Bonnie and Clyde visit Bear Point
By Ann Middleton
On May 23, 1934 Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were ambushed by law officers and killed in Gibsland, Louisiana in Bienville Parish. From 1931-1934 the couple had led a life of crime committing robberies and murders in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota and Louisiana.
In one of the fascinating oral histories at the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center, Mathilde Gatlin McLelland recalled that Bonnie and Clyde had visited Bear Point, her childhood plantation home in Bossier Parish a few days before they were killed:
"Almost every plantation has something special to tell about happenings there. These things are sworn to be true, and I always really thought this to be true. Frank Monroe, one of our most trusted workers, lived over by the railroad track down in a large field. [His] was the only family in that area. A little road led to the very end of the place that, where the old bears used to walk. So he…but something happened funny that night that scared that man to death. He said that overnight a strange car came up way over in the field and he said they closed all the shutters on their door and wouldn't even open it 'cause they looked out and they saw a man and a woman, and they had guns everywhere. And they had this open car kind of thing, but guns everywhere. And they were out working on the guns and Frank, he was so scared that the next morning when he came down, he could hardly speak. His voice was trembling so, and he gave this description of this great big old car and so Daddy said, and he said. So two or three days [later] we saw the horrible picture in the Times where these two people were shot to death in Gibsland, Louisiana and the people that had been looking…Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker [and] the girl that accompanied [him]. And a sign is made of stone there today where they were killed. So the old Bear Point had this uninvited guest that turned around and made a little bit of bad history there. The fact that this interesting little road that the bears crossed and that the cotton gin was on and the criminals came and that is interlocked now with Dam Number 5. It runs right into Dam Number 5."
Other items in the Historical Center archives about Bonnie and Clyde are a video recording of interviews with people who were involved with the couple, and a stage production play and historic tour titled Union, Justice and Bonnie & Clyde - A Louisiana Legacy!.
The oral history interview collection at the Historical Center reveals interesting and often unusual interpretations of Bossier Parish life by the people who lived it. Visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center to listen to or read transcripts of approximately 125 oral history interviews.