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Piece of gangster history up for sale

This letter written by Bonnie Parker and signed by Clyde Barrow threatens former gang member Raymond Hamilton.
This letter written by Bonnie Parker and signed by Clyde Barrow threatens former gang member Raymond Hamilton. Courtesy photo

A threatening letter from gangsters Bonnie and Clyde to a former gang member is up for sale.

And it may fetch a hefty price at an online auction from Boston-based RR Auction. Online bidding is set for Sept. 15-25, with a live auction beginning at 1 p.m. on Sept. 26.

The auction company said it expects the letter to draw high interest. Two pistols found on the famed outlaw couple fetched more than $504,000 in an auction in 2012. Other items in the sale include Lee Harvey Oswald’s “Fair Play for Cuba Committee” card recovered from the Dallas police. The letter is estimated to be worth more than $40,000, according to the RR Auction website.

The four-page letter to Raymond Hamilton was written by Bonnie Parker and signed by Clyde Barrow in April 1934. Hamilton was in the Dallas County Jail.

The purpose of this letter is to remind you of all the ‘dirty deals’ you have pulled When I came to the farm after you I thought maybe the ‘joint’ had changed you from a boastful punk Maybe you can talk yourself out of the chair

From a letter written by Bonnie Parker and signed by Clyde Barrow

“The purpose of this letter is to remind you of all the ‘dirty deals’ you have pulled,” the letter says. “When I came to the farm after you I thought maybe the ‘joint’ had changed you from a boastful punk Maybe you can talk yourself out of the chair Or maybe you can write a few more letters (try one to the governor) at least it will gain you some publicity.

“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. Clyde Barrow.”

During the early 1930s, the Barrow gang became notorious for bank robberies and shootouts with the law throughout the central United States.

It has been more than eight decades since the infamous couple died in an ambush on May 23, 1934, on a desolate road in Louisiana.

Many Kansans may not know that the couple often sought refuge in Kansas.

The infamous couple met in Texas in 1930. For four years, they robbed and shot their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Iowa.

The two met in Texas in 1930. For four years, they robbed and shot their way across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio and Iowa.

The Barrow gang stole cars and held up banks, stores and filling stations. Gang members are reported to have killed at least 13 people.

In Kansas, Bonnie and Clyde assumed different identities.

In Stevens County, Bonnie is reported to have run Jewel’s Cafe in Hugoton, and Clyde worked for area farmers. The couple went by the names of Blackie and Jewel Underwood.

During the summer of 1933, the two stayed at the tourist courts in Great Bend while Bonnie recovered from injuries she received in a car wreck on June 10, 1933. Clyde was driving, going 70 mph, when the car became airborne because a bridge had washed out. The car crashed and exploded in flames.

Bonnie was seriously burned. While she was recovering, Clyde took a Browning automatic rifle and cut off the barrel and stock so he could drive with a gun in his lap.

The couple are said to have also visited the spa at Geuda Springs and to have robbed a store in Baxter Springs.

In some of the impoverished, wind-blown prairie towns of Dust Bowl Kansas, Bonnie and Clyde developed a following, particularly when, after robbing banks, they’d burn the mortgages of farmers.

In 1934, they were driving a Ford 730 Deluxe Sedan they had stolen in Topeka when they were ambushed.

The FBI found receipts in the car from Jewel’s Cafe.

For more information on the auction, go to http://www.rrauction.com/preview_itemdetail.cfm?IN=2058.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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