as E.R. Milner, Phillips, Treherne have turned up no warrants against Bonnie for any violent crimes. FBI files contain only one warrant against her, for aiding Clyde in the interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle. Posse member Bob Alcorn, the Dallas County Deputy Sheriff who identified Barrow on the road and cleared the way for the others to fire, was quoted in his deposition to Dr. Wade, who chaired the Coroner's Jury in Arcadia, Louisiana, as claiming Parker had been indicted for murder. In addition to officially identifying the bodies of both Clyde and Bonnie, and stating that he knew them personally, the deposition claims that "he know[s] of his own knowledge that both were 2 [times] indicted on charge of murder Case #5046&7 Criminal District Court Dallas Tex. November-28-1933." While this appears to be offered as some sort of "proof" that Bonnie had been indicted for murder, she had not yet been so charged. The only claim that Bonnie ever fired a weapon during one of the gang's crimes came from Blanche Barrow, and is backed by an article from the Lucerne, Indiana newspaper on May 13, 1933.
In the years after, Prentiss Oakley was reported to have been troubled by his actions. He was the only posse member to publicly express regret for his actions. The posse, including Frank Hamer, took and kept for themselves stolen guns that were found in the death car. Personal items such as Bonnie's clothing and a saxophone were also taken, and when the Parker family asked for them back, they were refused. These items were later sold as souvenirs.
In a grisly aftermath, the men who were left to guard the bodies (Gault, Oakley, and Alcorn) allowed people to cut off bloody locks of Bonnie's hair and tear pieces from her dress, which were sold as souvenirs. Hinton returned to find a man trying to cut off Clyde's finger, and was sickened by what was occurring. The coroner, arriving on the scene, saw the following: "nearly everyone had begun collecting souvenirs such as shell casings, slivers of glass from the shattered car windows, and bloody pieces of clothing from the garments of Bonnie and Clyde. One eager man had opened his pocket knife, and was reaching into the car to cut off Clyde's left ear." The coroner enlisted Hamer for help controlling the "circus-like atmosphere," and only then did people move away from the car.
In 1979, Ted Hinton's account of the ambush was published. According to Hinton, the posse had tied Henry Methvin's father, Ivy, to a tree the night before the ambush, to keep him from possibly warning the duo off. Hamer made Ivy Methvin a deal: keep quiet about being tied up, and his son would be pardoned for the murder of the two young highway patrolmen, a pardon which Henry Methvin did receive.[38] Hamer allegedly made every member of the posse swear they would never divulge this secret. Hinton said:
"Ivy Methvin was traveling on that road in his old farm truck, when he was stopped by the lawmen, standing in the middle of the road. They took him into the woods and handcuffed him to a tree. They removed one of the old truck's wheels, so that it would appear to have broken down at that spot."
Blanche Barrow's injuries left her permanently blinded in her left eye. After the 1933 shoot-out that left her husband mortally wounded, she was taken into custody on the charge of "Assault With Intent to Kill." She was sentenced to ten years in prison but was paroled in 1939 for good behavior. She returned to Dallas, leaving her life of crime in the past, and lived with her invalid father as his caregiver. She married Eddie Frasure in 1940, worked as a taxi cab dispatcher, and completed the terms of her parole one year later. She lived in peace with her husband until he died of cancer in 1969. Warren Beatty approached her to purchase the rights to her name for use in the film Bonnie and Clyde. While she agreed to the original script, she objected to the final re-write that was used in production, describing Estelle Parsons' Academy Award-winning portrayal of her as "a screaming horse's ass." Despite this, she maintained a firm friendship with Beatty. She died from cancer at the age of 77 on December 24, 1988, and was buried in Dallas's Grove Hill Memorial Park under the name "Blanche B. Frasure".

Monday, March 9, 2009

"I am a friend to any brave and gallant outlaw."

Once arrested in Dallas and charged with Horse Theft, Belle Starr was one of the many notorious figures who passed through Big D's history. An excerpt from Women in History regarding Belle Starr.

...Allegedly, she took Pearl and Ed and went to Dallas, where she lived off the gold from the Grayson robbery. She wore buckskins and moccasins or tight black jackets, black velvet skirts, high-topped boots, a man's Stetson hat with an ostrich plume, and twin holstered pistols. She spent much her time in saloons, drinking and gambling at dice, cards, and roulette. At times she would ride her horse through the streets shooting off her pistols. This wild behavior was among what gave rise to her rather exaggerated image as a pistol-wielding outlaw.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Name of a Slave

Along a major freeway in Dallas lies the graves of former slaves who were almost forgotten. Workers widening the freeway 140 years after their burial came upon numerous graves and after some research regarding the location, the city found that the field was a 140 year old grave yard of former slaves, too poor to afford grave markers, the purpose of the field was forgotten until the construction project for the freeway.

The City of Dallas and state of Texas stopped the project and archeologists carefully relocated all the graves further into the old field. They city and state also built beautiful marble structures of statues and poems to the former Southern slaves.

The poem below is located next to one of many unmarked graves of a former slave.

We transient men of clay can well attest to
The inherent frailty of the human frame
And do likewise confess that most of our names
Are inevitably reduced to whispering ashes of fond
Scattering before the breath of the night wind
That blows out of the twilight of our day.

However, unlike the freedman, we can draw comfort
From our nostalgic prediction
To leave our moral names engraved in stone upon the
While he could only cling to the clarity of his
That his name has been inscribed in the mind of God.

Though anonymous here the past deeds of this
Seemingly lost life of sorrows
Still impact on our today and our tomorrows
For the complex fabric of our times is thickly
With the sturdy cotton threads he spun upon his
Wheel of life:
Yes, we’ve heard of this “motherless”-child of Africa
Whose matchless paeans still echo here and do persuade
Us even now
That we are, indeed standing in an active valley of
“Them dried bones”
With no need of rows upon rows of labeled stones
For it is certain that “on that great getting’up
Mornin’ “
This unidentified sleeping soul is going to stand up
And tell us his name!”

Ramona Newton

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Cherokee Pass Through Dallas

The soldiers were after them again. The Cherokees had been run and starved down the trail of tears to Oklahoma, then to East Texas and when Sam Houston could do no more for them they run back to Oklahoma to wait for the end of the world. For much of this history their leader was Chief Bowles. A late Summer Day. 100 degrees.

Chief Bowles and his people were on the move again. Up to Dallas they hid in woods where White Rock Lake would be. They got up before the sun and began to move up along White Rock Creek in the brush. Moving North up to just East of the end of the future Lover's Lane. They moved away from the water and down an animal trail there from before memory. They crossed another main artery where animals had moved North and South since anyone could remember. Where the Central Tracks were. Where Central Expressway is. Near here. There was a field nearby that Chief Bowles had been told about where Indian grass and Bluestem made a magic carpet. Whoever laid down on it would become invisible. And all around it grew Mesquite, Oak, Pecan, Cedar and Horse Apple trees, thickened vines and thorns of vines with long black thorns, wove the trees together, hid the field. You had to know about the tunnel that went straight down into the bedrock and could only be seen in the setting sun the day after the last full moon of Summer. Chief Bowles knew the way. He went to a spot beside a man-high stack of stones, where the tunnel entrance was. He crawled and the Cherokees followed. They came up in the secret field and were safe for a while in the white aroma of white Moonflowers they slept in neon red silence for a week.
Robert Trammell

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hells Half Acre

A notorious red light district known as hell's half acre developed in Ft Worth after the arrival of the Texas Pacific railway in 1876 launched a local economic boom. Ft Worth was soon the favorite destination for hundreds of cowboys, buffalo hunters, railroad workers and freighters eager to wash off the trail dust and enjoy themselves. To meet the demand a large number of saloons, dance halls, gambling houses, and bordellos opened between the courthouse square and the railroad depot.

Illegal activities in hell's half acre were tolerated by city officials because of their importance to the town's economy. The district prospered in the 1880s and added to Fort Worth's growing reputation as a rowdy frontier town. Famous gamblers like Luke Short, Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp and outlaws Sam Bass, Eugene Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are known to have spent time in hell's half acre.
A 1906 newspaper headline calling the district Ft Worth's den of sin and refuge of criminals was representative of periodic efforts to clean up the district. These efforts proved unsuccessful until army officials at Camp Bowie, established in Ft Worth during World War I, helped local officials shut the district down. Texas Historical Commission

This is the first of several installments of local history. The next installment will be regarding the Cherokees on the run through Dallas during the "Trail of Tears" event. Even though there were many savage tribes in Texas, the Cherokee should have been given leniency in Texas, but the Texas Governor at that time had seen much devastation by other indians against settlers and declared war on all indians.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Friends of Sarah and Amina Put Together a Tribute

Amina and Sarah


"Who You'd Be Today" by Kenny Chesney

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
I still can't believe you're gone

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today

Would you see the world, would you chase your dreams
Settle down with a family
I wonder what would you name your babies
Some days the sky's so blue
I feel like I can talk to you
I know it might sound crazy

It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
But death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today

Today, today, today
Today, today, today

Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know I'll see you again someday

Someday, someday


In the mean time, I am trying to expand my contacts in Egypt to get eyes on the ground there for the apprehension of Yasser Said.

“There is no back door to the Alamo. That’s why they were all heroes.”

Alamo Backdoor
by Mike Cox

Three Alamo expressions are almost universally known: “A line in the sand,” “Remember the Alamo,” and “The Alamo had no back door.”

The world will never know whether Col. William B. Travis used his saber to draw a line on the ground and invited all who chose to fight to the death to cross it. But the expression endures as resolutely as our memory of the siege that ended on the morning of March 6, 1836.

The second leg of the triad, “Remember the Alamo,” is well-documented as the last three words hundreds of Mexican soldiers heard before they died at the hands of Sam Houston’s vengeful army during the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.

But who first noted that the old Spanish mission in San Antonio had no back door? And what if the Alamo did have a back door, or at least a secret escape route?

On Sept. 15, 1894, the Eagle Pass Guide reprinted a story from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, “The Alamo’s Secret Passage.”

The piece began:
“There has been a tradition among the Mexicans of this city [San Antonio], since the early part of the present century, that the old Alamo and Conception Missions are connected…by means of an underground passage, and a discovery has just been made …which leads to the belief that the tradition is well founded.”

A few days earlier, the story went, workmen digging a well on the farm of one Walter Scott, just south of town, struck a layer of rock.

“After penetrating this barrier they came upon a passage which is about 8 feet in height and 5 feet wide,” the story continued. “The sides are walled with rock slabs, and the bottom seems to be laid with a material resembling cement. The passage runs in a north and south direction, and at the time the discovery was made it was half filled with water, it being just after heavy rains…. The top of the passage is about 12 feet from the surface. It is in direct line between the two missions, and Mr. Scott is thoroughly convinced that he has at last discovered the long-lost passage, and that upon further exploration he will bring some wonderful things to light.”

The story said a brief exploration of the passage had been made, but no one had gone very far because of the water. The unidentified author of the article said secret passages were common in the missions of Mexico and the Southwest and that they were “constantly [being] discovered and explored, even at this late day, and in some of them immense amounts of treasure have been brought to light.”

While that’s possible, the notion of secret tunnels is a definite folk tale sub-category, often connected with the broader treasure story genre. The idea behind the tunnels, of course, is that they were used as escape routes in the event of Indian attack.

The story went on:
“When the Franciscan Fathers came to the new world they found many enemies …with which to contend in their work of advancing [religion] and civilization. They built these missions and fortified them so that in case of attack from the savages or other …enemies they could make resistance. [It]…is a well-known fact that in many places in Mexico they were successfully used in turbulent times, and when the attacking party would enter the religious edifice it would be found deserted.”

The passages were both well-built and well-disguised, the story noted.

“Another thing that lends color to the theory that the Alamo and Conception Missions are connected…,” the story said, “is that in the north wing of the Alamo in one of the cell-like rooms that was formerly occupied by the severe and sober-appearing monks, there is a spot about five feet square in the cement floor which within the past few years has sunk several inches, and when one walks upon the spot there is a hollow sound.…”

Should the existence of a passage running three miles from the Alamo to Mission Conception be proven, the story said, “the discovery will also reveal that the Texas martyrs who lost their lives in the Alamo, had they known of the existence of this outlet, [could] have saved their lives by escaping through it.”

None of the basic Alamo histories mention anything about a tunnel ever having been found, though scholars do believe some of the Alamo defenders tried to escape once they realized they had no hope of survival inside the mission. The underground rock-lined structure found in 1894, assuming the story wasn’t made up, might have been a remnant of the Spanish irrigation system that connected to the San Antonio River.

As for the “back door” line, it is variously attributed to the late Maury Maverick Jr. or some unnamed member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Supposedly, when President John K. Kennedy visited the Alamo in 1960, he asked following his appearance to be escorted out the back door of the old mission.

“There is no back door to the Alamo,” Kennedy learned. “That’s why they were all heroes.”

However, I do have to disagree to some extent. The men who fought and died at the Alamo had a chance to leave. But they choose to stay and fight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Renewed Search for Yasser - 2009

(pictures hat tip "Habits Not Peculiar" blog by Steady John and AtlasShrugs)

I just want to let the world know that since we did not catch Yasser in 2008, that only made us more determined to track this animal down in 2009.

Got that Yasser?

For the rest of you out there, as they say down here in Texas, "Let's git it done!". When it comes to this vermin, my six guns are strapped on I am ready to rumble!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bush Returns to Dallas

I don't beleave that the house George and Laura are moving in to at Preston Hollow is a two story like this one, and to get there you will have to jump the new gate the city is installing on the street into the neighborhood and then get past the secret service agents and their German Shepards, just to deliver the pizza and tacos (at least until we can get him back on a TexMex diet again).

In a few days, George and Laura Bush will be back in Dallas after 8 years in Washington. They will be out at their Prairie Chapel ranch on weekends. The following is a great summary of Preston Hollow in Dallas where they will live...

Prominent residents of Old Preston Hollow include Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and its President Terdema Ussery, former Dallas Cowboys Roger Staubach and Chuck Howley, Stream Energy Chairman Rob Snyder, billionaire investors Harold Simmons and T. Boone Pickens, sports team owner (Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers and Liverpool F.C.) Tom Hicks, software developer Larry Lacerte, noted trial attorney and Democratic party fundraiser Fred Baron and ex-Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and her husband Steve Wolens (retired Texas legislator).

Former noted residents of Old Preston Hollow include the late Robert Dedman Jr., former American Airlines chairman Bob Crandall, and the late cosmetics magnate Mary Kay Ash.

Presidential candidate billionaire Ross Perot, Dallas Cowboys football coach Wade Phillips, and Dallas Stars Mike Modano also live in the greater Preston Hollow area.

On December 4, 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush, a former resident of Preston Hollow, announced that he would be moving into the area upon leaving office the following month.[1]

Homes in Preston Hollow are among the most expensive in the state and have continued to increase in value in recent years. Currently houses range from $800,000 tear downs up to $40,000,000 estates.

A house in Preston HollowThe most expensive estate in the greater Preston Hollow area, a US$45 million mansion, caught fire while still under construction. The original owner combined several lots to produce what would have been the biggest house in Dallas. The owner eventually abandoned the project.

The most expensive home currently available in the Preston Hollow area is the Park Lane estate owned by software company founder Larry Lacerte, which is priced at $40 million.