HOWARD HALL MURDER
SHERMAN, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11, 1932
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The residence of Howard Hall was at 1027 E. Lamar Street. Mr. Halls
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
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.