Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Features / Living

June 29, 2009

Larue Barnes: The ambush of Bonnie and Clyde

Find someone who was old enough to feel the effects of the Great Depression, and they will remember the days of Bonnie and Clyde.

Not just the movie, but the real days of listening to the radio and reading the newspaper, fearing where the twosome and their gang would appear next to rob and kill.

L. J. “Boots” Hinton, 75, previously of Godley, is the son of the late Ted Hinton, one of the lawmen who brought the legendary duo to their deaths on May 23, 1934.

Now he’s the manager and curator of the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Gibsland, La., situated only a few miles from the ambush site.

More people than ever came to the annual Bonnie and Clyde Festival in the small town in May, which marked the 75th anniversary of their deaths.

“That was quite a change for me, from driving a truck three days a week in Texas to working six days a week as a museum spokesman,” said Boots by telephone.

But Boots has been telling the saga his entire life.

His father, whom he calls Ted, authored the book, “Ambush, the Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde.” in 1973, as told to Larry Grove, an instructor of journalism at Southern Methodist University.

Excerpts from the book, published in 1979 by Shoal Creek Publishers shortly after Ted Hinton’s death, appear online and in other publications as quotes on the subject.

When you talk to Boots you sense that he and Ted were very close.

The only son of the Dallas County deputy sheriff and Grace Hinton, Boots had four lawmen as godfathers.

Other children may have overheard conversations about farming or railroading, but Boots knew which Dallas criminals were on the loose and who their families were.

“Learning all about Bonnie and Clyde when I was old enough to understand it, was spooky to me, but Ted wanted me to know the truth,” Boots said.

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