Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde)

Happy birthday, Bonnie Parker! Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, the infamous gangster girlfriend of Clyde Barrow, would have been 101 today. Born in Rowena, Texas on October 1, 1901, Bonnie Parker was the daughter of Charles Parker, a bricklayer. When her father died in 1914, her mother, Emma Parker, moved the family to Dallas. At sweet sixteen, Bonnie married her husband, Roy Thornton, who was jailed for five years. They never divorced.

She met the true love of her life, Clyde Barrow, in January of 1930. The infamous crime couple traveled through Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Missouri, robbing banks, grocery stores, and filling stations on a bloody and deadly crime spree.

On Easter Sunday in 1934, two highway patrolmen near Grapevine, Texas were unlucky enough to check Bonnie and Clyde's car parked on the side of the road. Bonnie and Clyde opened fire, killing the law enforcement officers, leading up to the ambush on May 23, 1934 near their latest hideout in Black Lake, Louisiana. The couple died together in a bloody battle of bullets and were buried in their family burial plots in separate cemeteries in Dallas, Texas, destined to spend eternity apart -- a tragic ending to their steamy, fast-paced romance.

I visited Bonnie Parker's grave last weekend at Crown Hill Memorial Park. Someone had recently visited and left these silk flowers for her, though her grave isn't easily found. My husband, stepson, and I wandered for nearly forty minutes before we accidentally stumbled on a cemetery worker who directed us to her family's plot. I expected something a little bit more dramatic for such a fierce woman, not this flowery quote. However, her mother, Emma Parker, loved her very much.

Emma Parker is buried to the left of her daughter. They are the only two Parkers in the tiny family plot, which rests near some shady trees in front of a rambling hedge.

If you're going to visit, her grave is located through the gates on the right side, in the first section.

The grounds aren't very scenic. There isn't a lot of lush landscaping and trees are scarce. Most of the markers are plaques set in the ground. There are older graves, but not many of interest. I did find this one from The Spanish American War.

The mausoleum is the largest building on the property, located at the front, across the lawn from the Parker burial plot.

Noah took a grave rubbing for his bedroom and we headed off to visit Clyde's family plot at Western Heights Cemetery, located in the present day barrio, but that is a post for another day, my readers.

If you're interested in learning more about history's most popular couple, you can check out these links.

 Warning: Some of the following links may contain graphic images:
The amateur video capturing the actual death scene

Photos of Bonnie and Clyde's corpses, their bullet riddled car, items collected from their getaway car, including Bonnie's bloody glasses, their hideout, articles/photos chronicling their violent crimes, Bonnie's original poems, pictures of their tattoos, and more.

The FBI files for Bonnie and Clyde.

Photos of Bonnie and Clyde, including actor portrayals.

More history of Bonnie and Clyde.

Pictures of dead Bonnie and Clyde, the infamous ambush, Bonnie's bloody glasses, other artifacts, their hideout, their tattoos, newspaper crime spree details, Bonnie's original poems, their weapons, and more.

Bonnie and Clyde's family trees and more.

The Broadway Musical.

Tour the historic Joplin hideout once open to guests and now privately leased.

The Annual Bonnie and Clyde Festival takes place in Gibsland, Louisiana near the anniversary of their death.

Rare Bonnie and Clyde police files from the Dallas archives, including arrest photos, fingerprints, and more.

Take a historic tour of Bonnie and Clyde's haunts in Texas.

The Bonnie and Clyde Cocktail has arrived!

The Bonnie and Clyde board game. Yes, there really is such a game!

Historic artifacts to view at Primm Valley Resort and Casino.

Reports, letters, funeral photos, crime scene photos, and more.

The autopsies. This video has been moved to a different link that will connect you.

The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, Louisiana.

Buy Bonnie and Clyde media from


Erin O'Riordan said...

I can't believe there's an actual Bonnie and Clyde Festival. You'd think the town officials would be a bit leery of celebrating a pair of criminals.

I am curious about the cocktail, though.

Nora B. Peevy said...

I would love to see the festival. LOL My husband has a friend whose family owned a plantation house about a 1/2 mile from where they were shot. Really, it's not any more odd or disturbing than people reenacting The Civil War or playing Dungeons and Dragons. Both have violence too and criminals. LOL I think it's just the fact that they have a hero worship following. In fact, I have a pick of Clyde's grave and that cemetery to blog about and someone left a 12gauge shell on his grave. It was eerie and disturbing. I found myself asking: Who are you and why did you do this?

shah wharton said...

Fascinating post Nora. I loved the many movie versions of their tragic story. And its wrong but I always feel sad they had to die. Its awful they couldn't be buried together. But perhaps they were only ever meant to to be fleetingly paired - something that hot burns out in the end.

Some amazing links - I can't believe you can get into FBI files?

Thanks for linking up Nora. Shah. X

Erin O'Riordan said...

I also found it a little sad that they weren't buried together.

That cocktail was awesome, by the way.

Nora B. Peevy said...

I have passed along the cocktail critique to my husband. I am intrigued. I don't think I've ever tried whiskey. I'm a rum and tequila girl, sometimes vodka, but I might be up for trying it. Though I don't really drink much, only a few drinks a year. I'm a total lightweight. LOL

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I love cemeteries. This is the second cemeterie post I have seen in this Flashback Friday series today! If it wasn't October, I would say it is altogether too creepy...

Anonymous said...

How cool that you went to Bonnie's grave site.

Nora B. Peevy said...

Chelle, I expected her grave to be historically marked, oddly it wasn't. Neither was Clyde's in the cemetery he is buried in. I will be posting about Clyde's in the future.

Julia, I am a cemetery nut. There will be more posts throughout the year. LOL

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