Grayson County TXGenWeb
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Clyde Barrow

Death of Howard Hall
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On October 11, 1932 at approximately 6:25 p.m., Clyde Barrow and two accomplices entered Sherman, Texas and parked their car on Hazelwood Street just north of Wells Street. Their robbery target was the Little Grocery Store at the northwest corner of Wells and Vaden Streets.

Authorities believed that Clyde Barrow and his two accomplices had been in the general area for approximately three days. The Little Grocery was most likely chosen for its isolated suburban location. The Little Grocery Store was owned by Sidney R. Little, a Sherman businessman who also co-owned a grocery store on Tennessee Street. Both stores were suburban grocery stores surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The Little Grocery Store at 624 S. Vaden was advertised as "The Service Store?.

In his employ were Homer Glaze and Lester C. Butler, both clerks and Howard Hall, a 57 year old master grocer that had taken a position in the store as the meat market manager in 1929. Mr. Hall was born in 1875 and had moved to Sherman from McKinney, Texas in 1904. He had owned his own grocery business on East Brockett Street for over a decade prior to his employment with Mr. Little. In Howard Hall, Sidney Little found a dedicated, hard working and experienced manager. In Sidney Little and his grocery business, Howard
Hall found the opportunity to work in the profession that he loved and had immense knowledge in, without the pressures that generally accompany ownership. Perhaps Mr. Hall was seeking the opportunity to slow down and enjoy his life and family.

At around 6:30 p.m. Clyde Barrow walked to the front entrance of the store on Vaden Street. Mr. Glaze was the clerk on duty and Mr. Hall was at the rear of the building in the meat market area. Both were preparing to close the store. Just minutes prior Mr. Little had moved most of the proceeds from the day to his home, just north of the grocery store. He had left approximately $60 in the register to allow for last minute customer purchases at the end of the workday. At this same moment Mrs. Lester C. Butler pulled up to the Wells Street side entrance to make a last minute purchase before going home.

The store was oblong with the narrow end facing Vaden Street and the wider side facing Wells Street. The main entrance faced east onto Vaden Street and the side entrance faced south onto Wells Street. A long east/west counter stretched along the north side of the store and a shorter north/south glass counter was located at the back of the store. Mr. Hall's meat market area was
located behind this glass counter at the rear or west end of the store. There was an opening between the long counter and the glass meat counter and another opening between the meat counter and the south wall of the building. The cash register was located on the west end of the long counter.

According to Mr. Glaze, Clyde Barrow looked nervous as he entered the store from Vaden Street about 6:30 p.m. He did not recognize Clyde as a previous customer and attributed his nervousness to a new customer being in an unfamiliar store. Clyde picked up a loaf of bread and walked to the cash register at the northwest part of the building. Mr. Glaze asked  him if he needed anything else and he said "yes, a half-dozen eggs and some lunch meat". After collecting these items he handed Mr. Glaze a dollar for the purchase. Mr. Glaze looked down and opened the register to make change. When he looked up, Clyde flashed a gun, moved him out of the way and began to rifle the till. Mr. Hall, as he looked up and realized what was happening, walked between the south end of the glass meat market counter and the south wall of the store and exclaimed "young man, you can't do that". 

The bandit was instantly infuriated and backed Mr. Glaze to the center of the store and ordered Mr. Hall to the same area. He then began backing both men toward the side entrance at Wells St. while kicking, hitting and cursing at Mr. Hall. Mrs. Butler as she began to walk into the store observed the crime in progress and sought refuge at the southwest corner of the building. As the
three men neared the side door, Clyde hit Mr. Hall in the face so hard that his glasses flew out the door and onto the Wells Street sidewalk. He began to strike again and Mr. Hall reached for the striking arm. Clyde immediately opened fire, mortally wounding Mr. Hall with three bullets to the chest. Mr. Hall fell out of the side door and Clyde stepped over him and shot at him one
more time as he lay on the sidewalk. He then turned his attention to Mr. Glaze who stood in shock and horror, just inside of the open door. 

Clyde aimed at Mr. Glaze and pulled the trigger but the gun misfired. He then ran west along Wells Street past Mrs. Butler and two boys that were playing and entered a large Buick sedan that was parked facing north on Hazlewood Street just north of Wells Street. Mr. Hall was carried by ambulance attendants to the St.Vincent's Sanitarium, just across Wells Street.

Medical personnel indicated that Mr. Hall was conscious for some time but died at around 7:30 p.m. The bandits proceeded north to Highway 82 where they sped east to Bells, Texas. They then reversed their direction and traveled south and west along the back roads to Denton, Texas. They crossed the
Red River and fled northward into Oklahoma the following morning. It is believed that Clyde diverted the vehicle back to Denton, Texas to mislead authorities about the direction of his escape and also to pick-up Bonnie who was waiting for him there. 
(E. R. Milner, The Lives and Times of Bonnie and Clyde, 1996).

Clyde was identified the next day by photos provided by Dallas, Texas authorities. Mr. Glaze, Mrs. Butler and a witness on Highway 82 all made positive identification. A funeral service was held at Mr. Hall's residence on East Lamar Street the following afternoon and he was laid to rest in West Hill Cemetery on October 12, 1932. Mrs. Hall, moved out of the area soon after the murder and died in Navarro County in 1970. Her body was brought back to be buried next to her husband. Mr. Little died several years laterin 1935 and the Little Grocery Store structure was removed from the site in the early 1970s. Mr. Hall was described as a quiet and decent citizen.

The residence of Howard Hall was at 1027 E. Lamar Street. Mr. Halls funeral
service was done at this residence the afternoon following his murder.

He was obviously very industrious and enjoyed the service that he provided to his community. His attempted intervention in the robbery at Mr. Little's store reflected his courage and dedication to his employer. He could not have known that the young diminutive bandit in front of him was actually a volatile, murderous and desperate ex-convict.  

Experts disagree on whether the bandit was actually Clyde Barrow. Police authorities believed it was him.  He was positively identified by three eye-witnesses and it appeared that he was getting ready to take Mr. Glaze and Mr. Hall hostage. He took hostages several times in the course of his criminal career. However, the robbery did not fully fit his method of operation
since he usually sent two bandits into the target business and left one waiting in the getaway car (John Neal Phillips, 2001). He also denied, to his family, any involvement in this crime when typically he acknowledged his other crimes to them (John Neal Phillips, Running with Bonnie and Clyde, 1996). Could it be possible that if Clyde did do it, he did not want to admit to the botched robbery and the murder of an unarmed grocer over a $60 cash register till? Although it generally appears that Clyde was the culprit, we will never know for certain. What cannot be disputed is that a decent man and a pillar of the Sherman, Texas community lost his life to a murderous bandit on October 11, 1932

Research and photos contributed by Dan Truex.


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