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Bossier History: Clyde Barrow’s money and an oil well for Bossier

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The Bossier Banner published in its June 14, 1934 issue a short article about a place in Bossier Parish where Clyde Barrow was supposed to have hidden some of his money. “In a speech last week United States District Attorney Phillip Mecom stated that Clyde Barrow, slain bandit, and other criminals obtained their mail at a spot nine miles from Benton. Rural mail carriers of the Benton Post office [sic] declared this week that they know of no such place. If mail for criminals is coming through the local office, and is delivered on any one of the three routes, it is coming to a regular patron of the office, and is beyond any knowledge they might have, the carriers say.”

“This is the second connection Barrow is said to have with Bossier Parish. It has been fairly well established that Barrow, together with two other men, made a trip to a point near Rocky Mount a short time before his death. The trip was made in a taxicab, from Shreveport, and for the purpose of digging up money hidden in this parish. After the trip to Rocky Mount the trio is said to have joined Bonnie Parker, who was waiting in a car on the Coushatta Road.”

“The tip-off is said to have come from the driver of the taxi used in making the trip.”

Two weeks later The Bossier Banner was celebrating its 75th anniversary and was reprinting some articles from earlier editions of the paper. In its June 23, 1934 issue The Bossier Banner reprinted the following want ad from the July 1, 1859 issue:

“Wanted, at this office immediately a boy to act in the capacity as head devil. It doesn’t matter w[h]ether he can drink ‘mean whiskey,’ play cards and swear, or not; it will not take him long to learn these ‘accomplishments’ in Bellevue.”

In the same issue the paper told about the first oil well in Bossier Parish, the story of which had originally appeared in the July 1, 1909 issue. “Yesterday we received the following telephone message from our Haughton correspondent: ’Yesterday the well on the Oakland plantation reached a depth of 900 to 1000 feet, when they struck oil. The showing is good. Drilling has been suspended and the well will be bailed out Friday, to determine quantity of oil.’”

“This well is located on a tract leased from Capt. N. B. Murff, by the Gulf Coast Oil Company, whose officers and directors are local capitalists. The site for drilling was located by Mr. S. R. Lippincott, secretary of the above named company, and the drilling was done by Mr. C. T. Rucker, of Humble, Texas.”

“Other wells are now being put down in our parish, mention of which has been made in these columns, but this is the first successful well. There is only one abandoned well in the parish and it is the only one, aside from the Oakland well, to reach this depth.”
“The news of striking oil will be received with joy by every resident of the parish. It means the enhancing of land values and perhaps an immense oil field and an era of unprecedented prosperity.”

To find out more about Bossier’s “era of unprecedented prosperity” visit the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center.


Ann Middleton is Director of the Bossier Parish Library Historical Center. She can be reached at (318) 746-7717 or by e-mail at amiddlet@state.lib.la.us