Henderson Jordan (Louisiana sheriff)

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Henderson Jordan
Sheriff of Bienville Parish, Louisiana
In office
1932–1940
Preceded by J. E. Currie
Succeeded by Prentiss Morel Oakley
Personal details
Born (1896-10-11)October 11, 1896
Died June 13, 1958(1958-06-13) (aged 61)
Resting place Arcadia Cemetery in Arcadia, Louisiana
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Annie Gloer Jordan
Children Gloria J. Madden

Larry Jordan

Residence Arcadia, Bienville Parish

Henderson Jordan (October 11, 1896 – June 13, 1958),[1] as sheriff of Bienville Parish in north Louisiana, was one of six law enforcement officers who on May 23, 1934, ambushed the fugitives Bonnie and Clyde in a deadly encounter on Louisiana Highway 154 between Gibsland and Sailes to the south.

Background[edit]

According to his grave marker in Arcadia, the Bienville Parish seat of government, Jordan (pronounced JER DEN) served as a Private First Class in the 83rd Infantry Division during World War I.[1] He was elected sheriff in 1932 and served two terms, having left the office in 1940, when he was succeeded by his chief deputy, Prentiss Morel Oakley (1905 – 1957), another participant in the ambush of Barrow and Parker.[2]

As sheriff, Jordan succeeded J. E. Currie, who had served in the position since 1908.[3] In 1936, Jordan was among regional sheriffs who came into Grant Parish to direct posses in pursuit of Walter Johnson, the assailant of Sheriff Wyatt Luther Nugent of Colfax and Nugent's deputy, Delmer Lee Brunson. Johnson had fled into a wooded area about Lake Iatt.[4]

In pursuit of Bonnie and Clyde[edit]

Along with Jordan and Oakley, the other personnel involved in the capture of Bonnie and Clyde were Dallas County, Texas deputies Robert Alcorn and Ted Hinton,[5] and former Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and B. M. "Manny" Gault.[6]

Gibsland posse. Top: Hinton, Oakley, Gault; seated: Alcorn, Jordan and Hamer.
The vehicle of Bonnie and Clyde is shown riddled with bullet holes after the ambush. The picture was taken by FBI investigators on May 23, 1934

In 1934, Jordan told the Associated Press he had been tracking Barrow and Parker for six weeks.[7] In late May, he learned from a tipster that the couple were preparing to rob the First National Bank of Arcadia[8] and would pass through Bienville Parish en route to the northern part of Natchitoches Parish. He had been in contact with the father of Barrow protégé Henry Methvin and had induced the senior Methvin to betray the two outlaws, who stopped at the ambush site on a country road when they saw Methvin’s truck jacked up as if it were disabled.[9]

The officers opened fire without warning on the fugitives, who were believed to have killed at least fourteen persons, including nine law enforcement personnel. Oakley and Jordan later expressed regret that Bonnie and Clyde were not allowed to surrender before being killed in a blaze of bullets from the officers. An attempt should have been made to take the pair alive, Jordan and Oakley said.[10] Another account, however, quotes Jordan as having said that the posse did briefly attempt to warn Barrow to surrender: "We hollered to Barrow to halt as we wished to give them a chance. They went for their guns, and we let them have it. In the car we found three submachine guns, two automatic sawed-off shotguns, four .45-caliber automatic pistols, two .38-caliber automatic pistols and one .45-caliber revolver, [and] a large quantity of ammunition."[8]

Jordan at first refused to return the bullet-ridden car driven by Clyde Barrow, having argued that the officers deserved the vehicle as a bounty for risking their lives for killing the fugitives. Eventually, a court ordered Jordan to release the vehicle,[10] a 1934 Ford Model 40 Type 730 Fordor Sedan (De Luxe), to its original owner, Ruth Warren of Kansas, though the car had Arkansas plates.[11]

Jordan family tombstone at Arcadia Cemetery in Arcadia, Louisiana
Henderson Jordan grave marker.

Family and death[edit]

Jordan was married to the former Annie L. Gloer (February 10, 1899 – August 29, 1961).[1] The couple had two children, Gloria J. Madden (born 1925), wife of the late Johns "Bub" Madden, and Larry Jordan, both of Arcadia. Oakley died in 1957; less than a year later, Jordan was killed instantly in an automobile accident in Lincoln Parish.[12] On June 13, 1958, Jordan, then sixty-one, was traveling west in the eastbound lane on U.S. Highway 80, near Ruston, when he struck a car head-on. In the other vehicle was 31-year-old Buford Caldwell, who died an hour later at a hospital. Ronald Webb Fullilove, a 10-year-old in another vehicle, also succumbed within an hour. Several others were injured in the crash.[13]

Jordan and Oakley and their wives are interred at Arcadia Cemetery, off Hazel Street in Arcadia. Their heirs, particularly those of Jordan, have continued to serve Bienville Parish as mayor, police juror (known as county commissioner in most other states), hospital board chairman, or banker.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Arcadia Cemetery records, Arcadia, Louisiana
  2. ^ List of Bienville Parish sheriffs, Office of Sheriff John Ballance, Arcadia, Louisiana
  3. ^ Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department, List of Bienville Parish sheriffs
  4. ^ "Sheriff Wyatt Luther Nugent, Deputy Delmer Lee Brunson [Killed]". libertychapelcemetery.org. Retrieved January 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Social Security Death Index". Rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  6. ^ Museum exhibit, Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana
  7. ^ "On This Day: The Fall of Bonnie and Clyde". Finding Dulcinea.com. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Arcadia Sheriff Tells How Barrow Rode into Trap". Historybuff.com. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  9. ^ Exhibit, Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum
  10. ^ a b John Neal Phillips, Running with Bonnie and Clyde. Google Books. ISBN 978-0-8061-3429-1. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  11. ^ "The Warren Car". Texashideout.tripod.com. Retrieved June 10, 2009. 
  12. ^ Guinn, Jeff. Jeff Guin, Go Down Together. Google Books. ISBN 978-1-4165-5706-7. Retrieved June 9, 2009. 
  13. ^ "The Lawmen at Rest". Texashideout.tripod.com. Retrieved July 5, 2009. 
  14. ^ Vickie Welborn, "Area Towns Find Revenue in Bonnie and Clyde", Monroe News Star, May 20, 2009, accessed June 7, 2009
Preceded by
J.E. Currie
Sheriff of Bienville Parish, Louisiana

Henderson Jordan
1932–1940

Succeeded by
Prentiss Morel Oakley