Given a pardon by the Texas governor, Buck Barrow could have made a fresh start. His decision to join up with his brother, Clyde, in Joplin, Missouri, would prove a huge mistake — for both Barrows.

St. Joseph (Missouri) Gazette, Friday, April 14, 1933
JOPLIN, Missouri (AP) — A gun battle with two suspected desperadoes yesterday in a house in an exclusive residential district of Joplin last night had claimed the lives of two officers.

J. W. Harryman, 41, Newton County constable, was killed in the first exchange of shots. Harry McGinnis, Joplin city detective, whose arm was shot away and who suffered body wounds, died in a hospital late last night.

The two men, accompanied by a woman, later escaped in a motor car after many shots had been fired in a gun battle with a second detective and two state highway patrolmen.

An intensive search throughout this district is under way for the slayers.

Harryman and McGinnis accompanied Detective Tom DeGraff in a police car to make a search of the house which the two men had rented several days before. Police suspected them or robbery activities.

Highway Patrolmen W. E. Grammer and George B. Kahler went to the scene in a state car.

As DeGraff drove the police car to near the door of the basement garage of the house, a man was seen in the garage door, which was open a short space. Harryman alighted and started toward the man. He was greeted with a burst of gunfire from a sawed-off shotgun. He fell with a dozen wounds in the right neck and shoulder.

McGinnis then jumped from the car and he, too, was sprayed with bullets. His right arm was nearly severed. He also received bullet wounds in the left side and face.

DeGraff, uninjured, shouted to the highway patrolmen to telephone for reinforcements. In the meantime, a fusillade of shots was fired into the garage by DeGraff and one of the patrolman.

A few moments later, the garage door was opened, and a man, a shotgun inn his hands, menaced the officers, firing at them. His companion backed out a motor car in which a young woman also sat, and the three sped away, driving south out of the city.

Authorities searching the house later, found an automatic rifle, four high-power rifles, a sawed-off shotgun and a revolver.

They also found pardon papers showing that Governor Miriam Ferguson of Texas had granted a full pardon to Ivy (Buck) Barrow, March 20, 1933, from a four-year sentence from Benton County, Texas, for burglary and theft. A motor car certificate of title also bore the name Carl Beaty. Police are searching for those two men on the theory they are the ones who engaged in the fatal gun battle.

Police said they sought the two men for questioning in connection with recent robberies, and had gone to the house for that purpose.

Officers in a telephone conversation with Joplin police last night expressed belief that the two men engaged in the gunfight were Ivy (Buck) Barrow and his brother, Clyde, who has been using the assumed name of Carl Beaty.

Both men, said Dallas officers, are wanted in Abilene and Sherman, Texas, on highway robbery charges. They also told Joplin officers that Clyde Barrow is alleged to have killed four officers at various times.

Carl Beaty, Joplin officers were informed, is a resident of Dallas and is now there — the man whose name Clyde Barrow used in obtaining certificate of title to a large car seized here.

Dallas officers said the last trace they had of the Barrow brothers was in Michigan.

Police also announced that in the house where the men lived they seized five diamonds, part of the loot in a $1,500 diamond robbery staged recently in Neosho, Missouri.

Police said the car in which the desperadoes sped away was last seen at Seneca, Missouri, twenty miles south of here.


Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, April 16, 1933
JOPLIN, Mo. (United News) — An automobile described as “an arsenal on rubber” and its four occupants were sought by officers of Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas last night as the notorious Barrow brothers and their woman companion still were at large.

The automobile sped away from Joplin late Friday, stub black muzzles of submachine guns spraying bullets in its wake. Behind lay two dying officers, Constable Wes Harryman and Detective Harry McGinnis.

Behind in the house that served as a robber retreat, police found loot from recent robberies and documents identifying the men as Clyde and Buck Barrow, Texas gunmen.

They also found a poem and a marriage certificate, from which they tentatively identified the women as Blanche Caldwell, Buck’s wife, and Bonnie Parker of Dallas, who writes poems about criminal life.

Apparently she was in the poetic mood when Joplin officers started to raid the house, for an unfinished poem entitled “Suicide Sal” was left behind. It was written on black paper in white ink.

The poem related that the “story” of “Suicide Sal” had been told the writer while the two were “down here in the joint.” Two stanzas follow:

You have heard of a woman’s glory
Being spent on a downright cur.
Still you can’t always judge the story
As true being bold by her.

Now Sal was a broad of rare beauty,
Though her features were somewhat tough.
She never once faltered from duty
To play on the up and up.

Police found a pardon issued to Buck Barrow by Gov. Miriam A. (Ma) Ferguson of Texas last March. He had been serving four years for burglary.

Clyde, his brother, is widely known as one of the most dangerous men in Texas, and has been sought since January in connection with the slaying of Deputy Sheriff Malcolm Davis of Fort Worth, who attempted to arrest him on a bank robbery charge.

For more on The Joplin Affair