Outlaws. Murder. A posse on the run from the law. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, more famously known as Bonnie and Clyde, spent their lives stealing, shooting, and evading law enforcement. A program Saturday will share accounts from eyewitnesses who saw the infamous outlaws in Dexter in the 1930s.
Retired history teacher and historian Rod Stanley will be recounting the history of Bonnie and Clyde in the Midwest at Mulberry Center Church in the Wilson Brewer Park, 220 Ohio St., from 1 to 2 p.m. The event is free to the public.
“I taught school for 35 years. After I retired I started working at Dallas County Conservation in Perry at the museum and that’s where I started doing programs,” said Stanley. “One of the first programs I started to do for them was about the shootout north of Dexter in 1933.”
Stanley has been presenting this program for almost nine years. Much of the history Stanley presents is based off of eye-witness accounts.
“Growing up in Dexter I had heard about the story,” said Stanley. “Most of the people who have told their story to the museum, there is only one person left that was actually part a of the story I tell. She’s like 97 years old now.”
Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, and the Barrow Gang arrived in Dallas County in July of 1933. They had established quite a reputation throughout the Midwest as thieves and murderers, and had killed several police officers. These fugitives from the law were always on the move, trying to keep one step ahead of the “laws,” as they called them.
“At the old amusement park out north of Dexter. They were staying at this campground out there and they were found. A posse went out there and there was a big shootout,” said Stanley.
This was not their first trip to Iowa; several past bank robberies had been attributed to them. On this occasion, they chose the remote location of old Dexfield Amusement Park, in order, to recover from an earlier shootout. Hear the “true stories” of the Dexter, Iowa people concerning the big shootout that left some in the gang seriously wounded.
Bonnie and Clyde even spent some time in Fort Dodge.
“My story is basically all from eye-witness accounts,” said Stanley. “That’s why I like history. There are different perspectives from different people.
“People need to understand about their local history and about their county history and where they grew up,” said Stanley.
Stanley will also be bringing three guns similar to what Bonnie and Clyde and the rest of their posse would have used in the 1930’s. Stanley will bring a Browning automatic rifle, Thompson sub-machine gun, and a Colt-45 automatic. None of the guns will be loaded and two are non-functional.
“There is a great interest in the story of Bonnie and Clyde throughout Iowa and the United States,” Stanley said.
For more information contact Carolyn Miller at (515)-832-1885 or visit www.mulberrycenterchurch.com.