The Earlier Years

Ralph Fults was born in the small town of Anna, Texas on January 23, 1911.
He was one of nine children, which included seven sisters and a brother.
His parents names were Audie (A.B.) Fults and Sophia. His father, who
was a postal employee, accepted another job offer in McKinney, Texas.

Fults family photo

Fults family photo

Ralph Fults Identification Order

Ralph Fults' Social Security Application (FOIA)

At the age of fourteen, he had learned about guns and locksmithing, from his
employer. Using these skills, he began his career by breaking and entering.
Clyde had first met Ralph Fults, in the back of Bud Russell's "One Way Wagon".
Fults, then nineteen, was already a veteran criminal of five years, and well
aware of the ins and outs of prison life. He had advised the young Clyde Barrow,
on how to survive the harsh reality of prison life, and a friendship was formed.
Fults was one of the earliest members of the Barrow gang.

State Juvenile Training School
Gatesville, Texas

Ralph Fults called this place "home" until he decided to bust out of it.
With hacksaw blades obtained from the metal shop there, Fults gradually
sawed his way through the bars, making his escape, along with thirteen
other inmates he had shared a dorm with. This was on April, 16th 1927.
What this facility actually "trained" - was future cons for the penitentiary!


Ralph Fults in 1992

All Hell breaks loose

In the early evening hours of February 24th 1935, Raymond Hamilton and Ralph Fults were driving
through Fult's hometown of Anna, Texas in a stolen grey 1935 Ford V8. They had a planned rendezvous
with a couple of bootleggers to pick up some guns belonging to Fults. They took the Weston cut off,
a seldom traveled road that traverses the Trinity River just north of McKinney, Texas. A freezing
rain had begun to fall when they reached the culvert where the two bootleggers were supposed to meet
up with them. When he didn't see them waiting at the planned meeting place, Fults had become suspicious.
Fults then told Hamilton that they had better leave, as something didn't seem right!

Suddenly a burst of gunfire had erupted from both sides of the darkened culvert. Hamilton floored
it in an attempt to escape the volley of bullets which had now begun to riddle their car to pieces.
The car was being reduced to rubble under the heavy blows delivered by the lawmens powerful barrage
of gunfire. Raymond had sustained a head wound but was able to keep going. Fults had begun to fire
back at the posse with his Browning automatic rifle through the rear window which had been blown away.
The freezing rain was now entering the car by way of the openings left by the windows which were now
blown away by the gun blasts. Eventually they made it far enough away to escape the wrath of the
attacking lawmen. It had been a "set up", but the outlaw pair managed to escape.

visual photo by Frank R. Ballinger

Photo above shows John A. Record, Precinct No. 1 Constable of McKinney TX,
who organized the ambush attempt of Raymond Hamilton and Ralph Fults. He
poses beside Hamilton's abandoned getaway car with a Remington Model 8
which Constable Record had used in the sneak attack on the outlaw pair.

McKinney Constable Defends His Action

Makes a run for Sheriff


Another Fults item

Ralph Fults spent one week in this jail after being nabbed with a suitcase full of stolen
items. He managed to escape, by using a key he had fashioned from a cigarette can.

Ralph Fults family photos (wife Edna Ruth on the right)

Dallas - March 17, 1993 UPI
A funeral was scheduled Wednesday for Ralph Smith Fults, the last member of the Bonnie
and Clyde gang who later in his life discouraged children from a life of crime. He was 82.
Fultz, who died Monday at his Dallas home, was remembered for his years of robbing banks
with Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in the 1930s. His later years were spent as a security
guard at a Dallas orphanage. Born in Texas, Fults began his career as a criminal at 14 when
he stole candy from a general store in McKinney, according to author John Neal Phillips,
who wrote about the Barrow gang. Fults met Clyde Barrow while the two were being transported
to prison at Huntsville, Texas. After two years, both were paroled and formed the Barrow gang
in Denton, north of Dallas. In 1935, Fults was arrested and sent to a Mississippi prison for
nine years. He returned to Texas in 1947 and was granted full pardons in 1954. As a security
guard at the orphanage from 1964 to 1984, Fults spoke to youngsters about his conversion to
Christianity and urged them to stay away from crime.