SEQUOYAH COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) — On Oct. 28, 1934, Oklahoma’s most notorious and glorified folk bandit Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd was laid to rest in Sequoyah County.
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, Floyd’s funeral is said to be the largest funeral ever held in the state with over 20,000 people in attendance.
Floyd was born Feb. 3, 1904, in Bartow County, Georgia, and in 1911 moved with his family to Sequoyah County in eastern Oklahoma.
As a child, Floyd was raised on tenant farms near Sallisaw and Akins where he helped tend cotton and corn fields. He became interested in tales of heroic figures and outlaws at a young age, with a particular interest in Missouri bandit Jesse James.
As a teenager, Floyd worked as a hired hand on the wheat-harvest circuit throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. Later, he met John Callahan in Wichita, who served as a mentor to Floyd and ran one of the largest fencing operations in the Midwest.
In 1925, Floyd took part in a payroll robbery in St. Louis that netted $11,929 and let to a five-year sentence in the Missouri State Penitentiary.
From around the time he left prison to his death in 1934, Floyd carried out a string of over 30 successful robberies in the Midwest, primarily in Ohio and Oklahoma. Floyd often had at least one accomplice assist with the robberies.
“Pretty Boy” Floyd’s bandit days neared their end on June 17, 1933, when he and Adam Richetti were named as chief suspects in the Kansas City Massacre, which led to the deaths of four law officers at the Union Station.
Floyd was shot and killed on October 20, 1934, by FBI agents in a cornfield near East Liverpool, Ohio. According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, based on new evidence, neither Floyd nor Richetti were involved in the massacre.
Floyd’s body was returned to Oklahoma, where he was laid to rest at the Akins Cemetery on Oct. 28, 1934.
For more information on “Pretty Boy” Floyd, visit the Oklahoma Historical Society website.