A four-page “good riddance” letter from Bonnie and Clyde to a former member of their gang less than a month before they were killed in 1934 is going on the auction block, according to the website newser.com.
The letter to Raymond Hamilton in the Dallas County Jail is full of gangster lingo and dripping with contempt.
It says, in part: “The purpose of this letter is to remind you of all the ‘dirty deals’ you have pulled. When I came to the [prison] farm after you I thought maybe the ‘joint’ had changed you from a boastful punk. However I learned too soon the mistake I had made.”
It recounts how Hamilton once wanted to shoot a fellow Barrow gang member in the back while he slept, how he “cowered” on the floorboard at a roadblock in the Ozarks, “afraid of being shot,” and how he stole money from the gang “on the Lancaster ‘job.’”
“When I demanded a ‘shake down’ you offered such strange excuses for having the money on you. I should have killed you then I would have saved myself much bother and money looking for you,” the letter says.
It ends, “I hope this will serve the purpose of letting you know that you can never expect the least of sympathy or assistance from me. So long.” It’s signed “Clyde Barrow.”
The letter, which Boston-based RR Auction says was written by Bonnie and signed by Clyde, could bring more than $40,000 when it goes on the block starting Sept. 15. Live bidding begins at noon on Sept. 26.
Hamilton had joined the Barrow gang in the early ‘30s and been sprung by Barrow in a machine-gun raid on the Eastham Prison Farm north of Huntsville in January 1934, the auction house notes. The gang was chased through the Ozarks after a car theft in Springfield, Mo., a month later, and came on a police blockade in Reeds Spring, where they engaged in gunfire and where Hamilton was less than heroic, the letter asserts.
The next month, Barrow and Hamilton robbed the R.P. Henry & Sons Bank in Lancaster, the “Lancaster ‘job’” referred to in the letter. After a dispute over the money and/or other issues, Hamilton split from the gang.
He was arrested in April after a bank robbery in Lewisville and was executed in the electric chair a year later, age 22.
Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets during a police ambush near Bienville Parish, La., on May 23, 1934. He was 25, she was 23.
Hamilton may have never seen the letter they wrote him the month before, newser.com notes. Dallas County Sheriff Richard "Smoot" Schmid intercepted it and his family is now auctioning it.
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker have long held a fascination in these parts.
“Bonnie and Clyde spent a lot of time here,” Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate told the Star-Telegram last year. “Their parents lived not far from here for a while. There are a lot of stories. They had a lot of friends here. They never did rob the bank here because they had a lot of friends that had money in it. But the gang did.”
A PBS documentary on the duo that aired on American Experience earlier this year makes the case that a crime-scene “selfie” (long before that term entered the parlance of our time) was their undoing.