Volume 9 , Number 4 , Summer 1986
In 1935 the bank at Diamond, Missouri was robbed by the notorious outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde. Their escape car, a 1934 Ford V-B, was driven by Raymond Hamilton, a member of their gang, who was described as a mean man."
Between Galena and Reeds Spring, Sheriff Tuttle and some other lawmen were at a crossroad to try to intercept them. One of the men told later that he made the mistake of raising his head above the car to look, and Bonnie, who was riding in the front seat, sprayed the car with machine gun fire as they sped past. A hostage was taken in Reeds Spring to guide them on the back roads so they could avoid going through Baxter and Blue Eye. Near Baxter, Bill Garrison had just finished crossing the road with a load of poles, and was stopping to close a gate when the car containing the outlaws came roaring over the bill. A few seconds earlier and there would have been no way of avoiding a collision with possibly disastrous results, considering the speed the outlaws were traveling. Near Indian Creek, Bessie Smith Garrison and her sister, Mary Jackson were walking along the road on their way to the store at Baxter. They saw a cloud of dust approaching them. Bessies comment was "Mary, thats bound to be outlaws traveling that fast." The car slid to a stop beside them. Bonnie was in the front seat with the driver and the hostage was in the back
seat with Clyde Barrow. They asked Bessie if she knew what roads to take to avoid going through Blue Eye. Bessie pretended to not be familiar with the roads around Blue Eye. They sped off, and upon later learning their identity, Bessie always believed that if they had thought she had any knowledge of the roads, she might have been another hostage.
Another sidelight learned later was that the Garrison and Jackson children, who had been left with Grandma Mary Garrison, had just crossed the road to their Grandmas house when the car came roaring past. Another close call!
On down the road, the outlaws passed Mart Bilyeus store. As they neared the store, the car slowed, and Bonnie held her door open and trained her machine gun on people at the store as they passed.
Their hostage was released unharmed near the Missouri-Arkansas border. In Arkansas a second hostage was taken and then was also released as they neared Oklahoma where they would hide out. The second hostage was given ten dollars upon his release. At one time, Bonnie and Clyde also had a cabin on James River. Legend has it that the cabin was robbed by persons not knowing who the cabin belonged to. Local people believed the robber would,not have survived if he had been caught by the owners of the cabin!
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
Next Article | Table of Contents | Other Issues
Local History Home