Bill Brock, one of the participants of the highway robbery, gives the inside detail of the entire melee. In the following account he tells a very vivid description of the entire fracas. The readers of the paper are fortunate to read a story told by one who was on the ground. The story is given:
On Monday a picnic was planned and it was decided to go to the First Meade Park to eat supper. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo Sargent, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Brock, Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Meyer and Alvin Gerber and Miss Lorine Burblinger composed the group of picknickers. The party went to the park in the Sargent and Gerber cars. We left Fowler about 7:30 for the park and upon arriving the young people found that all the tables were full and it was necessary for them to find other quarters. They decided to eat their picnic lunch on the road east of the park about 200 yards south on the Crooked Creek bridge. The cars faced each other in order to give the picnickers light to eat their fried chicken.
The ladies prepared the supper and had started to eat. It was about 8:30 at this time. The group was laughing, joking and having a good time and making plenty of noise when a tall slender man about five foot, ten inches tall, wearing a felt hat, gray shirt and belt trousers, came up and said, "Pardon me fellows, I'm stuck in a ditch, will you fellows come up and pull me out, "I'll pay you for it." Alvin and I and the stranger got in Alvin's car and went to pull the stalled car out. This car about 200 yards north of us, was on the west side of the road, just a little southeast of the swimming pool. We drove up to the back end of the car to pull them out backwards. A rope was taken from the stalled car which consisted of four people. I tied the two cars together and Alvin gave the car a pull and the stranger and I pushed but we were unable to make any headway. I saw that the car was full and looked in the car and said, "If some of you fellows will get out and push, I believe we can get the car out". So one of them said, "Get out Dad, and push. You're big and stout."
So a large man, weighing about 220 pounds got out, helping us but no headway was made and the rope was broken by the strenuous pull. So it was decided that the car could not be pulled unless they got the aid of a wrecker. About that time the man under the wheel got out holding his arm and said, "Boy I sure hurt myself when I ran in the ditch".
This man looked to be about 5 foot 2 inches tall, weighing about 130 pounds. He had a round face and short brown hair. Another fellow got out of the back seat of the car. He was some larger, about 5 foot, 6 inches tall, of good build, round face weighing about 135 pounds. These men ranged in ages from 22 years to 28 years.
One of the fellows said, "Are you acquainted here?" We told them that we were strangers here and one of them went to Alvin's car and looked in it. At this time and even five minutes before Alvin and I knew that they were "pretty bad eggs." We had a hunch that anything could happen at any time. Then the fellow returned from Alvin's car, looking very suspicious and said, "All right boys," pointing at me, saying "That fellow saw it all when he looked in the car."
At this time the bandit with the wounded shoulder or arm stepped back and pulled two guns from his hip pockets and pointed towards me. The other two fellows, one with two guns, the other with one, pulled them on Alvin, so we put our hands up and they said, "Take those hands down as we don't want this to look like a hold up."
We both told them that we would do anything we could to get them out and really pleaded for our young lives for those hombres really had blood in their eyes. They then asked if Alvin's car had a rumble seat in it. Alvin answered, "No, Sir." The tall man was commanded to go over where those people were playing croquet and get a bigger and better car. A V-8 Ford if possible. Before leaving the tall man took the woman from the front seat of the stalled car and as he removed her to Alvin's car we noticed that her right leg was seriously wounded and hanging loosely and she was moaning which showed to us that she was suffering terrible. And we could see from the moonlight that her clothing was saturated with blood. She weighed about 115 pounds and had long brown bobbed hair. Alvin and I were commanded to get into the front seat of the stalled car and the large man was forced to get into the back seat of the same car. This man tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Boy, this is my car."
The remainder of the picknickers had finished their supper and became suspicious and Waldo and Clifford came up to see what was the trouble. We could see them in the moonlight talking and laughing. The bandits informed us to yell and tell them to go back but the loud voice which was possibly very weak, could not be heard by the approaching men. Waldo and Clifford immediately walked in to the trap. Upon arriving, Waldo said "What's the matter, can't you get them out?".
One of the bandits said, "We need a chain." Waldo stated, "Oh, well I'll get you some barbed wire." So he crossed the ditch, which was full of water, to get some wire. As he returned one of the desperados commanded him not to get so near because he was a desperado and had dodged twenty laws that day. Waldo answered, "I'm a schoolteacher. I won't hurt you." He and Clifford was commanded to sit on the running board of the stalled car.
At this instant a screaming crying was heard. One of the bandits said, "Is that a child drowning?" Waldo said, "No sir, that is a woman screaming." So the bandits prepared at once to make their escape in Alvin's car. One of them covered us with guns while the others carried the high powered artillery from the stalled car. Clifford and I were forced to hold the back door while the cache and the guns were being moved.
It was necessary to make five trips to move the articles. Two round bundles wrapped in army blankets, machine gun and ammunition of all descriptions. The bandit on guard told his partner to take all the ammuntion. After the artillery was moved to Alvin's car we were all commanded to line up in the road. Then we were ordered to walk south and not to run but Waldo could not resist the temptation and started to run, and said, "Oh that's nothing but a bunch of kids". The bandits then drove west through Meade. The bandits seemed to be wounded and scratched and their clothes showed evidence of a great loss of blood.
After the bandits left the heavy set man stated that his name was Trummel of Wilmore. He stated that the bandits kidnapped him near his home and took his car. All they talked about on the trip was the gun battle they had that morning and also the wreck they had. The woman in the car was thought to be seriously wounded.
This experience Monday evening will never be forgotten as long as we live. While we were in danger during the entire time we had a constant fear that the women would come up and get in the affray. Alvin, Clifford, and myself realized that the worst could happen at anytime, but we had a hard time keeping Waldo from talking.
In closing we hope that no one around here will be forced to experience such an ordeal and as for ourselves-one time is enough.
May 23, 2005
Dear Mr. Peaster,
In looking through my mother's cards yesterday, I found your letter. How exciting it was for me to read more of the story. Mother's fingers no longer allow her to write letters, so I am writing this letter for her.
We really appreciate your taking the time to share the story with our family. As you can see I typed the article from the Fowler News and have shared it with our family. I would like you to have a copy.
I have heard the story all my life. It never meant much to anyone until the Bonnie and Clyde movie came out and then people were interested. My parents and friends were on their way to The Little World's Fair at Kismet, and decided to picnic along Crooked Creek, just west of the Meade City Park. Mother said they checked the park and found it very crowded.
I am glad to hear that the part of the story about the woman in the car at the Meade Park was true. My dad told me that when she screamed the men came running with croquet mallets and hit the gang member over the head with the mallets. My friends would always laugh when I told that part of the story (it sounded like a slap-stick comedy).
When I was talking about Bonnie and Clyde to my cousin Ronnie Meyer (his father was Clifford, in the story) Ronnie's wife related that friends of her family told a story that Bonnie and Clyde had run their car off a bridge, in Oklahoma. The man heard the crash and went to help Bonnie and Clyde, not knowing who they were, brought them to his house. Bonnie was bloody and had a broken leg. The wife took care of them, and when her child cried in the other room, Clyde told her not to leave the room. She did and he shot her in the hand. So, the story goes on and on.
Bonnie and Clyde lived in Hugoton, for a time. A 98 year old lady from our church tells that they stayed in her rooming house. She asked them to leave when she found out that they were running booze.
I hope you enjoy my "rest of the story". My husband and I would enjoy meeting you sometime, as I am sure we would have a great time discussing the Bonnie and Clyde story.
Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Gyla (Brock) Conklin
Alva Trummel Kidnapped (by Bonnie & Clyde), The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.
Bonnie Parker Worked in Dodge, Barrow in Hugoton, The Dodge City Globe, September 19, 1934. (This article identifies the man who was captured after being hit on the head with a croquet mallet at the Meade park as Henry Messingill.)
Alva and Irene Trummel
Although there is no reference to Bonnie and Clyde (who were killed May 23, 1934, in Louisiana) in the following story, it is interesting to note that kidnapping someone whose car they had stolen was something frequently done by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, as they did when they stole Alva Trummel's car, that the kidnappers were driving a car stolen in Oklahoma City and that they "were in a jam and had to have Pipkin's car to make a getaway":
No Trace Found of Trio Who Kidnapped Barber at Coldwater Friday Night: H. E. Pipkin Freed by Kidnappers Late Friday Evening Near Olin Millam Farm, The Western Star, June 8, 1934.
Off-site Links to Information about Bonnie & Clyde:
(The following links will open in a new browser window.)
Bonnie and Clyde - Wikipedia article.
Bonnie & Clyde's Hideout
Bonnie & Clyde: Romeo & Juliet in a Getaway Car
FBI History, Famous Cases: Bonnie & Clyde
The Story of Bonnie and Clyde
Bonnie & Clyde, the 1960's film by Arthur Penn, available on DVD
Bonnie & Clyde: Original "Wanted" Poster
Issued 2 days before they were killed on 23 May 1934.
In Search of Bonnie & Clyde Places in or near Dallas, Texas associated with the Barrow Gang.
Thanks to Gyla (Brock) Conklin and Harlow Peaster for the above article and to Patricia Snyder for typing it and sending it for use on this site!
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