Henry Methvin

Henry Methvin was the last member of the Barrow/Parker gang from January 16, 1934 to May 23, 1934. Henry shared in their many robberies and killings. It was in Methvin's neck of the woods that the trap for Bonnie and Clyde was set.

Henry Methvin

A select group of heavily armed peace officers, put an end to the lives of America's most feared outlaw couple, on a lonely stretch of road leading to the hideout. This is not the end of the story, but only the beginning...

The so called "Methvin farm" was a house owned by the Cole family located near Sailes, Louisiana. Henry's parents, Ivy and Avie had only been at this location for two weeks before the ambush. It isn't known for sure if they were renting the Cole house, staying there while Ivy cleared some timber off some adjoining land, or just camping out in the unused house.

ambush map

The lawmen expected Bonnie and Clyde to show up there in search of Henry. They selected a spot in the brush just off of the road leading up to it, located about 4 miles north of the hideout and about 8 miles south of Gibsland. The posse was able to see any approaching cars from their vantage point, yet remain hidden from view.

Ted Hinton

Ted Hinton was Dallas county deputy and the last surviving member of the 6 lawmen that brought down Bonnie and Clyde. In his autobiography, Ambush he states that Ivy Methvin was traveling on that road in his old farm truck, when he was stopped by the lawmen, standing in the middle of the road. They took him into the woods and handcuffed him to a tree. They removed one of the old truck's wheels, so that it would appear to have broken down at that spot.


Bonnie and Clyde accompianed Henry on a few trips back to where Henry had grown up in Louisiana; near Ashland. Barrow and Parker trusted the Methvins enough to spend the night on at least one occasion. It is now known that Henry expressed a desire to be rid of Bonnie and Clyde. Barrow and Parker threatened him and his family. Ivy also felt the desire to be out from under the treat of being shot by Clyde Barrow. Ivy said as much to a family friend, John Joyner. Joyner is said to have told Ivy that he could make that happen.

A deal was set up between retired Texas Ranger Frank Hamer and the Methvins with John Joyner as the go between. I believe the laws originally wanted to plan a raid when Bonnie and Clyde next came to visit. The Methvins balked at this; fearing the whole family would be killed in a raid along with Bonnie and Clyde.

The switch in plans from a raid to a roadside ambush seems last minute. I don't think Ivy or Henry knew of the exact plans. The laws may have feared that if Ivy or Henry knew the details; they might warn off Clyde either either on purpose or just by their nervousness. Henry and ivy knew something was coming - but not when or where.


Ivy Methvin was either a willing participant in the ambush or kidnapped by law and forced to participate. Willing participant or not, Ivy's truck was used as bait for Bonnie and Clyde. Ivy was either in the road or handcuffed to a tree behind the posse when the ambush occured.

The posse took their positions in the thick underbrush on the east side of the road. They spent most of the night in the woods. By dawn they were dirty, tired and tormented by the insects. There was still no sight of the outlaws. They were just about ready to head back to their motel for a hot meal and a bath. They decided to wait another thirty minutes.

Just after 9am, a vehicle could be heard in the distance traveling at a high rate of speed. The lawmen then checked their weapons and readied their positions. As the Ford V8 came into view, it's occupants were now clearly visible. Bob Alcorn turned to the others and said, - "This is it, it's Clyde"!

The car slowed down when Bonnie and Clyde saw the familiar truck staged on the side of the road. It was now about twenty feet away from the lawmen. The posse opened fire. Barrow and Parker never got to fire a shot.

The first shots killed Clyde and his foot slipped off the clutch. The car rolled forward and into the ditch on the east side of the road. 167 rounds were fired into the car. Bonnie and Clyde each had over 50 direct hits

Items found in the death car included a blood stained map of Louisiana, Clyde's sunglasses, Bonnie's cosmetics, a detective magazine and partially eaten sandwiches from Ma Canfield's Cafe in Gibsland. Clyde had over five hundred dollars in his wallet. There was a large arsenal of weapons, license plates from various states, camping equipment in the trunk, and Clyde's saxaphone.

ambush spot
reinactment 2000
re-inactment of ambush
death car contents
death car and crowd; Arcadia, Louisiana

The car was towed to Arcadia with the bodies of Bonnie & Clyde still inside. Crowds poured into the small town from miles around when the news spread that the outlaw duo had been killed.

Bonnie and Clyde lived by the gun and died by the gun. They were famous and well known at the time of thier death. The violent manner in which they died made sure fame became legend.


John Joyner

John Joyner served as the go-between in the attempt by officers to set up Bonnie and Clyde for the kill by using the Methvins as bait. He was reportedly paid $800 or $1,000 to make the deal happen.

Henry Methvin received a pardon from the State of Texas. Oklahoma wasn't as forgiving and tried Henry for the killing of Constable Cal Campbell. Henry received the death sentence. A later appeal in 1936 had his sentence reduced to life in prison. Methvin served 8 years of that sentence before being granted a parole.

Cal Campbell

After his parole Henry spent the rest of his life in the area surrounding Coushatta and Bossier City, Louisiana. Henry operated a small cafe near Minden called The White Owl Cafe; among other various jobs. He took to arming himself in the belief that he was a target of revenge for the deaths of Barrow and Parker.

Ivy Methvin was offered a "deal" that spared Henry's life in return for co-operation in putting Bonnie & Clyde on the spot. Henry's mother, Avie may have been the main instigator of the 'deal'.

Henry probally did not know the details of the ambush. He knew his family had made a deal in order to spare his life. He knew part of that deal was to separate from Bonnie and Clyde. Henry wasn't with them on that morning in May. The ambush plans depended on Bonnie and Clyde going to the Cole house hideout to look for Henry.


On December 21, 1946 Ivy was struck by a hit and run driver on Highway #71 near Elm Grove, Louisiana. He spent the next seven days in the Shreveport Charity Hospital and died on December 28, 1946 at 6:15am.

Ivy Methvin was on a bus from Shreveport after visiting Henry who was in the hospital. For some unknown reason he got off at an earlier stop and was later found seriously injured by the road side. One popular theory is that he was beaten to death because of his involvement with Bonnie and Clyde. It could be he was the victim of a hit and run driver, like the local newspapers and death certificate stated. It is much more dramatic to say he killed by the remnants of the Barrow gang in retribution.

Henry was killed a little over sixteen months later on April 19, 1948, in Sulpher, Louisiana. The official accounts state he crawled under the passenger train to get to the depot on the opposite side of the tracks. The train started to move before he got out from under it. Henry was crushed to death.

The mysterious way both Henry and Ivy died begs the question, "Were Ivy and Henry killed because they ratted out Bonnie and Clyde?"

Other questions: How did the Barrow Gang remnants pull off two murders? Why wasn't Henry killed during the 8 years he was in an Oklahoma prison? Why did they wait so long? Why didn't they go after John Joyner or other 'rats'? Who was left to carry out this retribution?

The details may never be known. Most folks interested in this story assume that the remnants of The Barrow Gang must have had something to do with thier deaths. Henry and Ivy may have died by accidents; but many give the Barrow Gang credit for the deaths.

Both Clyde and Buck Barrow were long gone by the time Henry and Ivy died of course. Most of the other members of the Barrow gang were gone or accounted for. It leaves a short list of people that could have commited these two perfect murders.

Sulpher, Louisianha
Henry Methvin
Henry Methvin

A part of me thinks it is possible that what was left of the "Barrow Gang' did have some hand in both of the deaths - Another part of me thinks it was two sad accidents. I have no details; and none seem to be forthcoming at this time.



the 1935 "HARBORING" trial

In 1935, everyone who helped, hid, or conspired with Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, while they were fugitives from justice, were tried and sentenced in a court of law, including their parents...

Henry and Ivy Methvin
spot where the possee laid in wait; may 1934
spot where the possee laid in wait; may 1934
ambush site; 1934
ambush site, looking south; 1934
ambush site possee posistion
aerial photograph; may 1934
ambush site
looking north; 1934
ambush site; 1934
ambush site; 1934
ambush site; 1934
ambush site; 1934 - possible car and truck positions
ambush site; 1934
ambush site looking south; 1934
ambush site looking south; 1934
crowd at ambush site; May 23, 1934
possible road to the hideout; 1934
possee view; May 1934
ambush site; may 2006
night at ambush site; may 23, 2007
Clyde in deathcar; may 23, 1934
still image from Ted Hinton's 8mm film; 1934
still image from Ted Hinton's 8mm film; 1934
items found in the Deathcar; May 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
car at arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
car at arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
death car, louisiana - may 23, 1934
death car, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
frank hamer; arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - may 23, 1934
items from the death car, louisiana - may 23, 1934
Alcorn & Hinton, louisiana - may 23, 1934
louisiana - may 23, 1934
car at ambush spot - may 23, 1934
death car in tow; arcadia, louisiana may 23, 1934
death car in tow; arcadia, louisiana, 1934
arcadia, louisiana - august 2, 1934
original owner of the death car; Ruth Warren - 1934
ambush marker
ambush marker; may 2006
ambush marker; sept. 2006
ambush marker; sept. 2006
looking south towards ambush spot; sept. 2006
new ambush marker; june 9, 1972
Bonnie Parker's grave marker recovered; may 24 1968
Bonnie's sister Billie Jean at grave; may 24 1968
stolen Barrow tombstone; may 1978


newspaper articles
Oil Worker Cut Badly in Throat ~ September 20, 1930
Methvin Gets Twelve Years ~ October 18, 1930
Youth Sentenced For Knife Attack ~ October 18, 1930
5 Convicts Freed By Clyde Barrow ~ January 16, 1934
Pistols Hidden In Brush Seized By Prisoners
While Dallas Bandit Wields Machine Gun ~ January 17, 1934
Slay Outlaw and Gun Girl From Ambush ~ May 23, 1934
Methvin and Palmer Remaining Bad Men With Barrow Erased ~ May 24, 1934
Father of Alleged Member of Barrow Gang Fears For Life ~ May 25, 1934
Rumor Barrow Buried Money in Louisiana ~ June 1 , 1934
Fear Methvin May Be Slain ~ July 14, 1934
Iverson Methvin Is Not Ivolved in Barrow Affair~ 1934
Methvin Is Pardoned For Helping Officers Capture Clyde Barrow ~ August 14, 1934
Barrow Informer Pardoned by 'Ma' ~ August 14, 1934
Pardon Given Man Who Told About Barrow ~ August 17, 1934
Methvin Arrested in Louisiana, May Face New Charge ~ September 5, 1934
Methvin Is Held For Questioning About Slayings ~ September 5, 1934
Trial in Slaying State Patrolman Confronts Methvin ~ September 7, 1934
Methvin Held in Shreveport in Murder Case ~ September 7, 1934
Oklahoma Wants to Try Methvin ~ September 10, 1934
Methvin Faces Murder in Miami ~ September 17, 1934
Not Guilty, Says Methvin, Facing Slaying Charge ~ September 25, 1934
Henry Methvin Moved From Oklahoma Jail ~ October 10, 1934
Younger Methvin Charged as Thief ~ December 7, 1934
Execution of Methvin Is Set December 20 ~ January 3, 1935
Mrs. Barrow's Vow For Revenge Read ~ February 22, 1935
Hamer Breaks Barrow Slides At Lecture; Punches Operator ~ March 3, 1935
Methvin Faces Trial Alone For Deed Once Laid To Trio ~ March 17, 1935
Methvin Trial Delayed At Lawyers' Request ~ March 18, 1935
Methvin on Trial In Officer's Slaying ~ March 29, 1935
Mother Tells How Methvin Wanted To Be Rid of Barrow ~ September 18, 1935
Supreme Penalty Assessed Methvin ~ September 21, 1935
Phares Denies Methvin Betrayed Bonnie and Clyde as Ex-Convict Sentenced to Death Now Asserts ~ September 21, 1935
Declares Providence Saved Methvin From Death With Barrow and Bonnie ~ September 21, 1935
Methvin Case ~ September 27, 1935
Oklahoma Will Fight For Methvin's Death ~ April 18, 1936
Court Saves Life of Henry Methvin ~ September 18, 1936
Man Who Put Barrow On Spot Freed ~ March 20, 1942
Henry Methvin trial - state opening statement
Conditional pardon; state of Texas
Prison mate of Kimes is held - Nov. 30, 1945
Former member of Barrow-Parker gang taken after wild chase - Oct. 19, 1946
Pal of Barrow changes Jails - Oct. 20, 1946
Paroled Convict Will Be Returned To State Prison- December 19, 1946
Accident On Road Is Fatal To I.T. Methvin - January 2, 1947
Man Crushed to Death by Train at Sulpher ~ April 20, 1948
Barrow-Parker Foe Killed by Train, Sheriff Declares ~ April 22, 1948
Man Crushed in Sulpher Led Noted Outlaw Into Ambush ~ April 23, 1948
Jailer Tom Armstrong, Now 63, Recalls Days When His Job Required a Rugged Fist ~ July 25, 1948
Ambush - The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde
Southwestern Historical Publications

Ted Hinton's account of the ambush is radically different from anything stated before. According to Hinton, the posse had tied Henry Methvin's father to a tree the night before the ambush, to keep him from possibly warning the duo off. The conventional belief that Methvin cooperated with authorities was a lie, according to Hinton, one that Hamer came up with to keep from getting in trouble over kidnapping a citizen not wanted for any crime.

Hinton claimed Hamer made Methvin a deal: keep quiet about being tied up, and he would get his son a pardon for the murder of the two young highway patrolmen. Hinton then claimed Hamer made every member of the posse swear they would keep this secret as long as any of them lived. Hinton only released this story after his death, through his son. Hamer did obtain the pardon for Henry Methvin for the two murders of the young highway patrolmen.

elcoline
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana
Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana
2419 Main Street
Gibsland, Louisiana 71028
318-843-1934

bonnieandclydemuseum.com

The Museum occupies the historical location in Gibsland, Louisiana of Ma Canfield's Cafe where Bonnie and Clyde dined for the last time.

Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana
mapline
Bonnie and Clyde the FBI files
John B. Gasquet Photographs
Oklahoma State Archives and Records Management - Oklahoma Department of Libraries
carline
J Ray : famous misfit
Special Thanks to Jimmy Ray Gillman.
for contributions, information and for being a friend.


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