The Headstone of
"Bonnie and Clyde Associate"
Jessie Willard Bernell Ward
Special thanks to contributor Al Keller, Porter, Texas
Headstone photos courtesy of Al Keller
Additional photos courtesy of Ward/ McShan publishing
The gravesite is in White Oak Cemetery on old hwy. 59, now called Loop 494, in Porter, Texas.
Born in Voth, Texas on October 9, 1914 and died in Porter, Texas on January 28, 1989.
Using the name Willard B. Ward he wrote an autobiography entitled "Triumph Over Hell".
More then a mere headstone, this is more of a monument of the man's life, both bad and good!
Jessie Willard Bernell Ward had served a total of 17 years in the Texas Prison Systems.
He was released in September 1955 and received a full pardon by the Governor in October 1975.
Ward's headstone states that he was an "Associate of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow".
Ward and Raymond Hamilton could have passed for twin brothers and both had been mistaken for each other.
Ward's chance meeting of Raymond Hamilton is how he came to actually meet Bonnie and Clyde.
1930s photo of Ward (left) compared with his Lookalike, Raymond Hamilton (right)
From Ward's autobiography - "Triumph Over Hell".
Arriving from San Antonio, probably in April 1934 - I do not recall exactly - the train pulled in to get water, and started
slowing down about a half mile out. When it slowed down enough, I jumped off running, skidding, and rolling on
my belly, over and over so as to avoid detection by the railroad officers like "Texas Jack" and "Lone Wolf" Gonzales.
When I came to a complete stop in some bushes several yards away, I looked into the barrel of the biggest
old .45 I'd ever seen. To my surprise, the man behind it resembled myself. He was Raymond Hamilton.
We had been mistaken for each other by police and reporters from time to time. "You make a move brother,
and I'll blow your head off," Raymond said, standing about five feet from where I was laying. "Is that you Raymond?"
I had seen him from a distance only once previously. "That's right." "Well, just put it away, you know me."
He look closely. I showed him the bulk of the money tucked in my glove, the sure sign of a traveler in our business.
"Damn...Willard Ward!, I heard of you. I've been mistaken for you." Thereafter we got acquainted immediately.
"I'm going to meet Bonnie and Clyde on the other side of Houston, right around the ship channel." I don't know for sure
how it is going to take place, because Clyde is mad at me." Raymond and I hopped another freighter going into Houston.
photo above shows Security Guard Ward at age 67. No doubt Raymond Hamilton would have looked like this had he lived.
Click on Ward book cover for sample reading
Proclamation by Governor
Ward's Obit Here
Ward news article
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