While growing up at Wellington, Texas, my good friend Don Green heard stories about the 1930s bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde, operating around his hometown in the Eastern Panhandle.
Some 82 years ago this month, Wellington became the scene of one of Bonnie and Clyde’s most notorious escapades. They were members of the Barrow Gang, a criminal organization that robbed and murdered throughout the Central U.S. On Saturday evening, June 10, 1933, the Barrow Gang was headed northward in a car from Wellington at a speedy clip, unaware that the bridge ahead over the Salt Fork of the Red had just recently washed out.
As Don tells it, the car came along and it must have been going pretty fast. It went around the barricades and right into the river. The car was wrecked beyond use.
Steve Prichard, a farmer whose family lived on an overlooking hilltop went to help the victims when he heard the crash. He found the two men unhurt – but the press stated, “they produced two submachine guns and forced him to take the badly injured woman to her house.”
They took over the house, but a hired hand escaped and contacted law officers. Sheriff George Corry and City Marshall Paul Hardy drove to the Prichard farm, but they became captives of the two men. They placed both the officers and the injured Bonnie Parker in the car and drove away. Near Erick, Oklahoma, they met a third accomplice and forced the two officers out of the car, then tied them to trees with barbed wire.
The Barrow Gang proceeded on, unimpeded.