State Troopers Edward Wheeler and H.D. Murphy Memorial
On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934, State Troopers H.D. Murphy, Edward Wheeler, and Polk Ivy were patrolling a highway in present-day Southlake, Texas. After stopping for target practice, Ivy drove toward present-day Roanoke, Texas, thinking the other two State Troopers were behind him. However, Wheeler and Murphy had turned onto Dove Road thinking they saw motorists in trouble. After driving several miles, Ivy realized his fellow troopers were not behind him and decided to turn back. Ivy then found Wheeler and Murphy lying dead with their pistols still in their holsters. According to a farmer who witnessed the shooting from his front porch, the state troopers were killed by Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. In 1996 a six-foot-tall historical marker was built to memorialize Troopers Wheeler and Murphy.
Backstory and Context
On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934, State Troopers H.D. Murphy, Edward Wheeler, and Polk Ivy were on patrol in present-day Southlake, Texas. It was Trooper Wheeler’s second day on duty. After stopping for target practice, Trooper Ivy drove toward present-day Roanoke, Texas, thinking the other two State Troopers were behind him. However, Troopers Wheeler and Murphy had turned onto Dove Road believing they saw motorists in trouble. After driving several miles, Trooper Ivy realized his fellow troopers were not behind him and decided to turn back. Trooper Ivy then found Troopers Wheeler and Murphy lying dead on the ground and “riddled with buckshot wounds” with their pistols still in their holsters. According to a farmer who witnessed the shooting from his front porch, the state troopers were killed by Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. However, another member of the Bonnie/Parker gang, Henry Methvin later admitted to being present during the shooting.
Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were notorious for their 21-month crime spree during the Great Depression. They robbed gas stations, restaurants, and small-town banks mainly in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Missouri. The pair often worked with Confederates including Clyde’s brother, Buck; Buck’s wife, Blanche; Ray Hamilton; and W.D. Jones. The gang was responsible for the deaths of four civilians and nine police officers including Troopers Murphy and Wheeler. Bonnie, Clyde, and other members of their gang were ambushed and shot to death by police officers on a highway in Louisiana a month after the deaths of Troopers Murphy and Wheeler.
Trooper Wheeler was 26 at the time of his death. He met his wife, Doris Edwards, at a traffic stop. They later married and rented an apartment together. After Trooper Wheeler left for patrol, his wife, Doris Edwards, went to visit her family in Arlington. She returned to find the funeral director’s car parked outside her house. Trooper Wheeler is now buried at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas. Trooper Murphy was 22 at the time of his death and had been serving as a state trooper for six months. He died 12 days before his wedding. Trooper Murphy met his fiancée, Maree Tullis, in high school. Tullis wore her wedding dress to Trooper Murphy’s funeral. Trooper Murphy is buried in the Old Palestine Cemetery near Alto, Texas.
In 1996 a six-foot-tall historical marker was built to memorialize Troopers Wheeler and Murphy. It reads:
We the people of the state of Texas acknowledge and thank Troopers Edward Bryan Wheeler and H.D. Murphy for the great sacrifice they made to keep the public safe. Troopers Wheeler and Murphy were shot to death Easter Sunday, April 1, 1934, near this site on West Dove Road by the infamous criminals, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Wheeler and Murphy stopped their motorcycles near Parker and Barrow’s car, thinking a motorist needed assistance. When they approached, they were shot. Their efforts will stand the test of time. May God bless their souls.
Edwards attended the unveiling ceremony. She told reporters that she was
thankful for the memorial because while Bonnie and Clyde became infamous
throughout the United States, many of their victims were forgotten. Edwards
hoped the memorial will help “the world to know what vicious killers and
murderers [Bonnie and Clyde] are.”
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 The New York Times. "2 Officers Slain; Barrow Sought." April 2,
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 History.com Editors. "Police Kill Famous Outlaws
Bonnie and Clyde." History. Last modified August 21, 2018.
 Kennedy, Bud. "Easter of Tears: 80 Years Ago, 2 Law Officers Met Death at Hands of Bonnie and Clyde." Star-telegram. Last modified April 19, 2014. https://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/bud-kennedy/article3854461.html.
 "Edward Bryan Wheeler (1907-1934) Find A Grave..." Accessed December 1, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12170961/edward-bryan-wheeler.
 Officer Down Memorial. "Patrolman Holloway Daniel Murphy." n.d. https://www.odmp.org/officer/9770-patrolman-holloway-daniel-murphy.
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 "Patrolman Edward Bryan Wheeler." The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP). Accessed December 6, 2018. https://www.odmp.org/officer/14044-patrolman-edward-bryan-wheeler.