7 Things You Didn’t Know About The Real Bonnie and Clyde

By the time the sun was fully up on May 23, 1934, two bodies riddled with bullets lay along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana. It was the bodies of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Champion Barrow who in two years, wrote their names among the most notorious criminals in the history of the United States by perpetrating some very discturbing crimes. Although sometimes their story is lost in that of true love while some parts have been diluted, here are things you don’t know about the real Bonnie and Clyde.

Facts About The Real Bonnie and Clyde

1. How They Met

The idea that many may get is that the criminal duo had always been together. Contrary to that, the first time they met was in 1930. At the time, Bonnie was 19 while Clyde was 21. At the young age of 15, Bonnie had gotten married to her high school classmate, Roy Thornton. Unfortunately, this was not a union to last a very long time as only a few months later, the marriage came to an end and later in 1929, Roy was sentenced to prison for robbery.

Even though she would later have a relationship with Clyde to the disapproval of her mother, she did not divorce her husband. In fact, she died still wearing their wedding band.

2. Clyde Dreamt of Joining the U.S. Navy

When he was a teenager, all that Clyde Barrow wanted was to join the U.S. Navy. His love for this led him to have a tattoo on his left arm with the abbreviation, USN. Unfortunately, after making attempts to enlist, he was rejected on medical grounds due to the lingering effects of an illness he had when he was a child. While it is not clear what the health condition was, the speculation was that it was either yellow fever or malaria.

3. The Real Bonnie and Clyde Gang

It is the names of these two that always pops up when talks begin about their crime. However, at a point, theirs was a group of five including the brother of Clyde, Ivan M. “Buck” Barrow, his wife Blanche and Raymond Hamilton. There was also William Daniel Jones who replaced Raymond Hamilton in 1932. The group grew and shrank at different times.

4. Clyde Mutilated Himself

In 1932, Clyde was arrested and handed a sentence of 14 years for robbery and automobile theft. While he was in jail, he was made to endure long hours of terrible work under harsh conditions and because of this, he mutilated himself by chopping off his big toe. He would soon realize that this was needless as only a few days later, he was set free on parole.

5. The Nature of their Crimes

Real Bonnie And Clyde
A portrayal of Bonnie and Clyde (Image Source)

The story of the real Bonnie and Clyde differs slightly from what many have come to believe. Their lives as criminals were mostly told around bank robberies and murders. However, they were also involved in some petty crimes including robbing gas stations and from these, there were times that they made less than $20 from such robberies. Another aspect of their crime was that they did not waste any time in killing those that stood in their way. By the time they faced a similar fate, they had already killed 13 people including two police officers.

6. Souvenir Hunters Came for Their Bodies

In 1934 after the death of the real Bonnie and Clyde was confirmed, souvenir hunters made attempts to get some body parts as proof. As revealed by Jeff Guinn in his book Go Down Together, lawmen had to intervene to prevent some of these hunters from cutting off some parts of their bodies.

As reported, a man tried to cut the ear of Clyde with a pocket knife while another tried to sever his finger. Interestingly, a man was said to have made away with clip locks from the hair of Bonnie as well as swathes of her dress which was soaked in her blood.

7. They Wanted to Be Buried Together

In a poem written by Bonnie, she stated that they would be buried side by side. Although this was believed to be what the lovers wanted, the wish did not come to pass as they were buried in different places in Texas. This was because Bonnie’s mother never approved of her relationship with Clyde.


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