A Hideout Tribute to Sophia Stone Cook

The more that I've researched Sophia, the more I've come to respect her. I can't help but think how things
might have been different, if God forbid, she might have become another on the list of dead, left behind by
the Barrow Gang. This woman was talented and devoted to her profession, church and family. She spent
the majority of her life, teaching young girls to be better prepared for life. She was loved and respected by
the many who knew her and was recognized for her talents. Mrs. Cook continued to strive for excellence,
even following the early death of her beloved husband. For these reasons, my hat goes off to this fine lady,

Sophia Stone Cook


Not long after the Joplin incident the gang had been in the Ruston area and had planned to rob
the Ruston State Bank. In a search for another car to use for this caper, the gang was cruising
down the quiet residential area on North Trenton Street. 
Clyde had spotted a new Ford V8 Coach belonging to 30 year old H. Dillard Darby, a mortician at the nearby McLure Funeral Home. Mr. Darby who lived at the Brooks Boarding House was inside enjoying his lunch, his car was in the driveway with the keys still in the ignition. W.D. Jones leaped from the slow moving Barrow car and made a quick getaway in Mr. Darby's automobile. Darby, who had witnessed the theft of his new car immediately gave chase on foot, however the car had gained speed and then quickly disappeared from sight. Sophia Stone, a 25 year old home demonstration agent also witnessed the crime and offered to give chase along with Mr. Darby in her car. While chasing down W.D.Jones the couple were intercepted by Clyde, Bonnie, Blanche and Buck in the other Barrow car. Clyde had asked Darby and Stone why they were following the automobile and Mr. Darby told him that it was his car and that it had just been stolen. Clyde grabbed Darby by the collar and forced him into the Barrow gang car, then Bonnie forced Miss Stone to get out of her car and join Mr. Darby. In the beginning the plan was to kill the couple, because they had messed up Barrow's plan to rob the Ruston Bank. However, after talking with the couple and kidding around, they took a liking to them and told them that they would let them live after all. Once in Arkansas just outside of Waldo, the couple was let out on a desolate road. The Barrow car had spun gravel as it departed. Darby and Stone were relieved that they were still alive after their ordeal. Just then the car braked hard and backed up to the couple. This is it they thought, they're coming back to kill us. Bonnie handed them a five dollar bill and told them to use it to get back home.


Chase Bank, seen behind trees, is what's now on the corner of N. Trenton St.,
and W. Georgia Ave., where the Brooks Boarding House once stood

BOLO (Be On The Lookout)

Ford V8 Sedan, bearing a 1933 Louisiana license plate number 233-821. Clyde later
bullet riddled Mr. Darby's car with 60 rounds and then pushed it off a cliff.

Hideout photo wrecked Ford coach


The car was riddled with 60 rounds from "The United States Cartridge Company" ammo.
Below is a box containing 50 U.S.C.C. cartridges. Over a box was used on the car!

Sophia's Personal Rhinestone Brooch

Brooch seen below was one of the items obtained by the Hideout
from Sophia Stone Cook's estate following her death in 2000.

Posted here for the first time in 13 years as an additional item of interest.

Permission wasn't granted, therefore the names appeared differently in the 1967 movie.
"Eugene Grizzard" played by Gene Wilder and "Velma Davis" played by Evans Evans.

Warner Bros. movie still


William D. Risinger

William Dallas Risinger
Chief Risinger, along with Mayor Goyne happened to unknowingly pass the outlaws while on the road.
One of the Barrow men spotted them and remarked that he would like to "fill them both full of lead".
"CRIMEFIGHTERS" Centennial History of the Ruston Police Dept. 1884-1984
Wesley L. Harris Publication

courtesy of Dorothy Risinger Scott and her daughter Charlotte S. Whitten

ADDED BY HIDEOUT: article mentions Chief Risinger's daughters

Nell Ruth Risinger Burton
September 7, 1924 -

William D. Risinger
Jan. 10, 1881 - February 1, 1940
Greenwood Cemetery, Lincoln Parish, LA.

Married on Dec 30, 1936 to William Henry Cook Jr.

In my conversation with Capt. Jim Hilton of the Ruston Police Department concerning
Sophia's ordeal with the Barrow gang, he spoke of living only a block away from her
when he was a youngster! He related how she had gone on to become the "Home Economics"
teacher at the Ruston High School. The Hideout had obtained several of Sophia's personal
items at the estate sale following her death. Among the items obtained was Sophia's own
personal yearbook from 1953.

Photos below of Mrs. Cook as she appeared in Ruston
High School's 1953 Year Book "Resume" while she was
the Home Economics Instructor there. I've also added
photos from The Resume yearbooks 1960 thru 1963.

Miss Sophia Stone began her career as Home Demonstration Agent for Lincoln Parish
in September of 1930 and as the Home Economics Instructor in September of 1960.

30 years after her encounter with the Barrow Gang!

1960 Home EC. Class Photo "click here"

1962 Home EC. Class Photo "click here"

1963 Home EC. Class Photo "click here"

Photo taken around the time of the Barrow gang incident.
Full view includes nurses who likely checked her for the injury
she sustained when she recieved a blow to the back of her
neck, by who she later identified as being Bonnie Parker

click on photo to see full view

left photo 1933 - right photo 1953

Miss Stone was a local celebrity many years before her encounter with the outlaws,
and many years after. Hardly a month went by that she was not making news in the
Ruston Daily Leader. Her home demonstration talents were award winning. Whether it
involved her canning demonstrations in 1930 or her personal recipes, that earned her an
award from Better Homes and Gardens in 1936, Sophia was indeed a hometown celebrity!

clippings from "The Ruston Dail;y Leader"

Mrs. Cook had attended the Trinity United Methodist Church

Mr. Darby had worked at the McLure Funeral Parlor

Oddly enough, besides the funeral business, B.F. McLure and Co. Inc.,
were also dealers in paints, wall paper, glass and picture framing.


The Ruston Daily Leader
Monday, January 17, 2000

Obituary of Sophia Cook provided by Capt.Jim Hilton

Sophia Stone Cook

May 22, 1907 - January 16, 2000
Cook Cemetery, Lincoln Parish, LA.

William Henry Cook Jr.

Husband - William Henry Cook Jr. OBIT "click here"
Oct 15, 1903 to Oct 13, 1960

Henry Dillard Darby
March 10, 1903 - October 18, 1973
Greenwood Cemetery, Lincoln Parish, LA.

(Hideout note)

The Mansfield Female College, where Sophia attended,
was the first woman's college west of the Mississippi River.
Sophia Stone is listed as "Stone, Sophronia C". (Class of 1926)