The "beans and cornbread" code

"Page 42" of the police logbook, dated April 26, 1934

In the last weeks before the ambush of Bonnie and Clyde the Dallas Police had been monitoring the phone calls
of the Barrow family home. Included here is "Page 42" of the logbook transcripts. Suspecting that their phone calls
were indeed being monitored, the family had devised a way to tell each family member that they were to join up in
order to go secretly meet somewhere with Bonnie and Clyde. If any family member was told that there was "beans and
cornbread" being prepared for a meal, that would be the "signal" that they were to meet up with "the kids". In these
calls, Nell, who worked in a beauty shop was asked what she was doing tonite and she stated that she had to curl
someone's hair and that she didn't think she'd be through in time. Cumie then tells her she wished she would come
over, because she had prepared a "big pot full of beans and some cornbread". After hearing this, Nell said "maybe I'll
get through in time. Note: in the phone call logs "Mrs. P" refers to Emma Parker and "Mrs. B" to Cumie Barrow
When talking about Clyde, they used the name "Mr. Howard", which was outlaw Jesse James real last name.


Clyde also had a habit of driving up to the filling station home under the cover of darkness and
chuck a Coca~Cola bottle out of the car window onto the ground with a written message in it,

Henry or Cumie would retrieve it and see what was happening with the outlaw pair. The message was
written in a code that only the immediate family members or trusted associates would know how to read.



The "red light" signal was used by the Hamilton gang. One example would have been at the home of Lillian McBride,
when the laws, which included Malcolm Davis were in the home with Maggie Fairris and her children. They were there
in hopes of capturing Odell Chambless for robbing the bank at Grapevine, Tx. The laws went to turn out all the lights
in the house so as to not tip off Chambless as to their presence there. As Maggie put the children to bed, she insisted
that she leave a small red light on, "for the kids". The officers allowed it, not knowing that the "red light" was actually
used as a means of a warning to the outlaw family members that there was a trap being set at that safehouse.


Clyde was known to have a police siren in his car. Whenever he was in the same general area, yet separated from someone,
(in many cases, it would be W.D. Jones), he would crank up the siren in a certain way to bring them out of hiding to his location.
It's my belief that the siren was the type you would crank by hand, seeing as Clyde was constantly changing cars, it's unlikely
that he would have one that is permanently hooked up. Also, because he could control the sound - to make it unique to the gang.


In desolate areas every outlaw needs a way to communicate with fellow associates should they get separated. One
or the other would need a place to pass messages to each other. This would be a makeshift "mailbox" of sorts,
which would serve such a purpose. There was surely such a "mailbox" somewhere along the route between Gibsland,
Louisiana and the outlaws' secluded hideout on the lonely stretch of Highway 154. It could have been as simple
as a piece of tree bark which is placed over the intended "mail", or even a hollow spot in an old rotting tree.