(Orange, Texas)

March 4, 2013

The other side of Bonnie and Clyde

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

WEST ORANGE — Roy McDaniel Jr., 88, of West Orange is a man as unique as the history he recalls.

The FBI website tells the story of how the bureau became involved in the search of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The case is explained in a few short paragraphs and includes the murders, stolen vehicles, kidnapping and bank robberies the couple were accused of leading to the death of the couple.

McDaniel, however, recalls a time for the couple before the infamous crime spree began.

McDaniel’s cousin, Jim Brister of Shreveport, Louisiana, stopped by a café in the early part of 1930 for a cup of coffee..

A man approached Brister to ask if he knew a place that he and his wife could stay the night.

Bristor told the man the couple could stay with him and his wife.

The man always appeared to have money and would pay for the groceries.

Bristor built a porch swing in 1922. It is on that porch swing that the couple Bristor met would enjoy the evenings.

The time came for Bristor to ask the couple to leave after several weeks due to family coming to stay.

The man told Bristor he would rent an apartment in town.

The couple left a picture on the dresser labeled Bonnie and Clyde. The picture is the same pose that was later used in the papers announcing the death of the couple. That is when they discovered the true identity of the couple.

Bristor and his wife, Millie, told McDaniel that the couple were always nice to them and never gave them any trouble.

Millie did say there was one time Bonnie was upset that Clyde was using a fork to eat his oatmeal and she wanted him to use a spoon.

Millie said they had a cuss fight and she thought they were going to kill each other.

That is the only trouble the Bristors ever claimed to have had with the couple.

Bonnie and Clyde met in Texas in January, 1930 according to the FBI website. Bonnie was 19 at the tome and married to an imprisoned murderer; Clyde was 21 and unmarried. Soon after, he was arrested for a burglary and sent to jail. He escaped, using a gun Bonnie had smuggled to him, was recaptured and was sent back to prison.

A posse composed of police officers from Louisiana and Texas, including Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, concealed themselves in bushes along the highway near Sailes, Louisiana on May 23, 1934. In the early daylight, Bonnie and Clyde appeared in an automobile and when they attempted to drive away, the officers opened fire. Bonnie and Clyde were killed instantly.

McDaniels has often wondered why Bonnie and Clyde gave his cousin their real names after they left.