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Bonnie and Clyde

Research on the kidnapping of Alva Trummel

In an attempt to find more information about the events surrounding the kidnapping of Alva Trummel by Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow on 4 Sept 1933, I wrote the following query to Ask A Librarian. Linda Jordan, a Reference Librarian with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries promptly and helpfully responded to my query. Her response appears on this page following my query. Thank you, Ms. Jordan!

All links on this page to off-site pages will open in a new browser window.

-- Jerry Ferrin, 31 Aug 2008.

Query to Ask A Librarian about Bonnie and Clyde:

Dear Kindly Librarian,

Your assistance in finding more information about a car wreck involving Bonnie and Clyde (Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow) in Oklahoma on September 4, 1933, would be greatly appreciated by me. I'm hoping you can and will provide me with local news articles about the incident.

I have two web pages online about events later in the day, namely the kidnapping of Alva Trummel on a country road in Comanche County, Kansas, a few miles from the farm on which I grew up. Those pages are:

Alva Trummel Kidnapped (by Bonnie & Clyde), The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.


Bill Brock relates Story of Highway Robbery at Meade Park, The Fowler News, 7 Sept 1933.

These are the relevants facts from those articles:

'They left the car in which they had been riding - an old Ford which they had stolen near Meno, Okla. - and all got into Mr. Trummel's car and they drove on west past Alva's home.'
-- Alva Trummel Kidnapped, The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.

'The three men drew a machine gun and automatics on me as they stopped me along the road. I have a Chevrolet sedan. They were driving a Ford roadster they had stolen in Oklahoma, the fourth car they had taken in their flight, I later learned. The woman was badly hurt. She had a badly lacerated leg and several cuts, and I thought she acted as tho she may have been hurt internally. The three men also had minor injuries. They said they ran into a place where a bridge was washed out north of Alva, Oklahoma. They said something about a clash with officers in Oklahoma, and the papers this morning said it was at Enid. They didn't talk much on the road."
-- Alva Trummel, quoted in Alva Trummel Kidnapped, The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.

'On Tuesday, Sheriff W. T. Giles of this county brought to Coldwater the car left by the bandits east of Wilmore. Judging from the blood in the car, it is evident that the woman in the car with the bandits was badly injured. The owner of the car, an Oklahoma farmer, came to Coldwater on Thursday and after identifying the automobile, drove it home.'
-- Alva Trummel Kidnapped, The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.

'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.'
-- Bill Brock relates Story of Highway Robbery at Meade Park, The Fowler News, 7 Sept 1933.

So, Bonnie and Clyde ran into a place where a bridge was washed out north of Alva, Oklahoma, and the car they were driving was stolen from a farmer near Meno, Oklahoma. Bonnie was injured in the crash. This is obviously a different crash than the one near Wellington, TX, in June of 1933 where Bonnie Parker was burned in the crash.

I have searched extensively on the internet and have found only one brief reference, in Encyclopedia of the Great Plains by David J. Wishart, to the Alva Trummel kidnapping (except for my own web pages), which mentions that one gang member was captured in Meade, Kansas.

The captured gang member was named Henry Messingill. See Bonnie Parker Worked in Dodge, Barrow in Hugoton, The Dodge City Globe, September 19, 1934.

You will note that neither of the pages which I have online about the incident identifies Bonnie and Clyde by name, but as 'kidnappers' and 'robbers'. It was only after the articles were published that their identities became known. I suspect that the same would be true of any article published at the time in Oklahoma about the theft of the car from the farmer near Meno, Oklahoma, Bonnie and Clyde would have been un-named in the article and just referred to as bandits, robbers, thieves or some other similar term.

I am also attempting to learn more about this story by 'following up' on the member of the gang captured at Meade, Kansas, by obtaining his arrest record and copies of any local news stories.

In researching this incident, I have found that it happened during a period of months in which little or nothing has been published about the activities or whereabouts of Bonnie and Clyde. The Wikipedia article about Bonnie and Clyde, for example, skips from July 24, 1933 to November 22, 1933, in its chronology of events.

I would greatly appreciate any help you might care to give me in obtaining information about the events in Oklahoma which are part of this story. As it involves a car theft, a car wreck and a 'gun battle' on the morning of September 4, 1933, near Alva, Oklahoma, it seems likely to me that there must have been news articles published locally about the event.

Thank you,

Jerry Ferrin

Response from Linda Jordan of "Ask A Librarian", 1 July 2008,
to the above query about Bonnie and Clyde:

Hello, Jerry,

You have reached the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Thank you for using Ask A Librarian.

I could not find any newspaper articles that would be of use or interest to you.

We, at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, have this presentation, you may be interested in:

The only newspaper we have for the 1930ís is the Daily Oklahoman from Oklahoma City. I checked it, but didnít find any of the incidents you mentioned.

The Oklahoma Historical Society has a very complete set of Oklahoma newspapers. Here is their website:

They do not loan any of their materials, but the public may use them in the library. They will also do research for a fee.

Meno is in Major County. Alva is in Woods County. Enid is in Garfield County. Sometimes there is a county-wide newspaper, and /or one for each city.

You may also get some assistance from the public libraries in the above Counties. Find their contact information on this page, under City or County:

I hope the above information is helpful. Please let me know if you would like to follow up on this question or ask another. You can do so at the following:

We appreciate your comments. Please take a moment to fill our survey

Linda Jordan
Reference Librarian
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
200 NE 18th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
405.525.7804 fax

Also see:

Alva Trummel Kidnapped (by Bonnie & Clyde), The Western Star, 8 Sept 1933.

Bill Brock relates Story of Highway Robbery at Meade Park, The Fowler News, September 7, 1933.

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.

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